Sending a 110 lb amp to the manufacturer for cleaning/calibration. Good idea? How to ship?

Hi All,

So I reached out to Simaudio as my amp (Simaudio Moon Titan HT200 5 channel) is getting a bit long in the tooth. It performs truly flawlessly and is just beautiful and barely even gets warm after running all day long. I was just more curious than anything about lifespan, etc. Simaudio replied right away. They said all the units they'd manufactured since 2001 are still "active". However they did recommend sending it to them (if I could be without it for a few weeks) for "cleaning and calibration".  

Couple of things, I can't even go 1 day without this unit. But beyond that just the thought of packing this thing up and shipping literally makes me cringe. I'd certainly pay extra if there was some way to avoid UPS/FedEx or any other means like that. Any recommendations and have any of you ever done something like this?

Would appreciate any advice. Thanks all in advance...
I use to lug my gear all over in packing crates. Mac C20 GLASS face.
and 2 MC30 valve amps. Sea to shining Sea.. 4 year of traveling. I Never had a problem.

If you don't have the original packing, tell the manufacture to send you one THEY approve. Sounds like freight to me, need to get a small pallet and shrink it to the pallet inside the recommended shipping container.

LABLE IT.. Don't wonder why it gets treated like a sack of potatoes if you don't label it correctly..

HEAVY, FRAGILE, HANDLE WITH CARE, THIS SIDEUP, DO NOT TURN OVER, GLASS INSIDE (put a tube in a box and bubble wrap it put it inside the shipping container) Do not get wet.... You name it, you label it.

IF YOU  don't pack it TIGHT in the box it will get destroyed. NO MOVEMENT, double sides. No peanuts, no bubble wrap. tight in styrofoam.  IT CANNOT MOVE in it's packing.. PEPIOD.
Double boxed. The inside CANNOT meet the outside. EVER..

49 yeas of shipping NEVER a packing problem, MILLIONS of dollars of equipment to and from all over the UK. to anywhere in the Americas, North or South.


Or don't ship it.. and carry it in... :-) ROAD TRIP!!!!

Based upon my ongoing headaches with FedEx damaging packages (and then refusing to pay the insurance), I’d strongly recommend avoiding FedEx and shipping via a freight carrier with the amp strapped on it’s own pallet.

I received a 93 pound amp via FedEx, no issues, sent in my 70 pound trade in the same way.
In both cases, original packing and double boxed, clearly marked.  If you don't have the original packaging, the idea of getting advice from manufacturer a good one: maybe they can send you boxes.
I had a bad experience when someone sent me an amp via UPS -- face plate of amp looked like it had been hit by an axe. UPS came out took pictures, and disappeared.  I won't use them now, and have had good luck with FedEx, but jayrossi had bad luck with FedEx.
So, maybe on a pallet with freight company is safest.  I shipped a pair of speakers that totaled #300 with Bax Global that way.  Went smoothy, and I thought the $300 cost reasonable-- interfacing with such outfits can be a bit less user friendly than the usual suspects, though.
Hi Folks,

GREAT advice - thank you All for taking the time to respond!

@jayrossi13 even if Fed Ex (UPS is every bit as bad) offered to come pick it up and ship for free I wouldn't do it, LOL!

@oldhvymec great call. I will either go freight and wrap/strap/pack the pi$$ out of it, or road trip depending on where they are. I'm waiting to hear back from them on this. That would actually be my first choice! And thanks great call reaching out to Simaudio and asking for a shipping carton. I do have the original box and packing but at this point it's like a Rubik's Cube to put back together and I just don't want to play with that.

Christ the thought of disconnecting, packing, shipping and most of all being without this for weeks is giving me pause. I know it'd be worth it but damn! 
First I would go up to the attic or wherever you stored all your original packing. Look it over real good. Are all the cardboard corners in perfect condition? Styrofoam? All the plastic and stuff? Great.

Imagine all the work getting the amp back in that box packed up all nice and perfect like it was when you brought it home.

Then go back down to your listening room, home theater, whatever you call it where the amp is now. Bend over and pick it up. Just an inch or so. Just enough to aggravate your sciatica without totally blowing a disk. Grab a chair, kick back, give this a good long think.

