Have a Question you want Answered?
Vacuum not sucking as well as it should?
If you're experiencing a lack of suction power in your vacuum(s), there are a couple of things to investigate. Assuming the vacuum starts, check to see if all your motors are running. Especially on a two-motor vacuum, a loss of one makes a huge difference. Look at the seals on any access doors; clean-out, or bag access doors. Also, investigate the can (body) itself. Although most are stainless steel, pitting may still occur and the resulting holes will allow air to be sucked in there instead of through the hose. And speaking of the hose, examine that as well. Hoses left laying on the ground are subject to vehicles running over them and getting punctures. How do the nozzle and cuff look? These are also subject to wear. In short, anywhere air can be drawn in, other than the hose is going to adversely affect your vacuum's performance.
How often should I change my oil?
Optimum pump life is achieved by following your pump manufacturer’s service recommendations. Crankcase oil should be changed after the initial 50-hour running period, then every 3 months or 500 hours thereafter.
Why do I notice a large pressure difference between when the gun trigger is pulled and released?
It’s almost inevitable this will occur after a while. In fact, a good way to catch this early is to follow these steps.
When washing down your bays, take a couple of minutes and run this simple pump check.
With the pump running while in by-pass mode (trigger not pulled) check to see what pressure is registering on the gauge. Have someone then squeeze the trigger, or safely secure the gun and tie the trigger open. Recheck the gauge to read the pressure while it is spraying at full strength. Note the pressure differential between the two readings.
A 50 to 100 PSI pressure increase between off and on would be considered normal and acceptable.
More than that indicates a possible problem, which could get worse and, if left unresolved, possibly cause premature wear on the pump packings and inner components.
Typical causes of this are:
Worn spray tip – Probably the most common and easily rectified solutions is to replace the spray nozzle on a regular basis. Worn tips reduce operating pressure which some operators, when noticing tighten down the regulator. This only increases the problem.
Check valve failure – Any valves which ultimately attach to the high pressure side of the pump may be causing this problem. If they start to get weak, or fail, water may leak by them from the pump. This allows less water to go out to the gun and reduces pressure.
Worn pump seals or damaged parts inside the pump head – When seals get worn and/or metal pieces in the head of the pump are damaged, water is pushed by them and back to the inlet, or even worse, to the crankcase. This also reduces the water going out to the gun and lowers the pressure.
If you notice an erratic reading on the gauge, bouncing or generally unsteady pressure. This often points to a problem with one or more of the pump valves or severely worn pump seals.
When should I Turn On My Bay Heat/De-Icing System?
Now that we are into Autumn and the weather is turning colder, the issue of freezing once again appears. Some places in Canada are already experiencing the cold. Edmonton, for example, has snow on the ground at the time of this writing - late September. If you have an automatic controller, such as the WeepmiserTM, this may be already set to turn on your heating system for the floors. If you have one, but it is not set up to do that job, contact PELCO to find out the procedure. If your car wash relies on you to turn on the heating system for your bays, remember, there is a lot of concrete to heat up and it can’t do it quickly when the temperatures are at, or below freezing. A good idea is to start your system up now, to make sure everything is working properly. This also applies to those whose heating comes on automatically at a certain temperature. Best to check it now, to be safe.
When you see the temperatures predicted to get close to freezing, allow the heaters to come on and warm up the floors. Remember, it is far less expensive to pay for heating than to settle a slip-and-fall suit because of ice on the floor. Ice-free floors are now considered normal operations for a car wash. If you have any questions about your heating system, please contact PELCO. We are happy to assist.
Why Does The Flow From The Gun Pulse When I Pull The Trigger?
Question submitted by Heather K.
