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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber BVFD1983's Avatar
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    Default Valve lubrication argument

    Some of us are in an argument over what to put in the tank to circulate water and lubricate the ball valves.

    Some say Ivory Flakes (not made anymore.) They are suppose to leave a nice film and be hard to rinse off.

    Others say to just dump some dish soap in the tank. Opponents of this say that dish soap will not leave any lubrication behind.

    It is hard to get silicone spray all the way back to some of the valves, so that idea is out.

    I called Waterous today and got put on hold for ten minutes and hung up. I called back and got put on hold again, hung up after another ten minutes.

    What does everyone else use?


  2. #2
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    Daily exercise of the valves should be enough. Our morning check out routine includes making sure all the valves are easy to work. Our front suction air valve is kinda a pain (does not like to work when there is pressure on the valve.) Our two LDH discharges have screw valves that attract dirt and grime so they are checked, cleaned and lubricated during PM every six months. What I have found is using some dry silicon on the joints where the arms make a change of direction helps make the gates easier to operate. It may not be the gates that are tough to open but rather the control levers themselves are gunked up.

    Hope that helps a bit.

  3. #3
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    Wink lube

    If you are talking about lubricating the external portions of the valves we use HHS 2000 made by Worth. With a good flashlight and a spray nozzle attachment to the can we can usually get to every valve on our Waterous pump system. Those valves that have slow opening features usually have a grease zirk fiiting to grease. As far as an internal lubrication we apply Lubriplate when we rebuild the valve. The lube, any lube, will wear off rapidly especially under our hard water conditions. Actuating the valve regularly should be sufficient.

  4. #4
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    BVFD1983

    Sorry to hear of your problem with the phones at Waterous today. I am having someone at Waterous look into it as we keep computer records of hold times. Please feel free to call me on my cell phone @ 612 963-5160. As somebody else suggested we recommend exercising the valves in a wet pump. Many people have tried different fluids in the tank with some success. We do not have a recommendation for any additive fluid.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Default

    We keep Dawn in the tanks and the mechanic applies lubricant at PM service.
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  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    Default

    You're supposed to lubricate 'em?
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

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  7. #7
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    BVFD1983

    This is just my opinion, but I do not suggest exercising valves especially when "dry" (Not flowing water). We had similiar problems with our valves, and I had several engineers pulling valve handles everyday to "excercise" them. The problem came when we had to do pump testing and I found that by pulling those valves everyday with particles on the back side due to rust and hard water, we had to replace every ball valve on two engines due to the damage caused by the debris srcthing the surface of the valve. Again this is just my opinion and advise. As far as the valve handles go I suggest using a silicone lubricant, so not to attract dust and grim from forming, this can also make the valves seem hard to open. We also backflushed our engines on a monthly basis, and by doing this, it seemed to help. Avoid putting a strong detergent based soap in your tank, its been my experience that they just don't do the job that "Ivory Flakes" did.

    Hope this helps

  8. #8
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    Default

    Couple of questions:
    How old is the truck
    What brand valves
    What model valves

    If the truck is newer you should have Akron nylon ball valves which do not need any lubrication, and if memory serves, Akron recomends against using any lube. Daily excersize will not hurt nylon valves unless there is sand in them.

    Older valves (80's) have brass balls with rubber seals in them, any soap will dry them out.

    Also must consider the ramifications of soaping your tank, what will the soap affect? Flow meter? Pressure senders? Pump packings?
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  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber BVFD1983's Avatar
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    Default

    1980 ALF and a 1997 Waterous.
    FTM - PTB

  10. #10
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Default

    Things that have been used here over the years.Dakota tank saver.A water soluable oil that helps keep steel tanks from disintergrating and keeps valves lubed.White lubriplate grease applied with a small paint brush.Only works if you can reach the valve.And our new one has "Torrent" SS valves which have a grease fitting.A little shot of Lubriplare every now and again keeps the valves pristine.And there are some spray products that work pretty well on the valves you can't reach. T.C.

  11. #11
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    Default valve maintenance

    Our area has very hard water, so we have a technique that works very well for us.
    Every other month, we put about 2 cups per 1000 gal. in the tank (Cascade powder ) and let it circulate for about 30 min. Then work the valves while it is circulating. After a little while, you will notice a difference. Drain, and flush. You do not want to leave it in the tank for an extended peiod of time, it will eventually cause pump packing problems.

