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Continued Lift Problems . . . CMC 83HD+ Arbor Pro: Another $740 to All Access Equipment

TreePro92

TreePro92

New Member
Joined
May 14, 2020
Messages
1
Location
Tennessee
(ORIGINAL ISSUE) Today didn’t end as well as I thought it would. I tracked my lift tracked lift into position to take down a pine. The second Pine was on a slight slope. No big deal . . . set the outriggers down, mark their perimeter, raise outriggers and dig out a level footing. Derek and I got to the outrigger raising part when we noticed a problem . . . only 1 outrigger was coming up. In the past I have had issues with all but one outrigger coming up (because not enough pressure was put on it before raising it), but never only one coming up. To put a long story short . . . I spent two hours on the phone with All Access Equipment technicians trying to diagnose why I could only get 1 outrigger to raise.

The first technician (C) walked me through an “emergency manual outrigger raising procedure” to get all the outriggers raised. (C) misadvised me to turn the cylinder that was next to the MOVAC sensor. I asked him if it was the cylinder with the groves that needed to be turned. He said yes. A thimble valve sticking out of the drum (that is grooved also) should have been turned and not the cylinder. I could hear (C)’s family clearly over the phone. It was hard to hear him let alone understand him. After walking me through that procedure, and advising me to turn the cylinder the thimble valve threads into, my lift started shutting off with error code 920. (C) told me the code entailed a faulty MOVAC sensor. I got transferred over to the parts department. The MOVAC sensor costs $598 (before shipping). Attached is a picture of the MOVAC sensor (little black piece). That sensor costs as much as a commercial STIHL chainsaw. That’s hard to understand. What I also don’t understand is why my lift wasn’t throwing a code until after I was walked through the manual procedure. When asked why the sensor went out I was told “it just randomly happens”. I suspected the cylinder rotation as the culprit, but (C) advised me that it just happens. A second technician (V) echoed the same statement. Neither technician was able to tell me why a $598 sensor failed on a machine with only 400 hours. Both implied that the initial outrigger issue was MOVAC related. I mentioned the cylinder rotation as a possible cause. That was discredited. I was told that “some people have problems with MOVAC sensors . . . some people have problems with platform position sensors. They just go out at random”. Durability? 400-hours . . . $600 sensor failure. I suspect it was the turning of the cylinder. I replaced the MOVAC sensor. The outriggers were still malfunctioning. I talked with technician (D) during the MOVAC replacement after finding out it didn’t fix the issue. (D) suggested using the 9-button panel to get the platform level enough (through the lowering the outriggers) to where the computer would override the issue. That worked temporarily. (May 3rd, same issue, same resolution)

(YESTERDAY) After tracking the machine into position we couldn’t get the outriggers to go down. I talked with technician (V). He walked me through a number of sensors that could be leading to the malfunction. One of the sensors was located at the knuckle-end up the upper boom. He advised me to pull the sensor wire out slowly and then to let it feed back in slowly . . . basically a glorified measuring tape spring sensor. We ultimately had to do a manual override of the hydraulics to lower the outriggers. Shortly thereafter the machine started shutting off with ERROR CODE 920. . . . same code that we were getting previously. At this point I was advised by (V) to get a local technician to look it over due to him not being able to be there in person. The closest technician to me is in Chattanooga, TN ($510 in travel, $140/hr. on site). I was told previously that the issue was due to a $600 MOVAC sensor . . . and now we were discussing an additional $650 to have a technician diagnose the real issue.