You're washing down the bay, or your own vehicle, or maybe you see it happening while a customer is using the high pressure. The gun seems to be pulsing and the water flow is shaky. This may also be accompanied by a hammering sound. While this could be an indication of a serious problem, most often it is not critical. The majority of the time this indicates a problem with one or more valves of the pump. It could be some foreign material has worked its way into the pump and is now keeping one of the valves from closing. An o-ring may have broken and therefore a valve has lost the seal on the pump head. Most car wash pumps allow easy access to the valves. On the top of the pump head are three nuts and also on the front, another three. The low-pressure valves are almost always on the front of the pump and the high-pressure ones on the top. Remove the nut and you will be able to extract the valve with a pair of pliers. Inspect them for signs of damage or anything which looks like it does not belong. After doing the necessary repairs, replace the offending valve or valves and check the operation of the pump. If this does not fix the problem, you may have an issue with the pump seals or perhaps even a plunger. Call PELCO for further help if nothing seems to resolve the problem.
Yes, you can use cold water only for the weep system. Things to know though; using cold water only will necessitate using a stronger stream - more water to prevent freezing. This is because a weep with warmish or tepid water will tend to keep the lines warmer and stop that cold from taking hold because no matter what you think you learned in school, in this instance, hot water does not freeze before cold. However, using warm water will, of course, mean you need to heat that water and that costs money, offset slightly by the fact you can keep the weep water turned slightly lower than using cold only. Using a warm water weep and keeping it turned down to the point where even with the trigger on the gun pulled it does not fan has the added benefit of discouraging the "cheaters". We all know them. These are the people who won't put money in the meter box to start the machine but will try to wash their car using the weep water only. So, the bottom line is; if you'd like to use only cold water for your weep, go ahead. But be mindful of the fact it needs to be enough flow to keep it from freezing.
Can I use cold water for my weep?
Motor Won't Start
If the problem is with only one bay, first check to see if the motor overload has been activated. This is usually a button on the overload itself. Next check to see if other functions work, foambrush pre-soak etc. If so, the problem is most likely the switch in the bay. Changing this out with a new switch should correct the problem. If this does not solve it, check the wiring going to the coil in the motor contactor and any fuses which may be in the circuit. You may also have a bad coil in the contactor or the contactor overload may be weak or need adjusting. Keep in mind, when the timer is activated, all functions work by receiving their signals from the meterbox selector switch. This is one of the first things to look at whenever one of your functions will not turn on.
Garbage at the Car Wash - Some Ways to Handle the Trash at Your Car Wash
Car wash owners frequently mention to me how much trash is left at their wash. They ask how other operators are handling it. Here are some of the ways in which I and others are managing this issue. At my own washes I started with barrels in each bay and more at
the vacuum islands. These became quite full and sometimes difficult to handle. Others are using this approach now with varying degrees of success. I then dropped down to 20 litre pails in the bays and at the vending area and vacuums. Trash built up around the pails for awhile but gradually settled down to only sometimes overflowing and sitting on the bay floors. I still did not like the trash and decided to take the pails out of the bays completely. Other owners warned me this would result in my bays being a total mess
. They were right ... for a while. Then, over the course of several months to a year the trash in the bays subsided. I still had the containers, not too large, in the vending area and at the vacuums. We were also very particular about keeping the bays clean of all trash and dirt. It took between one and two years to reach the point where, although we would see some trash in the bays when arriving to take care of it, the customers were not using our bays as their private garbage dump. Not to say everything was spic and
span all the time. It certainly was not, but we ended up with less trash all over the floor then when there were barrels in the bays. Certainly, not all car wash operators agree with this approach and I continue to see the barrels around in the bays and a the entrance to the bays, but for us, limiting how much space we allowed the customers to use as garbage dumps helped us to end up with less trash to pick up. If you have a great solution to the mounds of trash, we'd love to hear from you.
Average Revenue Per Customer:
Let's start with the basics. Your car wash is attractive and inviting. There is no trash lying around or excessively dirty bays. Keep in mind, we are essentially selling time. The longer they stay in the bay, buying time, the more money you make. Let's assume you have a very basic, self-service car wash; soap, rinse, wax, and foambrush. Very basic. Once the customer has gone through those, that's it. He's out of there. Adding more features, like Pre-Soak, Tire & Wheel Cleaner, Spot Free Rinse, In-bay Dryers, or possibly others related to the type of clientele you serve, allows your customer to keep the time running while using those other features. Also, adding another method of payment to your bay, credit/debit cards and phone apps which allow the meter to keep running without the customer having to run up and feed it when it beeps can make a real difference in your monthly gross. Call Pelco to discuss ways of increasing your income.
