No matter what manufacture you purchase your carpet cleaner from the basic design will remain the same. There are basic parts that can break or need servicing through out its life to keep it in good working order.
Before you begin working on your carpet cleaner you want to visit your manufacture and find an exploded view of all of the parts. Often you can get lucky and find a service manual that will also provide repair instructions but if you can not you may be able to find a parts detail view in their parts sales documentation.
If you have any experience working on small appliances like vacuum cleaners then repairing your carpet cleaner really isn’t that much more difficult. You will be using your knowledge of vacuum cleaners and adding skills of basic plumbing to fix any problems with the water distribution and capture devices.
In this howto we will be fixing a unit that is not spraying through the main spray jets to the floor. After filling the cleaner with water and cleaner we found two things that point to a problem in the distribution lines. This means we will need to almost completely disassemble the cleaner to cure this problem.
Diagnosing the problem
Testing the unit we found that the main motor that runs the vacuum and water pump for spraying was working.
There is a second switch for the heater and it also came on but since no water was coming out of the jets it was impossible to tell if the heater was heating the water. Heaters in these cleaners only increase the temperature of the water that you feed it so it is important to fill your cleaner with very warm tap water then the heater will increase that temperature by about 20 degrees. It is not meant to completely heat cold water to a useable temperature.
After seeing that the motor ran and the brush roller was working the access door that lets you view if the belt to the water pump was opened. You may find that the water pump belt needs replacing and in this case it is a special order for your cleaner. The fix is pretty simple just replace the belt.
In our case the belt was in place and working and with a closer look you could see that there was water in the feed tube and some flow of bubbles in the exit tube from the water pump. This meant that the water pump was working but there was a block someplace after the pump and before the jets that spray the water.
Since the pump was working the wand attachment was tested. This is the wand that is used for cleaning upholstery.
The wand did spray water and vacuum back the dirty water. However in this cleaner the water that goes through the wand adapter is not heated It has its own diverter adapter and takes the tank water directly to the wand head.
At this point we know that the water lines from the soap and clean water, through the water pump and up to the split adapter are supplying water and are not clogged. We could stop now and do the whole house with the hand wand adapter but that would be a little crazy….
To access the areas we need to inspect we remove the upper housing on the floor part of the unit. There are 4 screws that hold the top housing on and they are accessed from below. Read the Final Note below before you continue.
Next we removed the top handle from the unit by removing the two screws that hold it on.
Then we opened the lower handle area to inspect the water heater and button switch that allows water to flow to the main spray jets.
First we inspected the lines for any crimping. If any of the lines are crimped because they were improperly routed then water will not flow. This is important to remember when you are reassembling the unit. Water lines should have a specific path and my have notched receivers to hold them in place.
The lines looked good so the next suspect is the switch.
The switch is activated on the upper handle by pulling a trigger that pushes down a rod that depresses the flow switch and this allows water to flow. The handles on a bissell have been known to not operate correctly and this unit actually has a different upper handle if ours was to break that is a recall replacement.
Our handle is working correctly and is able to depress the flow switch button.
Removing the hose that exits the switch you can blow through it and see if the clog is after the switch.
The air blew some water out of the main jets so the clog must be in the line after the adapter to the hand wand and up to to the switch or in the water heater.
Finally we remove both lines from the water heater and find that the water heater is full of calcium or soap residue buildup.
Using a sewing needle the blockage is removed however in your case the buildup may be deeper into the heater and you would need compressed air or a replacement heater to repair the cleaner.
Your other option is to put a water line connector in place of the water heater and use the unit without the heater until your replacement part arrives.
Reassembling the Unit
This is probably the most difficult part of the repair. Well lets say it is defiantly the most difficult part.
If you look at the pictures provided you will see that there are two hard plastic tubes that provide suction and collect the waste water from the vacuum head. Those tubes have gaskets on them that must line up with the top housing.
In addition the control valve for the soap dispenser is very poorly designed and must be lined up with a 1/4 inch hole while you blindly press the upper housing into place. If it is off then soap will not dispense or you will not have control of the soap valve or the top housing just will not fit.
This has to be one of the worst designs of any item I have ever worked on. It is ten times easier to install a camshaft in the car with the radiator still in then it is to install this upper housing and have all of these items align correctly.
You will probably find that this part alone takes you a half hour to get right.
As you may have noticed the repair of these machines is a pretty simple process. You have the clean water on one side that must be mixed with soap, heated and sprayed and then on the other side you need to vacuum it up and store it for disposal.
The most difficult part of this repair is the reassembly. We were lucky to find a help form for our unit on the net that gave a few suggestions however this should not really be necessary. Units that cost this much should be designed to operate easily and be repaired for years to come.
The unit we were working on was very popular and sold for many years but hopefully through customer and repair shop complaints they have made upgrades.