Note: these archives were compiled from past Parking Lot Planet Forums. The answers and opinions are those of the posters. Things may have changed since then, so be sure to get up to date information from the current Parking Lot Planet forum
Machines – Troubleshooting and Repair
Striper Failing Help
Graco Pressure Control
New 3900 tracking badly???
Trouble with my new Graco 3900
Powerliner 6000 problem
Honda won't start
Oil filling for Hondas
Graco 5900 Front Caster??
Will only paint a 1" line!
3900 getting clogs!
Parts for older stripers...
Engine Speed on 3900
Pressure Settings on Graco 5900
Striper Failing Help
Date: 11/21/99 9:21:47 PM
Yesterday when I was striping with my line laser 5000 it started acting strange. All of a sudden it acted like it was running out of paint in the pail, the pump kept running as if it was not getting any paint. My line got real thin then wide again. Something is really gone wrong with it. Does my pump need rebuilding? help
Date: 11/21/99 9:22:22 PM
Sounds like it needs to be repacked. The pump's inability to stall combined with the fluctuating pressures indicates a failed ball/seat or packing set. I'm assuming the filters are clean and nothing is stuck in one of the balls/seats. Packings should always be replaced immediately on noticing there is a problem. If you continue and try to finish the job or the next couple of jobs, you will find that that little bypassing/leaking within the pump will quickly wear the hard parts. Packing kits are inexpensive, couple that with worn rods and cylinders and the price goes way up.
Date: 11/21/99 9:22:51 PM
it has happened to me too many times, check your paint intake hose at the bottom of the pump there is a 90 degree metal block with a ball in it. take the block off then clean out the block until the ball frees up, its probably stuck
Date: 11/21/99 9:23:16 PM
Not a circuit board problem - it was running out of paint...at least the pump was, because of blockage in the suction side of the pump. The inlet screen is the most likely place, but could be in the suction hose or in the pump itself. Caused by clumps of solids in the paint.
Date: 11/21/99 9:23:44 PM
Me too the first time it happened. =O What you have is a defective pc board. It happens. I got one straight out of box. The pump does not get the relay from the sensor to stop. Be careful ! This can be quite dangerous. In the short term, try zeroing your pressure control dial each time you turn the machine off. Then, each time you fire up the machine again, wait about 4 seconds before bringing the pressure back up (there's usually a built in delay). You DO need to replace the circuit board though. Wait 'til you see the cost ! haha
Date: 11/21/99 9:24:20 PM
Thanks to all who gave their input on my failing striper. It was dirty and had a chunk of paint in it. Sure is good to have this help. Thanks again.
Date: 1/8/00 6:52:22 PM
Be prepared to spend lots of time in the repair shop when you run airless equipment, not only with the expensive Graco's as the postings above suggest.
Date: 1/11/00 2:42:28 PM
We al have our own preference to what we stripe with. I happen to like Graco as I feel because it is airless I do not have to thin my paint. I could be wrong but if you spray straight paint and it is not mixed with air or thinned the customer gets solid "Paint" to the pavement. He will call me back everytime. The job last longer. As for the repairs any equipment will need repairs if not taken care of properly.
Date: 12/2/00 10:56:52 AM
We run airlessco machines and they rarely need to be repaired. We currently have 5 of them and have had almost no trouble from them. (we have run these for years) They do a very good job and we have been very pleased with them. They also are less expensive than a lot of the others.
New 3900 tracking badly???
Date: 4/1/00 9:36:41 PM
I've just been practicing with water but the machine tracks badly to the left....I have to manually manipulate it to the right to keep the lines "fairly" straight....I was under the impression that you could basically push it and it would go straight...Is something wrong or is this just normal?????
Date: 4/2/00 10:12:11 PM
A couple of things I have found to cause the machine to go wacky. 1.Check the tire pressure in the rear wheels, make sure they are the same. 2. The front caster on the new 3900 &5900 have an adjustable lock on it. Chances are the front caster is not locked in at 90 degrees. If you look in you instructions it should tell you how to correct this problem.
Fat Track won't track!
Date: 8/23/00 6:32:55 PM
THE TWO NEW FAT TRACKS THAT I INSTALLED WON'T TRACK STRAIGHT!!!! THE RIMS ARE NOT TRUE. SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP. ANY INFORMATION WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. JOE
Date: 8/25/00 12:49:12 AM
Doggonit Joe!! I remember I had to adjust the front wheel but I forgot exactly how I did it. Start with a nice straight chalk line on the most level piece of ground you can find. Hand tighten the bolts on the wheel, engage the wheel lock and run the machine down the line. I don't remember an adjusting screw. I think I just bumped the wheel around a little and tried it out. Luckily I got it right the first time, I do remember that. So, a little trial and error with the screws till you get it lined up right. Good Luck !! Fonz
Date: 8/25/00 8:57:23 PM
WOW!!! I'll have to agree with everybody now. They are the cats meow. You sold me fonz. Did the 2nd.coat right smack over the top of the others, wow. Thanks to all. Joe
Graco 3500 Tracking
From: RP Parking Solutions
Date: 12/20/99 1:21:48 PM
We have two Graco's a 3000 and a 3500 and we used to love both machines. However lately our 3500 is not tracking as straight as it did when we first acquired it. Our 3000 will paint straighter lines with hardly any effort. My questions are do any of you have the new fat track system installed on your graco's? And if so how do you like it. Doe's it reduce the amount of movement typically associated with a pivoting front wheel or doe's ours sound like it is worn out? Any help to make this good machine track straight again is greatly appreciated. Oh Yeah Fonz, we even stopped going to the bar before we used it. Thanks, RP
Date: 12/20/99 2:43:22 PM
I had the same problem with my 5000. I did replace the caster with the Fat Track system and it worked GREAT until the cable snapped.(Graco did warranty the cable, thanks comac)
I think it rides over the bumps better then the old wheel. And I also like the adjustable pin it comes with, so if the locking pin wears out all you do is flip it over. Check the Graco site for more details.
