What’s Causing Your Diaphragm Pump Problems?

Diaphragm pumps are used across a variety of product applications, but all pumps are destined to experience operation issues. While these issues range in severity and type based on the product compounds, pump material, location, etc., there are a few common issues that could explain why your pump is no longer working properly.

Loss of Suction (Waste Oil) – Loss of suction in waste oil systems is one of the most common issues experienced by both shops and lube trucks. There are two main causes for this.

1. Y-Strainer Clog – Most commonly used in waste oil systems, the Y-strainer’s purpose is to capture trash (metal shavings, leaves, cigarette butts, etc.) before it enters the diaphragm pump while being transported from equipment to the waste oil tank. However, these strainers often go uncleaned for much longer than is recommended (~weekly), causing a buildup of trash. Ultimately, this will lead to a loss of suction, slowing down your team and causing time mismanagement and frustration.

A picture of the top logo.

2. Chamber Debris – This issue usually occurs on outdoor job sites where pebbles, large sediment, and/or sand is found. When removing waste oil from a piece of equipment, the technician may lay the hose on the ground in between services, leaving it open to sucking in a variety of objects. This debris then enters through the pump inlet and becomes lodged in between the valve ball and seat, ultimately manifesting as a pump seizure when the size and/or amount of debris cause a lack of pressure.

Pump Seizure – This issue has a variety of causes, but the easiest to identify are thermal expansion and pump corrosion.

1. Thermal Expansion – Thermal expansion can naturally occur for a variety of reasons, the most common being temperature differences in product, as related to their storage and transport line locations. For example, if a shop stores their new oil outside or immediately against an exterior wall during the winter, that product will be a much lower temperature during the morning hours of operation as compared to its temperature during the early afternoon, because the environmental temperature increases. This cycle of cold-hot-cold-hot product moving through the diaphragm pump impacts the pump internals, causing them to expand and contract accordingly. When the product expands continuously, the compromised internals become damaged because of built-up pressure.

Excessive air pressure is the second main culprit for pump seizure. Technicians can overlook (or possibly even neglect) the pump’s optimal operation PSI from the manufacturer, turning up the PSI in an attempt to complete jobs faster to meet ever-pressing deadlines. While this may work in the short term, the long term effect is damage to the value balls and seats. Under extreme pressure, the valve balls can become lodged in the seat, preventing them from creating pressure. While there are a variety of valve ball materials that withstand a higher pressures/temperature changes, most are susceptible to this issue.

A picture of the top logo.

2. Internal Pump Corrosion – When an air compressor has internal condensation, that moisture is transported through the diaphragm pump during operation. This moisture eventually dries out the lubricant that facilitates the pump’s operation, leading to corrosion and malfunction.

So what now?

In the mobile lubrication and equipment servicing industry, helping our customers identify and fix their operational issues is paramount in building and keeping relationships. We actively strive to quickly identify a customer’s issue and provide a long-term solution that is attainable based on their budget and operational needs.

Diagnostic services and repairs can occur on-site at a shop location, or for mobile equipment (lube trucks and skids), the part can be removed and shipped to our location. In both instances, we are happy to offer a “lender” part, which decreases your downtime while we fix your part.

Our solutions range from add-on parts (like thermal expansion relief values and compressor dryers) to custom system upgrades that can help decrease part failure in the long run. We also partner with leaders in these part industries to ensure you’re getting the best product for your money.

While we acknowledge some customers can fix these issues on their own, we also recognize that business owners/operators have packed schedules and often see the value in letting someone else fix their issue when they are confident in the capabilities of their repair company – and peace of mind is what we strive to provide!

Interested in how we can help? Contact us or give us a call today!


Why Your Grease Pump Isn’t Working

By Cory | January 22, 2024

New year, new … grease pumps? Not necessarily! As 2024 rolls in and we all get back into our routines, it’s common to encounter equipment issues leftover from December – you know, the ones where we all said, “Eh, I’ll just handle it next year!” But now, that malfunctional grease pump is slowing – or…

Read More

Why TPL Lube Trucks Are The Most Reliable

By Cory | October 3, 2023

Reliability (noun): “performing consistently well, to a degree which the result can be depended on.” When you have a lube truck, skid, or system, reliability is a product characteristic that isn’t just expected – it’s non-negotiable. Your fluid exchange equipment needs to work reliably. But what does that mean to have a reliable lube truck? 1.      It has to…

Read More

The Four Main Components You Should Be Checking: A Parts Maintenance Guide

By Cory | August 4, 2022

As temps continue to rise across the country, summer is in full swing – often translating into increased performance demand on your teams and their equipment. While it may seem counter-productive to put extra time towards equipment maintenance, performing regular service on your PM equipment is vital to keep them running effectively and efficiently, especially…

Read More

Conex Lube Box: A Unique Bulk Fill Solution

By Cory | June 1, 2022

Parallel to lube trucks and skids, businesses sometimes need a long-term (but not permanent) on-site, bulk-fill and bulk storage solution. Something with security, large holding capacity, and the option for unique customizations like work benches and tool cabinets. For over 20 years, Taylor Pump and Lift has been offering solutions like this repurposed Conex box…

Read More

Pump-Based Lube Skids: Four Common Misconceptions

By Cory | March 17, 2022

Lube skids are used in almost every industry across the country – fueling and greasing everything from airplanes and tractor trailers, to construction and farm equipment. As a staple pieces of service equipment, it’s imperative that business owners and technicians alike are familiar with how the function and form of each lube skid component impacts…

Read More

Strategic Equipment Setup: How Your Lube Truck Reel Cabinet Affects Functionality

By Cory | October 7, 2021

Much like a house, the layout of your lube truck and reel cabinets can either hinder – or improve – your productivity. During our build process, we identify the quantity and types of lube products you need. Based on that assessment, we construct your lube truck with optimal functionality in mind. QUESTIONS TO ASKOften times,…

Read More

Construction Boom & The Need For More-Efficient Lube Solutions

By Cory | June 29, 2021

As the world continues to bounce back economically from the last two years of pandemic, the construction industry is expected to jump 4% in 2021 – totaling an additional $32B – and then another 8% in 2022, says ForConstructionPros.com. Commercial construction – which represents 30% of the total construction industry nationwide – is expected to grow…

Read More

Top 10 FAQs: Your Custom Lube Truck Build

By Cory | April 5, 2021

During our custom-building process, we often encounter a range of questions from our customers regarding their new lube truck or skid. These questions are vital to ensuring you get the correct lube equipment for your specific application, industry, and certification level. Read more about our top 10 FAQs below. 1.      I want my lube/fuel truck…

Read More

Getting Started in the Mobile Oil Change Industry: Lube Skids & Trailers

By Cory | January 20, 2021

So you want to get started in the mobile oil change industry, but you’re not sure where to begin. TPL can help you determine if this new step is right for you! With the new year behind us, many business owners and lube truck operators are looking towards opportunities in 2021 – including additional income…

Read More

What’s Causing Your Diaphragm Pump Problems?

By Cory | November 23, 2020

Diaphragm pumps are used across a variety of product applications, but all pumps are destined to experience operation issues. While these issues range in severity and type based on the product compounds, pump material, location, etc., there are a few common issues that could explain why your pump is no longer working properly.  Loss of…

Read More