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Horizontal Piston Pump Question  RSS feed

 
Dave Boehnlein
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Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Hey All,

I thought this thread would get read by the most mechanically minded folks, so here goes my question:

We have a variety of horizontal piston pumps here on the property. They are all old (1930's-50's). I've included a picture below so folks have an idea of what I'm talking about. These pumps were somewhat ubiquitous on farms in the days of yore, from what I'm told. Regardless of the year or distributor, these pumps all seemed to be relatively uniform. In other words, the parts were largely interchangeable. Some had extra fancy gear on them that we still haven't found a use for, but the basic design was relatively the same.

We would like to know if anyone has ever seen a 'repair manual' for these types of pumps? They must exist as most rural folks had one at some point. It gets tricky to repair them when something goes wrong when you don't have anything that gives part specs and advice.

Anyway, if anyone knows where I could find a repair or service manual, that would be great!

Thanks!

Dave
piston_pump.jpg
[Thumbnail for piston_pump.jpg]
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Location: Missoula, MT
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Hi Dave,

Your piston pump made me think of my step-dad who is an engineer and has worked with antique cars (and pistons) for decades. Here's Paul F.'s reply:
To find a manual you would need the make & model. If you had that you might find one on e-Bay or at a swap meet.

If they are from the thirties they can't be very efficient (even with a modern electric motor).  If the owners are concerned with the environment they should get a modern high efficient pump. 

Check out tins web site: www.farmcollector.com/Equipment/Pumped-About-Pumps.aspx

He's actually quite the expert at finding and selling antique car parts, manuals and memorabilia on eBay and at swap meets, so he's speaking from experience there!

Paul F. cc'd his antique engine friend, Pat F., who commented:
The piston pumps are very simple to rebuild and to put back into service, except for the parts that are getting impossible to find.  If you can find the parts that they need, then rebuild them and use them.  Otherwise, go down to Sears and buy new pumps to replace them.  The new jet pumps don't have near the parts to give you problems as do the old piston pumps.

I wrote back and told both Paul and Pat that these run on solar--is that correct?--so the efficiency is not as crucial, perhaps, as is minimizing cost and waste due to replacing the whole pump.

Hoping there was a useful snippet here at least. Cheers! 
 
Dave Boehnlein
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Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Thanks, Jocelyn!

I'll take a look on ebay and the site you listed.

The pumps are running on dc-direct. That's the beauty of the system. There are no batteries. Unlike most modern centrifugal pumps these will pump even when it's cloudy and we aren't getting a full 12 volts.

We've also noticed that parts are getting hard to come by. We've considered getting some new piston pumps, but the only company we found that made one that looked good was Dankoff. We're looking into getting a new one this year, but we still like the old ones a lot.

Cheers!

Dave
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Location: Missoula, MT
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My step-dad just called to talk some more about this. (It's not often that I talk engines with him!  ) He said there is an annual swap meet in Mount Vernon that might have parts or engines like this. He went through some other details about how the vertical pistons can wear out and such, have leather gaskets, etc., but I didn't retain that very well. Contact me off-line if you'd like to talk pistons and engines directly with him--any time! I should note that Paul hugely respects Pat's advice - he said Pat is an internationally-known steam engine expert (stanley steamers).
 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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permaculture.dave wrote:
We've also noticed that parts are getting hard to come by. We've considered getting some new piston pumps, but the only company we found that made one that looked good was Dankoff. We're looking into getting a new one this year, but we still like the old ones a lot.


Strike that! I got mixed up. We've actually heard about folks having problems with the new horizontal piston pumps from Dankoff. The company that seems to have good ones is called "Speck".

Also Jocelyn, I'd love to get contact information for anyone you know who might have a bead on parts or manuals for these pumps. I would like to put Doug directly in contact with folks who wouldn't mind passing on what they know. If you could email me contact info, I will pass it on to Doug.

We just swung by an antique shop in the Skagit Valley and picked up two old pumps to use for parts or rebuilding, but we could always use more!

Thanks!