Good Luck JIm
Date: 12/20/99 4:39:10 PM
We noticed a lot of slop in the caster on our 3500 after only a year of use. However, we are lucky enough to have a machine shop and we simply made a new pin with larger square dimensions on the locking pin. That tightened it up considerably.
When it is needed again, we might invest in a retrofit to the fat-trak (I assume it can be retrofitted to the older models).
Date: 12/25/99 9:10:23 PM
How old is the 3500? Is it still under warranty? If so, have it replaced. If not, the Fat Track system is the best upgrade you can add to a 3500 or 5000. Virtually no looseness in the caster/pin mechanism plus you will get a greater sense of stability and balance. You line may become more straight and you may even work faster.
Trouble with my new Graco 3900
Date: 5/15/00 7:55:16 PM
My new 3900 is giving me fits. It almost never sprays a crisp line, seems "finicky" on paint and the lines are "scalloping" and heavy. I tried to do a double line striping and the second line would only spray about a two inch width...that’s pressure all the way up and engine full throttle, using two 317 tips...its never sprayed right since I bought it and this is the second time in the shop. The pump seems "sporadic and erratic" sometimes its strokes smoothly and other times seems to stick...I’m using SW paint...Around here its known as the "headache 3900", one of my helpers recently took out a 15 year old airlessco with a diaphragm pump cause he didn’t want to fool with the Graco, my symptoms seem strangely similar to those experienced by "fonz" in an earlier question about pressure control...Well its back in the shop....
Date: 5/15/00 8:11:09 PM
I experienced the same problem. Tell your service dealer to check the gun. Bad needle travel or damaged diffuser can cause these problems.
Date: 5/15/00 8:52:49 PM
I didn't think the darn thing would support two guns!!!...I believe you. But I cannot believe Graco would put out a pump that didn't. The 3900 is supposed to put out about 1 /4 gallons per minute. That’s about the out put of the old 5500. They advertise being able to spray a 24 inch line with the machine. That's two 621's. No way could my machine do that !!! NO BALLS!!!!!!!! My 3500 is a better set -up. I'm convinced the trouble is in the control. I cannot believe Graco doesn't know how to build a pump. My lines are crisp and sharp and a consistent width. No hour-glass and no lead in bulge at the start of the line. But I gotta thin the paint, about 16 oz to 5 gallons. That’s Bull!!!! It handles like a dream even with a loaded 15 gallon tank............JUST NO BALLS!!!!!.................and no GRACO!!!...I don’t want to take it to a shop!!!..How about you come to me!!!!!........and bring a pressure gage with you!!!...Damn thing should have one on it anyway!!!!!
Date: 5/15/00 9:51:44 PM
NO TROUBLE WITH MY 3000 (GRACO) BUT I AGREE WITH FONZ ALL OF THEM SHOULD HAVE A PSI GAUGE ON THEM.
From: Robert Liles
Date: 5/16/00 6:17:45 AM
Our 3900 almost always makes a perfect line. And we have painted miles of double lines using 319 tips and both s/w chlorinated rubber and 1952d waterbased. Only trouble I ever had was a defective circuit board, under warranty, replaced it myself in 5 minutes. I agree, a pressure gauge should be standard equipment. And Fonz, a gauge near the gun would be useful too. You may have a flow restriction somewhere.
Date: 5/16/00 6:45:11 AM
When running with a pressure gauge what is right pressure setting on the gauge when spraying?
Date: 5/16/00 7:47:28 AM
According to Graco specs for the new 3900 max tip for 1 gun .034 for 2 guns .024 @ a max output of 1.15 gpm @ max pressure of 3300 psi. Claims to spray "most" traffic paints without thinning. There's always a lot of talk about comparisons but the bottom end SpeeFlo (now Titan) PowrLiner 4000 specs. tip size for 1 gun .36 for 2 guns .26 max output 1.3 gpm @ 3000 psi. Claims to handle "all" traffic paints no matter the thickness without thinning. (OK that's my traditional plug for SpeeFlo) All performance issues are related to a lot of factors put together, tip size, pressure, type of paint, correct filter sizes for paint type, check valve function, or any combination of it all. With any pump machine be sure not to run 1 gun off the short hose if you have a 2 gun set up. The long hose is needed to minimize pulsation. Has anybody used the new locking caster and reversible handlebar features of a 3900?... those are the 1st thing from Graco to really interest me since these were long-time defects missing in most striping machines today. It looks like they would be very handy.
Date: 5/16/00 6:51:30 PM
If you're looking to reverse the handle bars in order to have more maneuverability for painting tight curves, just swing the gun around 180 degrees so its next to the rear wheel. Works great.
Date: 5/16/00 4:27:24 PM
You should never own a "headache anything". Sounds like you have a bad circuit board. Have they replaced it yet? Have they put a test gauge on it yet to confirm that you do in fact have 3300 PSI. Other than that you may have something odd or a defective part as YTOES states. I suggest you call Graco direct and ask for the number of their local rep. to get his recommendation for the "best" service center in your area. If the "best" service center in the area cannot resolve the issues, call the head of Graco's service department, tell him what you have been through and what you have done to resolve it in the field and ask for a replacement 3900. I suspect your service center is not up to snuff. Fonz, you should do the same. No one should live with a headache.
Powerliner 6000 problem
Date: 6/6/00 11:00:44 PM
I have a problem with my Powerliner 6000. At the top and bottom of the pump stroke, my striper sprays an hourglass pattern. It's seems like it loses pressure at those instances and then quickly recovers. I've tried everything I can think of, new tips, different hoses, checked the suction tube and bypass valve, filters, hydraulic oil, pressure settings, paint. This problem can come and go at anytime during a job. Please give me some ideas about what could be wrong. Thanks ET
Date: 6/7/00 9:27:14 AM
We've never had the problem you mention (as with most stripers you can sometimes get a slight "hourglass" at the start of a stripe...not related to pump stroke position). All I can say is we normally use Titan 1704 striping tips, we don't thin paint, and we run at about 80% pressure with one gun, 100% with two or extra large tips, always full engine speed. We move fast as far as striping speed, thus the somewhat higher than "normal" pressure settings as related to tip size. If you've checked filters (hydraulic, paint line, and gun)pump lube oil is good (not dirty or low), have a long hose on the gun you are using for 1 gun stripes, etc. you've done about all you can do "in th field". If your problem still seems to be tied to the pump stroke I would suggest talking to your service center, it could be wear in a check valve or seat for example, but a stroke related problem would probably be diagnosed quicker by a trained service person.
