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  1. #1
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    Default Intake Valve Flow Tests II - TFT vs Akron vs Elkhart

    Last week my company went out to our drafting pit to flow test various intake arrangements for comparison. This is a continuation of some of my previous flow tests performed here.

    The different intake arrangements were:
    1. No intake valve (this gives an estimate of best case expectations for these test conditions)
    2. TFT Jumbo Ball Intake, model AX8NX-NX, with 6" threads on both sides
    3. Akron Black Max Piston Intake, Style 7980, with 6" threads on both sides
    4. Elkhart Piston Intake Valve, model 9786, with 4" Storz connector, adapted back to 6”
    5. No intake valve with 6” steamer reduced to 4˝”, with 10’ of 4˝” suction hose & strainer

    The test side was at about 800' elevation, and the outside temp was in the high 70's, and I don't recall any of the other weather conditions. The water in the pit was quite cold.

    We started by filling the drafting pit to allow a lift of 5 to 6 feet. The lift was minimized to reduce the effects it would have flow. We also used 10' sections of hose to reduce the effects of friction loss.

    We then ran 3 discharge lines the the pitot tip, and used a 2˝" tip size for each flow test. The truck used had a Detroit Diesel Series 60 (430 HP I think) driving a Hale Q-Max pump, rated at 1,000 GPM with a 2.13 drive ratio. model QMAX-100-21X

    In each scenario, a prime was established, and each discharge line was opened fully. Then throttle was increased until cavitation was encountered, then throttle was reduced just enough to relieve cavitation. Then the pitot reading and vacuum reading were recorded, and the scenario was ended.

    The results:
    1. No intake valve – 1,982 GPM with 14" Hg restriction.
    2. TFT Jumbo Ball Intake – 1,818 GPM with 18” Hg restriction.
    3. Akron Piston Intake with 6" threads – 1,430 GPM with 22” Hg restriction (that the same model valve equipped with a 4" Storz flowed about 500 GPM less, like the next valve)
    4. Elkhart Piston Intake Valve with 4" Storz – 871 GPM with 22” Hg restriction
    5. No intake valve with 4˝” suction hose – 1,630 GPM with 20” Hg restriction

    This is not an apples to apples comparison on my previous tests. That truck had a Hale QSMG that cavitated at 1,653. This Q-Max flowed 330 GPM more with no valve in place.

    Also, a few months back we performed some pressure tests, where the Elkhart & Akron PIV's were placed on the ground and basically converted to ground monitors. A pitot gauge was used to test the flow at various pressures that was controlled by a governor equipped pumper. The two brands were within 3% of each other.

    I called our local Elkhart dealer and requested an Elkhart PIV with 6" threads to test but one was not provided. The request was made more than 2 months prior to the tests being performed.

    The lesson learned here is if your dept uses 4" Storz, you should be ordering your valves with 6" threads as this will allow it to draft about 500 GPM more than bottlenecking your intake through a 4" port. An adapter could be used for hydrant operations, like a Kochek S54R4T6 that offers full time swivel capability.

    I know a lot of you guys use 5" Storz, but my dept (or my county for that matter) doesn't use it and thus I don't have all the necessary adapters to perform such a comparison. Sorry.

    Except for the final flow test, the suction hose used for each scenario was a single 10' section of 6" lightweight PVC, with a Akron 340 style strainer. #5 used a single 10' section of 4˝” lightweight PVC suction hose, with a Akron 340 style strainer.

    One inconsistency is the relative vacuum readings with each flow, despite the pump being on the verge of cavitation each time. Experience dictates that as flow increases, so does the level of vacuum on the pump intake, but these results were exactly the opposite. Here is my theory of why: It appears that the vacuum test ports are tapped into the intake manifold so that they are located closer to the steamer than the pump impeller’s eye. This meant that while cavitation was occurring at the impeller eye, the relative vacuum reading a few feet away was much lower. When we would switch to a more restrictive intake arrange, this resulted in a higher vacuum reading in the entire intake manifold up to the point of the restriction.

    The 3 valves side by side.


    The TFT.


    The Elkhart.


    The Akron.


