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Moto Massage Question For H/s Gurus!


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Hello,

I've owned my HS Vanguard now for almost 6 years and love it, the only issues I have had have been minor and HS has been wonderful in assisting me (can't same for the dealer, but that's a whole other story).

A few years back, my Moto massages were sticking and working slowly, a call to HS and they send me out new spines and air hoses, that promptly and easily took care of the problem. Seems these hoses lose their flexibility over time and don't move as easily.

Recently my DX moto massage quit it's motion. Upon removal of the spines, I found that the tubing on one of them had split where it was attached to the threaded fitting. So it sounds like a new spine would be the quick fix. But I was wondering, if I could just replace the silicone tubing that goes up the center of the spine, instead of replacing the whole assembly? The fittings and plastic spine itself are fine and technically will never wear out. The tubing is always the issue when these have a problem.

So HS experts, does anyone know the specifics of this tubing, (inside/ outside I.D., thickness, etc...) and where it can be purchased? Just seems to make sense to make an attempt to replace this tubing for a few bucks vs paying $90 each for all the unneeded hardware of the entire assembly? My first thought will be some medical supply places, but I thought I would run this by our HS experts first.

Thanks in advance!

Randy

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Hi r5ran,

First and foremost, I'm glad we have been able to assist you during your ownership of the spa; thank you for your business! As it relates to your question, here's some background on this key feature for Hot Spring Spas:

When we first introduced the moto-massage feature, we did offer our techs the materials/training to be able to replace just the water hose (the tube inside the plastic spine) and followed their experiences and success rates of time. Replacing just the water hose required the jet assembly to be disassembled. What we found after a review of repeated warranty claims was that replacing just the water hose does not allow the moto-jet to function without the plastic around it separating or the hose repeatedly becoming dislodged as either the barbed nipple or jet side of the hose. Ultimately with the consumer's patience and experience in mind, we decided it was more efficient to replace the entire moto-jet assembly than to repeatedly replace or re-seat the hose for warranty situations. When you look at the hose, notice is not round, rather it is oblong in shape with flattened sides. Because of its unique design, it is expensive to purchase even in bulk as we do. Ironically, the majority of the cost in the moto-jet is the hose itself. Because the moto-massage jet is a patented feature, we do not have material specs or supplier information that can be released to the public; it is proprietary information.

If you've had to replace the jet more than once, I encourage you to review your water chemistry specifics. The hoses must be supple to allow smooth motion of the jet. Being supple means the hose material is more porous, and in turn more susceptible to water imbalances than the harder plastic jet heads and shell of your spa. Just as a common rubber band becomes brittle over time, the hoses can split or even elongate slightly. If this happens, the jet head can bump against or even lodge against the back of the faceplate.

I'm not able to recommend a type of hose or source where you as the individual spa owner can purchase the particular hosing we use during production. I would continue to recommend replacement of the entire spine assembly if the hose splits/breaks.

Call us anytime at 800-999-4688; thanks for your business.

Thanks,

Steve

---Hot Spring Spas---

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Steve,

Thanks for your effort and this very thorough answer. You are correct that this is a unique looking hose (with the flat sections, as you mentioned) that I obviously will not acquire exactly. However, before I received your reply, I did find an online source for some silicone tubing with the same I.D., O.D. and wall thickness for a minimal cost. I should be receiving it shortly and will give it a try. Even though, after your explanation, it most likely will not work, I think the few dollar investment was worth the risk. I'll let you know my results. As the previous reader, Preserved Swine, (love that name!) stated, I am not the only one to consider this.

Also, I do not believe my chemistry is at fault here, as the hosing was torn exactly around the flare of the threaded end. The rest of the hose (and all the other M/M hosing) is in perfect shape, and reuseable, albeit about a 1/2 inch too short now. It is pretty obvious that when the plastic retainer (which is extremely tight) was slipped over this flare when it was originally constructed, it cut and/or weakened the hose at that point. It may have not been a deep enough cut for the hose to fail initially, but weakened it enough, that after flexing in operation, it failed prematurely.

Thank you,

Randy

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  • 3 weeks later...

Steve,

Thanks for your effort and this very thorough answer. You are correct that this is a unique looking hose (with the flat sections, as you mentioned) that I obviously will not acquire exactly. However, before I received your reply, I did find an online source for some silicone tubing with the same I.D., O.D. and wall thickness for a minimal cost. I should be receiving it shortly and will give it a try. Even though, after your explanation, it most likely will not work, I think the few dollar investment was worth the risk. I'll let you know my results. As the previous reader, Preserved Swine, (love that name!) stated, I am not the only one to consider this.

