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Friday, December 21, 2018

Zero to 750 K per year in eCommerce sales in six years (our specialist Hydraulic Online Stores)

The title 3 years ago used to read "0 to 300 k in three years, Our online store".  
We are currently (Dec 2018) at $750 K in sales per year and are planning to exceed $ one million by the end of this year Dec 2019.  

So what has changed in the last 2-1/2  years. 

1. We invested in and launched our own web store. Our Own Hydraulic.Online
 We have promoted this store with a little bit of consistent SEO and by also sending a small card with any eBay sale we directly dispatch from our Service Sales center inviting our eBay customers to save 5 % by visiting and purchasing from our new online store. 40% of all our online sales now come from this web store.

In the last few weeks (As at Feb 2019) I have gone back and started to update our blogs with new fresh pictures, more detailed and clarified content and the odd video. I have also added links to our website and web stores. So watch this space for the next update on our sales performance.




2. Amazon Australia.
Amazon is a completely different and more sophisticated online platform to eBay, Amazon is a very customer (buyer) focused almost to the detriment and expense of the seller. 

Amazon has the lions share of the online market in the USA and that is where we are going to focus some of our efforts this year. 

Here in Australia, Amazon is just 1 year old, we are slowly making some progress with a few key imported products but as the platform is still new in Australia and does not have all the product categories as the US site has, it has affected our niche of specialty industrial products that currently have to be listed under the "home improvements" category. 

Less Than 1% of our online sales come from this platform, and at the moment it is a loss for our business, but watch this space we are learning about key words, pay per click and early adopter programs most of which are not yet available in Amazon Australia.

2. Sales from our eBay store continue to increase for the following reasons.


  • We have created relationships with wholesales and importers who will drop ship for us. 
  • Drop ship means you promote other companies products on your website and if they sell, you send an order to your supplier and or wholesaler and they ship the product to your customer on your behalf. Around 30% of our total online sales are drop shipped. 
  • Bulk buying, as we have grown we have been able to negotiate better prices buy purchasing some of the best selling items in larger quantities, these savings are passed on to the customer making you more competitive but Warning make sure your profit margins are maintained.
  • When our sales $ volume increased to a certain size we were allocated an eBay concierge, this is a representative employed by eBay who calls us once a month and discusses our performance, makes recommendations based on market trends and also on what our competitors are doing. Some of their recommendations are  
  • New products and a larger range of sizes and quantity variations.  
  • Importing our own products directly from manufacturers or overseas wholesalers. This will gave the best margins but at the cost of having to invest up front for the products. 
  • Check out our stores here 


Below is the details of our original blog written a couple of years ago.  
Ebay, I suppose most of you have heard the name,  most of you have purchased and or sold 
something through eBay with great, average  or perhaps disappointing results. If you feel ebay is not for you because you feel or have heard that it has a reputation for cheap poor quality products I urge you to think again and take another careful look. 

So why do we use eBay ? There are three hundred thousand reasons why we use eBay, the most important reason is "global reach"  and more importantly for us Australia wide reach. I am not writing to tell you what to sell, I am writing to tell you HOW we at Mobile Hose Fixers & Hydraulics Gold Coast sell specifically through our eBay store and by using the rules below you most probably could do it as well.

Just in case you are still wondering  "What is ebay?"
Wikipedia the online encyclopedia says
"eBay Inc. is an American multinational corporation and e-commerce company, providing consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer sales services via the Internet".

First a little history.
My wife and I were using eBay even before we purchased our own businesses some 10 years ago. We used to get up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings and drive to all the "promising" garage sales advertised in the local newspaper.  

I still remember my two most profitable garage sale purchases.
1. A large Kleenmaid clothes dryer that I purchased for $80, I spent 4 hours cleaning it up inside and out and replacing a small ball bearing supporting the drum and then listed it on ebay...it sold for $320 one week later.
2. A mint condition hard cover book on Thomas the Tank Engine (the complete collection of stories) which I still kind of regret selling , I did triple my money but I could of made a lot more now if I had held on to it.

