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  1. #1
    Forum Member HFRH28's Avatar
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    Question Tanker Filling from draft

    Last night I participated in my first multi-county tanker shuttle. We ran 3 tankers (1250,1250, and 1500 gallons). The fill site had a 1250 GPM pumper and the dump site had a 1250 GPM pumper also. I do not know much about what was going on with the pumpers due to being a tanker driver the entire time. The problem occurred at the fill site. The pumper was pumping from a 6" hard suction with a float dock, to 5" running to the roadway split into two 2.5" fill lines. Whenever both lines would be opened to fill two trucks simultaneously, the pump operator would run the pump up (I do not know how high) to try to keep up with the demand. The pumper was unable to keep up with the demand and began to cavitate the pump after so many RPMs. So they had to gate back the fill lines to fill two at once. My departments tankers, the two 1250s have direct tank fills and were filling in about a minute and a half. I do not believe that the 1500 tanker had a direct tank fill due to taking two and half minutes to fill. I do not know the history of either of the pumpers. The only trucks my deparment provided were the two 1250 tankers.

    Now for a solution. I am no pump or hydraulics expert, but from what I understand a float dock will not provide the rated capacity of the pump. Is that correct? I have always been told that to flow pump capacity it requires a barrel strainer. Even so, the pump still should not have cavitated. Correct? This has gotten me baffled and I cannot seem to get answers out of anybody. So throw some crust in here and help me out please. Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by HFRH28; 05-25-2005 at 08:54 PM.


  2. #2
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    Now this is a text book answer....literally but according to IFSTA manual you should not fill two tankers at the same time because it takes longer as apposed to having both lines go to one tanker (cuts time and more efficient) so that tanker can get on the road. Then the second tanker can be filled. This makes the water supply more consistant at the dump site pumper.
    As far as the strainer......I've heard the same thing about floats strainers and that when full capacity is desired you want a barrel strainer cause it recieves water into 360 degrees as opposed to float strainers are 180 degrees. But......I haven't had any first hand experience with float strainers so I cant say for certain.
    Scottsfire

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    The pumper was unable to keep up with the demand and began to cavitate the pump
    Not really as there is no "demand" when filling the tankers. The pump operator, however, was trying to "supply" more than his setup was allowing. Not a problem of the pumper, but a problem with the pumper operator.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Some other problems could have been to long of suction or too much lift. We have used two suctions at once to increase flow. Its not uncommon to get 2000 gpm from a 1250 pump when you can reduce friction on the suction side. Pumpers are rated by gpm at 150 psi, so they can flow much more at less pressure. Just some thoughts.

  5. #5
    Forum Member HFRH28's Avatar
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    I believe 20' of 6" hard suction was used in a single lay. Multiple witness and pump operators experienced it, hearing the sound the pump cavitating. I could hear him trying to up the RPM to provide pressure, I don't think he ever made 150 PSI. But the only difference I can see is that the direct tank fills provide little resistance. But mainly i think the problem was on the suction side, with the float dock. I am curious to hear some more information on that. There was little lift for the pump to overcome.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    For us city folk............whats a float dock ?
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    MembersZone Subscriber arhaney's Avatar
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    Here's my 2 cents.............Sounds like there could have been a suction side leak pulling air. With 2 2.5" fill lines you should be able to move about 1000 GPM, but hardly much more than that. And in most cases a low flow suction strainer or a floating dock strainer will not supply rated GPM. I've proved this before during pump testing.
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    Forum Member HFRH28's Avatar
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    Now I'm hearing that they had trouble getting a prime with the fill pumper. So it sounds like there had to be an air leak somewhere in the suction side. Or maybe it was just the KME coming out in it.

    Weruj1, I have a picture, as soon as i can get it resized small enough to post, i'll post it if somebody doesnt beat me to it.
    Last edited by HFRH28; 05-25-2005 at 11:12 PM.

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    MembersZone Subscriber arhaney's Avatar
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    Do I win a cookie for the correct reply?????

    Here's a pic, Josh.....
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    MembersZone Subscriber arhaney's Avatar
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    BTW, to get the full capabilty from your pump in a situation such as this, try using the barrel strainer tied to the handle of a "hop ball" or "bouncing ball"............This will serve 2 purposes. The first is to hold the strainer off of the bottom of the water body, and the second is to prevent the suction vortex from forming and causing air to be sucked into the inlet. An empty 5 gallon pail with lid can be used in a pinch.
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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    First I have to say that both my volunteer and career departments are both Hydrant departments- we rarely draft, and even then, it's usually for training or at Musters.

