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  1. #1

    Confused Commercial Ice Machines and PM Help

    We purchased a very badly maintained restaurant over a year ago. Most of the equipment is very old, and our ice machine is down. We called a repair tech who says that he believes the compressor is out (we didn't know he could not service our brand). I called the company who he says exclusively service IceOMatic and he says that to repair the unit would be approx $1100-1200. We can purchase a new unit for just a little over that, so that is what we have decided to do, as we have been told this unit we have is very old and it's never worked very well.

    I have three questions....

    1. Which brand of small undercounter ice machines would you recommend based on their reliability and ease of maintenance?

    2. Where can I find a good reference guide on when and how to do PM on refrigeration units (I guess what and when are the better questions)...I guess what I'm asking is are their PM things we can do to extend the life and quality of these units or does it all need to be done by a professional? Please, don't make fun...we are new at this and we're just trying to learn how to do things right.

    3. How do I go about finding someone good who knows what they're doing and who will help us to keep our equipment in good shape?

    Thanks in advance for your help. I've read lots of your posts here and you seem to be a group of very knowledgeable people. I wish some of you were in Portland, OR area.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Western New York
    Posts
    1,049
    1) Hoshizaki or Manitowac would be my choice. Stay away from Ice-o-matic, Scotsman and any oddball brand. If you have the space, try to install a free standing unit on a bin. Much easier to clean and service. Something like this, http://www.hoshizakiamerica.com/mach...temClass=Cuber

    2) You will get some instructions in the installation and service manual that comes with the machine. Make sure your install guy leaves it with you. The best way is to get a good ice machine tech to show you how to take everything apart, clean it and re-assemble it. This might take 3+ hours, depending upon how dirty the machine is, and how many questions you ask. Use a digital camera to document the procedure... since you may only clean your machine every 3-6 months, the memory will fade.

    3) Ask around the restaurant community for someone they are happy with. If you find a tech you like, request him, if possible. To get that to happen, don't whine and ***** about business, your equipment, and how much service costs. Be pleasant, maybe offer a coffee or a soft drink. Most important, pay the bill according to the terms.

    Addendum- If a tech says he "thinks "the compressor is bad", RUN AWAY! It is, or it isn't, and he should know. If a company exclusively services Ice-O-Matic, keep running.

    Good luck, you are in a tough business.
    Experience is what you have an hour after you need it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Quad Cities, IL
    Posts
    154
    I agree about the Hoshi or the Manitowoc. The Hoshi's don't typicaly break down that often, of course with good pm they shouldn't. The Manitowoc's have 2 things that I like as a technician, servicability and they are made in america. So if you ask me I would tell you Manitowoc, but Hoshi's are good to.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Western New York
    Posts
    1,049
    Quote Originally Posted by sapper View Post
    The Manitowoc's have 2 things that I like as a technician, servicability and they are made in america.
    The undercounter Manitowacs have been built in China for a number of years.
    Experience is what you have an hour after you need it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Quad Cities, IL
    Posts
    154
    Really, I didn't know that. I guess it doesn't surprise me though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In the sticks,Northern Idaho
    Posts
    339
    The #1 problem with ALL brands of icemakers is water. Get the absolute best icemaking water filtration system, and then change the filters! Clean the machine fanatically on a bi monthly basis and your machine will live a long life. I personally would never recommend an undercounter machine. The initial savings over a larger capacity modular bin and head unit are not worth it. As far as contractors go, I know there are a couple of guys on here from the Portland area. Oh, and brand wise, Manitowoc.
    "The trouble with the world is the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt" -Bertrand Russell

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Western NC
    Posts
    2,504
    I prefer the Hoshi.

    Simply put, the fail less if maintained and run off of water level as compared to the notorious Mani Ice Thickness Probe which will no doubt start screwing up on a weekend.

    As far as maintainance goes, your best bet would be to find a good contractor and go from there. We PM every piece of gear on a monthly basis. So once a month we are there.....sometimes just to change a filter and check hardware but its still good to be looked at monthly. And then every 6 months coils get clean etc.etc...

