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DK117

Strong Csxi80 Evaluation

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DK...are you sure that the PVC flex in this pic goes into the elbow and doesn't go over a nipple sticking out of the elbow? Just making sure you are positive....it may just be the picture but it really looks like there is a white nipple under the flex. If so it needs to get clamped as Guru said. I've had a rash of people in lately with flex over pvc type fittings with glue joint leaks. Not sure what type of tubs they are coming from, but it's not a good method at all.

costco.jpg

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DK...are you sure that the PVC flex in this pic goes into the elbow and doesn't go over a nipple sticking out of the elbow? Just making sure you are positive....it may just be the picture but it really looks like there is a white nipple under the flex. If so it needs to get clamped as Guru said. I've had a rash of people in lately with flex over pvc type fittings with glue joint leaks. Not sure what type of tubs they are coming from, but it's not a good method at all.

costco.jpg

Wow, if that is true is shows a lack of basic spa plumbing knowledge and a lack of testing and controls. The major, reputable spa makers would not make that kind of rookie mistake.

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Whatever...

- I haven't seen one complaint of a Strong joint leak

- I have read lots of complaints about other tub leaks and terrible access through the foam

- Spatech has seen, "rash of people in lately with flex over pvc type fittings" - I'm sure these weren't Strong

- Where are the pictures of the internals of so called "premium spas" so we can compare?

Visitors to this board should realize that the techs who keep complaining about Strong never reveal first hand experience with Strong spas. Blah, blah, blah...

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Whatever...

- I haven't seen one complaint of a Strong joint leak

- I have read lots of complaints about other tub leaks and terrible access through the foam

- Spatech has seen, "rash of people in lately with flex over pvc type fittings" - I'm sure these weren't Strong

- Where are the pictures of the internals of so called "premium spas" so we can compare?

Visitors to this board should realize that the techs who keep complaining about Strong never reveal first hand experience with Strong spas. Blah, blah, blah...

First off...I am not complaining.

Secondly, this thread was started as a question to the experts about what they see in the photos and specs. As someone who has worked on tubs for over 21 years, I would be amazed if the tub in this photo has vinyl hosing pvc glued "over" a nipple type fitting on what is claimed to be a 4hp pump a mere 4 inches away from the discharge side of the pump.

It was however just a question as I am not sure if it is actually the case.

You have heard about other tubs leaking because some other companies have been around for 20, 30 or more years and have sold over 1,000,000 tubs. With this incredible volume and timeframe leaks are going to happen.

It wasn't SPatech that has seen the rash of these problems lately...It was me. As I said, I don't know what brand they were from, but whatever brand or brands that they are from....it is horrendous engineering. I will start asking now.

I don't have any Costco's near me and I don't run into any Strong tubs so I don't really have any problems with the company or the people who buy them...just asking a question to DK about his tub.

Lastly, you can't see the internals of the so called "premium tubs" because they are encased in insulative foam.

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Wow, if that is true is shows a lack of basic spa plumbing knowledge and a lack of testing and controls. The major, reputable spa makers would not make that kind of rookie mistake.

No doubt a clamp would be better... but this so-called "rookie" mistake has lasted 2 years so far.

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Wow, if that is true is shows a lack of basic spa plumbing knowledge and a lack of testing and controls. The major, reputable spa makers would not make that kind of rookie mistake.

That is clearly a female elbow fitting, and the flex is clearly smaller than the elbow. Looks to me like a pvc nipple inside the flex as strain relief to better support the joint. Clamp wouldn't help b/c the seal is between the outside of the flex and the inside of the elbow.

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Whatever...

- I haven't seen one complaint of a Strong joint leak

- I have read lots of complaints about other tub leaks and terrible access through the foam

- Spatech has seen, "rash of people in lately with flex over pvc type fittings" - I'm sure these weren't Strong

- Where are the pictures of the internals of so called "premium spas" so we can compare?

Visitors to this board should realize that the techs who keep complaining about Strong never reveal first hand experience with Strong spas. Blah, blah, blah...

Trust me you do not want to see the equipment bay on a premium tub compared to this. You will be sorely dissapointed with how this looks. No one is complaining about Strong, the complaint is about their comparision by some to more expensive better built tubs. I have seen, moved and first hand experience with a Strong. Inside and out.