  My wife even had a small part time eBay business mainly buying small antiques from ebay in the United States then reselling them here in Australia,  she made enough to pay for the family groceries every week.
Anyway with the purchase of our own businesses eBay was forgotten up until about 5 years ago when I thought "I wonder if I can sell some of the products that I sell over the counter and out of the service trucks on ebay?" but that's all I did, .... think about it, and then I didn't do anything about it for another 2 years.

In 2013 I listed my first small  $8 item related to my current business on ebay and within about a week it sold , motivated by the sale I listed some similar items and within 2 weeks most of those had also sold.
Initially the items I listed and sold were not items I sold a lot of through the business but  products I thought might be useful to people who would be interested in doing the job themselves,  people who were possibly skilled, interested and motivated enough to want to do the work themselves but who may have had difficulty sourcing or selecting the correct parts.  And that's how it started, the ebay DIY (Do It Yourself) hydraulics theme.

I did my homework and in most cases followed eBay's online tutorials and or advice they sent me via email as we grew,  Over the past couple of years we have generated and list of rules and proceedures for listing, displaying, describing and photographing the products we sell. Below are some of the rules that in my opinion are the basics but also the most important ones.
1. Photographs
Multiple, clear, well illuminated, high resolution (1 megabit) digital photographs with plain uncluttered backgrounds.
High resolution because eBay has a zoom function on pictures which lets prospective buyers really see the detail of the product they are interested in purchasing. Pictures of your product from different angles also allows the buyer to better visualise how your item is put together and how it will look or fit into or onto their machine.
Some of our product photos have been viewed so may times through eBay and its promotion of our product that they even show up on google images.
2. Lots of Written Detail
A very detailed, well written and laid out description of the product, its uses and function.
Describe what your product does,
how and where it is used and by whom.
Where it is made, if it is made in Turkey,  China, Germany, Italy or the USA, say so, you should have confidence in your products, 
Sales training Specialist Victor Antonio says it perfectly "be a Product of the Product".
All our products new and or re-manufactured are tried and tested and come with a 30 day money back guarantee and so should all the products you list.
If new, all products by Australian Law must come with a  12 month warranty.
What materials is the product made from?
It's size and weight?
Its design limitations such as pressure, flow and temperature.
The details you write to describe and explain your product and or show through photos will not only indicate that you know your product well (which you should) but the buyer will also percieve that you are an expert on this item.
Remember the more details you put the less questions you will have and more informed and confident your buyer will be.
3. Answer all Questions
Included a contact phone number and or an email address in all your listings and be prepared to answer all inquiries promptly with enthusiasm, respect and politeness at any time of the day.  We have made many great repeat customers this way who now contact us direct with all their hydraulic requirements.
4. Packing and Postage
Ensure that you pack and address all your products neatly and professionally and most importantly post the item or items as quickly as possible.
Ensure that you don't profit from the postage. However do allow a reasonable amount for your time and expenses to wrap and prepare a postage label and for the run to the local post office or freight company.
Try and negotiate with freight and courier companies for bulk deals.
If you offer Australia wide postage like we do, shop around for the best freight deal. With time you will come to know which carriers are good for what areas.  Always keep looking for better freight deals.
If you experience any kind of dispatch delay or out of stock error or you have realised you just made a mistake let the customer know straight away in writing and always offer a 100% refund as a first option followed by your preferred option which is to ask the buyer to wait until you have rectified the mistake or problem. It is our experience that if you offer a 100% refund first and keep the buyer informed with regular updates generally more than 99% of buyers are happy to wait till you sort the problem out.
5. Pricing 
Pricing will vary with the type of overheads you may have.
For us pricing is a based on a standard % mark up and on tiered scale based on our purchase price. The higher the purchase price the less the margin %.
However our online business has and does generate enough funds to pay wages to two full time employees as well as cover overheads and fixed expenses and so should yours.
The Selling price of your item is not always the deciding factor on whether a buyer will purchase from you, your "feedback" score is generally far more important. 
6. Feedback
Feedback is a score that your buyers give you based on how they felt the transaction went and how satisfied with the product they received.
Your customers are asked by eBay to judge the service you provided as well as the product you supplied and then give you Positive, Neutral or Negative feedback.
A 5 star grading system is also used by eBay and it asks the buyer to rate the following .
How accurate was the description of the product in the listing compared to what they actually received.
How good was the communication by the seller during the transaction.
How quickly was the item posted.
And how reasonable were the postage charges.