    To find the better contractors in your area, you got 2 options. 1st is word of mouth. Find out who everyone else uses and go from there. Or you can call some manufacturers of the equipment you own and ask them their opinions.


    We just picked up a new customer last week. She owns a Biker Bar that fairly new. She's had this one contractor out 3 times for a reach-in cooler problem. Every trip, they replaced the temp. sensor and finally tried charging her for warranty work. She called the man. True....they said to call my company. Long story short, I had the problem fixed and the cooler up and running in 5 hours, not 5 weeks. Went back to re-check Friday, all wine coolers in reach-in at a cool 37.
    I fully support the military and the War on Terrorism.


    If you don't know, then don't do. If you don't know and still do, then be prepared to pay someone else a lot to undo what you did and then do it right.

    If you do know, then do. But do it right. Otherwise, you may not be doing it long.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Western NC
    Posts
    2,504

    Cleaning Ice Machines.....

    Here you go. We did 3 service calls(all after hours) on this ice machine. Everytime, we told manager it needed to be cleaned badly to work properly. After the 3rd trip and a lot of wasted money, he finally agreed to let us clean it.

    I cleaned it Friday. It took about 6 hours. Now its working great. And we will be starting his new monthly service contract in Oct.

    Before:




    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...s/102_1193.jpg

    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...s/102_1208.jpg

    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...s/102_1211.jpg

    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...s/102_1195.jpg



    After:



    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...s/102_1219.jpg

    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...s/102_1222.jpg

    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...s/102_1223.jpg

    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...s/102_1234.jpg




    Proof is in the Puddin
    Last edited by iraqveteran; 08-03-2008 at 02:33 PM.
    I fully support the military and the War on Terrorism.


    If you don't know, then don't do. If you don't know and still do, then be prepared to pay someone else a lot to undo what you did and then do it right.

    If you do know, then do. But do it right. Otherwise, you may not be doing it long.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    mesa arizona
    Posts
    309

    Thumbs up YO

    WOW GOOD JOB ON THOSE ICE MACHINESSSSSSS

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Western NC
    Posts
    2,504
    Quote Originally Posted by raidersfan7 View Post
    WOW GOOD JOB ON THOSE ICE MACHINESSSSSSS
    Thanks. Some of the crap wouldn't come off the plastic......


    But it sure looks a hell of a lot better. And now making ice like no-ones business. I've got it set. The 2 heads are harvestin good clean full ice within 30 seconds of each other.
    I fully support the military and the War on Terrorism.


    If you don't know, then don't do. If you don't know and still do, then be prepared to pay someone else a lot to undo what you did and then do it right.

    If you do know, then do. But do it right. Otherwise, you may not be doing it long.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,260
    nice job
    I r the king of the world!...or at least I get to stand on the roof and look down on the rest of yall

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    243

    Manitowoc...look no further

    I may not be the most experienced refrigeration tech in existence....but can tell you this.....I work for a company that is a Manitowoc Factory Service Representative. Some say Hoshizaki's are the best....based on my experience I cannot possibly agree with that. A properly maintained Manitowoc is easy to service, offers the best technical support staff for field techs who need assistance (their service handbooks are thorough and contain everything one needs to know) and simple in design.

    After all, Manitowoc has around 45% of the market share for commercial ice machines....and that figure came from one of Manitowoc's Regional Service Managers.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Waterloo N.Y.
    Posts
    1,960
    Quote Originally Posted by coolerfixer View Post
    The #1 problem with ALL brands of icemakers is water. Get the absolute best icemaking water filtration system, and then change the filters! Clean the machine fanatically on a bi monthly basis and your machine will live a long life. I personally would never recommend an undercounter machine. The initial savings over a larger capacity modular bin and head unit are not worth it. As far as contractors go, I know there are a couple of guys on here from the Portland area. Oh, and brand wise, Manitowoc.
    LOL! We recently got a new small Hoshi cuber for a new admission wing at our hospital. New boss was a fanatic about the drain set up/airgap ect. Didn't include any filtration set up in the job. When I asked why he said "filters don't do anything for an ice machine." Then I showed him a rust colored filter the next day from another wing. OOPPS!!
    There's TREACHERY AFOOT!!!

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