Dave
 
                              
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I rebuilt them several times over the years. The belt on the wheel take it off it needs replacement and take it to an auto parts store,they should have a similar size. The bell housing either unscrews or unbolts, there should be two springs inside ( springs were included in kits ). There is a gasket made of leather ( old kits had leather gasket ) clean old gasket off top and bottom metal , get a flat peice of cork,, trace and cut out the new gasket yourself. The horizontal piston is going to be the hardest and easiest. The washers on the horizontal rod were cupped and made of leather. I'm sorry but I forget which way those washers were attached either
)----(  or  (-----)  or (----(  or )----)   There was one correct way and any other way the pump would not work. I have no idea where you can get these today. Maybe a leather worker or boot maker. Now the springs for the bell housing, when I was a kid my dad and uncle were working on the pump so we would have spring water piped to the farm house. They started with the bell housing first and found a coil spring was rusted and broken, the other spring was ok. Rather than drive down to St Johnsbury VT and get a new kit, my uncle had an old flashlite in his truck, he took the spring out of the bottom of it and it fit perfect and lasted a couple of years. Ours had a pressure tank and an electric motor. The pump had about 200 feet of maple sugar hose and 200 feet of electric wire . The pump was located at the spring and it was more efficient to do it that way as it was pushing water rather than pulling it. The pressure valve was set I think at 40 psi and at night you could hear the comforting sound of it clicking away every so often if water was used or the pressure dropped. I think you can buy a small tool to make springs of different sizes, the cup washers are gonna be the hardest to find--ours was a sears. Where the rod/piston and cup washers went, if pitted use a brake cylinder hone sparingly to get rid of minor pits but dont over do it
 
Philip Freddolino
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Those old piston pumps are awesome. They are actually much more efficient than jet pumps because they are positive displacement. They fell out of use because of material cost (all that cast iron ) and maintenance. You could probably replace the leather piston packing with a teflon seal and lower your maintenance interval, but cutting out replacement leather seals is a simple matter. That's what interns are for, right ?   I took my PDC there and was impressed by the simplicity and sustainability of using a vintage, maintainable technology like those pumps. It might be well worth it to locate several more pumps for spares before iron scrap rates take another jump. 
 
                              
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I've got two old ones (pumps) in the barn.  I have one complete parts kit and one partial for a sears ( NO-- they ain't for sale ). Another problem was the pressure tank,finding one that would fit. A bit of work for someone that doesn't do this stuff for a living. I  Now those part kits have to be between 40 and 50 years old.  We have new modern pump at the spring, been going no trouble for 10 years ( no maintenance yet), not so with the old piston pumps.---But I can't throw em away--- my dad worked on em, so did I.------------------------------- It's like the darn old pumps are family. Next vacation I will see what they have in that kit for directions and specs and try to scan and post a copy of it.--------BTW I'm in Texas,  the pumps are in New England. I think you can still get a pressure guage for em at Sears or if not original,one that will fit.. I never figured out why the washers were cupped and why they had to go a certain way. Why not just flat ones ?? Where we go up north, we still cook and warm the whole house with an old Glenwood wood cooking stove
 
Peter Mckinlay
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Hello Dave,

The pump in your picture is single action with pressure pot. Dont have any manuals but long experience with them.

Piston pumps are known as possitive action as you can only stall the engine/motor not the water movement.

A cups were leather and easily self moulded. Should the barrel become pitted insert a a brass liner. This is done by leaving the liner in a freezer for the day so it shrinks (opposite of rimming a wagon wheel) then whilst cold drive into cast barrrel.

As you probably allready now dont tighten the packing gland nut to much or you will get shaft wear. Shaft replacement is done by peice of bronze rod tapped at both ends a simple job for engineer and at least three times cheaper than buying off the shelf.

Should there be a tannery near you buy a quarter hide, its cheapest. To mould cups etc. for barrel of pump just cut a circle afix to front of shaft and draw back it will fit clumsy but first water stroke shall complete the moulding. For other parts a mould can be made by digging in the dirt or using concrete form, Well soak the leather with water, place in mould then ram with fine sand and leave weight on top. Couple of hours sand will have drawn water from leather leaving dry mould leather.

Should you have a specific problem please let us know, may have had the same problem.

Cheers Peter
 
Markham Cornoit
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I have a horizontal piston pump branded DangarGedye & Malloch. It appears to be a copy of a Myers Bulldozer pump. I've found information on the Myers version of these pumps via the internet and old books. I was wondering if anybody had any information such as a brochure, catalogue or owner's manual for the Dangar Gedye & Malloch version.The pump has last been belt driven by a 6hp EFE Southern Cross Diesel motor, but would probably be older than the motor. Any clues as to age of pump? It looks very similar to the Myers pumps in their 1928 catalog, but I guess they wouldn't have changed all that much over time. I was thinking of driving it with a Portable Steam engine of 5NHP circa 1910. Would this look 'out of place'? My pump appears to have been green, but can anyone confirm this?Does anybody own or know of any other equipment with their name on it? All I have been able to find about D,G & M so far is that they were a stock & station agent and Australiandistributor for some items. They were taken over by Frigrite in 1961.All information and opinions gratefully considered. 
 
Peter Mckinlay
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Hello Markham Cornoit,

Do have a memory of such Meyer Bulldog pump.

Personaly I would say steam is too old, pumps of that era were driven by hit and miss kerosene engines. (puff puff puff bang) The diesel would have come much later. That age southern cross diesel was still running realy well 1990, left farming.

Cheers Peter
 
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