Ebay analyses these scores and makes them visible for everyone to see.
If you follow the rules eBay will also reward you and promote you and will also display little icons that lets all prospective buyers know what kind of seller you are.
Two years ago eBay's awarded us "Top Rated Seller"  status, which recognises sellers who have a proven track record of excellent customer service and sales.
Last year we were awarded "Power Seller" status.  Power Sellers are among the most successful sellers on eBay in product sales and customer satisfaction.
What are the requirements? To qualify for the Power Seller program, sellers need to consistently sell a significant volume of items, keep their account in good standing and provide a high level of service to their buyers. Membership is free and can only be awarded if you qualify and maintain those standards.

7. Conclusion
So what are you waiting for? Everyone has at least one keen interest and or in depth knowledge on a product or process and how to use it and even who to purchase it from. Do some homework or research on eBay and find out who is currently selling where are they located and for how much are they selling it.
Or You may have a garage, basement, barn, attic, house, bedroom, display cabinet or wardrobe, full of items you purchased but never used, or replaced before its useful life was over.
My favorite saying is from Nike Sports wear "Just do it" ....... eBay it!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Repairs to leaking Mercedes SLK, Saab 9 3, Porsche and Peugeot Convertible and Sun Roof Roof Hydraulic Cylinders

As a hydraulics business specialising in the repair and maintenance of small to medium hydraulic equipment, we get to witness first hand the effects that time, oil and the heat generated from engines and the sun have on the seals of high pressure cylinders of modern vehicles fitted with a convertible roofs or a sun roof.

Unlike the Holden (Vauxhall) Astra convertibles that usually have their High Pressure Hydraulic Hoses fail, Mercedes Benz, Saab, Porsche and Peugeot fitted with a convertible roof or Sunroof have failures of the High Pressure seals inside their linear actuators or more commonly called hydraulic cylinders or rams that lift, move, close or lock the the convertible roof or sun roof.

Modern Vehicles have a come a long way in the past 100 or so years. Pictured here is a 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 with 385 Horse power. In the background is the vehicle of the past that required 2 to 4 four legged horsepower to get it to move down the road. The GT4 also uses High pressure Hydraulic Cylinders to adjust the suspension characteristics of the vehicle, depending on the settings selected by the driver and also from data collected and sent by sensors located around the vehicle. This vehicle also comes as a convertible called the Porsche Cayman Spyder. Its not really relevant to the topic but it is such a great picture I just had to share it.    

In our experience, as vehicles reach their 12th to 15th birthday, certain materials that make up some of the high pressure seals that prevent oil from leaking out of these cylinders will start to partially dissolve, soften or harden, crack and or split and eventually deteriorate to such a degree that oil starts to leak out of the cylinders.
Depending on where these cylinders are located in the vehicle, oil drips and sprays can or may soak into the fabric of the roof or onto leather seats, carpets and trim of the vehicle.

As more and more oil leaks out of the roof's hydraulic system, eventually it will malfunction, fail and generally a series of warning tones or beeps will be heard as well as indicator lights appearing on the dash board.

Not all cylinders can be re manufactured but a vast majority can and are. We have dismantled resealed and or re manufactured a large range of hydraulic cylinders for various models of Mercedes Benz, Saab, Porsche and Peugeot convertibles.

Generally most manufacturers build or design roof cylinders in a way that saves money, by reducing the number of parts required to manufacture the cylinders and also to speed up assembly. Therefore  most roof cylinders are assembled with permanent style techniques that usually entail the deformation of metal by rolling, squeezing and dimpling.   