Also, I do not believe my chemistry is at fault here, as the hosing was torn exactly around the flare of the threaded end. The rest of the hose (and all the other M/M hosing) is in perfect shape, and reuseable, albeit about a 1/2 inch too short now. It is pretty obvious that when the plastic retainer (which is extremely tight) was slipped over this flare when it was originally constructed, it cut and/or weakened the hose at that point. It may have not been a deep enough cut for the hose to fail initially, but weakened it enough, that after flexing in operation, it failed prematurely.

Thank you,

Randy

Randy, How did this work out for you?

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Spoiledrotten, thanks for your reply, as I have been meaning to follow up on this but have been wanting to make sure my fix would work for an extended period of time, and to be honest, I have been a bit lazy in writing back, too.

To sum it up.....Success! It took a little work but I was able to replace the hose on my HS spine and have it now functioning like new.

Here's the details. The stock hose is a very soft silicone type hose with an approx. I.D of .5 " and an O.D. of .75", so the walls are about .125 thick. (1/8 of an inch) With a little searching, I found this exact size silicone hose available from a beer home brewing supply site. Seems that they use silicone tubing for home breweries! It was only $2.20 a foot, so I ordered 3 feet. With USPS shipping only about $3, this made the total less than $11. Figured even if it is a failure, it was worth a try.

The tubing arrived a few days later, and it seemed very flexible and it gave me hope this may work. So, I cut off a 9" piece, removed the plastic spine and fittings from the old spine and carefully reassembled......and when I tried it in the tub....it barely moved.....

Undaunted, looking at the Hot Springs tubing, I could see the top and bottom of the tube had a flat section (as Steve from HS mentioned) that made the tubing walls much thinner (about half as thick as the sides) at these points. It's obvious they did this so the tubing would flex up and down with very little resistance. I was tempted to take the easy way out, and order some thinner walled tubing, but since I already had this thicker stuff, thought I may try a few modifications. I removed the tubing and carefully ran the tubing back and forth across a drum sander, (you could use a belt sander too) removing some material with each pass. After a few passes, I could see I was creating a flat spot along the length of the tube, very similar to the HS tubing. Using calipers to check my progress, I sanded until my tubing was within a few thousandths of the HS stuff.

I then reassembled and tried it out, and this time, success! I have used it about 4-5 nights now, and it has worked perfectly each time......

If I had to reorder, I would maybe try some thinner tubing, as I think tubing with the same size I.D. and an O.D of only .625 was available. While this would be more flexible and probably would not require any modifications, you then would have to somehow increase the O.D. to .75 at the threaded end for the collar to fit tight. Some tape wrapped around it would probably do the trick. This thinner tubing also may not be as durable as the thicker tubing I used. It's tough stuff!

So, while my modifications sound like a lot of work, don't be mislead. Now that I know what needs to be done, anyone could do this in 15 minutes, and considering I have enough tubing to fix 3 more Moto massage spines for a paltry $11 (vs $360 for 4 new HS spines!), I consider it time well spent.

I purchased my tubing from brewershardware.com . They were very helpful and shipped promptly.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, I would be happy to help.

Thanks,

Randy

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The thing to watch for is how the tubing lasts in a chlorine (or bromine) environment as opposed to a beer environment lol. The tubing material used is specific for the spa water so I would suspect that it will harden and stop moving up and down prematurely but I guess that's what we'll have to see and if it does its not like its a big loss for you. Extra points for ingenuity!

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You have a point, but since beer is made in high heat and has alcohol and other harsh ingredients, it may be just fine too. If it fails early, I'll let you know. Even if it lasts only a few years, I can just replace it for a couple bucks and a few minutes of time. Well worth it. Thanks, Randy

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You have a point, but since beer is made in high heat and has alcohol and other harsh ingredients, it may be just fine too. If it fails early, I'll let you know. Even if it lasts only a few years, I can just replace it for a couple bucks and a few minutes of time. Well worth it. Thanks, Randy

Excellent! Glad that worked for you, and glad you shared with us. I, like you, think it's ridiculous for a company to try to sell you a complete assembly when only a small part is at fault (and with most products on the market today, failure is built into them). Where's the big money in products that never wear out? The light bulb comes to mind with that statement. The first bulb built is still burning after many decades. Today, you have to replace them several times a year.

