still learning

the electric pressure washer had a broken hose, but nobody told me or anyone else about the problem. the pressure washer already had a couple bad parts no one knew about, but once it was operated with a broken hose for a couple days, a series of catastrophic failures occurred. Once the problem was discovered, I took the machine out of service, and sent a guy out to get a new boom hose. Old was 3000 PSI, .5 inch diameter, 18 feet long. Took the old hose with him. Comes back with 50 feet of 1.25 inch diameter, 6000 PSI hose. This hose hangs from a boom arm, mounted to a swivel, suspended from the ceiling. There’s no way in hell the boom arm could support 12+ feet of this hose, besides the fact that it was 32 feet too long. He goes out again, comes back with a .75 diameter 25 foot hose at 4000 PSI. Washer is capable of 4000 PSI but motor operates below max so pump operates below max for increased durability. Machine outputs 2000 PSI at 4 GPM. Replace the boom hose with the 25 foot hose, turn on the washer, and it’s stuttering, like one cylinder of three is working.

I set an appt, with approval, for s service tech to come look at the washer. Service call was last friday, took most of the afternoon, and the diagnostic results kept getting worse the further he went, so the price went up, and all the upper mgt leaves early on fridays or is tied up it meetings, leading to a bunch of unnecessary whining and hand wringing while I stood by impassive as possible.

The net result, as I alluded to above: The unloader valve on the washer went back some time ago – it wasn’t performing well, and it was leaking. Another valve, which is supposed to open to prevent over heating, was stuck open and leaking all the time, due to over heating more than a couple times. When the boom hose broke, and the washer was operated, and then operation stopped, but the washer kept running, due to the bad unloader valve, and got stuck in an infinite loop of pressurizing water, and then recycling it back into the intake – generating more heat each cycle. This eventually causes the seals to wear and the pistons to crack. It cost about $980 for the service call, parts, and labor to diagnose problems, rebuild the head, replace 3 pistons, and put everything back together. I learned a ton about how pressure washers work and what it takes to rebuild one. I watched the whole time, even though dude was sick. I stayed in all saturday and took it easy to try and stay not sick.

Washer worked for less than a full day before the output hose, running from the washer straight up to the ceiling and over to the top side of the swivel mount for the boom started leaking where it was rubbing against a ceiling cross member. It was originally routed that way by another employee four years ago, and it lasted that long, but it could’ve lasted a lot longer if it was done right. The hose was bent over a straight metal edge, and the hose was able to move quite a bit.

With a stroke of luck, the aforementioned 50 foot heavy hose that was way wrong for the boom hose turned out to be a suitable upgrade for the swivel supply. I spent most of yesterday using our scissor lift to remove and replace that hose. It was quite a bit more time consuming than I anticipated, and this was my first time using the scissor lift since wilmer left. It’s old, janky, and leaks, but it works once you get used to the quirks. I fully secured and sheathed the new hose at every ceiling member. I used old radiator hoses from cars to sheath the new hose, and zip ties. Lots of zip ties. Every couple years the sheaths should be replaced so that they become the wear item, not the supply hose. Since the new supply hose is bigger, I had to enlarge the hole going into the swivel mount, and because the person that installed all this stuff 4 years re-engineered the swivel mount, the built in tool hole was too small for the large fittings inside, and I had to drop the whole assembly off the mount to replace the hose. Which means the new hose has to be fed through an enlarged hole to install to the swivel, and then back fed to attach the swivel to the mount again. I ended up wrapping a towel around the hose so it wouldn’t be abraded by the mount hole (close tolerances). Towel did not survive (I had to tear it in half to get it out), but the hose is still perfect. Got the supply hose replaced, test it out, and the machine is coming on without a trigger pull, which is disappointing, but all the work I did was done well and works, no leaks, and the the new hose routing & sheaths are secure while the machine is operating. I suspect the new hose is stiffer than the old hose, and so the leaking trigger gun is somehow more noticed by the machine, but until I get a new, non-leaking trigger gun, I can’t be sure. The machine is operable now, but the auto-shut off feature isn’t usable, as the machine needs to be manually turned off when not in use to prevent constant cycling. It comes on for just 15 seconds – which is the auto shut down timer, suggesting a very small leak, every 2 minutes or so.

Trying to find the best source for a trigger gun. The service company can do it, but they’re expensive to come. Home depot rents the stuff I need, but they sell only retail crap. Gonna try a paint sprayer place tomorrow. Got one coming from amazon, not an exact replacement, but should work. The mobile pressure washer trigger gun leaks a LOT worse, so I really need 3 new ones.

Just a regular auction today, everything went well. I had a bunch of work to do yesterday that didn’t get done while I was replacing the hose for 5 hours, so I spent most of today catching up.

One thought on “still learning

  1. I posted a reply to this!

    Bri, this was a well written, articulate, and interesting narrative! When the zombie apocalypse happens, I want you in my bunker!

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