Buy a quality, name-brand reel. Be sure replacement parts are readily available. It’s much easier to buy replacement parts on standard color reels. An electric rewind reel will increase cost because of purchase price, electrical components and additional installation requirements. Many companies believe the additional cost is more than offset by increased technician productivity.
Roller guides keep the hose in front of the reel, which keeps the hose off the vehicle, extending hose life and protecting the vehicle. By keeping the hose in front of the reel, roller guides make it easier to pull hose when a technician is away from the vehicle.
Install the reel so it’s easy for technician to reach and operate without any unnatural reaching or stretching. If most stops are residential and the vehicle will be parked at the curb, side mounting the reel makes sense. For passenger side mount reels, this often means raising the reel off the truck bed. Consider driver visibility when installing the reel.
If the reel is to face the rear of the truck, mounting the reel at bed level might be more visually appealing. The downside is the tailgate must be dropped at each stop to access the reel.
For electric reels, use only a push button (or momentary) switch so the reel can’t be left in the on position, which will damage reel, hose or gun. Be sure the push button is conveniently located for technician access. Install a solenoid and fuse to protect the reel motor. Make sure there’s no reel lock on electric reels, because if the reel is locked when the tech pushes the button, damage will occur.
We don’t recommend hanging any plumbing on the reel swivel because the extra weight puts torque on swivel O-rings, reducing life and causing leaks. Make sure there’s play in the feeder hose to allow the swivel to rotate freely.
The hose reel swivel is the area requiring the most attention. It will leak eventually. We recommend replacing the O-rings annually before your busy season. Don’t wait for the O-rings to leak and impact your schedule. If you have standardized reels on your vehicles, it makes sense to keep O-ring kits in inventory.
A common problem is when the swivel usually starts to leak with a slow drip. Technicians often ignore this drip, thinking it’s not a big deal. The slow drip quickly becomes a steady stream that can’t be ignored. Don’t wait for problems like this.
Other than swivels, reels are usually reasonably trouble-free. Eventually, the center hub might rust out and require replacement. Your equipment provider probably stocks this part. Installing the hub is a big job requiring the removal of all the spray hose and dismantling the reel.
On electric reels, the solenoid, push button and fuse will require replacement eventually. Reel motors are usually durable, but if they fail, they can be rewired by a local motor shop. Some electric reels are chain driven, so periodically, inspect the chain for excessive wear or stretching.
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