    Most of my drafting experience is through my volunteer organization. Several years ago, we (when I say "we" I am referring to myself and my father, the "Engineering Department") began playing with a floating strainer manufactured by Kochek, attached to the new "lightweight" hard suctions. The Kochek strainer is a barrel-type strainer attached to a pontoon-style float; which allows for complete 360 degree intake. For years we used the same as everyone else- the barrell strainer laid down on a 14' roof ladder. I can never remember a time when we didnt have to stop somewhere along the line and go in with hip-boots, and clear out the leaves and debris from the strainer. We also would have problems with the strainer not being able to utilize 360 degree intake. One afternoon we decided to test both devices- 1250GPM pumper, two 10' 6" lightweight hard sleeves with a 3 foot lift (Yes, a beautiful draft site...doesnt get any better) with a depth of 2 feet. Starting with the barrel/ladder method, not only did we suck mud, but we also had venturi-effect losses from the overhead not being adequate. Had to back down, and could only maintain 800 GPM or so.

    The barrel strainer, which hangs down from the float at an angle, worked beautifully! No venturi effect, no mud being sucked, was able to maintain 1250 plus! If I attached the picture right, it is the one in the back, on the left.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 06-06-2009 at 08:25 PM.
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    Forum Member HFRH28's Avatar
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    Thank you arhaney, what kind of cookie?


    So from what we've discussed I believe it's safe to conclude that it was either A: an air leak or B: wrong "strainer"


    All in favor? Any opposed?
    Last edited by HFRH28; 05-26-2005 at 01:49 PM.

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber arhaney's Avatar
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    Default Chocolate Chip

    Chocolate Chip please.........

    I would lean toward a suction leak on on the hose, the strainer should not have held it back too much.
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  14. #14
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    float dock = floating strainer ! why didnt you all say so ?
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
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    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
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    Was there an excessive amount of water comming from beneath the pump? One other thing to consider is the lantern ring and pump packing. If this has not been adjusted in a while or improperly maintained then a larger than allowable gap could have formed allowing the pump to suck air from the intake side of the pump. Obviously this would lessen your "dependable lift" and reduce the overall pump capacity. Remember the higher the lift the less the pump capacity.
    Dang.......I've been studying the IFSTA manual way to much for my test to have a life.......ha!

  16. #16
    Forum Member HFRH28's Avatar
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    I do not know anything about the pumper other than it's a KME with a Cummins and a 1250 GPM pump. I don't know what went on down there, as to leaks, and so on.

    Weruj, i've always been told there's a difference between a floating strainer and a float dock, but I don't see much difference myself.

    I got a phone call just a little bit ago. Chief of the other dept. says we moved 23,000 Gallons of water in the one hour period, which comes to roughly 383 GPM. Not too shabby for only 3 tankers.

  17. #17
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Default Hmmmmm.....Fascinating!

    I own and operate my own antique firetruck, a 1958 FWD pumper....Next muster I go to that I "drop hardsleeves" I think I will try out the foam can float thing!
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  18. #18
    Forum Member SpartanGuy's Avatar
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    The problem seems to be with the strainer, I'd imagine. MOST(I said most) floaters only take it in from one side of the strainer - That is, 180 degrees of suction. I know Kochek and some other manufacturers make different ones that allow full barrel intake, but for the most part, you need two lines to get from a floater what you get from a barrel. As always, there are pros/cons to each one. The barrel, while giving you more, may tend to clog up more easily and the opposite is true for a floater.

    Now, from what I'm seeing on here, I think the problem was operator error. He was apparently trying to do too much with his set-up. A higher rated pump and a better suction set-up, such as using two lines with floaters or a single barrel strainer properly held off the bottom.
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  19. #19
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    I do pump testing for our local depts and normaly use all barrel strainers . This one dept wanted to test a floater called ZICO FDS, and it flowed 1275 gpm . Its a yellow float from a company in Pa.

  20. #20
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    Originally posted by HFRH28
    it was either A: an air leak or B: wrong "strainer"
    Could have been both, sucking air in along the edges of your float. Also suspect the joint between the two lengths of suction, I have always had a hard time getting that tight enough by my self (takes 2 and a mallet to do it right).

    To check your pump packing, start circulating water from the tank and look under the pump after a few minutes. If you have a small wet spot and see an occational drop of water coming down from the pump it's probably OK. If there is a puddle and a steady drip or even a stream of water coming down you either have a plumbing leak (need to rule this out) or you packing is way too loose which will create problems while drafting.
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