Date: 6/7/00 10:41:08 AM
make sure you have 50 feet or more of hose on your main striping gun.
Date: 6/7/00 6:13:18 PM
Other than the obvious, you may need to remove the lower and make sure the balls are seating. Paint or chips can collect around the seats and prevent the ball from seating correctly. This can cause pressure loss at the top and bottom. Worst case scenario, repack the pump, it may just be time.
Date: 6/11/00 10:38:57 AM
How old is the machine? Waterborne paint? When does it hourglass: top of the stroke, bottom or both? Do you have enough Hydraulic oil? When was the last time you changed the hydraulic oil and filter? Are the paint filters and strainers and suction hose in good shape. And of course the pump lower as Ytoes stated. If all else fails, add water. The key question to answer for easy diagnosis, is WHEN in the stroke does it pulse, top, bottom, or both. Do you have a good service center nearby? Sarcastic comment to Ken/Stripes: Could it be possible that even hydraulic pumps have issues? Sorry, couldn't resist.
Date: 6/11/00 3:02:25 PM
Good shot! LOL!
I had a weird problem recently much similar to the one described. I did everything in the book. After changing the gun filter, I finally tried swapping out the whole gun. The problem went away. I found the plastic end piece of a line filter stuck down in the gun's filter barrel. Sheesh! Really had me scratching my head.
Date: 6/13/00 12:44:04 PM
Oh! 'Forgot to point out...it wasn't the trusty hydraulic pump :-) ka-chunk ka-chunk!!!
Honda won't start
Date: 7/22/00 5:22:17 PM
Always be prepared by keeping a quart of oil with your striping supplies. It may save you time and aggravation by understanding that Honda engines have an automatic shut off if the oil level gets too low. One way of preventing this is to always keep up with maintenance. A sure sign is when you’re striping up or down hill and the machine seems to sputter or simply wont start up. Hummm... the gas tank is full... what could it be? Then a little voice should tell you to check the oil. It could save you priceless time by knowing this tid bit of info.
Date: 7/26/00 4:56:51 PM
Great advise. I also have had a problem when making fast turns that cause the oil to slosh to the side causing the auto kill switch to shut down the motor. If you don't have any oil handy and you are sure you aren't too low, you can disconnect the male female connector on the loose wire that goes to the oil switch. It will get you by until you can get some oil. But, be careful and watch the oil level especially if it is using oil.
Oil filling for Hondas
Date: 7/27/00 12:15:36 PM
A little tip to get oil into the Honda engines. Use the top of a water sport bottle. The kind where you have to pull the top to open it. The oil is thick enough that you can turn the bottle on the side and it will not leak out. And I am sure everyone has dumped more oil on the chassis then in the motor.
Date: 7/27/00 8:37:37 PM
Great idea Jim. I'm always pouring oil on the ground when trying to add it to my popcorn 3100 machine. I think they were giggling when they designed the paint bracket to cover the access to the oil plug.
Date: 7/28/00 7:03:00 AM
Yes, Thanks Jim... (duh why didn't I think of that?)We own lots of Honda powered equipment and it's not just stripers... ALL manufacturers make it as hard to add oil to Hondas as possible. I think most pavement equipment companies have a dedicated engineer whose job is to figure out how to make it difficult to do routine service and repairs and almost impossible to reach the one bolt on any piece of equipment that seems to need to be tightened all the time.
Date: 7/28/00 6:20:07 PM
I take an empty oil quart and slice a 1 inch slit down the side starting from the top and stop before reaching the bottom. this way you can use it as a make shift funnel, set the neck at the oil fill hole and just pour the oil in the slot near the base and the oil will flow out the neck.
Date: 7/31/00 3:41:52 PM
I actually don't mind spilling a little oil on the tray. I wipe it up with a rag, then use the oiled rag to wipe down the rest of the machine. A thin coat of oil over the entire machine helps to keep any drops of paint that I might have spilled from sticking. Then all I have to do for my monthly cleaning of the machine is to spray everything down with Simple Green, wait a couple minutes, and then fire up the pressure washer. =)
Date: 7/31/00 10:58:29 PM
I have an almost new powr liner 4000 and another one that had about a hundred thousand miles on it when I bought it from Robert three years ago. Both have so much paint on them its hard to tell them apart. Needless to say, I don't spend much time cleaning.
Date: 8/2/00 10:53:39 AM
Parking Garages have plenty of dust which seems to build up in those hard to reach places, like the cooling fins of the engine. I have been using carburetor cleaner on my striper which seems to cut through anything in its path, also good for any moving part before lubing.
Date: 8/5/00 11:14:48 PM
Recently I purchased a used Graco with a second gun knowing that someday I would have a use for the extra gun. That day finally came so I decided to hook it up a few days before the job to get the kinks (if any) worked out. It worked like a champ. I striped a few jobs prior, never using the second gun, but left it attached for the up coming big day. That day finally came and ... nothing, why doesn't the second gun spray? after careful inspection I found the problem. I ran a wire down the hose and halfway it stopped. I had a CLOG!!!! Seems the paint had trickled down the hose while I was spraying with the first gun. Common sense right? $42.00 for a 6 foot replacement hose. I will never make that mistake again.
Date: 8/5/00 11:19:26 PM
Forgot to mention, I had to stripe all 260 double line spaces, One Line At A Time...
Date: 8/6/00 12:54:02 PM
Hmmmm?????........I would think if the gun was under charge at least once.....completely full of paint , you would have been ok. Now if it was a clean gun and line and you just attached it and never used it, now that I could understand as causing your problem.