Above is a convertible Roof cylinder removed from a Mercedes SLK  the high pressure oil hoses have been permanently attached to the barrel body by squeezing and deforming the top lip of the oil inlet/outlet port tubes.  


Mercedes Benz SLK 

Mercedes SLK convertible roof cylinders undergoing re-manufacture, this involves careful preparation before drilling, preparation of new parts more drilling, tapping of fine threads, removal of old seals, cleaning and installation of new seals and final assembly and high pressure testing.
Mercedes, Saab, Porsche and Peugeot all utilise some form of permanent or semi permanent assembly techniques in the manufacture of their convertible or sun roof cylinders. The majority of the cylinders we work on will require careful preparation and measurement before drilling. Some cylinders will require machining and the removal of metal in a lathe followed by drilling and tapping of new threads to insert new locating pins or grub screws. All re-manufactured cylinders are bench tested to 1500 PSI (100 Bar) before being returned to the customer. 

Some of the more common Cylinders such as those from Mercedes SLK are completed on an exchange basis so we always have stock available immediately for dispatch.        


Typical larger Cylinder for Solid panel convertible roofs 
As mentioned above the high pressure hoses are not usually a problem with these vehicle models but we have re manufactured new hoses, installed them back into the vehicle, topped up the oil tank and set the hydraulic system. 

 Most Manufacturers are happy to sell you a new replacement component (and preferably a set of components) at a generally steep price such as what Porsche and Mercedes will charge. Other manufacturers such as Saab are no longer in business and most other manufacturers for example Peugeot will not and do not have to keep spare parts for vehicles older than 10 years.

Prices (as at Feb 2019) for cylinder repairs vary from $150 for a Peugeot lock cylinder to $450 for a double acting Porsche Sun roof cylinder.

For more information or to contact us.



 
2004 Saab 9 3 Convertible 









Typical Soft top Convertible roof move / fold stretch cylinder from a Mercedes or Saab Convertible these cylinders must have metal removed in a lathe before re-manufacture can begin.  

Mercedes Convertible latch or locking pin cylinder 


Friday, October 26, 2018

Warning turn of the PTO Power Take Off before driving away to avoid Catastrophic Pump Damage


One of the most common failures we come across after hydraulic hose bursting or being damaged is the hydraulic pump which is part of the PTO on mobile hydraulic machinery.

What is a PTO? Power Take Of (Unit) is a specially designed gearbox that bolts to a Truck's Gear Gearbox or Transmission. They are used to drive Hydraulic Gear or Piston Pumps and to provide Fluid power to Mobile or Truck Mounted Hydraulic Systems such as those found in:

  • Compactors, 
  • Mobile Cranes, 
  • Walking Floors, 
  • Tilt Trays, 
  • Tow Trucks, 
  • Tippers, 
  • Low Loaders, 
  • Container Loaders, 
  • Winches, 
  • Skip Bin Trucks and
  • Concrete Agitators.

Most PTO Systems are designed to be engaged and operated whilst the vehicle is stationary and running at low to medium low engine speeds.

Click here to talk to one of our team about a new or replacement PTO System

So what happens when you forget to switch off the PTO and decide to drive off to the next destination? Over speed, Cavitation, Heat, Noise = Massive Wear and or eventual Catastrophic Failure.

Another Failed Idler Gear removed from a Damaged gear pump out of a Skip Bin Truck, the owner of this truck was wondering why the hydraulic pump could not generate enough power to lift bins on and off the truck.
In the example below the PTO was driving a pump for a tipper application the driver may have heard the additional noise and should have felt a great reluctance for the transmission to change gears.

The Picture shows such a failure probably caused by a combination of over speed, cavitation,  heat and sometimes lack of lubrication because correct oil level has not being maintained.

In the picture below The PTO is on the Right and Gear Pump is on the left.
Cavitation is the rapid formation and violent collapse of vapor pockets in a flowing liquid caused by areas or regions of very low pressure (read vacuum). Cavitation can and will cause Structural and Errosive damage.

