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wiz561 05-05-2013 07:46 PM

Power Washer Seized

I'm hoping somebody can shed some light on this because it's kind of a goofy question... I have a Brute Power Washer with a Honda engine. I tried to start it for the first time this year, and I get two puffs out of the engine and then it dies. Tried to pull the recoil rope and it putts and then nothing. Tried to pull the rope again and I can't. I then squeeze the trigger to shoot some regular non-pressurized water through it, and water does come out. Tried to pull the string again, and it putts twice and dies. Pull the trigger, and no water comes out. Pull the string, it puffs smoke twice and stops....repeat, etc...

I did this a few times and it's just the same thing. I thought maybe the pump seized up, so I took the pump off the motor. Cranked the motor right up after that and it ran this leads me to believe it's the pump that is broke.

Now to try to figure out what's going on with this thing without pulling my hair out. I read somewhere that it might be some sort of pressure relief valve that is stuck. Does this sound like some sort of stuck valve like this where minimal disassembly is needed, or does it sound like a complete overhaul?


gregzoll 05-05-2013 08:21 PM

Do you use it on city or well water? Do you know what the hardness level is for the water you are using through the power washer? How old is this power washer? Depending on the price of the pump, and the age of the power washer, you may be better just buying a new one, and keeping the other for parts, or sell it for parts.

old_squid 05-05-2013 10:01 PM

You could try buying a can of the pump conditioner and see if you can get that to go through it. Otherwise, yeah, replace the pump. Make sure you don't put it away without flushing it out with conditioner.

PoleCat 05-06-2013 06:02 AM

Sure sounds like the unloader is stuck alright. Stuck pretty good too.

PoleCat 05-06-2013 06:05 AM

Open it up and look for a spring that is rusted itself to the case.

wiz561 05-06-2013 07:34 AM

Thanks for the information. I'll probably tinker with it some more this weekend and see what happens. Hopefully it's just that stuck unloader thing and I can get it unstuck.

The powerwasher was used on city water that is hard (chicago/lake michigan water). I've always used that water with it, but who knows. This winter though, I loaned it out and didn't get it back to put the pump conditioner in. Lesson learned that pump conditioner really works.

handyman_20772 05-06-2013 07:58 AM

Another lesson learned hopefully is "don't loan out your tools", ask me how I know.

ToolSeeker 05-06-2013 08:00 AM

Also don't let it sit all winter with ethanol gas in it. Either put a shutoff in the fuel line and run it out of gas or drain it.

wiz561 05-06-2013 07:18 PM

Yeah---well, I won't go into detail of who I loaned it to.

I took a look at it tonight and dismantled the pump, took the unloader out, looked at it and put it all back together. Since I don't really know what I was looking for, nothing really looked stuck, seized, scaled, rusted, etc... Put it back on and it started back up, but now there's zero pressure going through the hose. I mean, it's just the main line pressure, not high pressure.

So, back to the drawing board...

gregzoll 05-06-2013 07:21 PM


Originally Posted by handyman_20772 (Post 1173619)
Another lesson learned hopefully is "don't loan out your tools", ask me how I know.

Tell me about it. Just found out tonight, that the son broke the deck at the outlet for the grass discharge, on our ten year old Craftsman. Heard him hit a rock a few weeks ago, and I know that is what did it, but you know kids. They always deny that they broke it, or just scared of the consequences.

Now to find out if our local small engine shop at the Big R that I go to off and on, can fix it, otherwise, daddy is getting a welder for early dad's day.

wiz561 05-06-2013 08:51 PM

lol.... I guess when you're a kid, you break dad's stuff, but as you get older, you break your sons stuff. :D Vicious circle we live in!

In all reality, it's not a big deal as he has helped me with so much. I'm just trying to figure out if it was something that was easily fixable. From what I've read online, these pumps are more like a disposable item when these things happen. People say it's not worth the time, effort, and parts to rebuild them. They say that if you don't use the pump conditioner, then the internal parts start getting corroded and will seize up like what has happened to me. Now to think what to do....but a new pump for 150 and save the engine, or buy a new pressure washer. Hmmm...

So, for whoever says pump guard is snake oil, point them to this thread.

PoleCat 05-07-2013 03:37 AM

I always dismantle the broken. Started when I was 9 and we lived on a disfunct fruit farm in S. Illinois. Place was an agri-machine junk yard. I get lucky sometimes and actually fix what ever it is I have opened up.

mj12 05-07-2013 06:22 AM

just a thought, I had a internal kink in my pressure washers hose and it was doing the same thing as yours. As the washer was running I went inch by inch bending the hose and at one point the washer started to spray, I took a stick and tore up my shirt to make rope and tied the stick over the hose so it did not bend at that point. These Honda engines are absolute junk these days. I completely tore one down hoping to fix a stuck valve. To spare you the details -what junk.

jagans 05-07-2013 07:32 AM

If you have someone hold the trigger down on the gun and it starts and rns OK the it is the unloader. Simple to rebuild, its basically a spring and a ball and seat. Try adjusting it first. You need to blow out the pump at the end of the season with compressed air.

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