Yours was a simple, inexpensive fix to something that would have otherwise cost over $100.00.

Regards,

Randy (also)

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  • 2 years later...
  • 1 year later...

Hi,

You were right I did not see your request for an update until today. Sorry for my delay,  hopefully you still read this forum and get my update......

So the original "beer" tubing lasted almost 2 years. Not as long as the HS tubing perhaps, but considering the cost savings, I consider it a success. However, as I mentioned in my earlier post, when I replaced the tubing again, I reordered and used thinner tubing. This was much more pliable and worked perfectly without any modifications. However, since the O.D. of this thinner tubing was too small for the press on collars on each end, I slid a short (about 1/2" long) piece of this same tubing over each end of the tube, that effectively made it the same O.D. as the HS stuff.  This allowed the press on fittings on each end to hold perfectly. I now have replaced all 3 spines of my tub's MM and they all operate like new.  I did check this thinner tubing after about a year's time, and while it was working fine, did see some aging and brittleness in it. So this tubing probably will need to be replaced a little more often. However, since it only cost a few dollars and about 15 minutes of time for each one, it's not a big deal and well worth it.

Hope this helps........

BTW, the reason I saw this post again, is that I just discovered I was not getting any air out of my single MM lower (back) port (neck jets and all other air connections work fine). When I searched this forum for some help on my air issue, I saw this request for an update on my tubing experiment....I did write another post about my air issue, but if anyone reading this has any advice for me, it would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Randy

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Randy/r5ran,

I have scoured the internet for a solution to being ripped off over £200 for what is essentially 2 pieces of silicone tube, and you (and only you) have posted the solution which I am now about to implement. Top man!

Many thanks indeed - I gave you a virtual pat on the back :)

Cheers,

Keith Wheeler.

PS a 'life' tip to Hot Spring Official above (albeit a post 6 years ago): don't try to defend the indefensible (seen too many people try that and it always fails) :)

 

 

 

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Update: I implemented the solution just as Randy described and it works perfectly. I used 12.7mm ID / 16mm OD silicone tube purchased from The Malt Miller in the UK, 2 pieces 9 inches long (no other adjustments necessary) and saved myself hundreds!

Thanks again.

Keith01

 

 

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Keith,

Thanks for your update and compliments. Glad to hear my effort helped others. 

FYI - My replacement tubing is still working well after almost 2 years now....also a couple pics of my setup.

Randy 

 

Deck Early Pic.jpg

Deck with outdoor shower.jpg1757888761_DeckNight.thumb.jpg.47990adb91a7bf6335c8f5c3effaec16.jpg

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  • 3 months later...
  • 5 months later...

Following others advice here, I was able to replace the hose inside the vertebrae using this uxcell Silicone Tubing 1/2 inch(12mm) ID x 5/8 inch(16mm) OD 3.3ft 1m Flexible Silicon Rubber Tube Air Hose for Pump Transfer Clear from amazon.  

I opened up one of the vertebrae near the threaded connection.  It took a bit of prying and I noticed those snap-on fittings are going to fail if I keep having to change the inner hose.  Near the output hose end, I pushed the tube on, then used a zip tie.   Cut to about 9 inches, then push on the threaded end and used what seemed to be a press on collar.  Re-assembled everything and it seems to work!  For my four moto-massages, it saved me over $400.  They don't travel quite right, but not sure if that is the air hose or something else.  

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Wow. I wish I saw this earlier!  I just bought 4 jets for my 2009 Grandee. I guess they only last 10 years. Shame. $450 with tax and shipping. The tubing was stiff as was the manifolds that I also bought

that is an awful lot of money for a little tube

Watkins should make tube available. There is nothing wrong with the splines and of course a technician wants a simple repair and not a complex one 

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On 9/16/2013 at 4:58 PM, Hot Spring Official said:

Hi r5ran,

First and foremost, I'm glad we have been able to assist you during your ownership of the spa; thank you for your business! As it relates to your question, here's some background on this key feature for Hot Spring Spas:

When we first introduced the moto-massage feature, we did offer our techs the materials/training to be able to replace just the water hose (the tube inside the plastic spine) and followed their experiences and success rates of time. Replacing just the water hose required the jet assembly to be disassembled. What we found after a review of repeated warranty claims was that replacing just the water hose does not allow the moto-jet to function without the plastic around it separating or the hose repeatedly becoming dislodged as either the barbed nipple or jet side of the hose. Ultimately with the consumer's patience and experience in mind, we decided it was more efficient to replace the entire moto-jet assembly than to repeatedly replace or re-seat the hose for warranty situations. When you look at the hose, notice is not round, rather it is oblong in shape with flattened sides. Because of its unique design, it is expensive to purchase even in bulk as we do. Ironically, the majority of the cost in the moto-jet is the hose itself. Because the moto-massage jet is a patented feature, we do not have material specs or supplier information that can be released to the public; it is proprietary information.