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Wow, if that is true is shows a lack of basic spa plumbing knowledge and a lack of testing and controls. The major, reputable spa makers would not make that kind of rookie mistake.

That is clearly a female elbow fitting, and the flex is clearly smaller than the elbow. Looks to me like a pvc nipple inside the flex as strain relief to better support the joint. Clamp wouldn't help b/c the seal is between the outside of the flex and the inside of the elbow.

I would have thought the same thing a month ago. The recent pieces I have seen look like regular PVC slip fittings at first glance, but instead of being able to slide the flex inside and glue it, they have a smaller diameter nipple coming out of the elbow (which is a formed piece, not a glued in nipple). The flex was actually glued over the nipple.

I'll see if there are any of the pieces still kicking around at the shop when I get in on Monday. If so I'll take pics.

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Roger, why should anyone trust your judgement regarding the Strong tub? About a year ago you said, "I saw one once". Now you are the expert. Maybe you can point us to a single posting you have made regarding direct experience repairing defects or failures with the Strong? That would help.

On another note, why not just take some pictures the next time and humor us? Maybe start with a picture that would show how easy it would be to change a burned out LED on a full foam tub?

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Roger, why should anyone trust your judgement regarding the Strong tub? About a year ago you said, "I saw one once". Now you are the expert. Maybe you can point us to a single posting you have made regarding direct experience repairing defects or failures with the Strong? That would help.

On another note, why not just take some pictures the next time and humor us? Maybe start with a picture that would show how easy it would be to change a burned out LED on a full foam tub?

And in a whole year do you honestly think it is still the only one I have seen? While this is a part time gig for me I do still see close to a tub a week. I have a very close friend who happens to own a Strong from Costco. He loves it for the price. But he has had better tubs. His opinion of his tub is valuable to me. But it's also different than anyone here. In his words it is mediocre, but he got it at a great price and can return it if it goes to s**t.

And do you really think I care if ANYONE trusts my judgement? It's not like I am charging a lot for it. I have enough folks who rely on my advice as solid. Your opinion means absolutly nothing to me. I form my own thank you very much. I know what your experience is.

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Wow, if that is true is shows a lack of basic spa plumbing knowledge and a lack of testing and controls. The major, reputable spa makers would not make that kind of rookie mistake.

No doubt a clamp would be better... but this so-called "rookie" mistake has lasted 2 years so far.

If you walk across a busy road with a blindfold on you won't get hit by a car 100% of the time but just because you survive doesn't change the fact its a bad idea.

Maybe we won't see 100% of the spas with that plumbing leak but FAR more will leak with this type than those plumbed properly.

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I actually appreciate Spa Guru calling out the hose connection. If the hose is not seated inside the female elbow, I will definitely add some clamps to be on the safe side. $5 and 5 minutes.

Now on to the other points.

Insulation. I am in New England / zone 5 and I find the insulation to be just fine. Also, with a perimeter insulated spa effectiveness is not just measured by wall insulation thickness - there is also heat generated by the mechanical components. In a full foam system, this is irrelevant. In a perimeter insulated tub, this heat contributes to a higher ambient temperature inside the cabinet. A perimeter insulated tub will take much longer before freezing of water in components will be an issue. It also provides complete accessibility to all jets, lights and components.

Access. I also don't agree with Guru's assessment of accessibility. This is an absolute advantage for Strong. Saying it is a a weakness because the corners come off seems bit of a stretch. And actually... they do come off by removing lag screws but why would you ever do that? But if you need to remove or replace a corner, you can do this and take advantage of the lifetime cabinet warranty. Anyone who has actually seen the tub up close would realize that every component is easily reachable from the 8 side panels that come off in seconds. The corners do not obstruct access to anything. They do provide structural integrity. And you don’t need to remove screws and worry about finish as you will with most full foam spas. Same goes for the bottom. The Strong bottom is about 4 inches thick with insulation. Why would you ever need to take the bottom off? One example I saw on these boards is to replace a burned out LED in a full foam spa. In that case, the owner had an LED burn out during the warranty period. After getting advice from service reps on these boards saying the way to fix would drain the tub, put it on its end, take off the bottom, chisel out the foam covering the faulty LED (and full wiring harness by the way). Then replace the LED, replace the foam (maybe), replace the bottom, replace the tub on the pad and refill. What did the owner do? Nothing. He figured it wasn’t worth the hassle. What good is this warranty if you decide to live with the problem?

