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Thread: Are torque arrestors necessary?

  1. #1

    Default Are torque arrestors necessary?

    Are torque arrestors necessary to prevent wire fraying? I just had to replace a 3 year old pump which failed due to frayed wires, and was installed without a torque arrestor. I need help quickly:

    My well pump (Sta-rite submersible 2000) failed after 2 years, 9 months and a new pump was just installed by the same pump service company, again using the Sta-rite 2000. So, same company, same pump.

    The pump failed due to badly frayed wire in the well casing, per installer: "it abraided, exposing all the bare wire which shorted the pump /wrong voltage". He told me this happens fairly frequently because the tape which holds the wire gives way. It doesn't make sense to me that the longevity of a $700 pump be dependent on plastic tape but he assured me it does.

    I called Sta-rite. Per the Sta-rite technical staff, the installation requires a torque arrestor to prevent movement which frays wires. The pump service company tells me they do not use these torque arrestors because they "wear out in a few years anyway and they make it difficult to pull pumps for replacement, requiring 2 men and maybe a pulling machine". When I told them what Sta-rite said, they said that just taping is standard procedure and the wire would have abraided anyway. I said that if they find the torque arrestors failed only when the pull pumps for repair, maybe the arrestor is destroyed during the pull, and in any case it may have lasted more than "a few years" especially if the pump they are pulling many years old.

    The installer told me that it's just the way pump installations wear --"we deal with frayed wires all the time". Seems to me the reason for the frayed wires is the company's omission of the torque arrestor in the installation.

    two questions:

    1. is the torque arrestor necessary to prevent wire-fraying? or do wires get frayed in just 3 years if a torque arrestor is not used?

    2. is the installing pump service company responsible for the failed pump due to wire-fraying because they did not install a torque adaptor as specified in the Sta-rite pump installation guide?

    I don't want to shell out $1,000+ every 3-4 years for pumps that should provide service 10-14 years.

    Kindly help me out here, soon... Philip Anderson, Monrovia MD
    Last edited by Philip Anderson; 07-06-2006 at 03:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default

    First of all if this guy is doing these installations by hand and don't have a pump hoist for pulling/installing pumps, he is probably a weekend warrior. I would change pump companies.

    Well drillers and pump installers all install pumps slightly differently. (We all have our way of doing things) But, it still has to be done right. Torque arrestors to me are a joke, so is safety rope. All this stuff was made for DIYers. Black PVC electrical tape will last ten times longer than any pump motor I have ever seen. If the wire is pulled tight and taped every 21 feet on galvanized or every 10 on plastic pipe, no chafing will occur.

    I would say bye bye to these guys.

    Calling Sta-Rite (Pentair who owns half of the pump companies in the US) will get you nothing but DIY advice since they are so happy to sell to the big box stores anyway.

    bob...

  3. #3

    Default

    thanks for the quick response Bob. This will help me understand the installation failure from the installer's view. I'll check with them regarding the spacing of electrical tape. I wish they had replaced the wire on this new installation --they just cut out the abraided wire and shrink-wrapped the splice.

    I guess you know that electric tape is not allowed in some states due to its toulene content.

    Best Regards, Philip Anderson, Monrovia MD

  4. #4
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    What is toulene? Is it in Vinyl tape? That's what we use.

    If they didn't use that kind, maybe that's why theirs falls off.

    If I couldn't use vinyl electrical tape, I would use nylon tie wraps.

    Either way, the wire should stay tight to the pipe if properly installed.

    bob...

  5. #5
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    Default Valveman

    Frayed wires can be the first sign of cycling on and off too often. You bend a wire back and forth enough times it is gonna break. Tork arrestors are just a bad band aid for a cycling problem. Iy you use a Cycle Stop Valve, the pump does not cycle on and off enough to break the wires, no matter is useing tork arrestors, tape, or both. Needs good tape that won't come unstuck though.

  6. #6

    Default toulene and cycle stop valve

    thanks Bob & the valveman.

    regarding tape, all I have heard is that electricians tape contains "toulene" (sp?) which some states forbid. (Per "Merrill Corp" makers of torque arrestors)

    the cycle stop valve sounds neat. I'll ask my next installer about it.

    For now I've decided discretion is the better part of valor, and pay the guy rather than hassle with small claims court and trying to present a complicated summary of engineering versus actual field experience, and the statistics to support either. the gist I get from most of my research is that 35 months' life for a $1,000 pump installation is not usual but can happen. I'll write it up to "act of God" and use my energy in a better way. Best, Philip Anderson
    Last edited by Philip Anderson; 07-07-2006 at 10:52 AM.

  7. #7

    Default

    "Toluene, also known as methylbenzene or phenylmethane is a clear, water-insoluble liquid with the typical smell of paint thinners, reminiscent of the sweet smell of the related compound benzene. It is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is widely used as an industrial feedstock and as a solvent.

    The name toluene was derived from the older name toluol that refers to tolu balsam, an aromatic extract from the tropical American tree Myroxylon balsamum, from which it was first isolated. It was originally named by Jöns Jakob Berzelius."

    Info from Wikipedia. According to a Google search, Scotchkote is a chemical containing toluene that can be applied to the tape for specific applications, but, as far as the tape containing it to begin with, I cannot find anything.

    Just wanted to add this to address the question, not an expert by any means.

  8. #8
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    So, what they are saying is the chemical is in the glue, not in the vinyl tape itself.


    bob..

  9. #9

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    I don't think it's in the glue, it is a brush-on liquid that is applied to the top surface of the tape. It is designed to be applied in areas where grease and/or other solvents would otherwise affect the integrity of the tape.

    In the case of using it in a well, it seems to be a pretty standard practice so I would not think the tape itself could be dangerous.

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