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A lesson in maintenance!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When I talk about the Tennant Model 355 sweeper, good thoughts enter my mind about the dependability and the longevity of this machine. Production began in 1992 and it was immediately a success in the world of cleaning. It succeeded the models 265, 275, 275II and 285. These were very good machines in their own right, but the 355 became a culmination of all that was good in those past sweepers. It was a wise use of the up-to-date technologies at the time and a machine quality that couldn’t compare. Here we are in 2017 and still I see the Tennant 355 used in factories on a daily basis. One item that made it desirable was that it was produced only in a Hi-Dump version, which means that the hopper could be dumped into a dumpster. At the time other manufacturers were still producing sweeping in a Low-Dump version. And, to upscale into a Hi-Dump was a higher cost, hence the popularity of the 355. As far as the longevity, the 355 was produced until 1999, when in June of that year the new Model 6500 rolled out. Among the other advantages were:

  1. The sweeping path with the side brush was 60”, perfect for warehouses
  2. The hopper capacity of 14 cubic feet and 1200 pounds of debris.
  3. It was available in gas, propane and diesel. If you wanted something more environmentally friendly, well then, electric was available.

So when I received an e-mail that we have a customer that is stating that he has a Tennant 355 and using words such as “ junk” and “always broke-down,” I am concerned that something is definitely wrong. It just doesn’t sound right.

When I requested a list of problems he was having he obliged. Wow I thought, this guy got a lot problems. He stated them and sent some pictures too!

  1. The main broom just stopped turning.
  2. The sweeper wasn’t sweeping very well at all and leaving a lot of debris on the floor.
  3. It started making a funny noise it hadn’t before.
  4. It wasn’t running very good as well.

So let’s look at the main broom problem first, I told him to open the main broom chamber access door and take some pictures. He did so and set them to me. What I saw was astounding. Apparently you have a banding problem there, because the problem has to be that the metal banding that it used in packaging has become bound within the broom. I also told him to check the other side where the hydraulic motor turns the broom. I asked if it is wrapped around that area as well. And he said that it was. Well, I stated, you must remove all of the banding in this area. I would also replace the main broom because I would suspect it is damaged as well. And as I was shown, it was very much damaged as the bristles were also falling out.

I suspect that just by replacing the main broom and removing the banding, you will have a broom that finally will sweep. I also suspect that the funny noise will go away because that was the hydraulics trying to turn your broom.

Let’s get to your second problem of not sweeping very well. There are many reasons sweepers don’t sweep. Some of the most obvious are that the sweeper hopper needs to be emptied. Have you ever had a vacuum sweeper that wouldn’t sweep your carpet and upon further inspection the bags needs emptied? Same thing here, just a larger machine. You have to empty your hopper! Other reasons of the insufficient sweeping would be the brush chamber flaps are torn, the hopper filter is full, or the vacuum motor is not properly working.

Moving on to the last issue of the engine not running properly: it probably needs attention as replacing spark plugs and such. If you haven’t performed any maintenance on this machine, you need to.

He stated “this thing is going to be a money pit.” I told him, this is what has to be done and should be a “lesson in maintenance.”

A well maintained machine is one that will always perform as it should. This should be a lesson for all equipment.

Creamer’s Corner is a monthly conversation with Hi-Gear’s Mike Creamer giving you advise, technical assistance, brand comparisons and on the job stories on repairing, maintaining or replacing your sweeper/scrubber. For your comments or questions, please e-mail Mike at