Turns out I also had an LED failure with my Strong Spa around the same time. Strong sent me a replacement strand of LEDs. It took me about 10 minutes to complete the job by myself. No draining and refilling. No service tech. Easy repair. By the way, they offered to dispatch a technician but I said i would give it a shot first. No problem. What if this happened outside of warranty? It was under a $30 part so that would have been it as far as cost.

Bullet jets – first thing you need to know is that these do not carry water in the Evo tub. These are for an air only in the Strong tub. Some people think this provides therapeutic benefit. Others say it is beneficial in providing a cooling effect in the tub when it is too hot, it can make summer evenings more refreshing. I agree with this second point. But since these are not water jets, they do not dilute water jet pump pressure. So the percentage of bullet jets is irrelevant.

Jet Pressure. As far as jet pressure… I purchased the Magnum model over the CXI because I wanted 2 water pumps. There is not a pressure issue in the Magnum model. First you can open the Venturi vents to increase pressure substantially. Then you could close other jets if they are not in the right place or you want more pressure. After a year, we just leave all the jets open and open the air intakes when we want powerful jet action.

Warranty. Strong has a 2 year parts and labor warranty on all spas over 70 jets (lifetime on cabinet, 5 on shell) strong warranty I can’t find any exclusion regarding pumps and I have never seen a posting that Strong or Evo customers were ever denied warranty support on a pump.

Cabinet. While I don't personally care for the stone cabinet, I really like Mahoganny Crestwood.

How happy are Evo / Strong spa owners with their purchase compared to other owners - maybe Hotsprings for example? Check out these buyer reviews on Hotsprings Grandee. While some are happy, about 30% (12 of 42) give it just 1 star on a 5 star scale.

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Bullet jets – first thing you need to know is that these do not carry water in the Evo tub. These are for an air only in the Strong tub. Some people think this provides therapeutic benefit. Others say it is beneficial in providing a cooling effect in the tub when it is too hot, it can make summer evenings more refreshing. I agree with this second point. But since these are not water jets, they do not dilute water jet pump pressure. So the percentage of bullet jets is irrelevant.

I dissagree and think the number of bullet jets is huge towards inflating jet count which means nothing to the feel of the tub. The same cooling effect can cost an arm and a leg in the winter.

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The CSXi80 is a good spa. They've been in the field for 2+ years, still no rash of complaints... not even a small rash... at any review site on the web.

Plumbing is fine. They could have used reinforced vinyl hose running to the jets, but it hasn't leaked, apparently for any owners posting.

Access for repairs is exceptional. The parts could replace themselves, that's about all that could make it better.

Parts quality is ok, the stuff is decent name brand and available anywhere including on line for competitive prices.

Insulation works fine. The scheme is sound.... spoken as an owner of more than one spa (not at the same time!)and an engineer with 3 patents for thermal... believe what nonsense you like, though.

On the CSXi80 (mine anyway) the jets all carry water. Some of the later models have air-only jets. All CSXi80 jets turn off. I find the hamstring jets useful but not always...if you don't like them turn them off.

The argument that more jets means more opportunities for leaks is correct. But if they're done well, it doesn't mean that you are going to have a problem. And if you do... on this model the repair couldn't be any easier.

I upgraded some of the single nozzle jets on mine to clusters. The jets are cheap and I like it better now.

Jet power could be a better. Turn off unused jets and it gets better. Replace some of the single streamers with clusters and the feel gets better still. Jets are cheap and easy to change. If the jetting bothers you, get a few and try it. By the way I've been in a HotSpring and while they come with better jets, the power isn't great, either.

I like seats in the corners and wish they hadn't wasted a corner position on stairs.

The cabinet is a big plus. Durable and looks exactly like it did on day one. Rinse the dust off with a hose, that's the maintenance routine.

It is not the most top-end spa on the market. I paid $4800 delivered. Good value, good build quality.

The arguments about which spa is better are stupid. If I was a buyer, I would be paying attention to the horror stories owners post, such as you see about ThermoSpa and the like. You have to be careful that they are real owner posts (just sayin'.... people here have agendas).

