Tools for submersible well pump removal


  #1  
Old 08-04-10, 02:32 PM
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Tools for submersible well pump removal

Replacing a submersible pump seems pretty straightforward if one has the proper tools. I had to have my pump lowered 100 feet because the water level has been low causing cavitation. The cost was $700. It took 2 guys about 35 minutes to complete plus I estimate about $200-$250 in materials (100' of 12/2, 100' poly pipe, 1 barbed fitting, 2 splice kits and 4 hose clamps). The guys had 2 tools essential to doing the job easily and safely. One was a pair of vice grips with a special jaw that fit around the 1ľ" poly pipe to hold it in place. The other was a pulley block that clamps onto the side of the well casing and allows them to pull the pipe horizontally without scraping it against the well casing. They also has a T handled puller for the pitless adapter but I can make that with parts from Home Depot. Does anyone know what these other 2 tools are called and where they may be purchased? I tried Googling to no avail.

Joe
 
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Old 08-06-10, 03:59 PM
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i say let them be liable. mess around and drop the pump and see how strait forward it is. if you thought they made alot off lowering the pump, lol.

i love how people see 2 guys working well together and think what they are doing must be easy.

me and my help can make drilling wells look easy, maybe when yours goes out you can get some tools and give that a shot too.
 
  #3  
Old 08-06-10, 06:25 PM
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hi guys Ė

justwater I donít understand! Why do you want to keep the technique a secret? I know less than Toolman but I have also been trying to learn the details of how the pros pull the pump up and what tools they use. No one ever seems to describe this in detail? I probably wouldnít have the guts to try it even if I could get the proper tools. Afraid Iíd drop the pump down the well as you say - and Iíve heard others warn the same. (Mine is a 4Ē pump, the well is 75í deep, and the pipe is black PE. )

But just the same, I thought many folks are like me on this forum. They know they are taking a certain risk and they are trying to learn and figure out if the risk is worth it. You certainly would know how difficult the task is Ė but maybe given certain circumstances (like almost no cash) someone would take the risk. However, I do get your point, that there is a good chance that it would wind up costing you a lot more than you thought you would save.

Or are you saying under no circumstances should anyone who isnít a professional try to pull up their pump? I certainly could believe that , yet it does seem to me that Iíve also heard many stories of layman pulling up their own pump without too much trouble.
 
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Old 08-07-10, 08:20 AM
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nah i know people that have pulled their own sub. but normally, if a person has to ask you how and what tools to use, etc.. they probably dont have any business attempting it. all the guys i know that have done it are pretty ingenuitive and didnt need lessons.

as far as pulling that particular pump, i really cant help you out much, i've never worked with poly. in my area everything is pvc or galvanized. i dont know where to get one of the contraptions described, i use a little more expensive tool- smeal 5t pump hoist. i have a couple ideas of how to do this though. one involves a rigged tire rim by the well and a fourwheeler.. lol.
 
  #5  
Old 08-07-10, 09:29 AM
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Thanks justwater! I looked up the smeal 5t to see what you are talking about. Oh my! Thatís some big bucks there. For a businessman only. I have a bad setup - a well-pit, no pitless adapter or anything like that. The top has a well seal on it. I know you loosen the 4 bolts on the well seal to free the water pipe and then you can pull up the pump. Ever since I found that out I have some kind of sick impulse (like that urge to jump from a high place that some people get) to loosen the bolts just to feel how heavy the pump is. But I wonít do it! I can just see it now as I wave goodbye to the stuff that slips out of my hands.

Joe if I ever come across what you are talking about Iíll be sure to post back. Iíve never seen anything like that Ė but what do I know Ė Iím really just talking about my Googling experience. Just got a thoughtÖas justwater says some of the guys that did their own were pretty ingenuitve, could it be the contraptions you saw (they sound pretty good) were something they put together themselves and maybe we would never find them on the market? Just a thought.
 
