5 GPM/3k portable cart build?

Greetings, I am interested in building a portable cart-based washer build with a target of at least 5G/3k with small on-board buffer tank. New here and doing a lot of reading and researching but haven’t really found this topic covered, so starting one.

In my research though, I DID discover these rolling cart Jetter units, and this is the kind of thing I’m conceptualizing, as a pressure washer build, not specifically for pipe jetting like these.

(Brute Portable-Cart Jetter - Jetter NorthWest)

The Primary circumstance influencing this plan is that I lack an adequate vehicle with the payload and towing capacity for a larger build out. I’ll link my intro thread here but to summarize, I come from the freelance film industry and I do have a small Transit Connect van, but it has a payload/towing limit of 1600 lbs, and while I can likely invest $6k to get a decent equipment setup, I don’t have the wiggle room for a new vehicle, whether a truck/van/trailer. I use this van to haul my film workstation cart as well, and for now I’m building this business as a side hustle to transition out of the film biz, but need to still do the film for the foreseeable future, so I need something that’s NOT a permanent or otherwise difficult to remove system that I can haul in the back of this small van.

I actually fabricate my own aluminum carts like the one I’m rolling up the ramp into my van here, and would likely try to do something the same way with a washer build. Ideally I’d love to build something like the pictured Brute Jetter cart, but if possible with 2 hose reels, one for pressure, one for feed, and like the jetter, with a ‘small’ on-board buffer tank. Weight will always be a concern, but the cart I’m loading up here is just over 200 lbs, and my sector of the film biz operates on location routinely where we are pushing around carts that weigh up to several hundred pounds loaded with camera equipment. (there are electric wheel assist options I’d consider as well if necessary - we use them in the film biz too)

I bought Heath Felps’ book and have been looking into the resources there, and am leaning toward a custom build with a Honda GCX390 and a gear-driven pump, referencing his ‘6.5GPM budget build’ list, substituting the Honda for the Predator, but utilizing the same gear driven Allison pump/gearbox from Envirospec as the heart of the system.

I was also looking at cannibalizing something like this model from BE, but I’d prefer gear drive over belt for reduced complexity and smaller footprint. Model B3013HABC, 5GPM/3k PSI. I know I could start with a variety of 4G/4k machines but I figure if I’m going to go into this, might try for slightly more flow and less pressure if I can swing it.

I’ve inquired with them on the unit weight since I haven’t been able to find that info readily available. They come with a small 12 Gallon buffer tank, and my build I’d like to do something similar in the 12-20 gallon range, since weight will always be a concern. The Brutes come with 300’ of pressure hose, I’d likely carry 100’ on a mounted reel and maybe as little as 50-75’ of supply hose on another cart-mounted reel, and add to these as needed per situation. I’d eliminate the external fuel tank (the Brute has a 5Gal tank to feed the larger engine) and use the GX390’s built-in tank. I’d likely source a LiFePo battery pack to reduce that weight as well, for engine starting and any electric wheel assistance.

Anyone build and operate something similar? Or experience with the Brute Jetters or something similar to them? I swear I’m not crazy, just trying to get the most effective (time saving) build I can get with my current circumstances. Thanks in advance for reading.

You won’t build a cart with 4-5gpm machine, tank, reel, and hose that you will physically be able to push up a ramp, I can promise you that. Trust me, I load and unload a 4 gpm on an aluminum cart onto a carrier with a very low ramp and it’s not that easy. Add everything you’re talking about, and I wouldn’t want to try it.

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Thanks for your feedback. This is why I’m curious as to the weight of those Brute Jetters. They obviously build and sell them, and by all accounts they should weigh significantly more than what I’m planning, just from the components alone, not to mention the steel frame.

You have any photos of your 4GPM rig you mentioned? What’s the working weight of that thing if you know?

I don’t have a picture right now, but the machine alone is about 150 lbs. Add ~12 lbs for gas, probably 10-15 lbs for the reel and whatever the hose weights, it’s pushing 200 lbs.

I’m part time and I don’t have a dedicated truck or trailer to permanently mount a machine, tanks, and reels. So, I carry a 4 gpm so I don’t need a buffer tank and mounted the reel right to the cart. Works well for me, but loading/unloading and moving its around isn’t that easy. Maybe if you get a 4 wheel unit it won’t be terrible. I’d image though, with a larger machine, heavier cart and buffer tank, you might have a real hard time pulling that up a ramp.


Why not just use the 5gpm mentioned above on its own cart and make a portable cart for the other items, move two lighter carts rather than one big one. connect hoses and you are all set. Or buy a harbor freight trailer off marketplace and load it all in one place.

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I already load and unload a cart that is over 200 lbs, and have for years, it’s not ideal, but it’s more than doable for me at this point. I know my cart will be significantly more, but this is all part of the research at this point. Mine will be part time / between film gigs at the start as well.

I would wait until you could afford to do it correctly. Lot less headache

“Correctly” defined how? I’d have to purchase a correct vehicle first, then all the correct gear. I’m already making some side hustle money with homeowner-level gear that is supremely incorrect.

I agree headaches will exist with my setup, it’s not ideal. But it addresses several issues with my circumstances that would permit some scaling growth.

Why not just use the 5gpm mentioned above on its own cart and make a portable cart for the other items, move two lighter carts rather than one big one.<

I’ve also thought of this. The Brute Jetter offers ‘portable’ tanks as an auxiliary buffer tank that’s literally a rolling tool caddy they’ve plumbed for use as a water tank.