I am not in the spa industry in any way, shape or form nr do I have any relationship with anyone that sells spas. At this time I don't even own Costco stock, but yes I have bought and sold it in the past (hey it's a good stable if unspectacular performing stock). I am a consulting mechanical engineer and have never even had a consulting gig with a spa company. Have to say that because... well... you know what's coming.

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There are way too many Evo (Strong) Spa owners out there that are very happy to discount that for the money they are a good Spa. You see lots of negative posts, but not from a lot of different posters. I did lots of research prior to buying a spa, here and other forums as well as online reviews, and over all the Evo got good grades for the buck. I considered a EVO, but since I was new to the game, I went with a Name brand and paid a LOT more money. I ended up buying a Sundance and no regrets as I love it. :-) I am convinced the Evo Spa is better then some would like to admit. I am glad to like your Spa, and that is all that counts, that you are satisfied. Happy Tubbing!

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There are way too many Evo (Strong) Spa owners out there that are very happy to discount that for the money they are a good Spa. You see lots of negative posts, but not from a lot of different posters. I did lots of research prior to buying a spa, here and other forums as well as online reviews, and over all the Evo got good grades for the buck. I considered a EVO, but since I was new to the game, I went with a Name brand and paid a LOT more money. I ended up buying a Sundance and no regrets as I love it. :-) I am convinced the Evo Spa is better then some would like to admit. I am glad to like your Spa, and that is all that counts, that you are satisfied. Happy Tubbing!

They are still exactly what they were a couple years ago. An inexpensive option to a high quality, better built, better backed, dealer sold hydrotherapy tub.

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There are way too many Evo (Strong) Spa owners out there that are very happy to discount that for the money they are a good Spa. You see lots of negative posts, but not from a lot of different posters. I did lots of research prior to buying a spa, here and other forums as well as online reviews, and over all the Evo got good grades for the buck. I considered a EVO, but since I was new to the game, I went with a Name brand and paid a LOT more money. I ended up buying a Sundance and no regrets as I love it. :-) I am convinced the Evo Spa is better then some would like to admit. I am glad to like your Spa, and that is all that counts, that you are satisfied. Happy Tubbing!

They are still exactly what they were a couple years ago. An inexpensive option to a high quality, better built, better backed, dealer sold hydrotherapy tub.

That is true roger, just like a $60K car VS a 40K car. The 60K car may perform better with a longer warranty, but not everybody needs a 60K car and the 40K car works just fine for them being completely satisfied with its performance and warranty. Why should a 60K car owner give a rats? They don't care about the other owner and he should not care about their choice. Both think the other is foolish, and there is no right answer, only their opinion counts to each owner. Both cars get them from point A to point B. Maybe we finally can agree to stop this nonsense? Let people be happy with what they want, no need to be a concern of anyone else.

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The CSXi80 is a good spa. They've been in the field for 2+ years, still no rash of complaints... not even a small rash... at any review site on the web.

Plumbing is fine. They could have used reinforced vinyl hose running to the jets, but it hasn't leaked, apparently for any owners posting.

Access for repairs is exceptional. The parts could replace themselves, that's about all that could make it better.

Parts quality is ok, the stuff is decent name brand and available anywhere including on line for competitive prices.

Insulation works fine. The scheme is sound.... spoken as an owner of more than one spa (not at the same time!)and an engineer with 3 patents for thermal... believe what nonsense you like, though.

On the CSXi80 (mine anyway) the jets all carry water. Some of the later models have air-only jets. All CSXi80 jets turn off. I find the hamstring jets useful but not always...if you don't like them turn them off.

The argument that more jets means more opportunities for leaks is correct. But if they're done well, it doesn't mean that you are going to have a problem. And if you do... on this model the repair couldn't be any easier.

I upgraded some of the single nozzle jets on mine to clusters. The jets are cheap and I like it better now.

Jet power could be a better. Turn off unused jets and it gets better. Replace some of the single streamers with clusters and the feel gets better still. Jets are cheap and easy to change. If the jetting bothers you, get a few and try it. By the way I've been in a HotSpring and while they come with better jets, the power isn't great, either.

I like seats in the corners and wish they hadn't wasted a corner position on stairs.