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Old 08-07-10, 11:12 AM
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Vice grips for well pump removal

Well I found the vice grips. Here is a link: http://www.deanbennett.com/well-accessories-page47.pdf. They are called Drop Pipe Vise Grip for 1-1/4Ē Poly Pipe. I know the some of the "well professionals" would like to make this seem more complicated than it is, so they can overcharge people but I know several people who have done it themselves and I actually helped the 2 guys who came here to do it so I watched the whole operation and I could easily do it myself with the right tools and a helper. Also, the "experts" who did mine didn't even use a safety rope, which everyone I talked with and everything I've read on the subject says is a necessity. If I ever pull mine, I plan to use attach some stainless aircraft cable to the pump barb rather than use rope. Then I can do it myself in the future using a winch. That will make it real easy. As far as using a 4x4, I'll pass on that idea. That sounds like a great way to drop the pump down the well if you pull too hard or too fast.
 
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Old 08-07-10, 11:51 AM
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Thanks Joe. Really good information. Thatís funny Iíve been to that Dean Bennett site many times before looking at tank teeís and other things and never once thought to look for something like you found. I was wondering also if I had a safety rope. Guess Iíll find out someday. I wonder how the guys who put yoursí in justify no safety rope? Maybe in their experience they feel itís an overkill? But all the stuff I read says you should have one. Seems like it wouldnít be a whole lot of extra work to include one. I mean since the whole thing is pulled up anyway? And rope canít be that expensive (can it)?

That stainless steel cable sounds like a great idea to me (admittedly I am a novice) . Guess that wouldnít become a standard because of the cost. But Iíd be happy to spring for the cost and I bet a lot of other people would also. Sounds like you could sleep a lot better at night.
 
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Old 08-07-10, 01:39 PM
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We need to keep our comments on the positive side.

Thanks
Travis
 
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Old 08-08-10, 10:05 AM
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joe if you're still there I have a question about that DROP PIPE VISE GRIP that you found on the Dean Bennett site. How did the guys use that when they pulled up your pump?

Not saying I would ever try it, but I would just like to know how they used it if you can remember.
 
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Old 08-08-10, 06:28 PM
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The steps are as follows: You will need two people for this. First, kill the power to the well pump. Remove the cap on the casing. Gently pull up any loose wire. If you are removing the pump you will have to cut each wire at the splice and remove the ground screw on the side of the well casing. Screw the T handle tool into the pitless adapter. Lift straight up (you may have to wiggle it a little). Pull up the T handle adapter until the pitless adapter is above the top of the well casing. Have your assistant clamp the vice grip tool around the poly pipe. This will hold it in place and keep it from falling down the well. Unscrew the T-handle. This is where the second pulley tool is clamped to the side of the well casing. I still have not located that or know what it is called. Then both of you pull the poly pipe across the lawn until you have everything up. One person should stay near the well casing so you can be sure nothing is getting tangled and know when the pump is near the top. The clamp can be removed and reapplied if you need a break but I'd leave it clamped on the whole time so if you slip, you don't lose the pipe and pump down the well. It is quite heavy with the weight of the pump, pipe filled with water, wire, etc. Once you see the torque arrestor, the pump will be right below it.
 
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Old 08-08-10, 07:17 PM
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Thanks Joe for that excellent detailed description. I heard that stuff was really heavy to pull up. I thought that was how the clamp was used but I wasnít sure if someone keeps moving the clamp down the pipe and re-fastening as the pipe is pulled up. But I understand your description. (Seems scary about that stuff possibly sliding down the well. Also scary how heavy it is! And thatís with PE pipe.)

Plumber installed a new 4Ē submersible pump in my house just before I moved in as part of the sale agreement. Probably could have watched if I would have thought of it. Too bad! I know he wasnít a well man so maybe he is only able to do it in limited cases because of lack of equipment, or maybe he gets a well man to do it for him. Or maybe he really has a lot of equipment himself. But I digress.

Thanks for your all your time Joe and the good information.
 
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Old 08-08-10, 09:41 PM
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If I may, I'd like to relate a story my daddy once told me. He was the foreman of the paint shop in a company that built and repaired rich people's boats, aka yachts.

One day he was painting stripes on the caulking compound of a strip-planked deck when one of these rich men walked by and saw him. The rich man saw that my daddy was using a striping tool and asked him if anyone could buy that tool. My daddy replied that yes, anyone could buy the tool and it only cost a few dollars at any paint store. Then he added the kicker. "You do, however, need to know how to use the tool."

