Did my well pump motor fail?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by dis360, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. dis360

    dis360 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Just my luck...

    I recently finished replacing a lot of my well water components that were old and tired. I installed a new 3 pod 20" filter setup, including a KDF 85 iron remover and a spin down filter. I replaced my pressure tank as the old one was horribly saturated with sediment and I installed a CSV, which is fantastic! In addition to all that I replaced the pressure switch with a 40/60 PSI switch including a low pressure cut off, also added some new gauges and pressure release value. I am proud of getting in there and doing all this, the payoff was great, water is super clean, pressure is great, wifes happy and the CSV works great, I love it.

    I had all this completed for and working great for about 10 days now. I was finally sitting back and enjoying the fruits of my labor and... boom turn the water on today and, uh oh pressure is dropping, waters flow is decreasing.. Did the power go out? No.. Check the pressure switch, all is good, check the power to the switch all is good. Switch is clicking and arcing and has power but no water is flowing. Checked all the connections with a volt meter, even checked the well head electrical connections and we have 240V at all locations.

    If I leave the pump alone for about 20 minutes and start the pressure switch (because of low pressure cutoff) it will kick on once, it will fill up the tank and pressurize to 60 PSI, then the pump will turn off when the pressure drops with flowing water, the switch will engage the contacts but no pump activity. It's like you get one shot to turn the pump on and that's all you get, after that you have to wait about 20-30 mins and maybe it will come on again. Luckily for me the CSV will allow us to keep the water running from the single pump cycle, for showers and things like that. The pump/motor doesn't have any degraded performance while it's running, it just refuses to cycle on without a long 20+ minute rest.

    The well pump by itself was replace about 2 years ago it's an AY McDonald, I don't think the motor was replaced at that time, for all I know it's old. Am I dealing with a bad motor here? Do I need to pull the whole the pump and motor assembly up and check it?
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I think you are saying that you have a submersible pump.

    One thing that could cause the low pressure kicking off is the pressure switch being delayed by a clogged nipple to the pressure switch. But where does the predictable 20 minute thing come from? I don't know how that would come about.

    Is this a 3-wire pump with a control box? Could the start capacitor being weak cause this? I would expect that to be a more random thing.

    You could drop the air precharge a bit. You could get a pressure switch without the low-pressure cutoff. But that 20 minute thing.... bad pump motor could be it; I don't know much about that.
     
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  4. dis360

    dis360 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    It's a 4" submersible 3/4 HP, 2 wire pump. There is no control box, the pump is wired right from the breaker box to a 65 foot run to a small standard electrical box with a basic light switch in it, that someone labeled PUMP. Then that wire coming out runs through another small standard electrical box with nothing inside other than wire nuts. From there it goes to the pressure switch then underground for about 80 feet right to the pump, nothing else in between.

    When this first happened today, I went into the crawl space, gauge says 0 PSI, flipped the start switch on the pressure switch and the pump came right on, went to 60 PSI. I said to myself "that was weird at least it's working now" but knew there was more to come. I came back inside and turned the water on, and it flowed out, the pressure went to 40 PSI and then.down to 0 PSI, the pump didn't come on. I went back down and replaced the pressure switch with another new one. Hit the start on the switch and the pump comes on, hits 60 PSI and stops, then I test run the water and same thing, switch clicks on when it stops to 40 PSI but no pump.
     
  5. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I am afraid the motor is tripping the built in overload. Sometimes it takes 20 minutes for those to cool down and reset before the pump will come back on. Unfortunately, there is no capacitor in a control box that you could replace. Check the amps with a clip around amp meter. If a 3/4HP is drawing more than 7 amps it will trip the overload.

    The motor could be old. Or the motor could be one of the new ones they were making 2-3 years ago with bad internal capacitors. I just did an autopsy on a similar motor for another person and found the split phase capacitors were not made for continuous duty. So, when you run the pump for more than 10-15 minutes the capacitors burn out. A motor that says "made for continuous duty" right on the side should also have capacitors that are made for continuous duty. The motor manufacturer tried to blame the CSV for the motor failure. I didn't even get an apology, much less thanks for doing the work to find out what was wrong with their motors. Anybody who has problems with Centri-pro (Goulds) or Pentek (Pentair) 2 wire motors should be aware they were not made correctly.
     
  6. dis360

    dis360 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Okay that sounds like that could be my issue. As the motor has never run continously prior to CSV. I didn't even know some motors couldn't run continously. I suppose I will be pulling up the pump out of the well ASAP to look at the motor. Are motor components generally made to be replaceable? Like the capacitors etc ..
     