The cabinet is a big plus. Durable and looks exactly like it did on day one. Rinse the dust off with a hose, that's the maintenance routine.

It is not the most top-end spa on the market. I paid $4800 delivered. Good value, good build quality.

The arguments about which spa is better are stupid. If I was a buyer, I would be paying attention to the horror stories owners post, such as you see about ThermoSpa and the like. You have to be careful that they are real owner posts (just sayin'.... people here have agendas).

I am not in the spa industry in any way, shape or form nr do I have any relationship with anyone that sells spas. At this time I don't even own Costco stock, but yes I have bought and sold it in the past (hey it's a good stable if unspectacular performing stock). I am a consulting mechanical engineer and have never even had a consulting gig with a spa company. Have to say that because... well... you know what's coming.

Good review hot water...

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That is true roger, just like a $60K car VS a 40K car. The 60K car may perform better with a longer warranty, but not everybody needs a 60K car and the 40K car works just fine for them being completely satisfied with its performance and warranty. Why should a 60K car owner give a rats? They don't care about the other owner and he should not care about their choice. Both think the other is foolish, and there is no right answer, only their opinion counts to each owner. Both cars get them from point A to point B. Maybe we finally can agree to stop this nonsense? Let people be happy with what they want, no need to be a concern of anyone else.


I haven't seen a single person say "I got the same thing sold at a dealer for half the money" in a long time.

Don't be sad you had a good run. It's an economy tub.

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Checking in.....I have had my CSXi80 for over 2 years now...it's been great...no regrets. Seems Costco prices have gone up, not the same exceptional value they were, but still better value than "other" places to buy a spa!

What happened to the "Hows your Costco Evolution Spa working" thread????

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Hey everyone. I am sad to report that my spa developed a leak when I was on vacation and the water was below the filter line when I doscovered it maybe ruining the pump/motor in the process. I will be looking to see if I can find the leak tomorrow and how to fix it. Can any experts chime in on the pump/motor and tell me if its serviceable? It currently makes a high pitch noise similar to a jet engine when running :unsure:

Forgot to mention that I own the Strong Csxi80 also. Hope i'm not hijacking the thread DK 117

Looks like the front seal on my primary pump was leaking. I called the manufacturer of the pump and they told me to call tomorrow to speak to a tech. Hopefully he can guide me in what parts other than the gasket to replace to get rid of the noise.

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Hey everyone. I am sad to report that my spa developed a leak when I was on vacation and the water was below the filter line when I doscovered it maybe ruining the pump/motor in the process. I will be looking to see if I can find the leak tomorrow and how to fix it. Can any experts chime in on the pump/motor and tell me if its serviceable? It currently makes a high pitch noise similar to a jet engine when running :unsure:

Forgot to mention that I own the Strong Csxi80 also. Hope i'm not hijacking the thread DK 117

Looks like the front seal on my primary pump was leaking. I called the manufacturer of the pump and they told me to call tomorrow to speak to a tech. Hopefully he can guide me in what parts other than the gasket to replace to get rid of the noise.

If a pump runs dry it will need to be replaced. Just changing the seal won't be enough. Those pumps are only designed to last 4-5 years anyway.

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Looks like the pump is actually ok other than the shaft seal. Unfortunately it ran so long with the seal leaking that the water got into the motor and probably ruined the bearings. Might end up replacing the whole pump/motor unit for about 260.00 The motor is more by itself...go figure. If anyone knows if there is a rebuild kit for the motor in this url I'd appreciate the info. Thanks

http://www.spapumpsandmore.com/2_speed_230v_56FR_12_0A_1110014_Spa_Pump_Motor_p/1110014.htm

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Checking in.....I have had my CSXi80 for over 2 years now...it's been great...no regrets. Seems Costco prices have gone up, not the same exceptional value they were, but still better value than "other" places to buy a spa!

What happened to the "Hows your Costco Evolution Spa working" thread????

I don't agree. They were an OK value before, nothing special a value tub for a value tub price. And now because of all the failures the prices have gone up to cover the failures.

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Have you checked with Strong re: warranty coverage? Not sure what warranty was applicable at the time of your purchase, but a quick check online shows a 5 year parts, 3 year labor coverage for leakage and pumps.

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