Any professional makes any job look easy to the uninitiated. It isn't so much the tools used as the person using the tools.
 
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Old 08-09-10, 10:01 AM
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good story furd with a good point!
 
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Old 08-09-10, 10:53 AM
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I won't argue that but I am an avid do-it-yourselfer and haven't found anything I couldn't tackle myself if I had the right tools, equipment and knowledge. And after all, this is the DIY forum! One must decide if it is worth it. It does take two strong people to pull a pump. I would not even have considered doing this myself, except I've paid the well guys $5,000 in the last 4 years and frankly, if they did the job right the first time, I could have gotten away with $2500 or so in one visit. Instead, I've spent $5,000 in 3 visits, have a badly burned lawn and possibly damaged pump now. This is pump #3 in 14 years. 1st pump lasted 10 yr., second pump lasted only 2 because they didn't do the job right and now pump #3... Who knows? I just know the two things that kill a pump fast are cycling and cavitation and this pump has had some of the latter because it was not placed low enough in the well. So at this point, if the job needs to be done again, I want it done right. And i know the only way I can guarantee that will happen is if I do it myself.

As a side note, a buddy of mine had the same problem. His well guy is great. He installed a larger pump, lowered it in the well and installed a cycle stop valve in one shot. Total cost was $1700 and one visit. This was about the same time I had my first visit and he has had no problems since. I'm on visit number 3 with no assurance that the pump won't croak tomorrow.

Joe
 
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Old 08-09-10, 11:28 PM
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I understand what you are saying, Joe. Nothing burns me more than paying a "professional" to do a job and he doesn't do any better than I. That stated, I used to repair my own shoes but as I have gotten older I value my time more than spending a little money.

Still, I have a project going on right now that a pro could have finished in a week but I wanted it done MY way so I'm still working on it. For your situation all I can do is recommend a different well guy. Your friend seems to have found the person that you should be using.
 
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Old 08-10-10, 08:12 AM
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Make your own

The "special clamp" for grabbing pipe when you are pulling it is nothing more than a pair of welders vice grips with some angle iron welded to it. Cut a 1 inch coupling in half longitudinally and weld that to them and you have the same thing. Welders vice grips are readily available.

Or you could use my method. Simply take two pieces of 2 x 6 about 16 inches long. Cross cut a 3/4 inch deep V on opposing faces about midway. Adhere some peel and stick rubber through the V. Install a door butt (Hinge) on one end. There, with a pair of welders vice grips, is your pipe clamp with more gripping area, and soft jaws. I would recommend wipng the upcoming riser with a water/bleach formula to remove slime, and increase grip. You can use a standard wood clamp if you don't have a pair of welders vice grips. I dont recommend quick grips, as they do not exert enough force. You can also use a carriage bolt on one end with flat washers and nuts.

A Puller can be as simple as a chain hoist on a tripod made of 4 x 4's, A boat winch, or a long turn elbow fastened to your casing, and your lawn tractor. The coolest tool I have seen lately is the Pull-A-Pump. If your local rental place has one of these, rent it, and watch the video on U-Tube. Really Cool.

No offense to the real pros, and I don't mind paying a pro to do things, the problem is that there are fewer and fewer what I consider to be "Pros" available these days. Just because you do it for a living does not, in my opinion make you a pro.

Case 1: I had a swimming pool installed by "Pros" and the water level in the pool was 6 inches lower from the coping on one end than it was on the other. They actually tried to tell me that the pool was dead level. I asked them if they thought water lied in our part of the county, and they didn't get it.

Case 2: I had a well pump installed by a "Pro" that failed within 18 months because the power line to the pump was not properly secured against chafing.

Case 3: I recently took my ford pickup in to a ford dealership to find a problem I was having. They had it for 10 days, burned up a tank of fuel, and they admitted that there was a problem but could not find it, because it was intermittent, and the computer could not tell them what was wrong. I found the answer on the internet. placed there by an old timer, bless his heart. Cost me about 3 dollars and 15 minutes. Turned out to be oil on two hair thick wires in the MAF sensor. I removed the sensor, sprayed it inside with CRC electronic cleaner, and the truck has run perfect ever since.

