First off, when was the first unit sold?
The HydraMaster CDS Direct Drive Truckmount was introduced around 1985. HydraMaster manufactured a couple of different power take off truckmounts prior to that. I will be glad to send a free insulated six pack cooler (of course propagandized with the HydraMaster logo) to the first two Mikeysboard members who can provide the names of a Direct Drive or Power take off unit produced by HydraMaster before the CDS and post them on this thread. (Hint – check out the “History of HydraMaster Truckmounts video at our youtube library – www.youtube.com/hydramastertv.)
Just how different is that unit from one sold today?
That unit was “powered” by the second drive shaft being driven from the van engine, and the profile of space taken up in the van and operations panel were very similar. Everything else – vacuum blower, solution flow, waste tank, heat exchangers have all had several revisions – most were tweaks but some were major enhancements.
Is it the best selling CDS/PTO unit of all time?
Without a doubt. The CDS remains the number one choice of both fleet and independent operators for direct drive and power take off truckmounts. All three of our major competitors in this area make formidable machines, but the CDS continues to stack up against them very well. Local distributors for installation and service remain a very important factor to most purchasers of direct-drive units.
What is your guess (or maybe you know and are willing to share) on how much longer the public will be able to buy a HM CDS in a Econoline or GMC Savanna/Chevy Express?
The Chevy Cargo van is scheduled at the present time to be manufactured through at least the model year 2018.We look at the new models every year well in advance of their “release” to the public. Generally, a tweak or two in installation is required with each new van year. We expect that would remain the same with these vans and vans into the future.
We are aware there is a lot of information flowing around the industry about vans and how they may change truckmounts in the future. Much of it is based in more here say than fact. Slide-ins and direct drives will both be affected by these changes. For instance, safety demands already require the installation of a deckplate onto the floor of all unibody vans before a slide-in truckmount can be safely installed (bolted down). A lot of cleaners miss this detail when deciding to purchase a unibody van such as a Ford Transit. No matter who’s truckmount you buy, plan on spending extra dollars for this deckplate with any truckmount installed in a unibody van. Our distributors have already done many HydraMaster slide-in installs into unibody vans, but there is an extra expense versus a standard cargo van (Ford, Chevy, GMC, Nissan, Dodge ProMaster) or box truck,.
The future of power take off and/or direct drive units installed in some of the new vehicle designs may take on a number of forms. Tailshaft power take offs; transmission power take offs,; water and oil hydraulics, pneumatic power, direct driving the blower from the engine within the engine compartment; and alternative fuels are all ideas that have been visited or tried, and may be revisited and evaluated in the future. Some do not have the best track record in our industry, but major improvements in technology can open up or re-open up some or all of these as potential power sources. Our crack staff of Engineers is presently working on the long awaited Flux capacitor powered by Mr. Fusion for the next generation of Direct Drive units.
Rest assured, direct drive and/or power take off units have a long and fruitful life ahead of them in the industry, especially with emission restrictions continuing to reduce so many of the water cooled or air cooled engine alternatives available. California may eventually require high powered squirrels running on hamster wheels to power green reduced-emission truckmounts.
Are all units sold today incorporating the Salsa heat or is that still an option?
The Salsa is an option.
Do you have design patents in place or has it just been luck that no other company has made their interpretation of the design?
Both. Plus, we have never rested on our laurels. As we discuss in the next question, we are working right now on several improvements and enhancements to keep the CDS as the number one selling direct drive unit.
Are there any big or small changes to the design to look forward too?
We are presently testing a number of small changes on the current generation of CDS to improve the customer’s & installer’s experience with the machine. Expect a few things like ease of access for maintenance, improved part life, heat exchanger enhancements and simplification which increase performance, some component protection, as well as some changes to make the installation quicker and easier.
A current unit burns how much fuel per cleaning hour at Full Speed Ahead?
1.6 – 1.8gph, approximately the same fuel consumption as a mid-range slide in unit.
What is the current cost for a fully decked out unit in a GM van? (shelves, waterpond, softener etc)
$22,116 to around $31,000 depending upon the accessories and type of tank, and options for Salsa and APO. I am sure our friends at Sapphire Scientific appreciate you mentioning the Water Pond, which has been installed with a few HydraMaster truckmounts. For some reason we are biased toward the HydraMaster HydraCradle or one of our other four fresh water tank options. J
On average, how long does it take before major issues start happening with the van assuming the unit is used full time?
We have many units with over 10,000 hours that have yet to have a major issue. However, it is a reasonable expectation that the CDS runs for three years or more (with proper preventative maintenance) without major issues.
What is involved time and cost wise in switching a used unit to to a new van?
It depends upon the unit set up and the van and that cost is determined by the distributor who is doing the switch. We do not do “van switches” at the factory but do provide technical support to distributors who do.
What are the most important aspects of weekly or monthly maintenance to preserve the CDS system and it’s components?
Daily servicing of the recovery tank filters, rinsing out the recovery tank, and blower lubrication; weekly check for loose bolts and inspect hoses; monthly check drive belts; and every 500 hours lubricate driveshaft and change pump and blower oil. For more information, you can access and download all of our machine manuals on our website- http://www.hydramaster.com/Portals/0/Manuals/CDS_46_48/Maint_Schedule_CDS.pdf.
Does the new natural gas option add any life to the van’s engine?
Running any engine on CNG may improve the life of the engine oil (less carbon in the oil), which has a direct effect on engine life (less bearing wear over time resulting in a generally smoother running engine at high mileage). One could expect some overall life increase of the CNG-powered van, but we have many cases of properly-maintained vans running for over 10 to 15yrs+. Of course, the CNG will have a higher resale value, and certainly the CNG conversion will have paid for itself many times over by that point. Since the CDS installation in a CNG-powered van has only been in the field for 18 months, we don’t have any quantifiable numbers available yet on this. The main benefits of the conversion are fuel costs savings, some potential tax benefits, and marketability.
Should an owner use cleaning hours to factor in transmission servicing?
As a general rule, each hour of machine run time is the equivalent of 30 miles, so yes.
Is there anything special to look forward to at the HydraMaster booth’s at The Experience this September?
You mean besides participating in the big Mikeyfest demonstration event outside in the demo truck area? What could possibly measure up to that? We will be there with all guns blazing. If I told you anything else , you would have to enter the Federal Witness Protection Program.