  7. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I couldn't even disassemble that Goulds Centripro motor without cutting it open. Nothing you can do to repair except to put a new motor on the existing pump end.

    I didn't even know some motors couldn't be run continuously either! And Goulds and other submersible motors are made to run continuously. They didn't know the capacitors they put in where not made for continuous duty either. I am sure they have gotten that fixed by now or they would be out of business. If you look at the fine print on some of the cheap pumps being sold on the Internet you will see some say "not for continuous duty". Now what does that mean? Can I run it 5 minutes at a time, 20 minutes? Who knows! Not something we had to look for in the past, but we do now.
     
  8. dis360

    dis360 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I just tried to kick the pump on to refill the toilets and some 5 gallon jugs and it must be all the way dead now. Now I've got to get a motor ASAP. Is there a motor that is recommended or just something rated for continuous use?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  9. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    See if you can find a Franklin motor.
     
  10. dis360

    dis360 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I was lucky enough to have some real nice neighbors. I ran a about 150 ft. of garden hose from their hose bib to mine and have had running water while my well is out of commission.

    I purchased and received a new 3/4 HP franklin motor that is made for continuous duty, this thing is heavy.

    PXL_20210415_152209649.jpg

    I popped the cap on the well head PXL_20210414_193858799.jpg

    PXL_20210414_193910878.jpg

    and started pulling.. Wow it's heavy.. I know I could have used a wench or other contraptions but, I went old fashion.

    PXL_20210415_152338104.jpg

    I pulled about 100 ft. out yesterday, it got too dark and started to rain and had to stop. I will be pulling up the rest a little later today once I get out of work. I found a well sticker left by a previous technician and it says the pump depth is 180 ft., no wonder it's a million pounds.

    Once I get everything all the way out, I'm going to test the old motor by applying power. I am also going to build a flow sleeve () to hopefully prolong the life of the motor, god knows I don't want to have to pull this again. I am going to extend the flow sleeve about 1 foot past the end of the motor as well since the pump depth is 180 ft. and the casing depth is only 70 ft, this should help with any sediment at least compared to nothing.

    Is there any other tips or tricks I should be doing while I have everything removed? Also can I test the new motor while it's removed from the well, dry run it for a few seconds?
     
  11. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Make the flow inducer about 2 feet longer than the motor and it will help greatly with heavy sediment.
     
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    green solvent weld D2729 sewer pipe is good for building the flow inducer: OD 4.215 ID 4.056
     
  13. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    That 4" white drain pipe works good. Can't get the green in thin wall anymore.

    shroud 3 pics sized.jpg
     
  14. dis360

    dis360 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Finally got the pump up and out. 180 ft. Is a lot by hand.

    Looks like the old motor is a Franklin as well, I cant really tell from the serial number what year it was made, it doesn't look very old, my new one and old one have similar beginning serial numbers. When I got the pump out I applied power and it just hummed, its sucking 24 amps, not spinning (which is good). I disconnected it from the pump and both the pump and motor spin freely by hand, tried the motor again and still nothing, just humming and warming up. I can see rainbowing in the case like when steel gets hot. Also I noticed there is no pump arrestor anywhere, should I add one?

    Old one:
    PXL_20210415_235227302.jpg
    PXL_20210416_002126856.jpg

    PXL_20210416_034025318.jpg

    I couldn't find a date decoder that made sense for these pumps. The old pumps model number ends in a G and the new one ends in a P, but same model number other than that.

    This is the new one:
    PXL_20210416_222433574.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021 at 3:40 PM
  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
  16. dis360

    dis360 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Looks like a failed pressure tank with 4 PSI in it, kicking on and off every 30 seconds under draw, then adding a CSV during the last week of it's life will kill a motor after 2 years. Looks like my new one is older than my old one, I know the pump was replaced in Feb of 2019, they must have replaced both motor and pump, although the work order I found in the house from the previous owners only listed the AY McDonald pump replacement.
     
  17. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    It is fairly rare to change out the motor and keep the same wet end. But it probably should not be as rare.

    Seriously, try to find references to topping up the water in the motor. I don't remember pictures of the operation. If you do that, consider taking and posting photos.

    Is the new motor the same as the old? See what the weight difference is.
     
  18. dis360

    dis360 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I'll try to find what your referencing.
    I assumed I would be okay to use the 2 year old pump with the new motor, hopefully that's true. The old and new motor are the same model number except for the last letter G (old) P (new) but they look identical. I'll weight both of them and post difference.
     
  19. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
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