It works fine. Not hardly even a speck of dust on the outside. Even less inside. Not one damn thing to "calibrate". $500 shipping round trip. The Percocet you need for your back after loading it up. The Xanax you need after filing the damage claim. The delays. Not being able to enjoy music or movies for a solid month. Having to deal with emails and phone calls, all the reasons and excuses why it is not done when it was supposed to be, why even the manufacturer can’t find the part, how FedEx managed to lose it. Where you are gonna find another one now?

Give yourself a good ten, fifteen minutes to ponder all this. Pour yourself a nice tall adult beverage. Sit down at the keyboard. Write Millercarbon a really nice heartfelt Thank You for talking you out of this boondoggle of a a bad idea.
For once, I agree with MC. Who would have thought?   Take whatever money you were going to waste sending it back to Sim Audio and either save it, donate it or buy more new music.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  
If the amp is performing well, then what's the problem?  Is this some sort of preventative maintenance?  That's not inherently a bad idea, but if there's no compelling reason to send it in, then why do it?
HILARIOUS!!!! Thanks MC, great way to talk me out of doing this, LOL! Believe me I was trying not to even let this get into my head because as I stated above my back hurts just thinking about it. I remember carrying this in literally 1 step at a time and needing a rest - and I'm in pretty damn good shape but this is the beast man!

This all just started out because I was wondering what the typical lifespan of a unit like this was (I just got it 1 year ago used) and I run it every day. I just wondered if having it "tuned up" would help extend its lifespan. And I waited almost 20 years to get my hands on this thing (could not afford it new but always wanted this unit) so I figure I want to make it last man...

If it ain't broke don't fix it...true words to live by thanks for putting that into perspective @stereo5 

I did just find out that they are within driving distance of where I live  actually (4 hrs and some change),does this change things? LOL!
Call the maker.

McIntosh sells you a proper box, sends it to you, you pack and send. Worth the mnoney
it will take you and a friend about 15 minutes to unhook it, pack it up, and put it in the you plan on keeping it long ? do you trust Sim ? do you like driving? 
MC crack me up.

The 4 hour thing is good.. Day Trip..

I been putting of a trip that maybe 1.5 hours and 35 lbs.. LOL What’s that say about me.. AND it is broke..

C2500.. 6 month wait too boot then they look, Mcintosh is WAY behind on parts supply too.. 1 year on some amp builds... I may have to change brands.. But I like tone control.. Maybe a newer one..
FedEx LTL or something of the sort. Box it and strap it to a pallet. 
If you’re in AZ I may be able to help.
Sim may be able to sell you the original packing materials if you can’t find them. Some companies keep these in stock forever. I think Pass does. Is there a dealer near you that can handle it. I try to let someone else do it. If Sim recommended it... I would do it. They will probably check everything and replace if necessary. Original packaging is typically very safe as containers.
At that weight, you will want at least partially wood crates/boxes. The originals for my cj Premier 8a monoblocks (114# each) had a wooden bottom. Also, many shippers will only insure if they packed it. You might want to find the shipper first. Or driving is good.
The first response is exactly the method I would use except I would use a rubber foam. The minimum thickness completely surrounding the product is 1" or 25 mm. I have the same experiences and I do world wide shipping for about the same period. 
Millercarbon is spot on. You are just inviting a host of gremlins to come in and mess with you. 
Only you can decide if it’s worth it to you.   I have no experience with service from that specific company so can’t comment there. Maybe others can.   If they have a good track record servicing their older gear that would be a plus. 
Send an email to Simaudio asking them how and who they use to ship to their US dealers.

They are wonderful folks that build some kick ass gear. I am a owner and huge fan.
Feel your pain kingbr. A 110lb amp? If it's working fine, I'd be more than happy to do nothing but glow in the joy in knowing I'd bought a fine component that the company tells me is still supported. As I age, small components just seem so much more appealing!  I've wrestled with some humungous gear in my time but I'll never buy a component I can't lift and pack easily on my own ever again.
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I concur with MC, but would add one comment.  When you feel your amp needs refreshed, many skilled technicians exist who can work on it.   Better to have a short road trip to someone you can talk to who will commit to a timeframe ahead of time, than risk the issue of shipment. That way all shipping problems are avoided and you have control over your amplifier.
I had a tech at Mark Levinson tell me same thing basically about my 532H amp that after about 10 years caps should be checked or replaced. Then my dealer said he never heard that. Levinson said they dry out over time, I think that’s how they put it. 
For shipping a heavy amp, I'd look to see if I could find a properly sized  Pelican or SKB hard case with handles and "luggage wheels" and no foam. Encase your amp with an inch or more of rigid foam board, fit it nice and tight. Hard polypropylene case, tight fit. 

