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Made by Monkeys

Shop Vac Flaws Grind Use to a Halt

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Ann R. Thryft
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If it ain't broke...
Ann R. Thryft   5/15/2012 2:52:22 PM
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This sounds like yet another case of if the design/production processes ain't broke, don't fix them.

Jon Titus
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Shop Vac Doubles as Food Collector
Jon Titus   5/15/2012 4:14:07 PM
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Sad to hear about the poorly designed shop vacuum.  I have a Shop Vac that continues to run well after 35 years. Wouldn't trade it for any other type.

Some time ago my son decided to get two goats as pets. He bought large alfalfa pellets but figured they might cause the goats to choke. So, how do you grind up large quantities of pellets to make a finer feed?  Use a Dispose-All to grind them and collect the bits in my Shop Vac connected to the Dispose-All outlet. Worked like a charm.  You never know when a shop vacuum will come in handy.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Shop Vac Doubles as Food Collector
Rob Spiegel   5/15/2012 4:49:09 PM
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That's a pretty good story about the Shop Vac, Jon. I think the key to the sucess of your Shop Vac and the Genie (the vacuum he went back to) that Dave discusses in the Monkey story is the age of the vacuums that worked well. Not surprisingly, the older ones work better than the new ones. This is quite a theme in Made by Monkeys.

Charles Murray
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Re: Shop Vac Doubles as Food Collector
Charles Murray   5/15/2012 7:44:04 PM
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It's interesting to hear that old-is-better-than-new is an ongoing theme in Made by Monkeys, Rob. The auto industry has managed to boost its quality and reliability enormously over the past 35 years, so I can only wonder why so many home appliances and handhelds are getting worse.

dnason@kicmail.com
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Poor quality due to high turnover
dnason@kicmail.com   5/16/2012 12:31:09 AM
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Mentioned in another posting I read some time ago really rings true. Tribal knowledge goes a long way toward designing in quality. If the vac motor had been from an old school manufacturer with long in the tooth engineers teaching the next generation, then some guidance would have probably led to a lubricated design which would stand up to the use and abuse a vacuum takes. Often it's as simple as a washer here or a piece of felt there, not complex expensive solutions.

It is so true that auto quality has improved however repairability has gone way down. My '85 van fuel pump costs under $50 and takes about a half hour to change. The one in my 2003 Ford cost over $1000 to have the dealer empty and drop the tank and replace it with a $500 part. Granted, with Fuel Injection it's a different situation but apparently this pump is know to die at 8 years. Hmmmm...

Larry M
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Re: Poor quality due to high turnover
Larry M   5/16/2012 9:27:34 AM
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The one in my 2003 Ford cost over $1000 to have the dealer empty and drop the tank and replace it with a $500 part. Granted, with Fuel Injection it's a different situation but apparently this pump is know to die at 8 years.

Not many people know this, but the in-tank fuel pumps used on today's fuel-injected cars rely on submersion in gasoline for both lubrication and cooling. If you are one of those individuals who runs the needle down to empty every time and runs out of gas from time to time, you are asking for a fuel pump failure. Come to think of it, I tend to do this and need to change my habits.

jb222
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Re: Shop Vac Doubles as Food Collector
jb222   5/16/2012 9:53:52 AM
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Yes, the auto industry has managed to improve their quality and reliability.  But car prices have also increased along with the improvements.  Home appliance manufacturers have been forced to add features and performance without adding cost.

In the 1960's: Average Income: $5,000 Average Home: $15,000 Average New Car: $3,500 Average dishwasher: $250  

Today it is not unreasonable to make $50,000/yr, spend $150,000 on a house or buy a car for $30,000.  But how many people would spend $2500 on an average dishwasher?  Even though that new ishwasher would be vastly superior to the model offered in the 60's.

We all want the latest and greatest technology and performance.  But with the excpetion of cars, we aren't willing to pay for it.

So the Genie vac from 30 years ago has held up well, even though it doesn't have the high performance of a newer model.  But would you be willing to pay ten times the price to buy one today???

Larry M
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Re: Poor quality due to high turnover
Larry M   5/16/2012 10:00:32 AM
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The manufacturer of the reliable vacuum cleaner was given.  Too bad the name of the bad product wasn't mentioned so the rest of us could avoid it.

 

We could look for weak caster attachments in the retail store, but I don't think most of us would tear down the motor in the store to evalute lubrication or impeller mountings prior to purchase.

3drob
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Re: Poor quality due to high turnover
3drob   5/16/2012 10:03:41 AM
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My wife taught me to refill at 1/2 tank, a habit that has saved me a few times when stuck in traffic.  Alas, old habits die hard, and now that I have a hybrid, I routinely let it drop under 100 miles till empty (about 2 gallons estimated left in the tank).  My first car (a 1970 AMC back in 1983, when gas was under 1$/gallon) had a light that would flash when the tank was empty, and that light burned out long before I got my next car (which tells you how empty the tank usually was).

To someone elses point, appliances are not cars.  Cars are major purchases, and with only a few manufacturers left, bad quality DOES affect sales.  Appliances, on the other hand, are mosly built in China, and are cheap enough to be considered disposable.  And, with old (quality) name brands also being built in China, buying from past (good) experience no longer guarantees quality (only higher price).  This dilutes peoples experience and leaves only sticker price as a differentiator.  I still try to look for Made In USA when buying, but it's getting harder and harder.

The real question is, Did the vacuum live past Warantee expiration?  If so, according to management, it's designed properly.  And, judging by the fact he is still using a decades old device (my newest shop vac is over 15 years old), over designing them is also bad for sales!

jhankwitz
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Re: Shop Vac Doubles as Food Collector
jhankwitz   5/16/2012 10:10:39 AM
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It's becoming obvious that manufacturers are focusing more on appearance, initial quality, and cost, and less on reliability and product longevity.  We're now unfortunately living in a throw-away society.

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