Date: 8/6/00 8:15:49 AM
Yep... You live and learn... if you leave a second gun attached you have to flush it's line even if you don't spray with it to prevent the clog. It's also a good idea to flush the valve where the 2nd gun attaches (on machines that have them) so you don't build up a little clog in the valve housing that gets pushed into the gun when you open the valve.
Date: 8/6/00 8:23:26 AM
I guess my first question would have to be - How do you clean the machine without purging the second line? You need to purge the paint that gets pushed up into the beginning of that line every time you clean the machine or change colors. If you did this, your color changes and cleanings would go much faster (I can change colors or clean the machine in 10 minutes). This is time well spent to know your equipment is clean and 100% operable.
Date: 8/7/00 8:49:02 AM
I understand how air in the lines would cause the clog you described. Just out of curiosity, were you using a latex or water borne set fast paint? I always leave paint in all machines and keep them lightly charged (when I'm using alkyd). Seems the only time any problems arise is after using latex.....(another reason we don't choose to do much restriping). Petroleum bases don't seem to set up as quickly inside the machinery.
Date: 8/8/00 7:46:55 AM
Out of curiosity... what has latex got to do with restriping? It would seem much more likely to me to do nothing but restriping if you use oil-bases since latex is normally used for new asphalt/sealcoating/etc. (We have found it often sticks better on new concrete also)I don't get it, and was just wondering.
Date: 8/8/00 8:55:21 AM
Sorry...I wasn't clear. I don't solicit restripe jobs. I have a couple of contractors I like to keep happy when they do asphalt or sealcoating....'bout the only time I "restripe"
Date: 8/9/00 12:04:14 AM
WHAT IS WRONG WITH USING LATEX FOR RESTRIPING? THAT IS ALL WE SPRAY ALL YEAR LONG. JOE
Date: 8/9/00 3:39:40 AM
Again, the main reason for not using latex is because it "seems" to set up in machines even if there is no air in the systems. Our machines stay independently loaded with different colors (usually chlorinated rubber or plain alkyd) so there is no set up or clean up time wasted.
Another biggy for us not using latex....with latex, I have to stop and clean stencils because they get drippy, sloppy and messy faster than with alkyd (especially CR). It is therefore harder to use a Lazy Liner for the stencils because you can't readily stack them when you need to at the end of a long run. CR skims over almost instantly so it is possible to stack stencils and move them quickly and easily. When the job is complete and allowing the stencils to dry completely, they stencils will almost clean themselves if (especially if they are pretreated with WD40.) Evenly layered CR will peel like a paper shell pecan.
I also like the way CR molecules seem to "hold hands" and flex instead of chipping.
Thanks, Don, for your comment about latex staying better on new concrete. Maybe I'll reevaluate the pros and cons of latex because most of our work is on concrete.
Thanks all, ken
Date: 8/9/00 7:01:04 AM
Just to clarify... Most pro-stripers understand about the adverse effects that an out-of-whack alkali content of particular concrete batches can have on striping paint performance (mainly on new or newer concrete) We've found that on some of these situations latex is the only thing that will stick. Also if you use SW paints (and we do mostly) the color of their latex yellow fades far less than their alkyd paints. To me C-Rubber paints have always been the biggest pains to use (I like conventional alkyds or latex) but many people prefer them. It just shows how personal opinions differ.
Date: 8/7/00 10:43:23 AM
I had the same problem one time. What I did to prevent this from happing again is I removed the hose from the filter housing and installed a ball valve in the housing and the hose after the valve. After flushing the 2nd gun clean, flip the valve off and you are set until the next time you need the gun. Or if you do not use the 2nd gun a lot its easy to remove or install.
Graco 5900 Front Caster??
Date: 8/30/00 4:14:19 AM
We had a little mishap with our 5900 the other day (it rolled about 50ft & crashed into a curb) and we cracked a part to the front caster. I called my local rep and he said that he thinks we have to purchase a new caster for $350. It looks to me that we can replace the broken piece, which is a small silver rectangular piece with two bolts through it, for about $20... Has anyone repaired one of these? Is there a caster parts manual? The manuals that I have show only the caster as on entire unit, not broken down into its components. Thanks.......
Date: 8/30/00 7:58:09 AM
We all know I don't use Graco personally but you raise a good question. After all, any equipment manufacturer buys those parts somewhere. As for Grainger they have some casters made by a company called Albion. None of the ones in their catalog match paint machines (they have swivel locks and pneumatic wheels, but not on the same caster) but from looking I'd bet Albion makes a model that does. Their factory # is 1-800-835-8911 you might ask them if they make casters for Graco. If they do, that # can also give you a distributor. If not, LL you might take your part to the nearest Grainger, they have some replacement parts for their casters, one might be what you need.
From: After Midnight
Date: 8/30/00 2:16:35 PM
The manual that came with my machine shows a breakdown of the parts for the front caster. You should be able to order only the part you need. You can find the manual at www.graco.com, look on page 21 for the diagram of the caster, page 24 has the part numbers. Isn't the net great!
From: straight line
Date: 8/30/00 8:32:40 PM
try buying one from a caster supply company, we have Casters of Dallas here, you should have on a supplier there that can get you the same thing that Graco would for a lot less
Date: 9/1/00 9:35:21 AM
Graco buys the basic caster from an outside source. The fork assembly is then machined and then sent out to be surface hardened so that the pin wears and not the caster assembly. So unless you can persuade someone at Graco to separate one, you won't find adequate parts in the aftermarket. Have you spoken directly to the Graco Striping specialist(there are 6) in your area? Find out who it is and talk nicely with him and see if he can help. Perhaps he can find the parts or "help" with a reduced price replacement caster. Being nice and talking to the correct person works almost 100% of the time.
Date: 9/1/00 9:41:24 AM
Lazer Liner: I just reread your post. It sounds like it is a Graco fabricated part. If you can identify the part number I'll find one for you.
Date: 9/1/00 5:42:13 PM
I did some checking regarding your caster parts. You got some bad advice or info. Most if not all the component parts are available for the fat track caster. You do not need to buy the whole new caster assembly!
