"How to prime a surface pump":
A. Get a one gallon jug of drinking water, an adjustable wrench and a roll of teflon tape.
B. Re-connect everything tightly, and make sure that there is a good in-line check valve on the suction (well) side near the pump to hold prime once you have it. (With the pump off and the water pressure drained completely down, check the air in the pressure tank with a tire gauge. The pressure should be two psi below the cut-on pressure of your pump. Bleed off any excess or pump it up with a bicycle pump or portable compressor or air tank as necessary.)
C. Unplug the pump and remove the largest (3/4") plug on the head of the pump. Wrap 2-3 flat wraps of teflon tape around the threads of the plug clockwise only as the threaded end faces you.
D. Fill the pump head with water, plug in the pump, and quickly hand-tighten the plug. Water and air will bubble out around the plug as you hand-tighten it, but that's normal. Once you get the plug as tight as you can with your hand, listen for the pump to pick up prime (the motor pitch will change). Once it seems to be picking up prime, tighten the plug with a wrench and let the pump run until it cuts off. It's primed.
E. If it doesn't pick up prime and cut off, repeat all of the steps again, including replacing the teflon tape, until it does.