Damaged power take off  gearbox and Hydraulic Gear pump caused by over speed when driver forgot to disengage the PTO gear box from the main transmission. Gear pump input shaft has sheared off in PTO out put shaft when gear teeth broke off  prevented further rotation.  

Cavitation damage can also be found in other types of liquid pumps as well as boat propellers.

In this example, running the PTO at High Speed caused the pump to Cavitate, Over Heat and rapidly Wear and Errode and eventually caused a hardened tooth to break off one of the gears. Being a solid the broken tooth jammed the rest of the gear pump and caused the whole pump to almost instantly stop. Because the PTO was still engaged and driving the pump the input shaft of the pump then sheared off in the PTO's Output shaft.

A failure like this will also require that the whole hydraulic system including hoses, pipes, cylinders, tank and suction strainer be flushed cleaned and all hydraulic oil and filters be replaced.

To Buy Online

  • Replacement PTO Pumps, 
  • Suction & Return Filters, 
  • Flow Control Valves,
  • Pressure Test Kits
  • Hydraulic Hose  
  • Remote Control Systems, 
  • D.I.Y Medium Pressure Hydraulic Hose Fittings to 270 Bar (4000 PSI) 
  • Custom Made High Pressure Hose Assemblies. To 410 Bar (6,000 PSI)
  • Click Here


Friday, September 28, 2018

Troubleshooting High Pressure Hydraulic Systems with an Affordable Flow & Pressure Test Kit

Hydraulic Flow Testing 
A few years ago we were asked by one of our clients  "Do you do Flow Testing?"
We said "not yet, but we will investigate and get back to you". 

We called our specialist hydraulics suppliers looking for a Hydraulic flow test kit and we were astounded at the prices of flow test kits.
Starting from Au $4400 and you still needed to supply your own hoses and adaptors to connect to the hydraulic circuit you wanted to test. So flow testing went on the back burner for a while.
Eventually with more and more clients requesting flow testing services we borrowed a flow tester from one of our trusted advisers, Charlie Gray.
Charlie had built his own from bits and pieces laying around his hydraulics workshop and had then mounted it all into an empty Bosch drill case.
The seed was planted and we then took Charlie's Idea a few steps further and designed and assembled our own flow test kit with the following capabilities. 
  • Measure Oil Flows up to 120 litres per minute or (32 gallons/Min).
  • Induce Pressures up to 350 Bar (5150 PSI) 
  • Measure Oil Tempetatures up to 110 Degrees Celsius.
  • The latest upgrade has been to take the basic Single Direction to Oil Flow design and make it Bi Directional Oil Flow Design. 
  • This upgrade takes all errors out of the connection and testing process as well as being able to test Bi Directional Pumps, closed loop systems as well as Motor and cylinder circuits without having to disconnect and reconnect.
  • This upgrade is awesome value for money at $530 and is well worth it for the additional flexibility and versatility it provides.   
Your affordable flow test kit will be Supplied with two 1.5 meter long  3/4" High Pressure Hoses  and a selection of 28 adaptors, this allows the user of this kit to virtually connect to any BSP, JIC or SAE Flanged equipment.

We have sold this Flow Test Kit (see picture below) all over Australia. 
Our Price as you see it Under AU $2000 inclusive of GST.

To purchase this flow test kit including Hoses & Heavy duty carry case please click here



An alternative to the flow test kit is a High Quality German made 600 Bar (8820 PSI) rated Digital Pressure Test Kit From STAUFF Germany. 


 To Purchase this STAUFF 0 to 600 Bar (0 - 8,820 PSI) Digital Pressure Test Kit or to see our full range of pressure gauges please click here.

Description
A flow test is the quickest and least invasive way to quickly check for internal leakage of a suspected component in a hydraulic circuit be it a valve, motor or pump.

A flow test can also be used to ascertain if the engine or motor powering the hydraulic system is in good condition and or even capable of powering the hydraulic system's requirements. 
Hydraulic pumps, directional control valves, relief valves and cylinders in a hydraulic circuit can be individually checked for internal leakage.