If you've had to replace the jet more than once, I encourage you to review your water chemistry specifics. The hoses must be supple to allow smooth motion of the jet. Being supple means the hose material is more porous, and in turn more susceptible to water imbalances than the harder plastic jet heads and shell of your spa. Just as a common rubber band becomes brittle over time, the hoses can split or even elongate slightly. If this happens, the jet head can bump against or even lodge against the back of the faceplate.

I'm not able to recommend a type of hose or source where you as the individual spa owner can purchase the particular hosing we use during production. I would continue to recommend replacement of the entire spine assembly if the hose splits/breaks.

Call us anytime at 800-999-4688; thanks for your business.

Thanks,

Steve

---Hot Spring Spas---

FYI

patent 4523340

 

by Mr. Watkins himself! 1982

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  • 1 month later...

@gsu13 et al -- Turns out there's no need to pry the vertebrae apart after all! Just make a cheap custom tool for effortless tubing removal.

I scrounged in my shop and found an old PVC coupler that goes from slip to threaded, and the threaded end screws easily onto the end of the Moto Massage unit. I glued it to a scrap of PVC pipe a couple feet long that makes a handle. With this tool, I can simply push the threaded bit and rubber tubing down inside the assembly a couple inches past the retaining grooves, turn it about 90 degrees and then it just slips right out of the whole assembly with no stress at all. The coupler was slightly too big in diameter, but I just ground it down all around the sides with a belt sander.

I'll keep this handy custom tool in my box full of spa parts, along with the 8 1/2 feet of silicone rubber tubing from Amazon.com that I still have left over after refurbishing my dual Moto Massage.  Even if I have to replace the tubing every year, no big deal. Saving a ton of money and keeping the whole vertebrae assembly out of the landfill!

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  • 4 months later...

Guys been using this solution for a while but my last replacement didn't work too well I think I am cutting the tubing too short - can someone give me the exact length - 9 inches seems too long?

My hottub is a Hotsprings Sovereign about 2013 vintage.

Hotsprings prices on everything are crazy - I have changed a lot of things on my hot tub using better quality items e.g. the pump I had to modify the mounts and output tubing but quiet and works well. I also modified the heater replacing the plastic end piece that was leaked on 2 heaters with an automobile silicon bend.

The Hotsprings originals seem to have design faults, the pump went rusty and started to leak but you have to buy the pump and end piece in one unit - my new one allows me to replace either if it fails.

When this hot tub gets too old I know a lot more about spares and repairs when I pick my next one :)

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 3/29/2019 at 3:45 AM, Keith01 said:

don't try to defend the indefensible

 

On 9/16/2013 at 3:58 PM, Hot Spring Official said:

we decided it was more efficient to replace the entire moto-jet assembly than to repeatedly replace or re-seat the hose for warranty situations.

Just to clear the air, you will notice that the hot springs guy used the word "warranty" in his statement. This means that, for watkins manufacturing, it costs more to pay the dealer for the labor it takes to replace just the tube, and return for the issues that may result, than to supply the whole assembly and be done with it.

Once out of warranty, with repairs being done by the owner, that math changes alot. But as they don't list the tubing as a separate part for their own techs, they won't have it available to purchase for consumers either.

You can certainly use a generic tubing to fix it for a time, then redo it as needed. But if you were paying me $100 to pull in your driveway and $100 per hour in labor you would not want to see me every couple of years to fix it again. I would refuse to warranty the repair and recommend new as well, even if I knew the right hose to use and didn't have to spend time (at $100 per hour) locating and acquiring a piece of hose that I can only use for motossage jet repair, as nothing else in a spa uses that thinwall hose. 

Just like watkins, I am in business to make money. And while I like to be a nice guy, I have to profit or go under. I am sure you don't work for free either. Any repair with a fair chance of failure is a risk for my bottom line, and therefore unacceptable. As a spa owner, you can risk however much of your time you choose. Watkins and I cannot. That is not "defending the indefensible", it is just business.

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