Be sure to flush!

flushing kitWe all hope that our expensive equipment will last for a long time without breakdowns! Unfortunately, this rarely unintentionally happens! Careful maintenance is the only way to keep your vacuum pump running smoothly for the long haul. The flushing procedure is one of the maintenance items that needs your careful attention! Rotary vane vacuum pumps should last for many years if they are flushed out periodically. The flushing activity is a relatively simple procedure that cleans the inside of the pump allowing the vanes to move smoothly.

When do these pumps need to be flushed? It is recommended that you flush your pump weekly to keep debris from building up inside the pump. It is always better to flush it more often than not often enough. Any time solids or liquids are allowed to enter the pump it should be flushed immediately. General maintenance flushing should happen according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Consult your operator’s manual for your specific pump.

The flushing procedure generally involves running a small amount of flushing fluid through the pump at operating speeds. Different pump manufacturer’s recommend different flushing fluids, which may be straight diesel fuel or a mixture of diesel and pump oil. Consult your owner’s manual for specifics on the flushing procedure for your pump make and model. There may also be videos or instructional literature on the pump manufacturer’s website.

To flush the pump, first, put it into vacuum and create 10-15 inches of vacuum. Next, open the flushing kit valve and run 7 ounces of flushing fluid through the pump. After adding the flushing fluid, close the fluid valve and let the fluid circulate through the pump for several minutes. After the fluid circulates through the pump, shut down the system and drain the secondary scrubber. Check the pump manufacturer’s manual for complete flushing instructions.

Some tank manufacturer’s will install a flushing and oil kit close by your pump. You should check daily to be sure that the pump is using some oil. Refill the oil reservoir as needed.

Simple attention to your pump will pay off significantly in the long run. The flushing kit and oil reservoir should be noted and maintained as part of a regular truck maintenance program. This equipment is built to last, but will require attention and tlc along the way. Happy flushing!


Kent Engle -Pik Rite, Inc.


Pik Rite manufactures and services commercial vacuum tanks, hoist units, roll-offs, slide-ins, portable toilet service units and tank trailers ranging in size from 300 to 6,500 gallons. Our 15-year steel tank warranty sets us apart from the competition. Tanks are available in steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Kent is the marketing coordinator at Pik Rite, Inc. Follow our blog posts at Call 800-326-9763 for any service and maintenance needs or to get a quote on a new tank!


Vacuum pump drivelines


vacuum pump drivelines Vacuum pump driveline failures usually involve lengthy downtimes and a big service bill. Broken keyways, gears, drive shaft or couplers can result from a variety of causes. Here are some considerations that may help you avoid the hassle.

One of the most basic things that you can do to prevent premature failure of your driveline is make sure to engage your PTO slowly. This will soften the shock load transferred down the driveline. For manual transmissions with an air shift PTO the sequence should be as follows. 1. Verify that the truck engine speed is at an idle 2. Depress the clutch pedal 3. Engage the PTO switch, button or lever 4. Slowly release the clutch. For hot shift PTOs on automatic transmissions you only have limited control. Low engine speed, and possibly installing a soft start PTO, will significantly reduce the shock load transferred down the driveline when you engage your hot shift PTO.

Maintenance is very limited on the pump driveline. One of the main things you can do is keep your eyes and ears open for anything abnormal while you operate your truck on a daily basis. You should check the oil levels in the transmission and gearbox. Most gearboxes are sealed with no level indicators, but simply checking for leaks under the gearbox and on the PTO itself, at the side of the transmission housing, is a good idea. Make sure the set bolts on your PTO shaft are tight. Some manufacturers may install safety wires to prevent loose bolts. You should also regularly grease your slip joints and U-joint and verify that the U-joint has not loosened. When you engage your PTO there should be an indicator light that comes on. Make sure the light is working consistently to prevent accidental drive-a-ways with the PTO engaged.

Safety should always be a consideration when maintenance work is being done. Never get under a truck if the PTO is engaged. You may be tempted to have someone engage the PTO while you are close by to examine the driveline. Different manufacturers install different types of drive shafts. Even the balanced smooth round drive shafts can be dangerous. Keep clear at all times.

Most of these concepts are just simple things that you can do on a daily basis as you operate your truck. However, the old proverb that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is always applicable. Knowing your truck inside and out and getting into the habit of listening, looking and double-checking will help prevent driveline failure and keep your pumper truck operating smoothly.


Story by Clint Morris -Pik Rite, Inc.

Clint has 13 years of experience with customer service at Pik Rite, Inc. His knowledge and expertise in the liquid waste industry is highly valued. Pik Rite manufactures and services commercial vacuum tanks, hoist units, roll-offs, slide-ins, portable toilet service units and tank trailers ranging in size from 300 to 6,500 gallons. Our 15-year steel tank warranty sets us apart from the competition. Tanks are available in steel, stainless steel and aluminum.