Date: 9/12/00 10:20:20 AM
Started painting the other night with my Graco 3000 and all I could get was about a 1" to 1 1/2" line. Tried everything I could think of to fix it. turned psi all the way up, cleaned all filters, put on a new tip, cleaned gun, kicked pick up tires, and cussed but nothing helped. I was using S&W water base yellow about the only thing I can think of is my paint was way to thick! Anybody have any ideas what caused this?
Date: 9/12/00 12:32:01 PM
If you have sludge on the bottom of the pail , it may cause some restriction at the intake filter. In the past when I used SW paint, I would always strain each bucket before I used it.
Date: 9/12/00 12:38:03 PM
Only 2 things come to mind: what size tip did you have plugged in? and how thick was the paint?
Date: 9/12/00 10:34:59 PM
Did it cool down the night before or over the weekend? Sometimes the paint will body up when the temps drop. Try to Agitate or box the paint. I have been using wider and wider fan patterns for waterbornes on the these tough days. Not 219 or 319 but even 419 to get a 4 inch line. And last but not least, you can add water.
3900 getting clogs!
Date: 10/9/00 10:36:57 AM
We have had a Graco 5900 for 2 seasons and have not had any problems with it. We decided this year to purchase a 3900 for smaller jobs and to use as a 2nd machine at times. The 3900 is about 6 weeks old and has been driving us nuts. It seems that every time we change paint or run water through the machine, we get a major clog at the check valve under the pump. We only use SW waterborne paint. The clogs are clumped-up skins of dried paint which we have to clear by disconnecting the check valve an clearing out the skins. I called Graco and was basically told "it must be the paint, nothing we can do". I am convinced that there is air getting into the lines somehow and drying the paint. Why else would we have "skins" of dried paint at the check valve when we start up? We have tried leaving the hose empty overnight, with water in it and with paint in it. Same results. HELP!!! Thanks
Date: 10/9/00 6:08:56 PM
You are right, you are getting air in there some way. Try the plastic tape on the fittings. If that don't work, it is in the pump itself. My feeling is that it is in the pump. We had the check valve plug our machine. If you tap the bottom of the pump with a hammer, it should loosen it up. We rebuilt the pump on ours. No more problems. Joe
Date: 10/9/00 10:49:31 PM
Ya know, my first response probably would have been that it's simply the paint as well. But if you don't have the same problem with your other machines then safeguarding against air leaks seems to be a good plan of attack. One thing I have always done to our new airlesses is to disconnect ALL the fittings and reseal them with Teflon tape or dope before I do anything.
Date: 10/12/00 12:50:28 PM
I agree with everyone else to make sure that there are no leaks. Once you have established that there are no leaks, another thing to try to eliminate is the top bend of the hose. Meaning that there is an air pocket in every siphon hose that is never eliminated. I see this all the time as I run one machine with a "clear/see through" hose and the high spot will always have air in it. Because there is an air pocket the paint will skin in the air pocket. That skin will stay there until you either run out of paint or flush. At that point it will travel and float with the last bit of paint into the lower ball. See if the hose routing is dramatically different on your 3900 versus the 5900's. Reroute the hose, shorten it, or do whatever you can minimize the horizontal runs in the high spots of the hose. The size of the surface area of the so called air pocket has a direct correlation with the size of the skin. I have never heard of this on walk behind striper but I have run across it on striping trucks that pump. On those I add a "Y" strainer in stainless or plastic. I am guessing you are using a very fast dry formulation. As a last resort, you too can add a plastic "Y" strainer close to the pump inlet. Bottomline, it is a paint issue, but you can tweak your machine to minimize or eliminate These concerns. My guess is that the siphon hose run in your 5900's leaves less area for a pocket.
Date: 9/20/00 10:54:23 PM
Has anyone ever replaced an engine on a Graco unit. This winter I have to and wanted to know how hard it was.
From: Nortern Striper
Date: 9/20/00 11:46:50 PM
I replaced an engine in a 5000 model last year. It took about an hour, using Graco's instruction manual, which was fairly easy to follow. If you buy a new Honda 5.5 HP motor from a non Graco source as I did, you will have to change the alternator windings from your old motor to your new one. Otherwise the output from the alternator will be insufficient to power the electric clutch. I had the Honda dealer I bought the motor from do the windings transfer, I think it cost me an 1/2 hour labour. Also while you have the motor separated from the pumping unit, examine the clutch for wear.
From: Robert Liles
Date: 9/21/00 6:05:36 AM
One note: GRACO says you should get the motor from them. Additional machining has been done on the mounting flange to assure precise alignment of the pump/motor.
Date: 10/2/00 9:03:25 PM
How often do you rebuild your guns? I had a problem with a Graco Flex Plus that would not shut off. I rebuilt the gun with the kit and the thing is like brand new again. I compared it to my other guns that have about 1/4" travel to activate the gun, but the new one has about 3/4" travel.
Date: 10/9/00 10:40:33 AM
We rebuild our guns when we have a problem - of course we keep a rebuild kit on hand to avoid down time..
Date: 10/9/00 10:38:29 PM
I have found that generally the Flex guns to be very durable needing a rebuild maybe only once every 2 - 3 years. I think it was stated correctly - rebuild when a problem develops. The Flex guns do have a very short throw on the trigger, and myself, I prefer much more travel. To correct this, I simply bend the two little tabs on the trigger that seat against the needle barrel back a bit.
Date: 10/12/00 1:03:23 PM
Jim, the older flex guns were adjustable in that you had to adjust the travel after installation of the packing kit. The adjustment is made to ensure that the gun cannot be turned on when the safety is engaged. What good is the safety if you can squeeze the trigger and spray when the safety is engaged. The new style Flex Plus simplified the process and eliminated the need for adjustment thus easing Graco's concerns that guns were getting rebuilt but not adjusted properly. The adjustment is made from the back.
PARTS FOR OLDER STRIPERS...
Date: 12/13/00 1:47:36 AM
Do you think I will have trouble finding parts for a KELLY and an EZ-LINER machine? they are both about 8 years old and in like new shape, I want them because they are to be sold very cheap, now I know to be careful about shopping used, but this is a deal I can't pass up.
