Tips and Tricks

Car Wash Pump Slowly Losing Pressure

If this is happening in one or more of your bays. Before spending time and money looking for a more complicated problem, change your spray nozzle out with a new one. Pressure is almost entirely determined by the spray tip and a worn one will allow more water to flow through the nozzle and reduce the pressure.

Pump Repair Needed?

Do you have pumps needing more repairs than you can do? Send them to PELCO. We will tear down and inspect your pumps, make a list of repairs needed, along with the cost to make those repairs and send you a quote to do the work. No repairs will be done before you see and agree to the quote. Don't let those pumps sit there unable to be put into service when needed. Call us today.

Chemical Feed Lines

An often overlooked item, but one which may cause problems hard to diagnose are the tubes and hoses on your chemical distribution centre. The lines used for drawing your soaps and waxes from the concentrate to the mixing containers get hard and brittle over time.
This can lead to a loss of seal at the connection points, which in turn may allow some air to be sucked into the line, weakening your mixture. Make it part of your regular routine to check these lines and replace them as necessary.

Clogged Spray Nozzle

Plugged spray tips, an annoying part of running a car wash. Here's an easy way to get the tip cleaned and back in business. You'll still need to remove the tip from the wand. Keep a paper clip on your workbench, or drawer. Open up one of the "legs" and you'll find this is just right for pushing the culprit out of the end so you can remove it by rinsing or simply tapping the nozzle on a hard surface.

De-icing Problem In Bays

My floor-heat/deicing boiler is running and hot, but the supply tube to the bays are cold.

A car wash owner asked me about this. His heater/boiler was running fine and producing hot water, but the lines going to and especially coming from his bays were cold. After tracing the lines back through the headers and supply piping, we found a bypass line connecting the hot water output to the return. this is quite normal and proper, as it is advantageous to keep the water warm to prevent boiler shock. The problem was, the balancing valve was almost completely open allowing the hot water to merely loop around back to the boiler and not put much heat out to the system. By throttling the valve back so that only a small amount of hot water went back to the heater the temperature of the water going out to the system rose dramatically and eliminated the icing problem in the bays.

Twisted Hose

Are your hoses always twisted?
If you always seem to be untwisting your high pressure or low pressure hoses, here are a couple of suggestions. Are the hoses too long? See the tip under Tips & Tricks on our website. Additionally, you might like to install a second hose swivel at the top of the hose in question. Put it right where it attaches to the boom. Many car wash owner have stated this greatly improves customer satisfaction and all but eliminates the twisted hose problem.

Weepmiser Auxilary

Make your weepmiser weep controller do more.
It's true, Weepmiser can do more than simply turn you weep system on and off. Within the programming of your Weepmiser, you can set a temperature, independent of your weep settings, which will allow your de-icing boiler to fire as the temperature drops and also to not fire when the temperature warms up. This will help to keep heating costs down and profits up. You'll need a relay and some wire to do it. Check your instruction booklet to discover how it is done, or simply call PELCO. We would be pleased to assist.

How to Thaw Frozen Bays

Now that the weather is growing colder, the possibility of frozen bays rears its ugly head. It's something we all hate but must correct to prevent serious and costly damage to equipment. Here is the easiest way to thaw frozen hoses, booms, guns, and brushes. If the hoses are not yet stiff, but only the gun or brush froze. You may have caught it in time to dip it in a pail of hot water to thaw. If not, you can start by taking the frozen offender down from whatever boom its attached to and taking it into the warmer equipment room to thaw while you tackle the boom and line going to it.

Start by turning your weep to that boom on full and it nothing comes out. take a garden hose or other hose you may have and hook it to a hot water line in your equipment room. A regular garden hose gun works well for this. You'll need to spray the frozen part, boom or line until it warms up enough to allow the weep to come through. In some car washes, the line going out to the boom is run through a conduit and is easily unhooked and pulled back into the equipment room to thaw, while you address the boom. DON'T USE A TORCH! This is dangerous and ineffective.

Measuring oil for pumps

One of the things which makes oil changes a thing to be dreaded is trying to pour the oil into the pump without overfilling or making a mess. Go to your local food store or hardware and purchase a plastic measuring cup with enough volume for your pump. Usually, a 1 litre cup will do nicely for most car wash pumps. Check the specs on your pump for oil capacity and fill the cup to that amount. Then after you've drained all the oil, simply pour it in. Easy!

Changing Chemical Products

Did you know, when making a change in your soaps or waxes to a different manufacturer, or sometimes within the same manufacturer, mixing different concentrations together may lead to plugged distribution lines. The different products may react to each other. Congealing, or crystallizing are not uncommon outcomes. This may lead to leaner mixtures going to the pumps and a poor-quality wash. PELCO recommends cleaning the concentrate and mixing pails, as well as flushing the distribution lines with water before making the changeover. This step could save you hours of frustrating searching for why your products are not doing the job intended.