Making your package easier to handle with sturdy handles and wheels go a long way toward getting your amp to it's destination safely.  I've shipped 90-100 lb amps any number of times in country and Canada & have never had an issue
I use a "white glove" service that's picked up and delivered expensive/delicate/irreplaceable gear (mostly musical instruments and art) all over the country with nary a second's worry or a minute's lost sleep.  I wouldn't do it any other way.  PM me for particulars and contact information.
Yep, + 1 MC on this one. And if you don't have the original crate and packing material it might be a good idea to get a reasonable facsimile from the OEM just to have it on hand.
As others have said, if it ain’t broke... the cost and brain damage to ship an amp of that size for “cleaning” just isn’t worth it IMO. And, to the above, a “white glove” service will probably cost nearly what the amp is worth. One thing to consider is a local Sim dealer, if you have one, and see who they have/recommend for repairs and service.
Road trip...make a weekend 'overnight speed tour' out of it.

Contact them, and make an appointment, just like you'd for your GP.

Better yet....avoid separation anxiety and leave well enough Alone. ;)
Sim audio is in Quebec but they do have an outlet in Buffalo I believe but then they'll still truck it over to Quebec anyways.
You can get original packaging from SIM it's a double box and it should be okay to ship that way.
compressed air , take outside of course , then go back inside rub one out then hook back-up . problem solved 
Think of those circuit boards, connectors, etc all vibrating for hundreds of miles.  Then those potholes.  Electronics just love potholes. 

I think the potential for damage far outweighs any benefit that could exist.

If someone was bent on checking bias and cleaning--do it yourself!  With some basic equipment it is not difficult.
WOW! First I want to thank all of you for taking the time to offer great advice on both ends of the spectrum. Great arguments both for and against, what to do????

I feel like getting total peace (Piece for all us Maidenheads :) of mind of having the high end pros at Sim do their thing and get the green light and gain the confidence knowing she's got a clean bill of health...

However I keep coming back to "if it ain't broke", and the disconnecting, lifting (and I have decided if I do have this done I am doing the road trip thing, as yes @jl35 I completely trust Sim, I would love to keep forever, and I do enjoy driving), going without really just so does not at all appeal to me...And thank you @philiptamarkin for the White Glove info offer. And thanks @gochurchgo for the offer to assist but I'm on the other side of the country in NH...

I will follow up when I make the decision (still waiting to hear back from Sim on the address and if I can drop it off in person)...

Regardless you all have provided great info and some good laughs and I can't thank you All enough for taking the time to help. I feel like this thread represents the best of what this site is all about, at least for me anyway! Good stuff! You guys are awesome man!
Lots of great advice so far; but, here's some first hand experience to consider...

Many years ago my house took a direct hit by lightning and it fried many things, including my Sim Audio amp. I took it to a local Sim Audio dealer who then sent it back to them (in the original box). When it came back it sounded significantly better than before the lightning strike; so, make of that what you will.
Assuming that you can't deliver it yourself (or even better, get someone locally), you really need to get a manufacturer-approved packing box/container, because (as someone who has had an amp trashed twice by UPS), you need to pack it EXTREMELY well, pay for the insurance and take pictures of your unit and your packing process all along the way, because the shipping companies will not reimburse you if you use an unapproved shipping container.  I sent a McIntosh solid state amp across the country - it weighed 104 pounds total (the box weighed about 30 pounds all by itself) and it was in an official McIntosh box and it still got damaged - account for the box being dropped from three feet up on the side/corner without damaging the unit.  Don't mess with bubble wrap - it offers little protection for something this heavy.  Use thick foam and fill any spaces in the container so if it breaks loose inside the box(es) it can't roll around.  It can be done, but don't assume that anyone is going to be using kid gloves on your unit.
No shipping here.