    The test site and test pumper.
    Last edited by txgp17; 09-05-2009 at 09:01 PM.
    The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. --Norman Mattoon Thomas, 6 time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America


  2. #2
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    How often do you draft at an emergency? If it's seldom or in our case, RARE, I would just take the PIV off alltogether....You had almost a 200GPM gain in the best-case scenario.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  3. #3
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    Pumping from a draft was the only way to ensure a consistent intake pressure from test to test.

    Had I used a hydrant, the water pressure may have varied depending on the demands of other users close to where I was at, or supply efforts by the water dept, which would skew the results in an unpredictable manner.

    Plus, our training facility’s hydrants have flow rates that far exceed anything encountered in real life. One hydrant is so strong that it easily exceeds 2,000 GPM when using a single 4” supply line. These hydrants are terrible for training because they do all the work, all that’s required of the operator is make a connection and allow the truck to idle.

    Drafting is where it’s at as far as testing and training are concerned.

    Teach an operator to be proficient at drafting, and everything else should be child’s play for him.

    Also, when the fecal matter strikes the rotational air handler, drafting may be what saves the day.
    Last edited by txgp17; 05-31-2009 at 02:35 PM.
    The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. --Norman Mattoon Thomas, 6 time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by txgp17 View Post
    Pumping from a draft was the only way to ensure a consistent intake pressure from test to test. What exactly were you testing, I mean, what were you trying to determine? Someone on here (I dont know if it was you) was doing this very same test within the last few months as they wanted to determine which valve had the lowest friction loss and maximum flow while drafting....Then when they said "we rarely draft for an emergency" I suggested "then why pull through the valve at all? If drafting isn't an everyday occurrence, then just take it off...all it takes is 30 seconds and a dead-blow mallet.

    Had I used a hydrant, the water pressure may have varied depending on the demands of other users close to where I was at, or supply efforts by the water dept, which would skew the results in an unpredictable manner. agreed.

    Plus, our training facility’s hydrants have flow rates that far exceed anything encountered in real life. One hydrant is so strong that it easily exceeds 2,000 GPM when using a single 4” supply line. These hydrants are terrible for training because they do all the work, all that’s required of the operator is make a connection and allow the truck to idle. A large portion of our response area is like this. We can and have laid dual 5" lines for working industrial building fires from these hydrants. It's an un-written SOP that we practically have to put an engine on these hydrants just to gate them down.

    Drafting is where it’s at as far as testing and training are concerned. Agreed in certain situations. Your D/O's also need to know how to monitor their incoming and anticipate future needs of the incident, and be able to call to the hydrant piece (or wherever they are being supplied from) and ask for more, or to tell the engine company officer that "this is all you get boss."

    Teach an operator to be proficient at drafting, and everything else should be child’s play for him. You would be surprised at how many guys I know that can draft proficiently, but scratch their heads when they are ordered to hook up to, and pressurize a Humat or Hydra-assist (or other kind of hydrant valve.) Around our parts, drafting at an incident us rare, but not unheard of.

    Also, when the fecal matter strikes the rotational air handler, drafting may be what saves the day.
    Agreed! Plenty of streams, lakes, rivers, ponds, swimming pools, and draft tanks to be used!!!

    I was just trying to figure out why you were running the numbers of drafting through the valves. Again if you draft every day, thats cool, I can see where taking it off would be a pain in the ***.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  5. #5
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    Looks like an experiment to illustrate to other departments the differences in valves and their performance.

    Nice work.

  6. #6
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    Default Piton Intake

    All 60 of our engines have the Akron PIV on each steamer with a 5" storz. We have found the same 1500 GPM limitation. For drafting we remove the PIV. Not only does it increase flow but it eliminates 4 additional sources for possible air leaks (swivel, bleeder, piston valve, and relief valve). We have both 1500 and 2000 GPM pumps.

  7. #7
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    Default Draft 90% of the time

    We actually draft most of the time, only 5% of our district has hydrants.

    We have a 1250 gpm engine a piston intake - 6" threads to 5" storz. It cuts us down to around 850 gpm with the intake valve - but normally the engine begins the attack from tank and then the operator has to be able to switch over to draft without shutting down the flow of water.

    Our new pumper tanker has the waterous 6" master intake valves behind the pump panel - and dual suction pumps so we can prime the suction line in front of the valve. With this setup we are getting our full 1250 gpm.

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