Date: 12/13/00 8:26:08 AM
Specialty parts for the Kelly can be purchased through Kelly-Creswell or JCL Equipment both of Xenia, Ohio. The EZ, I believe uses a Graco pressure pot. Most of the everyday parts you can get in a hardware store. Those machines are being sold cheaply for a reason and when you outgrow them (or get sick of them), which will be sooner than later, you'll probably have a hard time finding a buyer for them too. Buy a demo machine as Jpanz suggests. You'll never regret it.
From: John B
Date: 12/13/00 10:29:32 AM
I kept and use EZ-Liner 583 for black-out paint. Parts can be obtained from EZ-Liner at 1-800-373-4016, fax 712-737-3893. I use Graco's to stripe.
Date: 5/30/00 11:24:48 PM
My Graco 5900 has suddenly developed this habit of producing wavy lines. I can hear the pump priming and as it does, the lines get wider and thinner. Any ideas? Thanks guys...
Date: 5/31/00 12:07:05 AM
I have been following the postings on this problem closely. I have a 3500 which sprays alkyd, ch.rubber just fine and when I switch to latex it pulsates the lines, I thought it was my screens that were clogging but they’re clean, I also thought I had a flow restriction in the lines somewhere but realized I already replaced my hoses, I concluded that by thinning the latex somewhat seemed to correct the wavy lines but still had a slight ripple effect. I’m stumped too any suggestions anyone?
Date: 5/31/00 2:02:59 AM
Here's a few suggestions I have received from Graco reps over the years,....they all come into play. #1 adjust engine speed to just above a stall when the clutch engages. Too high an engine speed and the constant "engage-disengage" drastically adds to "Hour-glass" lines. #2 Use the 50 foot hose......It acts as a shock absorber and is a "must" for good lines. In fact Graco went to a 3/8 hose from a 1/4 hose about 3 years ago just to help the situation. SO if you have the old 1/4 inch....invest in the 3/8ths..about $240.#3 keep the filter clean. #4 and yes a slightly thinner paint helps the situation at times.
Date: 5/31/00 10:14:39 AM
Thanks for the "tips", Fonz. My machine is only 8 months old so I do have the wider 50 ft hose. I don't recall having this problem last year when I started using the machine so I thought it might be a mechanical error. I guess I didn't pay as much attention to it then. I have been using SW latex straight without thinning. What paint/water ratio do you suggest? As far as the engine speed goes, I set it at the almost-stall setting with the pressure at a little above half way. When I did that, it seemed to fix the hour glass a slight bit...I have the feeling that perfection with this machine is not possible!
Date: 5/31/00 12:40:17 PM
Sounds like you pressure setting is a little on the low side. You already have Graco's expansion striping hose (it should say STRIPING hose on it and is only rated for 3000 PSI). Be aware that it is not an ordinary 3/8" hose as used on the newer 3900 and 5900 stripers. The STRIPING hose works like a balloon and the more PSI you put into it the more it inflates. The more inflated it is the better for masking pump and clutch actions, plugged screens. So my first suggestion is to make sure all filter screens and in good shape. Once verified, turn up your pressure to 3/4 pressure and see if the results are any better. If needed, turn the PSI higher and see if the pulsation goes away. Occasionally you get a particular batch of "difficult" paint, that just requires adding a slight amount of paint to take the "edge" off the paint. That may be as little as a cup to a five or perhaps two cups or more.
Date: 5/31/00 12:52:02 PM
Even though I do not have a 5900 my 5000 did the same thing when I first owned it. I solved the problem with the help of adding a 25' hose to the 50'. Now I set my pump at about 1\3 pressure and my engine at just above stall and have had know problems since. The only thinning that I do is add a little solvent or water to the top of my paint to keep it from setting up while I paint. Bob
From: Robert Liles
Date: 5/31/00 6:48:18 AM
Does it seem to take a little longer to pressure up after you close the prime valve? Sounds like the suction (inlet) valve on your pump may be leaking, or there may be an air leak in the suction hose allowing some air into the pump.
Date: 6/22/00 8:38:53 AM
You ask how to get rid of pulsation and the hour glass effect? Use an airspray machine!! The problems you are reporting are the nature of the beast with airless - you'll have a more dependable and less costly machine to run with an airspray!!
Date: 4/10/00 4:55:38 PM
My new 3900 is not spraying a sharp, crisp line....its kind of like "scalloping" and the edges are crisp....I’m using the supplied 319 and 317 tip and I have turned the pressure up and down and throttle up, down etc and still its doing it.......anybody got any answers...
Date: 4/10/00 9:45:26 PM
Have you checked your filter? A clogged filter will cause that problem.
Date: 5/31/00 1:05:47 PM
Why do you have to thin your paint to get a nice line out of the new Graco??? I have 2 - 5000 and never thin the paint, latex or the heavy VOC oil paint. Graco sounds like they have a MAJOR problem with the new machines, they better fix it before they get Titans (not speedflow) reputation.
Date: 5/31/00 11:59:13 PM
All I can say Jim is that if you bought a 5900 you would never take out the 5000's again. They are as different as night and day. Everyone that has them in my area love them (me included)and I have not heard a single problem since the initial batch of circuit boards. So MAJOR is both ridiculous and inappropriate. The guy above had an old style 3500 and it is a little tough to diagnose via the net. You apparently have good paint readily available. A good service center is worth their weight in gold just for the simple diagnostics.
Date: 6/1/00 12:26:04 AM
Your comments have always been the most technical informative on this bullitin board.........I know Jim owns a new 3900 as do I. Although JIm has had no problems, I have been plagued with mine. And still I have to thin my paint with about 16oz per 5 gallons of SW fast dry latex to get a decent line.
Date: 6/1/00 11:02:46 AM
There is no reason you should have to do that with a 3900. Call Carl Gruenberg ( he's the Graco factory rep in Detroit). 1 (... X2263. Be nice but tell him you want him to make arrangements with the BEST service center (in his opinion)to look at your machine and fix it or replace it. If Carl has a 3900 on his own inventory ask him to bring it, put YOUR paint in it and see if it performs any differently.