How Can I Increase My Average Revenue From Each Customer?
How Long Should My Bay Hoses Be?
We see this often. Hoses dragging on the floor of the wash bays. This can wear the covering off your hose and expose the braid underneath, causing premature hose failure. It's also not convenient for your customer. To a certain extent, hose length is dependant on boom position. Booms mounted in a central position in the bay are ideal and enables the easiest way to size the hoses. In any case, when the gun(s), and brushes are in their holders, the hose loop should ideally not be touching the floor. Your customer also needs to be able to get all around their vehicle easily without undo hose stretching or hanging up somewhere on the vehicle. Start by walking around a vehicle with the gun or brush and see how easy it is to get around, without allowing the hose to drag on the floor. You can grab the hose a little distance from the gun and pull to artificially shorten it while doing this. Next, measure the distance from where you shortened it to the boom and that will be your length. If the hose is too short, you may need to add several inches to it. The end result should be no hose dragging on the floor and it is not awkward to use the tool.
Why is my pump leaking oil?
To properly diagnose an oil leak, you must first determine the source. Find your source below to determine proper treatment.
Oil Cap – If the source of you leak is out the top of the oil cap, the oil level is too high. Drain oil until level is at center of bubble gauge.
Between crankcase and manifold or around crankshaft ends – If the source is in this area, the oil seals are worn and are in need of replacement. Replacement part numbers can be found on data sheets for your pump.
Back cover on crankcase – If oil is leaking here, replace gasket or O-ring on the cover.
Why is my oil a milky colour?
If the pump is allowed to run after the low-pressure seals and high-pressure seals have become worn, water may eventually travel back along the plunger rod and past the oil seal. Water is a contaminant to the crankcase oil and can cause damage to the drive-end components. The water will cause the oil colour to change to a milky consistency initially and in severe situations can cause damage to the drive-end. Remember to replace the plunger retainer O-ring each time the seals are replaced. For Cat Pumps, the plunger retainer O-rings are supplied in the seal kit for the pump. Check with PELCO for information on other pump brands.
Soap/wax is coming out on the rinse cycle
Most common cause of this is a worn soap/wax solenoid core, or foreign object interfering with the solenoid closing properly. Open solenoid to expose the core and inspect. Replace if necessary.
Coin acceptor has poor/no coin acceptance
Depending on the acceptor manufacturer, you may be able to clean the sensors and reprogram the acceptor. Contact PELCO for further information on your acceptor.
How often should I change my pump oil
Most manufacturers of car wash pumps recommend changing the oil every 3 months or 500 hours. Contact PELCO for information on oil type and frequency for your pump.
When should I drain my air compressor
Air compressor manufactures recommend the compressor be drained daily to prevent water accumulation in the compressor tank. Automatic drain timers may be installed on the tank which will do this several times per day.
My pump has lost pressure
If the loss has been gradual, replace the spray nozzle in the wand. If this does not fix it, the seals may need to be changed. Sudden pressure drop could mean a faulty regulating valve, foreign material in one or more of the valves, or faulty valve(s).
When should I have new seals put in my pump
Seal life varies by pump manufacturer and age of pump. If the pump is leaking, the seals may need to be changed. If the pump is running fine seals may last for two years. Leaving seal changes too long may result in damage to internal components.
Coin Acceptor Problems?
Several things can affect the acceptance frequency of your coin acceptors. Take note of how it is positioned in the meter-box. Is it straight and level? Has the box been damaged and causing the acceptor to flex? Depending on the acceptor, you may be able to open it and wipe the sensors with a clean cloth. Programming itself may be an issue. Since 2001, the Royal Canadian Mint has produced coins using the multilayer plating process. The new plated coins have a special electromagnetic signal for vending machines, which meant that coin acceptors required a software upgrade. Several changes have been made since then and now require the acceptors to be programmed for more than one version of the quarter, loonie, and toonie. Pelco can assist you in programming your acceptors, so they will accept the majority of coins currently in circulation.
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