I have rarely heard so many negative report's on the Aquaclear HOB filter's (ever), and I have used nearly all of the brand's existing.
I just replaced an Aquaclear 110 on 55 gal with canister that had been running flawlessly for two year's, and have an Aquaclear 70 on 29 gal tank that also is approx two year's old with nary a problem one.(many other's run these filter's without issues much longer).
I suspect those who report problem's with the Aquclear's may have not ever cleaned impeller assembly or cleaned it infrequently.Hell,some folk's are unaware that the impeller assembly can be removed, and should be cleaned once a month.IMHO
I did have noise issues, but this was resolved by leaving the plastic top off,and ensuring the plastic tab at the bottom back of the filter (rest's against the back glass), was situated so that the filter set level as opposed to cocked toward's rear or too far forward.(impeller noise if not seated level in well, also faster failure of motor).
Sand will @%$! up any motor,impeller assembly, so proper care need's to be taken when placing intakes too near the substrate or performing maint (turn off the filter).