Retrofit Options Make the Most of Your Combination Sewer Cleaner

Add features to best match your work needs

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Retrofit Options Make the Most of Your Combination Sewer Cleaner

A popular retrofit option to expand a sewer cleaner’s capabilities is to add a hydroexcavation package. The operator can use the truck’s existing water and vacuum power to safely locate and excavate buried utilities.

Retrofit options and performance upgrades can help sewer cleaner customers get the most of their equipment, including in the areas of ergonomics, control, performance, productivity, versatility and safety.

Retrofitting helps customers add features that weren’t originally purchased or spec’d when their equipment was new, or that had yet to be introduced. For many municipalities, budget constraints may limit the number of enhancement options available on a sewer cleaner at the time of purchase. In some cases, customers may not have been aware of the availability of certain options until after purchase.


For greater equipment control, accumulators are a popular retrofit option. Accumulators are nitrogen charged bladders that act as a shock absorber for the jackhammer action created by the rodder pump.

The radio remote is another popular option for added control. The remote controls the boom operation, up/down, left/right, extend and retract, and also controls the vacuum enable/disable. It can turn the water pump on and off and can control the engine throttle rpm. Under ideal conditions, the maximum distance the radio control can effectively operate from the truck is approximately 500 feet. Buildings, terrain and other pieces of large equipment between the operator and the truck will affect operating distance.


Two popular retrofit options for increased productivity are the trash pump and the flusher system. The trash pump is designed to pump off excess liquid while screening out solid waste. The pump may be located inside or outside the debris body. The flusher system sprays up to 650 gpm at low pressure on the street, while moving, to “flush” the street. The components of the flusher system include flusher nozzles (two or four), nozzle control valves, water pump, hydraulic pump and water shut-off valve. The control panel for the nozzles is located in the cab.


A popular option to expand a sewer cleaner’s capabilities is to add a hydroexcavation package for vacuum excavation work. With this package, the operator can use the existing water and vacuum power to safely locate and excavate buried utilities without disruption, and with a significantly reduced chance of damage.

Another popular option for greater versatility is the hydraulic tool package, which provides hydraulic power for the operation of such hand-tool attachments as chain saws, jackhammers and pumps. A diverter valve allows the operator to divert hydraulic oil from main hydraulic pump for use by the hand-tool attachments. Quick couplers are used to connect the hand tool to the vehicle hydraulic system.


Certain product enhancements, like the new Vactor RDB 1015 boom option on the Vactor 2100i combination sewer cleaner, reduce the number of steps required to set up or tear down a job, and provide greater reach and access to hard-to-reach areas. The boom telescopes 10 feet out and extends the debris hose an additional 15 feet down for faster cleaning of catch basins, manholes and lift stations.

nother popular option for added reach is the hand-gun hose reel, which is used for rewinding the hand-gun hose after use. While the reel can automatically rewind up to 50 feet of 1/2-inch hose, some are manually operated. The reels are located in a variety of places on the units, typically the front bumper or near the operator controls on the passenger side.

While it’s rare to see a new combination sewer cleaner sold without the auto-wind guide, it is also a popular retrofit option. Used for winding the rodder hose evenly and orderly onto the reel, the auto-wind guide is a chain-driven roller guide assembly that travels the width of the hose reel on a bar located near the bottom of the reel. The guide includes a pinch roller on top of the reel to help keep the rodder hose wraps tight. The auto wind moves back and forth with the rodder hose, keeping the hose aligned and straight. The pinch roller, which is pneumatically operated, applies moderate force to the top of the reel, keeping the rodder hose aligned and tight.   


As the operator population has aged, other options have become more attractive, such as adding a hydraulic or a pneumatic assist to the fold-down pipe racks, which eliminates protentional strain points and enhances operator comfort.


Safety lights, work lights and cameras are popular retrofit options for increased operator safety and safety to surrounding pedestrians, traffic and property. Cameras assist the driver in either backing up, viewing either side of the truck, or aiding in the positioning of the truck for work.

Cold-weather options

Cold-weather package options are must-haves for any equipment working in cold-weather conditions. The air purge system uses compressed air to remove water from lines, hoses and some components. Another option designed for cold-weather application is the recirculating system, which recirculates water through the water system to prevent freezing in temperatures as low as O degrees Fahrenheit. The system is designed for operation while the truck is in motion or stopped.

Economic savings

While the cost of a new combination sewer cleaner might be prohibitive to some customers, upgrading existing equipment through a factory-authorized retrofit program can be an affordable alternative to extend and expand the machine’s life cycle.

When a municipal or contractor customer adds a new combination sewer cleaner to their fleet of equipment, the more capabilities the truck offers, the greater the return on investment. While adding retrofit options makes the truck more attractive in the used market, keeping the resale and trade-in value greater, that shouldn’t be the sole reason to add options. The greater the sewer cleaner’s flexibility to perform multiple tasks, the greater the overall economic savings. 

For example, a truck equipped with a lateral line option may reduce the need to call out another crew to tackle a small line-cleaning job. Another example would be installing a relatively simple joined tanks option — integrating the debris tank with the water tank — to add more onboard water capacity for rodding a sewer or sanitary line.

Factory-authorized dealers

Vactor’s factory-authorized dealers coordinate with their customers, providing unit walkarounds and identifying available retrofit options designed to enhance the equipment’s productivity and safety. Vactor dealers are staffed with trained, factory-certified service repair technicians, so retrofit options can be added locally by trusted, qualified experts.

The retrofit options referenced in this article are available for most makes and models of Vactor equipment. For more information on retrofit options and performance upgrades available on Vactor combination sewer cleaners, please visit, or contact your local Vactor dealer.


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