Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Gutting the filter

I think I've finally got all the parts I need to finish the keg jumpers. But today's project is to replace the main pump seals in the filter, and if that goes well, to filter the new batch of All-American Gold.

The filter, whole.

It's not going well. I detached the pump from the filter (realizing in the process that being an Italian-made machine, all of the bolts are metric-sized, so I had to go back to the hardware store for some metric box wrenches) and wrestled the housing off. The next step was to remove the impeller to get at the seal, but the impeller wouldn't budge. I tried everything I could think of, including looking in the instruction manual, but the manual only had drawings of a completely different pump. So around 11:00 I called Scott Laboratories to see if there was some trick to it. I left a message for somebody in the service department. When they call back, I'll see if they can fax me some drawings for this pump.

With their advice ("get something to use for leverage and pry it off, being careful not to bend it") I had the pump disassembled by noon.

Pump guts

I took out the old seals and put in the new ones, then reassembled the pump and reattached it to the filter.

Old seals vs. new seals

A leak test seemed to be a good idea, so I hooked up a hose and started filling the filter. Water spewed generously from around my newly-installed seals. By 1:00, I had it taken apart again. Each seal can only go in two ways, sort of a "heads-tails" thing, and there are two of them, which means there are only four different configurations. The mechanically-inclined reader may note that if I had paid attention to how the original parts were installed in the first place, I wouldn't be in this situation now. Anyway, I flipped one of the parts around and put the whole works back together.

The second leak test went as well as the first. I took it all apart again. This time, more parts came out than I put in. This is generally not a good sign. After looking at the bits and pieces, I figured I'd be better off calling Willie, our maintenance man, who has some experience with rebuilding pumps. Worst case is that I'll have to buy another set of pump seals (about $70) and start over.

So obviously the All-American Gold didn't get filtered today. But I did move seven barrels of root beer into the cellar, and I finally got the keg jumpers finished.

Tomorrow, run a CIP cycle through the brewhouse, fill and clean kegs, and keg off the Toil & Trubbel Dubbel and clean that tank.

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