Engine Speed on 3900
Date: 9/9/00 6:26:25 AM
In a recent posting several people alluded to setting the engine speed on a 3900 at just above stall speed........Can someone explain further, and do ya'll stripe at this low RPM??
Date: 9/9/00 8:13:03 AM
I set our engine RPM just fast enough to keep the pressure constant while spraying. When I spray one 18' line, the pump comes on one time and stays on until the exact instant that I stop spraying - - this is ideal but somewhere close to this is what I consider good.
Why? you ask? I guess I am just anal retentive and only like my pump to come on once each time I pull the trigger. I assume (and of course could be wrong) that the less times I have the pump engage, the longer parts will last. Also, a very constant pressure creates a better line.
Funny thing though, I can't seem to get my new Graco 3900 to operate that way - it is as though there is a delay in the time the pressure switch activates and the pump engages. Has anyone else experienced this??
Date: 9/9/00 5:48:37 PM
I'm glad this subject came up again, because I questioned it myself. After reading the posts on engine speed, I tried various speeds. I guess randy and others have pumps which are made better than mine because none of my machines perform well at a lower engine speed (we have gracos-3000,(2)3900's,5000). My first reaction to randy's statement about prolonging the pump's life is that it sounds reasonable, however, doesn't it make the pump work harder to make up for the lack of engine speed? Does it affect the volume of paint being applied? We noticed a poor line quality when trying this method. -Thanks-
Date: 9/9/00 6:39:19 PM
We have a 1 year old 5900 and a new (2 weeks) 3900. We constantly have to adjust the pressure to avoid the hourglass wave in our lines. I have tried the "just above stall" method but sometimes doesn’t put out a good line either. Higher pressure at medium speed is where we are now....I wish Graco would do some research and create a more definite setting.
From: greg, RonSon Stripe it up ent.
Date: 9/9/00 9:37:20 PM
I have only one season under my belt. However I do have a Opinion and I forget which one of you told me to lower engine speed, but it has had a great effect on my lines, for the good. I run it as low as I can . We own a "Titan Proliner".
Date: 9/9/00 11:17:57 PM
The 3000, the 3500/5000, and the 3900/5900 all have different control boxes and all work very differently from one another. The box used on the 3900/5900 is a dramatic improvement in that it will actually monitor what application you are doing or more accurately how hard and often you are actuating the pump and adjust itself for peak efficiency. It also monitors PSI more closely. On a 3900/5900, I spray waterborne paint at lower engine speeds and at reduced PSI while using a larger orifice to maintain high production speeds. If you like a .019 tip volume then try a .021 or even an .023 and run it at about 2/3 PSI. The new controller will keep pressure fluctuations to a minimum. Engine RPM is at a lower speed. If you see a little pulsation, bump up the RPM's a little until it goes away. An interesting note is that with the SAME paint and by running larger orifice sizes you do not need as much energy to atomize to paint. An example of this is that striping trucks will spray 1952-D at only 1000 to 1200 PSI while a Linelazer will require 2000 to 3000 PSI. 3500 and 5000 Linelazers, due to the control box design typically requires higher PSI operation and 2/3 to full engine speeds for best results with waterbornes. Graco offers a special 3/8" hose designed for use with striping paints. That looks like every other 3/8" paint hose but it is different. Very different. It is noticeably marked on the outside as STRIPING HOSE. Unlike typical 3/8" hose this hose will actually "balloon" to almost twice its volumetric capacity when run at 2500 to 3000 PSI. This works like an accumulator and eliminates pulsation. It also reduces pump action and clutch cycles. BTW, this is not the same hose used on the 3900/5900. Any 3500, 5000 or even 3000 will benefit by using this hose as will every other brand. The waterborne paints used today are far different from those used when the 3500 and 5000's were introduced, so as the paints change, sometimes equipment changes are in order.
Date: 9/10/00 12:05:35 AM
I always bow out to Cormac...the guy is a master at this stuff. A few comments from my own experience though. I run my 3500 just above a stall so that the clutch only engages once per line. It was a tip given to me by a Graco rep, it works and makes sense. The clutch engaging and disengages from high RPM added to the hour-glass effect. The second thing is just as Cormac said...a good 50 ft hose. I invested in the 3/8 retro fit hose for my 3500 and together with the lower engine speed , hour-glass in none existent on my 3500.
I'm still dinkin around with my 3900 though..it's touchy as hell. The machine likes latex paint thinned a little, and it performs better in warmer temperatures. With cold weather coming I'm expecting the machine to act up again. I bought a pressure gage for it last week and will install it tomorrow. I really don't think anyone can accurately know what’s happening on their machine without an inline pressure gage. That’s just my opinion of course. I really think all machines should have a gage as standard equipment.
And Jpanz reminded me too.....if you run at low RPM invest in platinum plugs..the damn things last forever and never fall-out....PLATINUM PLUGS...my tip of the day!
Date: 9/10/00 10:42:33 AM
The 3900 should not be "touchy" and I feel Graco can make it perform as it should. Have you contacted Carl yet? He is a sharp Graco striping guy and will take care of anything odd with your striper. Liquid filled gauges make a lot of sense and are great for diagnostic work but unfortunately they do not last very long in a the paint environment and are very pricey to buy and replace continually. Throw in the bouncing around and engine vibration and you have an even rougher environment. But....If the gauge ever indicates anything odd when the machine is feeling "touchy", let us know. It will help solve the puzzle. Or as suggested, Carl will do it at any time.
Date: 9/9/00 10:43:16 PM
I know the Fonz does it this way but he bought high quality spark plugs to keep the machine from burning out the plugs. I myself keep them at a higher rpm and about 3/4 pressure, and never have had a problem
Date: 9/10/00 10:48:27 AM
As with any airless pump design, if you go too low you will get a pulse on changeover or clutch engagement. In small increments, keep turning it up until you have smooth delivery. Cooler weather is coming and the paint will body up so you may have to increase RPM's as cooler air temps become the norm.
