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Old 05-30-2011, 03:38 PM   #1
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MasterCraft shallow well pump not happy


I have a relatively new pump / tank combo from Canadian Tire (small 5 gal tank with 1/2 horse shallow well pump bolted on top). Runs at 20/40 psi. I've had it for a few years (bought it on sale) but have probably not even pushed 200 gallons thru it over that time. It draws from underground cistern about 100 ft away, probably less than 10' lift to pump (in my crawlspace).

this weekend I added another tank to the system for a bit of capacity. I set the new tank charge also to 18 lb (20/40 switch), bolted everything up, primed the pump and away it went. Everything filled up, pressure hit 40, no leaks or issues, and it ran flawlessly for about 3 or 4 cycles (opened a garden hose and let it run for a short while) - and then it just stopped moving any water. The pump motor was running, zero pressure, there was no visible leak anywhere. I thought it lost prime, but when I opened it up the pump was still full (double checked the impeller chamber, discharge, the suction line, etc. - all full). I couldn't get any more water in the top of the system.

I was thinking about the foot valve - would have guessed if that was shot, it would leak and the water would drain back down to the cistern. But it doesn't. The line stays full. This foot valve is rated to crack open at less than 0.5 lb pressure and I have 1 - 1/4 " suction line - the pump has never had to work very hard. Next trip out I'll swap the foot valve and test but meanwhile my gut feeling is that something in the pump is broken.

I have clear braided tubing on the discharge connection. Usually when I start it up after working on the system, or if it's been off for a while, and if there's a tiny bit of air on the top of the discharge line, I can see the water "boil" just a bit as the impeller stirs things up and starts moving. It will do this while it gets prime. And even with as much as the top half of the discharge full of air (which tells me there's air in the top of the pump too), it still takes prime without a problem. Now the pump kicks in and it's doing nothing - couple tiny air bubbles in the top of the discharge line right at the pump don't even move when the motor starts - like the impeller isn't even trying. I have never had an issue priming this pump - even half full it just takes off. Now the motor starts, and I think the shaft is turning but I think the impeller isn't. Is this possible / likely? can this be fixed? If this pump was 10 years old or pushed 20 thousand gallons I'd be less upset, but it's hardly used.

any sanity checks appreciated - thanks

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Old 05-30-2011, 07:03 PM   #2
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MasterCraft shallow well pump not happy


Canadian Tire/Mastercraft pumps of that vintage were not that good. Many failed right out of the box. Take a new pump with you.

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Old 05-30-2011, 10:24 PM   #3
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MasterCraft shallow well pump not happy


Thanks Daveb for the info. I didn't expect this unit to last forever but this is really disappointing. Canadian Tire won't be where I stop for a replacement. Are there any big box / hardware store pumps that aren't junk? Maybe I'll be tearing this one apart and rebuilding (assuming I can get parts) to keep as a spare just to keep it out of the landfill.
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:16 AM   #4
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MasterCraft shallow well pump not happy


Don't forget farm/home supply centres. Try looking in the yellow pages under wells and pumps in smaller cities near your lake area. Don't go cheap, your trying to save aggravation when you're at the lake.
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:24 AM   #5
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MasterCraft shallow well pump not happy


Quote:
Originally Posted by rtoni View Post
Thanks Daveb for the info. I didn't expect this unit to last forever but this is really disappointing. Canadian Tire won't be where I stop for a replacement. Are there any big box / hardware store pumps that aren't junk? Maybe I'll be tearing this one apart and rebuilding (assuming I can get parts) to keep as a spare just to keep it out of the landfill.
Sound's like the peller inside isn't turning. If it is full of water and water is full in the pipe's that is all that make's the water flow. Look down in the frount of the unit and see if the peller is moving when you turn on the pump??
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:48 AM   #6
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MasterCraft shallow well pump not happy


I agree with del, this may be fixable. A good pump supply store might be able to give you the right part just from a description. I do suggest taking a new pump (returnable) with you.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:57 AM   #7
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MasterCraft shallow well pump not happy


thanks Del / Dave - I'll bring a new unit out and I'll also have a look inside the old one when I pull the hoses off - just to see if the impeller does spin at all when I power it on, as suggested.

One of the local home hardware stores has a pump shop but the guy that used to run the place is gone (i think he retired) - doesn't seem to be what it was before and they sell some cheap stuff there too now. Options seem to be a bit limited here but worst case maybe i'll find a good pump online and eat the shipping charges. Even if I can fix the old one it'll just be a spare.

thanks again
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:41 AM   #8
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MasterCraft shallow well pump not happy


i got the pump swapped out. In the spare pump, I added a bit of water thru the top of the jet housing to prime it, fired it up and it took off immediately. Ran 10 or 12 cycles (20 gal tank) without issue.

Took apart the old pump, everything seemed to be intact (I expected to find pieces of impeller or something bounding around in there). I spun off the impeller, the seal looked ok (at least no visible leaks), impeller and diffuser seem ok, everything turned easily, etc. Only damage is just the gasket that I popped taking it apart. I haven't pulled the seal off since I'm tempted to just put a new gasket around the housing and bolt it back together. I can't figure out why it quit.

As per previous post, the pump, intake, and output (to the tank shutoff) were completely full of water when it decided not to work anymore.

Now I'm just scratching my head....

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