Getting floored - Pads fall off

Getting floored - Pads fall off

Universal red pad clip holding on a pad to pad driver

Pads fall off. They just do in certain situations. It’s essentially a “wardrobe malfunction” for floor machines. While not embarrassing for the workhorse, it is frustrating for the operator. And it leaves the intimate undersides of the brush deck exposed that will then face further, more expensive damage.
Why does this happen? And how can it be prevented?

Why it happens.

universal pad clip, Pad clip install, Floor pad replacement, Floor brush replacement
Pad clips break. This can be due to normal wear and tear or can be a result of using the attached pads for too long.
When the pad gets too thin the pad clip begins to rub on floor. Since the pad clip is for a specific thickness of pad for a secure fit, it stands to reason that as the pad wears thin, the clip begins to take some harsh treatment against the floor surface and begin scratching your floor.  This can cause the clip to pop loose and then the pad falls off and the operator becoming frustrated.
Clips can crack and break from time to time due to uneven or rough floors. Over the course of time the clip can lose its tight fit and stop holding the pad on.

Made to squeeze into place and hold, once the initial fit is compromised (the compression and expansion is diminished, or the squeeze capacity is gone and doesn’t bounce back), the clip works loose as cleaning takes place.
These issues ensure that your pad will not stay put. Result? Frustrated operator and possibly some messed up floors.  This is an example of what happens when pads are not inspected and cleaned before each use.  A worn down pad has caused damage to the clip and and the pad driver will make contact with your floor.  You don't want this neglected filthy thing on your floor!

Damaged and dirty pad driver for floor scrubber.   Floor pad worn
Overused pads cause a chain reaction.
The life of a floor pad depends greatly on its rate of use (daily or weekly), proper use (i.e. not using the wrong pad for stripping floors), and how often the operator flips or cleans the pad.

Overused floor pad, Replace floor pad, Worn floor pad

With use, pads eventually lose effectiveness and wear down. When worn thin, this begins to affect the clip holding the pad to the pad holder as well as the pad holder itself.

Time to replace floor pad, Floor pad replacement, worn floor pad

A pad not being changed and run too long beyond its usefulness allows the underlying velcro/or bristles on the holder to make contact with the floor, not only damaging the floor but the holder itself.

Tennant Nobles Pad Driver 399250 new with pad being put on it

In turn, pads can no longer be held securely as one of the main components of adhesion for the pad (velcro or bristles) is gone. This starts a chain reaction of loose and missing parts.

Worn clarke gimbal 833802, Replacement Gimbal for floor scrubber
Gimbals get worn out. Wouldn’t you? They take a beating.


The gimbal holds the pad driver or brush assembly to the brush deck. When the parts malfunction due to normal wear and tear or, in some cases, abuse (impact of the brush or pad against objects that it should not come in contact with).  The clip above shows the Tennant/Nobles style of clutch plates.  Worn wire springs can cause the pad driver to fall off.  This 16" pad driver goes onto a SS5 or a T5 32" Floor Scrubber.  

Clarke gimbal assembly, 56382665   838301 BRUSH HOLDER SPRING BRUSH CLUTCH, GIMBLE 833802

In some machines, such as Clarke, the brush holder spring inside the female gimbal holds the pad holder to the deck with the male gimbal that is attached to the brush motor.

Clarke gimbal replacement, Clarke gimbal spring worn

When the spring gets worn or the edges of the gimbal head itself get worn from use, the tight fit is compromised. As soon as a bump occurs, the entire assembly falls from the machine with which it should hang tight.

In a similar way, on Tennant and Nobles machines, the retainer clip wire or the gimbal head gets worn from use and the attachment is compromised allowing the brush assembly to separate.  The clip above show the Tennant 5700 5680 style retainer spring.  


On high speed burnishers the issue can be particularly dangerous as the machine works at high speeds as the very name suggests. The causes here also center around the pad clip and pad issues.

Buffer pad clip install, High speed burnisher pad holder, Buffer pad clip
Buffing pads are held to the pad holder assembly with velcro and a pad clip. The velcro on a burnisher has more hold than a scrubber brush deck as the burnisher needs more flex to properly buff floors. So it's important to keep the velcro teeth in good shape.

Making sure the pad is centered around the center loc attachment on the pad holder and then properly tightening the outer part of the center loc attachment will hold the pad well in place.

High speed burnisher pad clip, installing pad clip on high speed burnisher, high speed burnisher pad holder assembly
If the pad clip (i.e. center loc, retainer clip) is improperly installed or not tightened onto the holder; or becomes cracked, it will fail and result in loss of the pad. Or to be more descriptive, the pad flies off at high speed and can injure people, products, or property in its flight path. The clip itself can also become a projectile causing even further damage.

High speed burnisher pad, Pad holder on high speed burnisher
If pads become too worn (under 1/4” thickness, generally speaking), the clip makes constant, high speed, contact with the floor. The clip can no longer hold the pad as tight as it should be and this allows, you guessed it, the pad to fly off. And while the velcro of the pad holder does hold the pad in place, it cannot do the job alone so once the clip fails, the velcro fails.

High speed burnisher pad holder, Velcro on pad holder worn

An added bonus of this progression is the velcro teeth getting worn down and not being able to hold on to any pad. Both the velcro rubbing against the floor as well as clip gouging against it can leave floor damage.

High speed burnisher pad install, Proper buffer pad installation, Buffer pad clip replacement
Another issue in this same area is if the center of the pad has become stretched. This ensures that the pad clip isn’t holding the pad properly and will once again affect the clip’s ability to hang on to the pad. Once the pad is slung off the pad holder assembly, it is important to inspect thoroughly the reason for the failure.

How can it be prevented?

The short answer is proper maintenance. Replace pads and brushes whenever wear begins to show. This ensures they last longer and so will the rest of brush deck parts.
Routinely check pad clips and gimbals. This will go a long way to not leaving you stranded with a disabled machine.
For replacement pad clips, gimbals, pads or brushes, visit our store for great prices. If you don’t know exactly what you need, give us a call and we can help.





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