Case 4: I recently had a linoleum floor installed by "Professionals" they left air pockets in the floor, and told me they would go down. They didnt. Their "fix" was to slice the blisters. I said to them are you ****ting me? You are going to slice up my new floor?????? I had them rip the whole thing out and get the hell out of my house. Yes, I was pissed, and that floor was purchased through Big Blue. Big Mistake.

That, my friends is why I do everything myself, and why I will continue to do so until I no longer can. Of course there is the grand that I will save by switching out my own pump. A grand will buy you a nice Mig welder complete with argon tank. A grand will buy you and your wife a short cruise. A grand will buy you about 300 gallons of gas. A grand will buy you...................................................well you get the point.
 

Last edited by jagans; 08-10-10 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 08-10-10, 10:20 AM
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No offense to the real pros, and I don't mind paying a pro to do things, the problem is that there are fewer and fewer what I consider to be "Pros" available these days. Just because you do it for a living does not, in my opinion make you a pro.
It is unfortunate but I completely agree with this statement. Far too many people working in the trades think they know everything about their specific trade when in reality they only know enough to do the routine jobs, and sometimes not even that.
 
  #18  
Old 08-10-10, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jagans View Post
The "special clamp" for grabbing pipe when you are pulling it is nothing more than a pair of welders vice grips with some angle iron welded to it. Cut a 1 inch coupling in half longitudinally and weld that to them and you have the same thing. Welders vice grips are readily available.

Or you could use my method. Simply take two pieces of 2 x 6 about 16 inches long. Cross cut a 3/4 inch deep V on opposing faces about midway. Adhere some peel and stick rubber through the V. Install a door butt (Hinge) on one end. There, with a pair of welders vice grips, is your pipe clamp with more gripping area, and soft jaws. I would recommend wipng the upcoming riser with a water/bleach formula to remove slime, and increase grip. You can use a standard wood clamp if you don't have a pair of welders vice grips. I dont recommend quick grips, as they do not exert enough force. You can also use a carriage bolt on one end with flat washers and nuts.

A Puller can be as simple as a chain hoist on a tripod made of 4 x 4's, A boat winch, or a long turn elbow fastened to your casing, and your lawn tractor. The coolest tool I have seen lately is the Pull-A-Pump. If your local rental place has one of these, rent it, and watch the video on U-Tube. Really Cool. ...
.
Really good information jagans. For myself I would like to say thanks. That pull-a-pump video is great. He makes it look so easy. You donít really get a feel for how heavy the stuff he is pulling up really is. The machine does all the work. It looks great! Definitely would be good to rent. For some reason I thought those pump assemblies were much shorter? Have to go back and look what I read from the Gouldís manual. Must be something I didnít understand? But empty of water it didnít look too heavy. He was able to hold it himself without any problem.

Iím sure Iím older than you guys (Iím part of the Medicare bunch). I just hope there isnít just some kind of progression over time towards less and less care about whatever it is you do. It does seem that way to me - but maybe Iím wrong. Hope so. You would think that the sons and daughters of people who really care about their work would inherit that attitude from their parents. So it would be perpetuated. Who knows?

My father never even graduated from high school, but he learned a lot on the job and worked hard. He worked in the maintenance department at a childrenís hospital in Philadelphia for over 45 years. One of his jobs was to take care of the hospital boilers. Never forget when I was a kid he would get calls in the middle of the night that the hospital was having problems with the heat or power (I think the incubators were the most worrisome). He would rush out like a fireman in the middle of the night, and he did that many many times. Other employees on the team also did the same. He always really cared about the job he did.

Long story short, he was promoted to supervisor of the entire maintenance department and when he passed away the hospital placed a plaque in the department and named the entire department after him. That is very unusual for a hospital to name any department for someone who isnít a doctor and/or a financial benefactor.

But I digress. Iím sure there must be a lot of people out there, including well guys, that do a really good job and care about what they do. The other bad guys hurt them. Hope we are really not going downhill. Maybe it just seems that way. Where I worked there was a manger that no one liked, but he said something one day that seemed oversimplified to me then, but Iíve been thinking- maybe it makes sense. He said ď a professional is just someone who really cares about the job they doĒ.
 