    This tip came directly from an experienced Waterous / Pierce representative.

    We have found this to be something that works well for us, we don't have the time to work valves daily, and have very low call volume, so most of the time the trucks are just sitting in the station growing crust.

  12. #12
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    Default

    At a Hale pump mechanics class I was at recently, they recommended frequently excercising the valves and periodically lubing them with a "food grade" grease. Apparently EPA doesn't want a petro based lube going out with the water and into the ground.

  13. #13
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    I have heard about the food grade grease if you have to .............we dont have that much trouble with our valves. We do have a couple on a 78 unit that were stcking and we had it looked at durign our annual pump test and got it repaired. I would not recommend any detergent as it can deter lubrication by degreasing.
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  14. #14
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    Default detergent

    Quote Originally Posted by Weruj1
    I have heard about the food grade grease if you have to .............we dont have that much trouble with our valves. We do have a couple on a 78 unit that were stcking and we had it looked at durign our annual pump test and got it repaired. I would not recommend any detergent as it can deter lubrication by degreasing.

    As far as the degreasing goes, if the valves are sticking, apparently they have already been degreased. If you want to take the valves apart, and grase the balls, or paddles depending on type of valve, then I don't see any problem. Lubricating the exterior mechanism of a valve is not going to do any good, unless they have a grease fitting.

    The Cascade in the tank is for the purpose of removing hardwater deposits, and making the valves work easier. This is a simple fix to a big problem, and does not take nearly as much time as disassembling a valve.

  15. #15
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by firedawg803
    If you want to take the valves apart, and grease the balls, or paddles depending on type of valve, then I don't see any problem.
    This is from Akron Brass' swing out valve maintainance liturature:
    CAUTION:
    Do not lubricate the ball or seats. Lubricants can collect dirt and grit,
    which can cause excessive wear. Water is a natural lubricant. Periodic
    actuation of the valve will help prevent sticking. Periodic flushing is
    recommended to remove dirt and debris, which may cause excessive
    valve wear and premature failure.
    Full PDF file on Akron swing-out valves Here

    Lubricating the exterior mechanism of a valve is not going to do any good, unless they have a grease fitting.
    What I have found helps quite a bit is to clean out the valve locking mechanism if you have them. Usually the grease which is applied to the valve rod collects all sort of debris which is deposited into the lock every time you open and close the valve. Spray a bunch of WD-40 into the mechanism and wipe down the rods with WD to clean them off. Then use a dry "teflon" based lube, not white lithium grease, to lube the rods. Warning, if you actually remove one of these twist locks, there are a number of tiny shim-like springs inside, don't loose them!

    Lubing the pivot points of the linkage can help quite a bit on akward mounted valves.

    Its also important to remember that any valve larger than 2 1/2" is required by NFPA to have a slow acting device on it (such as Akron's Slo-Close) which makes it harder to close in order to prevent water hammer. I've seen a number of operators complain about stiff valves that turned out to have slo-close on them.
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    Default Also

    Also FYI the new Akron Valves have a stainless steel ball with a poly seat. They switched to these so you dont have to replace the ball every time and you will save money on valve changeouts. I have not heard of using any sort of grease, just working the valves every so often to keep them from getting sticky.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber BVFD1983's Avatar
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    We just had 3 valves replaced in an engine.

    They are poly and had huge grooves in them.

    I had backflushed it a few days before they were replaced and they were still dirty as heck.

    The deluge has a slow close on it and is a b!tch for some of the smaller guys to close.
    FTM - PTB

  18. #18
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    Smile Smooth

    I have found that in the 25 plus yrs. operating pumps especailly up here in northern Vt. that a biodegradible antifreeze works great no matter if the temp is 80 above or 35 below for ball valves, it also works great on hose couplings. You will have a smoother operation of screwing them together and getting them apart.

  19. #19
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    Default Caution about lubrication through the tank

    We learned the hard way that some soaps are mildly conductive, like water, and will foam just enough to fool your tank water level sensors. Use some caution when lubricating through the tank and make sure you flush things out well...

    On a related note, has anyone tried simple vinegar for removing hard water deposits. When I used to live up north, it worked like a charm in my bathroom, but I was never sure what effects, if any, the acidity would have on fire apparatus plumbing.

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