Date: 9/10/00 6:21:48 PM
Painted a job today and experimented with throttle settings. Started at just above "stall" speed and used the full throttle range. I set the pressure at my usual setting, about 3/4 of the range. I noticed no difference in the line quality at any throttle setting. The only thing I did notice is that the engine exhaust had more smoke at the lower throttle settings. The pump seemed to operate at lower speeds just the same at higher ones.
Date: 9/11/00 10:25:34 AM
I think I worked out a few problems with my new 3900 by cranking up the engine speed and setting the pressure just below 3/4. Lower engine speed was creating a new problem with "shakey" lines due to engine vibration. Moderate speed created the "hourglass" effect. But with the new setting, I think the lines are better...But with cooler weather coming, I expect some headaches...
Pressure Settings on Graco 5900
Date: 5/9/00 5:25:51 AM
I have a 5900 that I purchased new last fall. It seems that every time I use it, I have to set the pressure knob differently each time for the same results. Same with the engine speed... Any suggestions? Also, what size tip is best for 4" lines with Sherwin Williams latex? Any help will be appreciated...
Date: 5/9/00 7:16:40 AM
I would say welcome to the world of Graco. I have to always reset the pressure and engine speed on my two machines at new jobs. There is know one setting and leave it there, unless you want to adjust the height of the gun from the surface. Bob
Date: 5/9/00 10:35:43 PM
I was in the same boat but it worked it self out, I have no idea how. I have a new 3900. I couldn't get Sherwin Williams fast-dry latex thru the gun unless I thinned the paint. Then the damn clutch kept engaging and disengaging with every stroke of the pump. If Lowered the engine speed the line would narrow from 4in to 2 in and the motor stall. I was going nuts!! I called Graco and for the first time ever, was disappointed in their reply which wasn't much. I truly thought at the time that my electronic pressure control was screwed up. At the time it was about 40 degrees at night and 55-60 during the day. As soon as it got near 80 degrees my problems stopped. I could turn down the engine speed and the clutch would only engage once per line. Nothing changed except outside temperature. I'm thinning the paint less now and about to try it "straight" out of the bucket again with no thinning. The first week I was convinced I had a lemon......I still don't know for sure. I had the pressure up so high to get a good line I'll was convinced the machine would never support 2 guns..............now, things seem OK.....go figure!!
Graco Pressure Control
Date: 4/1/00 8:46:11 AM
I just made about a $600 mistake I thought I'd post just in case someone else can avoid it. Last week I was spraying water, just making sure everything was working. I left the water in it thinking it would fine since the low temps. had been above 30 degrees. Not so, I ended up having to replace the pressure control (~ $600). The service center said the temp. only has to get down to about 34 degrees to bend this sensor. Graco has since changed the design so this shouldn't happen. My machine is 3 years old. Live and learn. Hope this helps someone.
Date: 4/2/00 7:38:51 PM
I may get some flack from this since I don't own a Graco. However my machine dealer who sells, does warranty, etc. on all types airless equipment including Graco Titan, Wagner, etc. (not just stripers) told me years ago to NEVER leave water in an airless pump even overnight. To always flush and fill the pump with a very light oil (wd-40, diesel, etc. or at least a product mixed with water he called "pump saver" I believe) They believe this so strongly they don't leave machines brought into their shop with plain water in them and they are a very high volume dealer and repair facility. Maybe it's a matter of preference but these guys have been around 30-40 years and have a great reputation. Like I said maybe it doesn't apply to Graco for some reason but they said any airless.
Date: 4/6/00 7:09:04 AM
JT you are not the only one that made that mistake. I to just replaced the pressure control on my Graco 5000. The thing that is up setting to me is that Graco has know about this problem and made no attempt to inform the dealers or us the customers about this possible problem in the control box. They just went along and now have the new control box for replacement at as you said (-600). Though you might like to know that you are not the only one.
Date: 4/7/00 10:12:31 AM
And our Speed-flo's just keep on ka-chunkin along...no control boards to fry, no bells and whistles....just add gas, oil, and paint.
Sorry....couldn't resist a playful jab
Graco, New & Improved Pump Controller
Date: 6/18/00 8:02:39 PM
This is another complaint on the new controller. Way back, I was the dumb@#@ that left water in my Graco 3500 (although the temp. didn't get down to freezing) and ruined my pump controller. Since I've had it replaced this new and improved one is has been a pain in the @#@. More and more the pump engages intermittently after I've finished a line and builds pressure to the point when I start the next line I get a big surge of paint then less paint as I go. This problem comes and goes but it's getting to be more frequent. I'm afraid I'll blow the hose. Could this be caused by anything other than the pump controller? From all the previous posts regarding pump problems with Graco's I'm thinking about a buying a different machine. Thanks, JT
Date: 6/19/00 7:37:34 PM
HOLD THE PHONE, TAKE MY BIG 10 1/2" YELLOW SHOE OUT OF MY MOUTH (I THINK). I took my machine to the service center today to have the controller checked and it checked out fine. The tech. thought it might have been a something on the ball or seat or maybe in the controller that I got flushed out. We'll see for certain but - FROM NOW ON I'LL TRY TO START BRAIN BEFORE ENGAGING MOUTH.
Date: 6/19/00 7:48:27 PM
No, I'm not going to blast the Graco's again (eventho' its always so much fun). But JT, I'd bet a dollar against a hole in a donut you have a restriction somewhere between the pump and you gun tip. A clog close to the pump would allow the pressure to build up and store in the line. The controller wouldn't "feel" the drop in pressure as fast and also it would not be able to repressurize the line fast enough to keep the line from tapering off.
Hope you find the problem. Good Luck!!!!
Date: 6/19/00 9:39:43 PM
You did not explain the symptoms fully but I would look at the fluid section (something stuck intermittantly in one of the balls, bad ball/seat, or even bad packings). All of those items would make the pump intermitantly stroke or cycle. If it is truly building excessive pressure with the intermittant cycles AND you have the latest control box(Smart) you may just have a bad board. If you put the box on within the last year it should be covered under warranty.