Maintaining and Winterizing Your Combo Truck Can Save You

Maintaining your combination sewer truck will help prolong the life of the parts and help your bottom line. With multiple locations around the country, Jack Doheny Companies’ employees have seen all types of issues on these machines when they aren’t properly maintained. The company distributes VACTOR, Sewer Equipment Company of America, Guzzler, Cusco, Custom Vac, Keith Huber, Imperial, Global and Presvac equipment and offers the following tips to help keep you running.

“Lack of proper winterization leads to broken hoses, fittings, water filter housings, frozen gauges, broken pump check valves, total pump freeze up/failure and even ruptured or distorted water tanks,” says Kay Doheny. “These items can run several hundred dollars in repair to several thousand dollars. This is most common from areas that typically don’t experience cold weather conditions as we have seen across the country this past week.”

Water System

The water system must be maintained throughout the year. Accumulations of dirt and debris in the water tanks and pump can cause excessive wear and premature failures. The tanks should normally be left empty when the unit will not be used. The tanks can be filled in 10-15 minutes.

Draining and flushing the water tanks is important for several reasons:

• If the water tank inlet filter is damaged or the gaskets are missing from the filter cap, foreign material can enter the water tank and spread through the entire water system. If this happens, it could damage the rodder pump seals and damage or clog the oil cooler.

• Foreign material can enter the water tank through the air vents and filler point air gaps, which are open and vulnerable to weather conditions such as dust storms, high winds, rain and snow. Contaminants form sludge that when carried through the system, can damage the water tanks or other components.

• Filling the water tanks from an unfiltered source, such as a hose or city water tower rather than using the hydrant fill system, may allow direct access to chemical contamination. This can create damage-causing sludge.

• Some city water systems contain high concentrations of chemicals such as chlorine, copper, calcium and iron. Certain chemicals in the right concentrations and combinations can damage the water systems. A chemical analysis of some damaged Vactor water tanks has shown pitting caused by localized galvanic action due to copper plating onto the aluminum surface. For this chemical reaction to occur, the copper residue must be present in a concentration of at least 5-6 PPM and the water stagnant in the tank for a long period of time. Even the slightest movement of the water across the aluminum surface would prevent the formation of a residue and the pit would not form.

It is not always possible to determine if contaminates such as foreign material and chemicals have entered the system. Draining and flushing the water tanks and rodder pump as recommended removes all doubt and extends the life of the water system.

Winterizing

Water freezing in the rodder pump, lines or other components can cause severe damage to the water system with water in the tanks. You should leave all drain plugs out and drain valves open until the unit is used. This avoids freezing damage from stray amounts of water that did not fully drain.

In addition to the freezing weather procedures that is standard on all VACTOR units, Jack Doheny Companies recommends that the accumulator ball valve be opened to allow any trapped water in the accumulator to drain. The handgun ports should also be drained. Open the handgun water ball valve and remove all the quick-connect handgun connections. Drain the body washout if equipped.

Ice in the water system can severely damage components. To avoid ice damage:

• Verify that water flows when valves or plugs are opened. Ensure that ice has not plugged drain lines, valves or drain plugs.

• Leave all drain plugs open to keep residual tank water from the tanks from migrating to the system during transport.

• Leave all valves open, Y-strainers out and drain plugs out when the unit will sit overnight or longer. This will allow residual water to drain.

• If the unit cannot be properly drained, move the unit to a warm area and allow the water system to warm completely to drain.

• Never operate water pumps if system is frozen.

The water system must be drained in cold weather to prevent freezing and accumulations of ice in the rodder pump. The following procedure will help prevent ice forming in the system:

1. Move the vehicle to a suitable drain location and shut unit down.

2. Remove the clamp, cap, gasket and screen from the Y-strainer. Some units may have multiple Y-strainers.

3. Open the water tank drains and heat exchanger drain, located on the bottom of the water tanks. Note that when draining is completed leave all valves open, Y-strainers out and drain plugs out when the unit will sit overnight or longer. This will allow any residual water to drain.

4. Remove the handgun quick couplers/quick disconnects from handgun hose reel (if equipped) and handgun outlet at rear of truck.

5. Start truck engine and leave engine at idle.

6. Using the instructions posted in the truck cab, engage the hydraulic pump.

7. Close the rodder ball valve located on the front hose reel and open the handgun ball valve.

8. Place the rodder pump switch in the ON position. Run until all water is expelled from the handgun system. Drain the handgun before storage by walking the water out of the hose while holding the valve open.

9. Place rodder pump switch in the OFF position.

10. Remove nozzle from rodder hose and stand clear of all outlets and place rodder ball valve in the ON position and the rodder pump switch ON. Run until all water is expelled from the rodder hose.

11. Place rodder pump switch in the OFF position.

12. Remove the rodder pump drain plugs or open the drain ball valves (if equipped) and drain all the water from the pump.

13. Stand clear of all outlets and place rodder ball valve in the ON position.

14. Place rodder pump switch in the ON position.

15. Run until all water is expelled from the rodder pump.

16. Place rodder pump switch in the OFF position.

17. Using plastic ties, secure end of rodder hose to adjacent wrap of hose and hose reel. Rodder hose must be would tightly and orderly on the hose reel. Note that when draining is completed leave all valves open, Y-strainers out and drain plugs out when the unit will sit overnight or longer. This will allow any residual water to drain.

18. Ensure truck engine is at idle.

19. While standing clear of rodder hose end, place rodder pump switch in the ON position.

20. After all water is expelled from rodder hose and only air is discharged, place rodder pump switch in the OFF position.

21. To discharge residual water from rodder hose, rotate hose reel in a clockwise direction (facing hose reel from front of truck) and continue until all water is expelled.

22. Place the handgun and rodder ball valves in the ON position.

23. Remove drain plugs from bottom of rodder pump waterside, or open the optional remote drain levers if so equipped. Remove the manifold plug.

24. Place rodder pump switch in the ON position.

25. Operate rodder pump until all water and debris is clear from drain plugs or remote drains.

26. Place rodder pump switch in the OFF position.

27. Using instructions posted in cab, disengage hydraulic pump.

28. Remove three-inch plug located near right rear wheel.

29. Remove debris body washout drain plug and open ball valves, if equipped.

30. Store strainer cap, gasket clamp, rodder pump plugs, three-inch plug and quick disconnects in toolbox.

31. Open accumulator ball valve and remove drain plug. Note that when draining is completed leave all valves open, Y-strainers out and drain plugs out when the unit will sit overnight or longer. This will allow any residual water to drain.

The unit is now ready for storage. On start-up, close rodder pump remote drain ball valves, place either handgun or rodder ball valve in the ON position, replace handgun quick couplers/quick disconnects and install screen, cap and clamp on Y-strainer, close water tank drains before filling water tanks.

Story by Jennifer Taylor

RESOURCES
For More Information, visit:
■ Jack Doheny Companies, www.dohenysupplies.com
■ You Tube, www.youtube.com/user/JackDohenyCompanies
■ VACTOR, www.vactor.com
■ Sewer Equip. Co. of America, www.sewerequipment.com
■ Guzzler, www.guzzler.com
■ Cusco, www.wastequip-cusco.com
■ Custom Vac, www.customvac.com
■ Keith Huber, www.keithhuber.com
■ Imperial, www.imperialind.com
■ Global, www.globalvacuumsystems.com
■ Presvac, www.presvac.com

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