Spray Nozzle Sizing Chart

Compressor Tank Maintenance

Compressor Tank Maintenance
Did we even know that there is a drain on a compressor tank, and why the compressor tank drain is needed?
Every air compressor will generate water when it’s running. The issues that affect the amount of water that the compressor pump deposits into your compressor tank include;

  • the humidity and temperature of the air that’s being taken into the compressor pump
  • how hot the pump has become and, by extension, how hot the tank has become
  • the amount of time the air sits in the tank and cools.


Direct drive or belts, which is better?

Volumes have been written on which is better; direct drive a pump, or belt drive it. Proponents of direct claim you eliminate belt slippage and wear with direct drive. Belt drive people say the pumps last longer, by running them slower than at full motor speeds. Who is right? The answer is, it depends. In the self-serve car wash market, we tend to use more robust pumps than those used in the pressure washer market aimed at homeowners. For us, the question is: how does either affect pump life and routine maintenance?

Starting with pump life. If your wash is using a direct drive pump rated for the kind of use we typically see in the wash industry, it has a back end, the crankcase end, large enough to handle the increased heat and stress demanded by faster speeds. Oil condition is critical to ensure the least amount of wear. The belt drive pumps run slower, but also need the oil to be changed regularly to prevent wear. Belts will wear after a time and will need to be changed. Selecting the proper belt style, length and type with allow your belts to run for many years without the need to change.

Direct drive pumps also need maintenance, as the "spiders" will wear down and need to be replaced. These are the plastic pieces which connect the two metal parts on the pump and the motor. So the answer is, either one will perform nicely for you as long as proper steps have been taken when engineering the systems.

Worn Nozzle

A worn nozzle results in lower pressure because there is less resistance to the water flow. A pump generates flow, not pressure. The orifice size of the nozzle determines the resistance to flow and therefore the pressure created. As the nozzle wears the orifice size increases, which produces less resistance. Often, pressure-related problems are not due to the pump, but due to downstream components.
Replace nozzle with properly sized nozzle.

Faulty Regulator

A regulator is a pressure control valve that sets and maintains system pressure. An internal piston shifts based on downstream pressure to allow flow to either travel to the system or back to the source through the by-pass port. A worn or “stuck” piston can cause excess bypass flow and low system pressure.
Take regulator apart and inspect the piston valve assembly. Look for evidence of wear of lack of movement. Repair and clean as indicated or replace internal piston.

Worn Seals

Over the course of operation, seal wear occurs due to the reciprocating movement of the plunger. Worn seals allow fluid to migrate to the low-pressure side, which can result in a lower flow and thus lower system pressure.
Inspect and replace seals. Follow service and preventive maintenance recommendations.

Pressure Gauge

The pressure gauge displays the system pressure. Gauges can fail due to over-pressurization of pressure spikes. A faulty gauge reading can lead to misinterpreting system conditions and therefore taking inappropriate actions. Always verify system pressure before attempting system maintenance or repairs.
Replace pressure gauge. In some systems, a pressure diagnostics sensing port can be used to verify system pressure. Use high-quality glycerin-filled gauges with built-in pressure snubbers.

Belt Slippage (Belt drive units)

Belt-drives are used to set and control the pump speed, measured in “revolutions-per-minute” or “rpm.” Belt slippage causes the pump to run at a lower speed, which affects pump output flow. Lower flow means resistance to the flow decreases, which translates into lower system pressure. Pressure is the resistance to flow.
Inspect the belt-drive assembly and belts. Tighten or replace belts as indicated.

Undersized or Clogged Inlet Filter

An inlet filter removes contamination, preventing it from entering the pump. An improperly sized filter or one that is clogged reduces the amount of liquid to the pump inlet, which can cause cavitation and even severe pump damage. Reduced inlet flow also contributes to reduced flow to the system, which works to reduce system pressure as there is less resistance to the lower flow being produced.
Inspect filter and filter screen or mesh. Clean per instructions. If filter is damaged, replace. Also, verify filter sizing. A good rule-of-thumb is to match the inlet port size of the pump; do not reduce the filter port size.

Inadequate Water Supply

Adequate water supply is essential for the operation of the pump. Incoming water lubricates and cools the pump. Water is also required to fill the pump chambers. An inadequate water supply will result in a lower flow being discharged from the pump and therefore lower system pressure. Severely restricting water supply can cause catastrophic pump failure, resulting in system shutdown and the need for a complete pump re-build or total replacement.
Inspect the incoming line for obstructions or any flow restrictions. Follow pump guidelines for inlet port and line sizing. Increase line size if necessary. Verify supply line pressure and increase if indicated.

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