1. #1
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    Default What up with our primer?

    We have a 1986 GMC/FMC pumper that was, uh, retrofitted with a 1970 Waterous pump about 20 years ago.

    During a water shuttle drill a couple weeks ago, ol' Frankenstein refused to prime. The primer went GROOOOOOOOONKKKKKKKKKKKKK, as it is supposed to, but never started gurgling and never pulled prime.

    The guys are tearing the primer down tomorrow because they suspect the vanes may be stuck in the "in" position. If that's not it, what might be afoot?
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    We have a 1986 GMC/FMC pumper that was, uh, retrofitted with a 1970 Waterous pump about 20 years ago.

    During a water shuttle drill a couple weeks ago, ol' Frankenstein refused to prime. The primer went GROOOOOOOOONKKKKKKKKKKKKK, as it is supposed to, but never started gurgling and never pulled prime.

    The guys are tearing the primer down tomorrow because they suspect the vanes may be stuck in the "in" position. If that's not it, what might be afoot?
    Sounds like you could not get a seal. Did someone check the connections of the hard sleeves for the gaskets/tightness before blaming the primer? When you got back to the station, did anyone test the primer- I.E. put it in pump gear with all caps/fittings on and valves closed- pull a prime and watch the master gauge which should obviously fall into the negative (vacuum) indicators.....??? If so, and it reached vacuum, how much and for how long? If you have a good tight pump it should hold for quite a while. If you could not get a vacuum or it didnt hold long, yes it COULD be the primer, but not necessarily so.....It could be that there is another area of the pump where air is escaping/entering.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    and after you pull your "dry" prime -kill the engine , tell everyone to shut up and listen for leaks.
    Last edited by slackjawedyokel; 06-24-2013 at 09:15 PM.
    ?

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    and are you by chance using that biodegradable oil ? -I have heard some bad reports on it .
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    We are using vegetable oil, as I am told.

    The thing was marginal, and I mean VERY marginal, on holding vacuum during pump test last October. It was also unable to make its rated capacity of 1000gpm, so we downrated to 750 and it passed.

    We may try the "ssshhhhh" test Tuesday.

    Thanks, gang!
    I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.
    ― Hunter S. Thompson

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    Several concerns come to mind as I read your posts. Before the down-grade, did your engineers perform a VIGOROUS back flush of the pump? By this I mean: 1. Park on a fairly flat paved location and sweep the area before beginning the back-flush. 2. Remove ALL intake caps and screens including the steamer screens. Take a broom handle or straight pry bar and prop open the clapper valves of the intakes second stage inputs. You can find these by reaching in the open steamer ports and feeling for the clappers. 3. Connect a double female to each discharge in turn starting with a rear discharge and PUMP clean water backward through each discharge. Save the officers side forward discharge for last. 4. This is the ONLY time I recommend deliberately introducing water hammer into a system. Pump INTO the closest and straightest input on the officers side at 200+ psi with the discharge gate closed. Slam the gate open, and close slowly. Do this 4 or 5 times to be sure anything that might be lodged in either impeller is flushed backwards and out the steamer ports. When you are finished and your arms are dirty & wet and your shoes SQUISH when you walk, carefully check inside the intakes, pony suctions and all over the ground to look for any foreigh objects. (like old intake screens, pieces of rocks, coal, anything that should NOT have been in the pump) Then do a retest of your pump to the UL test requirements. The most difficult spec to hit will be the 200 psi 70% flow for a 2 stage or the 250 psi 50% point for a single stage. The reason I have describes this in detail, is because frequently the cause of wear ring damage is because an imbalance in the pump impeller shaft can cause heavy wear on the wear rings of the pump. Second Never pump muddy water with a fire pump if it can be avoided. Typical clearance between impeller hub and wear rings is .003 to .005" and sand and mud will cut brass like a water-jet cutter. Never use a fire pump to dewater a basement or other area.
    Your present problem with holding a prime could be the packing gland being worn or someone has opened the main drain under pressure. With a Watrous ALWAYS take all the pressure off the pump by opening an intake and put atmospheric pressure to the pump... Then pull the main drain. This is most likely a "Spool" type drain with two O-rings on the shaft. The O-ring can be blown off the shaft by pulling the drain when under pressure and rolling the O-ring off the shaft.

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    Forgot to mention... After having used your pump... Drain it. Button up everything tight and then operate your primer for 20 seconds. This will pull some primer oil into the primer, coating the vanes and inner housing, keeping things from sticking in the future. If you want to, after pulling a vacuum, close the primer and open the tank to pump to flood the pump, but do not pull the primer again to keep water from entering the primer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    We are using vegetable oil, as I am told.

    The thing was marginal, and I mean VERY marginal, on holding vacuum during pump test last October. It was also unable to make its rated capacity of 1000gpm, so we downrated to 750 and it passed.

    We may try the "ssshhhhh" test Tuesday.

    Thanks, gang!
    go back to 30 wt non detergent oil for starters, also when you back flush -make you a double female with a screen in it.Just because it is potable water doesn't mean it doesn't have crap in it. We took on a pvc "divot" back flushing our engine once.
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    A 40+ year old primer pump quit working, imagine that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    A 40+ year old primer pump quit working, imagine that...
    Hey, that is age discrimination!

    I think it's actually been either rebuilt or replaced at some point, but it's still not showroom new.
    I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    go back to 30 wt non detergent oil for starters, also when you back flush -make you a double female with a screen in it.Just because it is potable water doesn't mean it doesn't have crap in it. We took on a pvc "divot" back flushing our engine once.
    Waterous (and Hale, I think) used to sell their own branded vegetable oil. I don't think it worked out very well. I tried oil from the local supermarket for a time, and it didn't work well, either. Because we rarely draft, the stuff turned into goo.

    Before you go back to oil, you have to thoroughly flush out all of the vegetable oil, or you will also wind up with goo. I actually had to disassemble the primer and manually clean out the vanes.

    If your primer is from the '70s, it may even be a rotary gear primer. It might be time and cost effective just to replace it with a dry primer.

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