I may entertain the trailer once I look into this further, but that then necessitates much more hose length as it would have to stay attached to my vehicle, couldn’t wheeled up closer to the work, and all the other necessities, the ‘dead weight’ of the trailer, etc…

Thanks for your feedback.

FWIW, I heard back from Brute Jetters, and their 4009 cart weighs 500 lbs dry.

That’s a 9GPM/4k unit with a 750cc Kohler and a Gear driven UDOR pump. The smaller Honda Motor I’m planning will save me 40 lbs alone over the larger Kohler. The Brute has a fairly large electric hose reel with 300 feet of pressrre hose mounted too. Additionally I’ll run a smaller battery and not use an aux fuel tank. I could go without a mounted supply hose if I had to, but also building this all on a custom aluminum cart gives me hope I could get probably get the fueled weight down to around 400 lbs or less on a custom cart.

12-20 gallons of water in a tank explodes that, but I could hopefully potentially empty that pretty quickly with a 5GPM machine. 20 gallons would take 4 mins theoretically to empty through the gun, or I could just dump it.

I’ve got a rolling cart, 2 actually. ikne s a landa equipped with 25hp kohler with dual 5 gallon tanks. it’s so easy to roll. where are you located @CamReady?
you could add a tank anywhere on it, even a small tank feed from homeowners line should be adequate if good pressure. like 20g.

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You would be better off with just a 4 gal and omit the buffer tanks and reels. If you bring the machine off the truck youll need considerably less of each hose. Youll be blown away at the difference between what youre using now and the 4 gal. In the future you can upgrade your setup. I used a 4 gal for 7 years until this January. I miss the simplicity of operating out of the bed of my truck sometimes but have to make progress. I think that book is messing witth your head. Keep it simple

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With the exception of the info copied and pasted from this site, that book well be the demise of many new guys in my opinion.

…where are you located

South ATL metro.

Do you have any photos you could share of your carts?

Thanks for your thoughts. That book isn’t my only source of info and research however, but I will say it was what informed me of this forum. In addition to this forum and some FB groups, and of course YouTube. There’s a lot of info, and it’s worth is highly variable - I’m not taking anything as gospel straight out of the gate.

I realize the hose length would be less with a portable machine, and if I don’t go through with this build a cart idea, or a small trailer, I will likely go with the BE machine I linked, sold as rated at 5G/3k, and if I have any issues with water feed without a buffer tank will reduce throttle slightly. And while the buffer tank on a cart build adds complexity, carrying the reels and hoses on board if doable is a double-edge sword of added complexity with the benefits of less hand-wrapping and trips back and forth to my van for individual items.

In the end I may abandon the idea, but this thread and all the research I’m doing on the subject will only better inform the decisions.

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looks lime this, but not hotwater. has fuel tanks in the bottom, platform on top as a beltdrive. I have an extra cart that you could modify.

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Here’s a couple of ideas. One, are you sure that your towing capacity is limited to 1600 lbs or is that your max payload capacity? You might be able to haul a small trailer. Tbh I absolutely despised a trailer for where I live but your mileage may vary.

Here’s another idea.

Budget of 6000$

Buy a new 4gpm unit or possibly used 5gpm
Mosmatic swivel
4315 suttner
M5 twist
Surface cleaner

Then buy a banged up truck that you can run for the summer. I ran a 2004 f150 all last year and my setup while a bit janky, worked great.

In a perfect world if money wasnt an option, would you be building a removable unit on a big cart that’s going to be somewhat of a bear to be pushing around, or would you be setting this up to be mounted and much more convenient?

From the very beginning be building towards your ultimate end game. It will save you a lot of headache.

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I don’t like the idea of a trailer for maneuverability and parking, despite all it’s other advantages. From what I’ve read, towing isn’t even recommended with this 1st gen of American Transit Connect Vans, and the payload capaicty is listed at 1600 lbs. But I have towed a motorcycle without issue, which is about 800 lbs combined with the minimalist trailer. So, there’s that…

This thread has pointed me to reconsider a small trailer build, I will admit. I was looking at some small skid builds and I could probably accomplish something along those lines of what I’m after, maybe even adding softwash capability, with a build footprint of a 40x48 pallet, and still be under my vehicle weight limit, even with a full water buffer tank. (35-gallon target?)

At this point I’m researching the build cost for each and then will examine the pros and cons, and make a judgement call based on what makes the most sense for my targeted market.

I had nothing permanently mounted in my first setup for my truck. I used an aluminum ramp and carted the thing up and off my truck bed. I didn’t carry it around a house while working though. I made sure to have 150ft of hose on the reel. It can be done! It was just a pita because I would take it all out at the end of the night.

Keep researching and asking questions.
This forum is a great resource.

For what it’s worth, I hate trailers for the reason you’ve said but they do have some perks.

3000$ for a truck and 3000$ for equipment can get you set up to be able to quickly upgrade if you are successful.


Interesting idea you’ve got here.

If you were able to make the cart semi-stationary, that is, make it so that it stays inside the van while working with it, and only slide it out at home/the shop when you need to use the van for your other work, I could see that being not too horrible a solution. You could use an electric winch to pull the cart up into the van. Lock the wheels in place, and go to work. Open the side and back doors for ventilation. A lot of people run out of enclosed vans.

Alternately, I’m finding ~2k lbs as the towing capacity for your van. You could easily build a 4x8 or even 4x6 single axle trailer under 1500 lbs. I towed one with a scion xb when I first started. It was less than ideal, but it worked. I used one of those super lightweight harbor freight trailers. The whole thing with equipment and a full buffer probably weighed 800 lbs or less. I could bounce the back end of the trailer and slide it around if I got myself in a tight driveway with no space to turn around :joy:

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