Karcher Power Washer

I recently took advantage of an Amazon "Gold Deal" (well, actually quite a few daily deals like a Nintendo 3DS - amazing 3D with no special glasses!). I bought a Karcher power washer K 2.28 1,550 PSI 1.3 GPM Electric Pressure Washer With 20-Foot Hose for $82.48 they had on sale with free SuperSaver shipping (took 2 days to reach Wash DC).
Getting going was a bit of an adventure since and I had no experience with power washers. Despite all the roadblocks, I was able to clean a 20 year old white Honda Prelude that had been sitting under a sappy tree in my driveway, covered in dust from various leaf-blowing, stump-chipping and other dust raising activities. One side of the car was actually starting to grow some moss! I spent another $25 for a spinning brush attachment, which turned out to be a good investment.
Karcher 2.643-005.0 Pressure Washer Rotating Wash Brush
And by ordering the two together I got a mostly useless:
Karcher 9.558-112.0 Pressure Washer Vehicle Wash and Wax SoapPac, 12-Pack
which normally costs an overpriced $10 or so. I used a squirt of Palmolive dish soap in a bucket.
Though the learning curve was steep, in 1/4 of the time (or less) it would take to do it by hand, I had the whole car done using the rotating brush first and then the variable pressure wand that came with the kit.
Problems? Well a few. The first problem was assembling. Some connectors are snap and twist bayonet connectors while the main hose connector has a complete different disc and clip retainer system. I learned that after I trundled everything outside when I discovered you need a small screwdriver to pop open the clip after nearly removing my thumbnail trying without it. (Karcher, learn from Ikea and include all the tools you need to do the basics!) Finally, I got the whole thing together (or so I thought!).
Now the problem was leaking. The unit has a female hose couple made of plastic and it couldn't be finger-tightened enough so that it wouldn't leak. It could be the hose I have didn't have enough thread to seat properly. The number of threads on the hose is less than on the coupling. The leaking may be due to another problem, though, which ended up the dog's mouth - more on that later. So, even though it was leaking away I went looking for an outlet.
I was worried that since it had a huge and cumbersome GFCI built into the plug that it might not work with my external outlet, which is fed from a indoor GFCI outlet. I plugged it in and nothing. Turns out you have to push reset each time you start it on the GFCI box housing. Then it burped once an stopped. Assuming it was a double GFCI outlet incompatibility I moved the plug to an indoor outlet with no GFCI. Still dead. )=:
That's when I read the instructions that said "pull trigger on wand to activate unit." Doh! The worst part is that I had read and forgotten that as my short term memory decays more and more. )-: The dreadful leaking still continued and since it was a nylon hose nut, I was very reluctant to torque it with pliers for two reasons. One, I've snapped couplings off over-torquing them and two at that point I was unhappy enough to send it back and didn't want it to have a chewed up hose coupling.
I washed the car with the rotating brush and the variable power wand. Pretty remarkable job for so little time and effort. While the unit has a small siphon tube to suck in detergent, the mix setting resulted in a flow that was so anemic that it was easier to dunk the rotating brush in soapy water and use it that way. It may be that without a thoroughly pressured tight hose connection the siphon does not work well. If I can solve the leaking problem and the siphon function improves I'll report back.
When finished, I dragged the unit in (the supplied hose is quite long but in 50F weather was very stiff and hard to uncoil and really wrestles with you). I looked at the dog and she had a tiny bit of plastic in her mouth. When I took it from her, it turned out to be a filter insert for the garden hose connection which the instructions don't show on the parts or exploded view pages but do show toward the end of the book. Whether this will keep the unit from leaking, I can't say. I won't be using the unit for a week or two. But I have to downgrade the unit for having that filter lying loose in the box, not showing it on the diagram or list and NOT INSTALLING IT AT THE FACTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I did try to clean some very dirty brickwork. It did an amazing job with the variable nozzle and everything went well until I sprayed into a corner and got uniformly covered with black, icky dirt. The bricks were clean but I sure wasn't! It even blew-back on the car I had just cleaned. Steep learning curve . . .
-- Bobby G.
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