Test: Karcher HDS 6/14 C

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle


One most time-consuming parts of owning a fleet of trucks is the task of cleaning them. Karcher HDS 6/14 C promises to do the hard work for you.

Like most fleet owners, the guys at West Auckland-based RCL Construction set aside the better part of their Saturdays to attend to matters of keeping their smartly-presented rigs in a clean and tidy order.

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The company already owns a couple of Karcher high-pressure hot water blasters, one of which operates on a three-phase power with the other being a petrol-powered unit. So it made sense to let them try out Karcher’s latest addition to its line-up—the HDS 6/14 C—to see if it was up to the task of cleaning a week’s worth of dirt and grime from a couple of RCL’s truck and trailer rigs.

Realising that it was going to be a big ask of the smaller unit, which operates on a 15amp single-phase power, it was still considered worthwhile trying it out, given that the newly spec’d model is fitted with a number of new features designed to make the operator’s life easier.

TEST 1: On the big rigs

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One such feature is the EASY!Force trigger gun, which makes use of the recoil force to activate the trigger, taking the effort of holding the lance for extended periods of time, even under full pressure.

Integrated into the trigger portion of the lance is a rotating servo controller that allows the operator to increase or reduce the water pressure applied to the work surface without the need to put the lance down and change the pressure at the main unit.

However, after putting it to work on one of RCL’s truck and trailer units, it was apparent early in the piece that the HDS 6/14 C was going to have to punch well above its weight if it was ever going to compete with its bigger brother—the three-phase Karcher unit already in use at the RCL depot.

That being said, the machine happily tackled the bin of the trailer, but the dirt on the chassis was another matter and a heavier artillery—in the shape of a three-phase unit—would have to be called in.

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It was agreed by all who used the Karcher non-recoil EASY!Force trigger lance that it is far easier on the muscles and joints than the conventional lances.

All was not lost though, as RCL boss Tom Smit was keen to purchase a second Karcher three-phase water blaster for the yard.

TEST 2: On a small fleet

Recognising a good opportunity when it presents itself, one very cheeky magazine contributor who happens to own a couple of older trucks, along with a much smaller Karcher water blaster, spoke to Deane Rogers, Karcher sales manager, about the possibility of trying out the HDS 6/14 C on his small fleet of vehicles.

The first vehicle to find itself on the receiving end of the water blaster and its vast array of attachments was my 1991 Mitsubishi transporter.

The truck had recently returned from a job transporting a 3.5-tonne excavator, and although not in as dirty a state as it often is, it did have a reasonable coating of motorway spray that was tackled with a quick spray of a special Karcher foaming agent before being rinsed off with a cold wash.

Deane used the servo pressure adjuster to reduce pressure around sensitive areas such as windows and applied a pressure of up to 2030psi—the HDS 6/14 C’s maximum capacity—on other areas.

Even though it wasn’t on my original list of vehicles to clean, my ‘urban tractor’, a Suzuki Vitara, had been in a farmer’s paddock earlier in the morning and had dirt on its wheels. The muddy wheels and wheel arches were cleaned in a matter of minutes, courtesy of a quick wash with the dirt blaster nozzle attachment and 80 degrees of heat.

In a nutshell, the application the Karcher HDS 6/14 C was used on simply boiled down to what all of us already know, and that it’s always a matter of ‘horses for courses’.

Verdict

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In the RCL Contracting scenario, the HDS 6/14 C simply didn’t have the capacity to do what was being asked of it, whereas, in the case of the tiny fleet of smaller vehicles, the machine handled the task at hand with plenty of room to spare.

To take the analysis a step further, the 10-amp Karcher cold water machine that I use to clean my fleet does the job well enough, but a slightly larger water blaster with hot water capability would do the job much more quickly and I dare say would produce an even better finish.

From an end user’s point of view, I found that the job was completed with ease, mainly due to the ergonomics of the EASY!Force trigger on the lance.

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Having a rather large non-vehicle related water-blasting job coming up, I’ll certainly be looking at using a machine that is fitted with this new innovation. Also, I found the quick connector system made the changeover from one attachment to another a breeze, saving valuable time along the way.

The rotating Dirt Blaster nozzle in conjunction with the HDS 6/14 C’s heat function made quick work of removing months of caked-on brake pad particulates from the hard-to-get-at parts of my Suzuki Vitara’s wheels.

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This part of the operation saved me hours of time in jacking the vehicle up, removing the wheels to basically gain the same result. Although time constrictions placed on the test only allowed a quick try out of the short lance’s ability to get into the tight spaces under the chassis and the like, I can see this feature being handy, especially in engine bays. 

Karcher HDS 6/14 C basic specifications

Power supply 15amp circuit*
Max pressure 2030psi
Water volume  9.3 lp/m
Heat range Cold: 155°C 
Ergonomic EASY!Force lance trigger Yes
Servo pressure control  Optional extra
Quick-connectors Optional extra
Short lance Optional extra
Foaming lance Optional extra
Rotating nozzle Optional extra
Other attachments and accessories  Optional extra

*Larger earth pin on the 15amp plug will not fit into the standard 10amp power point

Video: Karcher HDS 6/14 C

Watch the Karcher HDS 6/14C in action (click on the image below) as Deals on Wheels tests it to see if it was up to the task of cleaning a week's worth of dirt.

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