1. #1
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    Default Pump Ball Valves

    We are having a rash of ball valve problems on our trucks. We just completed pump testing and had to replace almost all of the plastic ball valves. The sand and rust are chweing them up and they will not hold a vacuum. Anyone else having this problem? Are there alternatives to the plastic. We run loaded pumps, maybe we shouldn't do that? Our is our pump guy just creating business?

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    You could always change your plastic ball valves to stainless ball valves. They will hold up alot longer, but the seals themselves will still wear out. The next time you have major leaks, you'll be able to just replace the seals, and not rebuild the whole assembly.

    The kits are pricier, but in the long run, the labor is cut to about nothing with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAFDCAPT View Post
    We are having a rash of ball valve problems on our trucks. We just completed pump testing and had to replace almost all of the plastic ball valves. The sand and rust are chweing them up and they will not hold a vacuum. Anyone else having this problem? Are there alternatives to the plastic. We run loaded pumps, maybe we shouldn't do that? Our is our pump guy just creating business?
    Assuming you are running Akron valves, FireMech is right. Akron has stainless steel kits just for that. The plastic balls were notorious for just the problem you are describing. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, they haven't done anything about the seals. They will leak too, but it takes much longer before that happens. The one nice thing about the Akrons (and the new Elkharts), its very easy to replace the balls and the seals if you can get at the valves. It's something that can be done in the station if you care to. I'm told that Akron and the newer Elkhart parts are interchangeable.

    One other point you might want to check on: I believe that the Akron steel balls are only available for 2-1/2" and larger valves. If your problem is with your smaller valves, you may be out of luck.

    But, I have been told that Hale is coming out with a new line of their Torrent valves which supposedly will interchange with Akron and Elkhart. You might want to check on that and follow it up, because the Hale valves use stainless throughout.

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    We just tested a 2000 model truck that was tested last year. We had 8 plastic Arkon valves that was bad. Arkon does have the 2" ball valve kits in stainless. The price for stainless vs plastic was about 20 dollars a kit(includes seats and o-rings). The seat and o-ring kit is around 30 dollars. We put stainless kits in, should be cheaper in the long run.

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    Default Stainless is they way

    I have to agree with everyone on this point. I would say change all your plastic valves to stainless. Unfortuantly the seals will still ware out but it should take a significant amount of time longer. If you are having problems with sand and grit there isn't much you can do except upgrade to something that will take the ware better.

    My suggestion would be to order the kits you need now and then keep a couple of extras on hand. Replace the ones that need to be done right away and then only do them as they fail. That way it's not a big expense upfront and there is really no point in fixin it if it aint broke (yet) Obviously they are going to fail at some point by the sounds of your situation and then with the parts on hand a quick swap out and your back in buisness with a better valve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MColley View Post
    My suggestion would be to order the kits you need now and then keep a couple of extras on hand. Replace the ones that need to be done right away and then only do them as they fail. That way it's not a big expense upfront and there is really no point in fixin it if it aint broke (yet) Obviously they are going to fail at some point by the sounds of your situation and then with the parts on hand a quick swap out and your back in buisness with a better valve.
    I would take exception on one point. Depending on what is needed to be done to access the valves, it may be advantageous to do all. We have a Quality/Duplex with four crosslays. Getting in to where the valves for them are is a trick, but once you're there, getting at each one is not too bad. So if I have to do one, I do all four. So as to not keep the truck out of service for any long time (you can run it with the access panels off), I keep a spare valve in stock, rebuilt and ready to go. I install it, then do each of the others one at a time. The last one becomes my next spare.

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    As everyone else has noted, a plastic ball is not going to hold up as well as a metal one. Stainless is good, chrome plated bronze or a bronze alloy is best.

    If you're buying new valves you may also want to check out where the valve is manufactured. A number of the "all-stainless" valves on the market are manufactured in China, a country not known for it's quality in castings and forgings.

    Ask to look at one of the valves before you buy if you can, or look at some of them on another departments apparatus. Compare the quality of the materials and the thickness of the walls on the valve body. Above all, make sure you make an informed choice about anything you are putting on your apparatus.
    Last edited by Johngagemn; 11-04-2009 at 07:32 PM.
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    Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed above are mine, and mine alone, and are not intended to represent the views of any company I have ever worked for, past or present.

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