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Old 08-24-10, 03:31 PM
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I am a die hard do-it-your self guy. But some times you just need to step a side, let the pros do the job. My pump went about 5 years ago. I had seen this home improvement show where they had replaced a pump, it looked easy enough, so I decided to change mine my self. 1st off it took me almost two days of digging to finally find the well. The old guy next door asked me what I was doing. I told him I needed to replace my pump.He said I hope you are feeling really strong. He lived next door when the well was drilled, and it was just about 300 ft. of 3/4 '' galvinized pipe. I called a pro, there was no way I was going to try that.
 
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Old 08-24-10, 07:13 PM
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I hear you but the "pros" have botched the job 3 times to the tune of $5,000. Fortunately, mine has an above ground well casing and poly pipe.

Joe

I am a die hard do-it-your self guy. But some times you just need to step a side, let the pros do the job.
 
  #21  
Old 08-25-10, 07:56 PM
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Hi Edward Ė

I know what you mean when you say two days to find the well. Mine was only 22 feet from my house. I was looking much farther away and I had been looking for days when my neighbor told me it was right near the walkway to my house. So I finally found the well, dug my broken well pipe up (only 22 feet long), and then did a magnificent (haha) job of replacing it. I used black PE.

Just curious, did they replace your galvanized pipe with PVC or black PE? Or did they inspect your galvanized pipe and feel that it was OK to re-use it and put it back down in the well? Around where I live I believe they only use black PE from the well-head to the house and also black PE as the drop pipe down the well. Iím old enough where I have this prejudice against plastic. (I know, thatís not rational, things do change)

I guess really the right thing to do is to listen to what the well guys and plumbers say today. So if there is a consensus among them that PVC or black PE is the right thing to use today, then I guess you canít argue with that.

Seems to me there is a very great variation in the weight of this stuff you have to pull up from the well. Yours which is 300 feet of 3/4 galvanized pipe would be seem to me to be really really heavy. Donít think a plumber and assistant would pull that up by hand (haha). Mine is nowhere near as deep , and like ToolmanJoeís uses much lighter black PE pipe. I did a rough calculation and my pump in the well 75 feet deep with one inch black PE seems to me to be somewhere around 70-80 lbs Ė with water. I know some guys that could probably lift that themselves 75í out of a well (not me, I can only lift 40 lbs of birdseed 3 feet high into a can, then I have to rest!)

Sounds like you made a good decision to bring in the proís. But it is interesting, that youtube video jagans referenced showing the pull-a-pump device makes you wonder. The video shows how easy it was to pull up the pump on PVC drop pipe. But maybe the machine would make it just as easy with galvanized pipe? But I think I would be chicken to try it with galvanized. Donít blame you for not even thinking about it. But when the day comes I think I would certainly try pull-a-pump with the black PE.

(Yea Ė thatís what I say today!)
 
  #22  
Old 08-30-10, 11:09 AM
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Joesdad, no they didn't replace the pipe, I don't really remember why. But I do remember it was like a 2 day job. 1 to pull the pump, and 1 to put it back. They had a chain hoist, on a tri-pod, and could only pull about 8 ft, at a time. I just know it was money well spent.
 
  #23  
Old 09-05-10, 09:07 AM
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Oh yea! I see what you are saying. Your case certainly sounds like money well spent.
 
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Old 01-09-15, 01:47 PM
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hello to toolman joe -regarding post if 4 yrs ago -making a poly pipe clamp out of 2x6" and cutting the groove-do you cut the groove on the 6" face or 2" face? also what is stick and peel rubber -it does not seem that it would stay stuck in the groove thanks
 
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Old 01-12-15, 12:51 PM
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Tools for submersible well pump removal

I wasn't the one who posted about using the 2x6 but I assume you would cut the V across the 6" length.

Joe

---------------------------------------

wbs1619

hello to toolman joe -regarding post if 4 yrs ago -making a poly pipe clamp out of 2x6" and cutting the groove-do you cut the groove on the 6" face or 2" face? also what is stick and peel rubber -it does not seem that it would stay stuck in the groove thanks


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