Principle of operation,
The flow test kit is added into the hydraulic circuit and is connected as close as possible before or after the suspected component.

Using a relatively easy process of recorded measurements, logic and simple elimination each component can be individually tested and results compared to the performance of the rest of the hydraulic circuit.

The process described below is used for testing a hydraulic pump. 
The flow test kit is installed as close as possible to the pump's pressure port.
The pump is started and allowed to free flow without load. Flow, and temperature are recorded at free flow.

The flow control valve is then slowly closed to induce a resistance to flow and any changes to flow, pressure and temperature are recorded (usually at 20 Bar or 250 PSI intervals) this test is usually carried out up to the pump's maximum manufacturers recommended pressure. 

Results are then compared to manufacturer's data to ascertain any loss in performance. 

As a rule: A hydraulic system will have anywhere from 20 to 500 PSI system back Pressure, so if for example a pump has a 300 PSI system pressure and flows 100 Litres Per Min, and then flows 75 liters per Minute at 210 bar or 3000 PSI Pressure (75% on original flow) it is considered  okay to leave pump in service. 

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Rotary Coupling Manifold E45 Bobcat Excavator Remove and Reseal

Mobile Hose Fixers & Hydraulics 
Removes, Reseals and Re Installs Rotary Manifold on Bobcat E45 Excavator in 7 hours.

Have you ever wondered how the high pressure hydraulic oil (at 270 Bar 4000 PSI) that operates most of functions on an excavator can reach the track drive motors and blade while at the same time the cab, operator, boom, dipper, and bucket and the rest of entire top assembly (including counter weight and engine) can continue to rotate in either direction? 

Answer = A Rotary Manifold, Rotary Coupling or Rotary Joint.

To see a great visual explanation on how these rotary couplings work check out this pretty interesting youtube video, for earth mover section skip to 1:15 seconds in.

Heavy equipment rotary coupling starting at 1:15 seconds  

What is a Rotary Manifold ?
Simply explained a rotary Manifold is a large diameter drilled and grooved shaft that rotates in a fixed high pressure cylinder. 

The cylinder barrel has ports drilled along its length and the shaft is specially drilled and grooved to distribute the high pressure oil through to the ports drilled in the cylinder barrel. 

Multiple special seals and O rings are used to isolate each of the individual grooves or sections machined into the shaft. It is very clever and at the same time to so incredibly simple. 

The Symptoms of a Bad Rotary Coupling 
These can Vary from simply annoying to weird  for example
  • Oil leaking on to the ground or into the belly of the machine
  • Strange track drive performance (some operators call it a Lazy Drive) pushing both drive levers fully forward and the machine does track straight and either veers to the left or right and you having to compensate with less power to the more powerful less Lazy Drive
  • Operating one function like the high speed and having the blade move up or down 
  • Having to constantly adjust the blade Up because it keeps creeping down.
All the symptoms above could be indications that the seals in the rotary coupling may have deteriorated or failed. 

There are a series of test that we can carry out to confirm that it is the seals in your machine's rotary coupling that have failed and it is not the track drive motors or cylinder seals on the blade that are the problem.  Contact us with the link below.      

Want us to trouble shoot your Excavator problem or for Bobcat Service Maintenance and Hydraulic Hose Repairs, please click here



Rotary coupling assembly removed from  machine  after disconnecting all hydraulic hoses and removing some adaptors and location bolts 




Grooved and sealed rotary shaft each grove represents a function in this example 8 grooves for 8 functions, for example, Left Track Motor Forward & Reverse Grooves 1 & 2 , Right Track Motor Forward & Reverse grooves 3 & 4 , Track Drives High Speed Mode groove 5, Track Motors Case Drain groove 6,  Blade Up & Down grooves 7 & 8 . 

Total time including draining hydraulic oil tank disconnecting and reconnecting all hoses and testing, 7 hours. (please not rotary coupling seals need to be ordered in advance of job commencing)

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