After expressing my frustration with (V) regarding the continued 920 error code I was told they usually charges $130/hr. over the phone for issues this complicated, but because I have been dealing with this for a few weeks they were going to waive that charge. I wasn’t reassured by their willingness to waive that fee, but shocked that a company I bought a $125,000 lift from (pre tax) would charge me $130/hr. to try to help walk me through an ongoing problem. Keep in mind . . . An in-person technician’s (from Chattanooga) would charge me $140/hr. All Access Equipment is telling me they charge $130/hr. over the phone to assist with technical problems. As my frustration lingered on, (V) told me he would talk to the head of service if he could get him on the phone and then call me back. After a few minutes I got a call from (V) - “The (head of service) said before you do anything else take the MOVAC sensor out and spray some lubricant in the reservoir it fits into”. He informed me that aluminum and stainless steel sometimes don’t work well together. I sprayed some WD-40 in the reservoir and the lift began working like normal. Flash forward to today when again we couldn’t get the outriggers to go down. I called and talked to technician (C). He started to walk me through manually lowering the outriggers when Tom noticed how he wasn’t able to close one of the outriggers due to the turret (boom rotator) being rotated too far in one direction. The CMC 83HD+ lift will not let you lower the lower boom into the cradle unless the boom is aligned with the cradle. This is realized by the “home” button that lights up from the basket. Somehow . . . the boom was able to be lowered into the cradle unaligned. Technician (C) told me that sometimes the boom aligns enough to lower into the cradle but a few centimeters off could prevent any outrigger functions. After manually lowering the outriggers, (C) had us read off the turret rotation value in the sensors section of the main display. The value we read off (1) was within tolerance. He didn’t understand how this could be in tolerance. We still couldn’t close the outrigger due to misalignment. Needless to say . . . shortly thereafter the machine began shutting off with Error Code 920. I could hardly understand (C). I asked him if he could go somewhere where he had better service. “It’s my phone . . . I need to get a new one”. Again, I could hear his family clearly and loudly in the background. I didn’t address the constant noise I was hearing in the background. I tried to sympathize with his situation, but at the same time . . . THIS is your job that you are getting paid for . . . and this is my problem that I am losing money and customers over. Can you not find somewhere quite to discuss technical matters?

I can’t recall what happened over the next 10 minutes as I was pissed. I couldn’t get the outriggers down because of the error code 920 . . . I couldn’t get the lift home because I couldn’t get my outrigger collapsed . . . I couldn’t get the outrigger collapsed because the turret wasn’t properly docked (despite the lift allowing it to dock) . . . and I couldn’t get the turret rotated without the outriggers working. The service secretary tells me they are going to have to start charging me for their time . . . with a 1 hour minimum charge of $130. I was having technical problems with my lift two and a half weeks ago (April 22nd). I was advised to buy a $600 MOVAC sensor. I had the same issue with the outriggers on May 3rd. It worked fine the following day . . . and here I am at square 1. The service technician put me through to technician (V). The service secretary told me they weren’t going to charge me. (V) advised me that at this point I should buy the valve located next to the MOVAC sensor. That is the only thing he could think of that it would be. I wasn’t surprised that the valve they told me I needed was $700.

I won’t go into detail with my discussion with the owner of the company as he tried to blame the issue on me. Whenever I’m on the phone with a technician . . . I try to cross my t’s and dot my i’s. This lift is expensive . . . too expensive to throw a wrench at without proper guidance.

I’m 8 days behind, nearly $1,400 into an ongoing repair, I’ve got countless hours of paying my help to stand around, and I’m uncertain as to how many jobs I’m going to lose due to this breakdown. I would figure my current losses due to lift issues at $6,000. My lift only has 422 hours. Not a lot for owning it 2 years. I do more than just tree work. I bought this lift hoping that it would be a great asset to my tree company. Up until this point I have believed that. I’ve tagged All Access Equipment and CMC in a lot of my business posts across social media. They both have featured me on their accounts. Since owning this lift I have been approached by three individuals who were interested in buying one and three municipalities. In all cases I have spoken positively about the lift and the company who I bought it from:

All Access Equipment in Wilmington, MA

My social media accounts are a testament of that. As of today I can’t stand behind either All Access Equipment or CMC.

You’ve probably heard people tell you before that you should buy something that you can get serviced nearby. When you roll up to the sales company with your equipment in tow . . . they’re going to treat you better than if you call them from nearly 1,000 miles away.

I would have appreciated reading such an account before buying my CMC 83HD+ Arbor Pro 2 years ago. If you are in the market for a lift, I would seriously think twice before you make that choice. I’ve lost all trust and comfort in regards to dealing with All Access Equipment which is why at this point I’m considering another look
lift company to further my tree business.

The $700 part that I had overnighted, drove 40 minutes to install, wasted diesel, wasted payroll hours, WAS THE WRONG PART!!!
 