   If possible, talk to them at t he factory, or the official USA service center , ask how long for the work to be done. 
  If not too long what is the best time to have the amp there for service/upgrades, etc etc. make a plan, and drive them there, get a vacation out of it if possible with the family.   Pick up after a week, or 2 weeks, if you have the time from work. 
   We know it’s not far, we drove my amp to Rockford, about 4 hours from us, stayed 4 days in a hotel, visited some things to see, wife did some shopping, etc. 
called us, drove 20 min, picked up, drove home that evening.      Amp safe and sound. 
  What gets us (me) nervous is the drive to the west coast if and when one of my monoblocs starts to act up, the drive to California to have both of them upgraded is not on my idea of fun drive, but we can visit my cousins on the way home, and will be a good story. 
    Will not ship anything except my preamp (lifetime warranty)

  had 2 receivers, 2 CD players, and 4 pairs of speakers arrive damaged, was really upset at the speakers, but we’ve learned our lesson, and will take a road trip if and when needed. 
  Are we a bit anal about this, could they be totally safe to and from shipping,..? Sure!
  Not taking the chance with my monoblocks in main system. 

    The Odyssey monoblocs are not too bad, only a 3+ hour drive to Indianapolis to the factory. 
    The price, and time it has taken me to save for what I have now will not be compromised. Will not take the chance of shipping damage, as try getting anything from fedex, ups, usps, 3rd party shipper, better off squeezing coal and waiting For a diamond to form. 
@kingbr:   I have no advice for you — wouldn’t know what is best — but that amp is the true definition of “beast”!   Good luck with whatever you decide.  If you choose to get it “refreshed”, I bet it will sound good!

You have plenty of good advice so it really just circles back to your decision.  
Are you going to keep this amp forever?  If yes, then I would want to know how long will Simaudio keep this model "active".
You said you have waited 20 years to purchase it, so its possible that its 20 years old (produced in 2001) which puts it right on the edge of being "active".  If that's the case then I would take the road trip. 

Thank you again...Yes, if I do decide (and am leaning in that direction for all the good reasons many of you have offered such as an enjoyable road trip, want this amp to last as long as possible, the thought that its sound could actually improve) it will most definitely be well packed but I will be its chauffer. If Sim allows and they confirm the address I have is the same then that'll tip the scales and I'll do it. 4 hrs and some change drive and I can keep my eye on its travels does make the lifting and disconnecting and separation a bit easier to handle. Not sure when, I guess whenever they suggest would be the best time so as to minimize my separation from it. 

@bob540 thank you for the kind words and support. Appreciate it...Very cool man:)

@mitchagain, I have everything plugged into a Furman Elite 20PFI which is plugged into a dedicated 20 amp circuit which is under the protection of a Leviton whole house surge protector. Gotta believe I'm safe as kittens for the most part:). But thanks for sharing your experience and that is also what is driving me a bit as well, the thought that this unit could actually be improved...
Only a 4 hour drive?

Aaahhhhh, that’s nothing.
We would leave early morn, catch breakfast, drop off the amp,
Lunch on the way home. Wait a week or what it takes, drive back and pick her up. That’s what I would do these days.
Grab a basket w food, stop along the way for lunch on way home, in a field, or park somewhere and have a nice lunch with the wife and kids, or just yourself. Yup, 4 hours away, don’t change shipping. Tell them to upgrade , replace any parts, or most aging parts, caps, transistors, relays, or whatever is needed.
a nice amp like that deserves a good overhaul, plus there should be an additional warranty after upgrade. I think,ost do a 1 year, but talk with them, and maybe you can extend that.........

hope it all works out.
enjoy the road trip. BTW, just took a look at your prized amp, wow,! What a amazing looking amp, the specs are wicked good!
  Something like that would never be shipped by us, too nice to ship such a beautiful and heavy amp.

  Congrats, she is a beauty!
2 road trips? A savings of what, $1200 shipping, for a total of both ways?
Peace of mind, a chance to tour the Simaudio shop? Can’t argue with that.
Man, talk about DIY? This puts a whole new/another spin on the term.
A chance for an extension of warranty and other goodies? Ask them to through
in a brand new updated shipping crate for shiggles and gits for being such a down customer of course! 
Only 4 hrs each way. Nothing to save and update his beloved amplifier. !!

  Not looking forward to my trip to California at all!
hoping it’s many years from now, even with great chance of a successful ship trip, will be nice to get away with the family for a while. 
 Yeah, 4 hours is very much worth it!
leave early ,like 4 am. Will be ahead of all traffic ! Have breakfast as mentioned, until they pen, drop her off, ask questions, ask for a tour of your absolute favorite brand and amplifier etc etc. 

  keep us posted .....
.....will be nice to hear such a nice success story. 
Road trip seems like an easy decision for an end game component. 

I've travelled further to avoid shipping for several purchases, mostly larger speakers(90# each in the first instance and 110# each in another) since they are the most prone to damage from shipping.  

Good Luck!