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Thread: Well Pump Dead? - Help!

  1. #1
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    Default Well Pump Dead? - Help!

    Hello All,
    I just joined this forum today in search of desperate help and advice.

    Our family have a small weekend get-away house which gets own water from a underground well (30'? deep). The house is in the mountain at 5600' elevation and the water is very hard/lots of mineral. The house was built in 1984 and we bought it about 3 years ago. When we were up there last weekend, we noticed that no water was coming out from any of the faucets inside or outside of the house. I found out the 500-gal fire water holding tank was completely empty (the autotomatic sprinkler system was programmed set "ON" during the week and used all the water...). I checked the well pump/motor assembly (the one above the ground - and I think there is another one underground, right?), and it was making a quite loud buzzing that I could heare just outside the well pump shack. When I touched the motor housing, it was very warm and the motor was not running. So, I immediately shut off the electric circuit break to the well pump system. I waited several hours until the motor housing was cool to touch and turned on the power again, but the same thing happened - buzzing sound and not turning over. So, I partially removed the motor/pump assembly in the middle. I could not remove the motor part because its rear end was blocked by the pipe just behind it - see the attached the photo. Also the 2nd photo for the motor/pump info. I removed 4 bolts connecting the motor housing to the actual pump part and I could see and barely touch the motor shaft with my finger. With the power/electricity completely shut OFF, I tried to turn over the motor shaft by finger, but I could not. Apparently it locked up solid (but not really sure). We had lots of snow and rain this winter so I would not think lack of water has anything to do with it. I am a totally newbie to well pump/motor and here are some of my questions:
    > Is the "locking up" common on such well pump motor?
    > What can cause it to locke up?
    > Is it better to rebuild or replace with a new one? Not sure how old it is, but it doesn't look 24 year old.
    > If you recommend replacing it, is it something a Saturday mechanic can do?I've replaced pistons/cylinders on motorcycles a few times successfully but this would be my first attempt on a well pump...

    Thank you in advance and I hope someone can help me out with this problem.
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    Last edited by chazman; 03-03-2008 at 10:32 AM.

  2. #2
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    If it ran long enough without pumping water, chances are the impeller and diffuser are not one. In other words you will need a new ones along with a new shaft seal and possible an o-ring. Since you have galvanized piping, you didn't hurt the piping.

    You must seperate the motor and seal plate from the pump housing. The motor will not come off until you take off the diffuser and impeller. By the way, Goulds calls the Diffuser a Venturi. Don't ask me why.

    bob...

  3. #3
    Rancher
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    The SER on the nameplate is probably not the serial number, but is really the MFG date of the motor, i.e. D=4 in the alphabet, so the motor was manufactured in January of 1984, replace it.

    Rancher

    http://www.aosmithmotors.com/pdf/bro...n3100/ACDC.PDF

  4. #4
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    The plate you have posted a picture of is the plate for the motor. The model of the pump is shown on the smaller plate on the pump housing.

    I would not try to rebuld the pump. I would replace it. You need a shallow well jet pump. Try to find a 1 HP shallow well jet pump.

    If you post the model number of the pump someone here can probably tell you the current equivalent Goulds model, or an equivalent of another brand.

    The unions on the inlet and outlet pipes will make it pretty easy to replace the pump.
    Last edited by Bob NH; 03-03-2008 at 03:50 PM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks gents.
    I'm surprised that it is a 1984 model (original! that's when the house was built). Is this the real model number - please attached photo. What would be an equivalent model no. that would be avail now?
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  6. #6
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    The Goulds J10S is available now. You should be able to get a replacement pump. Go down to the bottom of the page at the link.
    http://www.wwpp.us/goulds/goulds-jet-pump.shtml

  7. #7
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I would think the SER number in the top right corner would be the date code. Probably built in the 8th month of 01. Still a good pump. I use that pump for a booster quite often.
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    For the same 1hp convertible jet pump with the jet included, in the Betta Flo brand is only $354.48 my price. And it's a convertible not just a shallow well jet.

    bob...

  9. #9
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Or you could buy the Goulds pump and help sponser their race car$$$ Not enough difference in most pumps to warrant paying extra. There are a few cheap built pumps at the box stores to stay away from but, most name brand pumps are almost the same. Speedbump has a lot of experience with these type pumps, and I would certainly trust his advice.

  10. #10
    Rancher
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    Still a good pump. I use that pump for a booster quite often.

    From A.O.Smith
    Pool Motor Serial Number
    The first space is the plant code. The second letter is the month. And,
    the third and fourth spaces are the year.
    Example: 8A05 = Plant 8, January 2005
    A. O. Smith Serial Number (Date Codes):
    2000 is 00
    2001 is 01
    2002 is 02
    2003 is 03
    2004 is 04
    2005 is 05
    A = January
    B = February
    C = March
    D = April
    E = May
    F = June
    G = July
    H = August
    I = September
    J = October
    K = November
    L = December


    So manufactured April 2001 Seven years old... Didn't you say the average life of a pump is 7 years? I'm guessing it's at end of life.

    Rancher

  11. #11
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    7 years is the average life of a submersible. Probably not much difference for a Jet pump but, they last even shorter amounts of time when you let the storage tank run dry.

  12. #12
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    OK, time to replace.

    Two more questions:

    Q1. Looking at my photo of the pump setup, did you notice that the bottom of the pump/motor assembly is not bolted to the ground (it is concrete slab but covered with dirt and hard to see in the photo)? I found that out while I was checking it out. Whoever installed that did not bother to bolt it down. How critical is that? When it was running, I did not notice any excessive vibration though....

    Q2. The needle of the pressure gauge on the pipe above the motor never moved even when the pump WAS pumping - always indicated zero psi. Do you think the gauge is shot or something else is setup wrong?

    Thanks gents.

  13. #13

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    I have a similiar pump running for over 20 years. About every 4 to 7 years, bearings, 7$ seal 10$ , start switch and cap 15$ , gives a new pump.

    Anyone interested in using less resources would consider a rebuild.

    I never melted an impeller - are these plastic? If not, he likely only cooked the seal. He says the motor hums and is warm - that means his motor is still good and was shutting off on the thermal switch.

    Pull the motor off and fire it up , see if it runs and check amp draw. You could also buy just a pump head and reuse the motor if in spec. [if they are available at a reasonable cost]

    The local guy that does hand tools and vacuum motors might do it all for a hundred bucks.

    Finally, he can buy an aux. thermal switch that clamps on for backup - they were discussed here earlier.

    MAINLY someone needs to tell him how to prevent this from happening again!

    AT LEAST change the pressure switch to one with a low pressure cut out -
    15$ - and you would still have the old pump running.

  14. #14
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    Don't worry about bolts. Nobody in the business bolts them down. They are rather heavy and when piped in are hard to move.

    bob...

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