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Hddnis

Hddnis

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Sep 4, 2007
Messages
3,651
Location
PNW
Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

Last summer I almost bought a used lift from a company two hours away. They delivered it to demo, everything looked good till in a pre-use check my foreman realized that four of the pins on the main boom had 3/8" of play in each of them. I was still willing to buy the lift, if they fixed it, it was just a wear issue and needed new pins and bushings.

After trying to work out getting the new parts installed for seven weeks I sent the machine back. If that is the service you get when they want to make a sale, it will be way worse after the sale. They then billed me rent on the machine! I didn't pay them and they didn't have a rental agreement so they couldn't send it to collections like they threatened. In the end they lost a customer for life.
 
Hddnis

Hddnis

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Sep 4, 2007
Messages
3,651
Location
PNW
My experience with lifts is that they make you a lot of money, when they are running, and I mean a lot of money, like you wonder how you got so much done.

Then they break, and take a lot of money to fix.

Overall you make more with a lift than you do without one, by a good margin. There are lifts that become money pits and it's best to sell them and get another/different one.

We have some Genie lifts, one S-45 that is three years old and only 2100 hrs. It is always breaking down, electrical ghosts. Our oldest lift is an S-60, fourteen years old, 7000 hrs, and just keeps running. It has the occasional hydraulic seep that starts, which we fix right away, and then it goes several hundred more hours before it needs anything. I wish they were lighter and easier to move, because we don't use them on the tree care side of things very much due to weight and size.

Oh, on the S-45, one of my smarter than average guys discovered that if you pull all the connections apart once a month and hose them down with WD40 it won't give you trouble. Going on six months trouble free since that discovery, after almost three years of constant trouble. If it hadn't been for warranty it would have gone long ago.

I wish I could make that guy a mechanic, he's really good at it, but would rather do other work. He's good at anything I put him on so I let him pick what he wants to do whenever I can.
 
NeSurfcaster

NeSurfcaster

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
372
Location
South Jersey
Yup great when they work, suck when they don't. My main problem was a dead controller battery(Who rents out a lift for 800+600 deposit w/ a dead controller battery). But the fact that you can fit them nearly anywhere is nice. I just can't get over the price of these lifts new/used. The company I work for aims for a minimum of 3000 a day, some days more some days less. So it would take roughly 50 days of work to pay for a 150,000 tracked lift. Takes a lot of tree's to pay that sucker off. I think they are gonna be the main way of getting up there in the future(10-20 years).
 
JRoland

JRoland

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
210
Location
White Pines, CA
I work for the state of CA and we have that same lift.
We have had the same problems with the outriggers not extending / returning. Also the “Home” function sometimes will work, sometimes does not.
We’ve had it out in the highway and had to continue flagging traffic after the job is over because we can’t return it to home or put the outriggers up.
Plus the price of components- the thin metal on the bottom of one of the joysticks broke- @$600 for the part.
I wouldn’t want to have to rely on it for a private tree care company.
I hope you get your situation figured out.
I believe our unit has less hours than yours if it makes you feel any better.....
 

JCtree

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Messages
17
Location
New England
Wow. That is absolutely crappy customer service!

I demoed a cmc lift years ago
It is a sturdy looking machine with great specs.
That being said I thought the owner was full of ****. I caught him in a couple lies and I did not trust the reliability of the cmc lifts or the owner of All Access Equipment himself!

For example, I asked about computer problems with the cmc and I referenced other lifts citing that some don’t have computers. Lenny (the owner) told me that all the “manufacturers have computers in their lifts”. He was either lying or misinformed because I know that nifty, platform basket and up equips (in the 60 ft class) don’t have computers. When I asked about reliability of the computers Lenny informed me that only 10% of the problems with cmc lifts are computer related and that 90% are operator error Lenny went on to explain that he has sold his CMC lifts to an arborist in Hawaii!! Lenny acted certain that the lifts in Hawaii have had no issues
This is where it gets good. The arborist in Hawaii who owns the cmc lifts has posted in another arborists forum that the cmc lifts are not reliable and that he has had a multitude of problems. This particular arborist mentioned that maybe the computers and sensors could not handle the “heat and humidity.”

All access equipment has done a tremendous job marketing their equipment and I think people are really falling for their crap.

Too bad there isn’t a “lemon law” on these lifts. If there WAS, the dealers would be forced to get off their asses and back their products!
 
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