Vacuum tank level indicator options and maintenance

level indicator Most pumper truck operators take pride in their school of hard knocks degree. One such hard knock is arriving at the pump site only to realize that your truck is just a little too full to completely the job. Now, unless it’s a 4:30 pm Friday job that caught you thinking about your favorite vacation destination, you probably have a pretty good idea of how full your tank is without a load level indicator. However, most trucks have at least one form of level indicator just for that Friday afternoon! Maintaining your level indicator will save time and money allowing you to arrive with plenty of capacity at every job site.
The most common level indicators are the small sight eyes that most tank manufacturer’s install on the back of the tank. Level indicators featuring a small plastic or glass lens that can be removed for easy cleaning are probably the easiest and cheapest way to verify your load level. A clear polycarbonate sight tube may be used in place of the sight eyes to see exactly where your level is at all times, rather than guessing where it is between the sight eyes. These tubes have exceptional durability and the valves and camlock fittings make them fairly easy to clean.
Maintenance of needle indicators can be tricky. These indicators rely on a float ball inside the tank. If there is sludge in the tank these float balls can get stuck, resulting in mistaken level reading outside the tank. If equipped with a grease fitting, be sure to keep them well greased. If possible, look inside the tank to make sure that no debris is caught on the float ball.
The See Level Annihiltor is one of several options for electronic level reading. These also rely on a float inside the tank that should be periodically checked for sludge and debris build-up. Although this is not a common problem, keeping it cleaned will save a lot of frustration resulting from being overloaded. These types of level indicators are popular for night operation and provide accurate readings.
Some pumper trucks are equipped with multiple styles of level indicators. Cross checking between them can provide accurate, real-time level indication. Uncertainty of the volume  of waste being loaded or unloaded, weigh scale fines as a result of being overloaded, and pump damage that can occur when pumping with an overloaded truck are three more hard knocks that you can avoid! Keep your level indicator maintained and keep your profits climbing!

How to maintain your vacuum tank manway

Vacuum Tank ManwayIf it’s not broken don’t fix it! Some things are better left undisturbed. Your vacuum tank manway that hasn’t been opened in 10 years is probably one of those things. Some tank entrances, such as your larger rear vacuum tank manway, may need to be opened on a weekly basis for proper cleanout. Once you have opened it, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Various components may need to be replaced when you try to open the manway. Wing nuts and bolts can be rusted and brittle after years of corrosion. Consider replacing them; this can save a lot of frustration and will help provide a secure seal.

Your vacuum tank manway gasket is the most important thing to check. Visually inspect the rubber gasket, and if in question use a flat head screwdriver to carefully pry it out. Check it for dry rot, tears, cracks or debris. You can use a hand held wire brush to remove heavy debris from your gasket. If you need a new gasket you can order it by the foot or as a specific size. When ordering rubber by the foot, be sure to order enough material so that when you install it the ends meet snugly. A gasket sealant compound should be applied at the joint to bond the two ends. Use of some grease all the way around will help the gasket install easier, enable the tank to seal better and provide corrosion resistance.

Older manways have the gasket installed in the neck. The newer styles usually have the gasket in the lid. Either way, be sure to visually inspect the metal surfaces that contact the gasket. If they are rough from rust or corrosion, you can use a wire brush or grinder to restore the smooth surface. If the rust is significant you may need to have a completely new manway installed.

If you do not hear your manway hissing when you run your vacuum pump, and if it is not leaking fluid, then you probably do not need to do anything to it. If you do open your manway be certain you get a proper seal when you close it. These simple procedures can help your tank perform better and save frustration and money over the long haul.

PA Small Business Person of the Year

Elvin Stoltzfus

Pik Rite, Inc is proud to announce that Company President Elvin Stoltzfus has been named 2017 Small Business Person of the Year in Pennsylvania by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

………“These small business owners define entrepreneurial spirit and best represent the 28 million small businesses that are the backbone and economic engine for today’s economy”, said Linda McMahon, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, in the March 16, 2017 announcement of winners.

Small Business Person of the Year winners from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands will converge in Washington, D.C. April 30 – May 1.  Winners will be honored with their individual award, along with the recognition of three runners-up and the naming of the 2017 National Small Business Person of the Year.

In response to being named 2017 Small Business Person of the Year, Stoltzfus said, “I don’t want it to be about me as much as about the employees, the organization, and the products we build. To win this award is an honor, but it’s all about my faith, the employees and my family supporting me over the years.”

Steven Stumbris, director of the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center nominated Stoltzfus for the award.  The relationship between Pik Rite and the local SBDC began 15 years ago when two mechanical engineering professors from Bucknell helped Pik Rite in the design and development of a vegetable harvester.  Pik Rite has since engaged the SBDC’s Engineering Development Services as well as the Environmental Management Assistance Program, he said.

“Elvin’s leadership of Pik Rite, as demonstrated both through his commitment to his employees and his dedication to exceeding the needs of his customers made him an excellent candidate for this award. He’s a true champion for his employees and not only helps them to develop as individuals but also supports their efforts to volunteer in the community,” Stumbris said in a Daily Item article.

Pik Rite Inc., recently celebrated 30 years of USA manufacturing. Product lines range from the namesake “Pik Rite” vegetable harvesters to agricultural spreaders and in recent years, commercial vacuum tanks and truck bodies. The company employs 70-80 people at its 64,000 sq ft facility in Lewisburg, PA and has exported equipment to 27 countries. Striving for a new sales benchmark of $25 million, the company is seeing growth and continuing to expand into new markets.

Pik Rite products are constructed from raw material; start to finish, on site. This includes employees fabricating, welding, sandblasting, painting and assembling the finished product. More than 90 percent of the materials used are American-made.  “It gives us a lot of pride,” said Stoltzfus, who also is a Kelly Township supervisor.  Pik Rite hopes to add a new product to its sales catalog. A melon harvester is in development with a prototype to be tested in California in the summer of 2017, he said.

Having just completed the third phase of facility expansion in July 2016, there are no plans for further building expansion in the near future, and there are no plans to sell the company, either. Stoltzfus wants the company to grow, and he believes Pik Rite can reach $25 million in gross sales by building on established relationships and creating new ones. It’s all part of continuing to foster the company culture of hard work and positivity, he said.  “That has probably been the single thing that has changed here in our culture. People have a buy-in. They feel safe here and part of a family,” Stoltzfus said.