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Messages - walteratmarchpump

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Equipment and Software / Re: Pump reviews
« on: May 15, 2018, 07:59:46 PM »
The March, Chugger, and Blichmann pumps all seem to be produced by the same mfr. The motors look the same to me. The pump heads are different, but they seem to perform similarly. I'm not sure there is a big difference.

I've got a March 815 and it performs well. I do like the features on the Blichmann. I understand that the Blichmann discharge valve can be a little more prone to clogging since its a needle valve style, but if you don't have debris in your flow stream, that shouldn't be a concern.

To give a little background on those mentioned above......
We (March) started making the 809 series pumps back in 1969 for the home hydronics markets....about 10-15yrs ago the solar industry latched onto them as they are rated to 250* so they really like them...that and the fact we do make 12 and 24v versions of them. Some 5-6yrs ago the home brewers starting using our pumps for the same temp reasons. We try and source motors and parts as much as possible from US sources but even US companies are getting stuff made in china and mexico so its getting harder and harder everyday. We do most of the machining here in-house along with plastic molding. The only thing coming from China direct to us here are magnets, as there are very few US sources for those..

The "other guys" used to be one of our distributors...they took one of our 809's to china and had it copied.
Then we think the company they took it to, went and made their own version and the topsflo was born as its the exact same pump head as well just a different motor driver.
Blichmann was picking our brains on their own design...we helped them in some of their testing and we went back and forth on some of their design...but they are basically making their own pump. Its a very nice unit...i'd say it would have been our next generation 809 if we were to ever make a beer only type pump...but they have it covered so we have no interest in it. :)

Walter, my pump is working great but the thrust washer has been lost.  I've been running it without since the shipping for a washer is significantly more than the part itself.  Are there any options other than ordering one from you?

Sure...go to the hardware store and find yourself a stainless washer with a 1/4" ID hole and the smallest OD you can find so it doesn't block the inlet hole inside the pump and you should be good to go. I'd bring the pump head with the shaft installed with you so you can trial fit the washers onsite

Uncovered an issue with my pump the last two brew days.  I have a chugger SS head pump (hope this threads ok, not a march pump?).  The pump has worked great for 5+ years but the last two runs it will periodically stop pumping fluid though I still hear the motor running.  It seems to go to a higher pitch when this happens.  I turn it off, give it a few minutes rest, and it works again- for awhile, until the same process happens again.  I have an electric single tier setup and continuously recirc thru the entire mash with a heat exchanger in the HLT.  I did do a hop stand at 190 x 30min the first brew day it malfunctioned.  Could cycling the extra high temps for so long have damaged it?  Figure it’s time to take it apart and see what’s potentially going on inside.

Hard to diagnose without seeing it first hand....but i would guess you have a sugar buildup inside the bore of the impeller and when it heats up it chokes out the liquid and seizes on the shaft enough to de-couple the magnets. Take it apart and clean the impeller really can also drill out the bore of the impeller with a 17/64" drill bit to let more liquid in between the impeller and the shaft for better lubrication.

Hi Walter I sent you an email last week with some additional questions, please let me know if you did not receive it.

I usually reply to emails the same day unless its over the if you didnt get a reply from me by now then i must have not got it....did you send it to my email or to one off the website? If it went to sales then it may not have been directed back to me....

First thing i would do is change your outlet line to 1/2" ID....the output of our pumps are spec'd according to that line going bigger may help in less friction but keep i mind you then have to fight against the weight of the fluid in the line at the same time. So going smaller in your case may help keep the velocity of the fluid up and help start the whirlpool faster. Another option would be to upgrade your impeller to the 815 model. The 809-HS pumps and the 815 pumps are virtually the same other then the impellers inside them. so that impeller change would be able to boost the output head height from 12' up to about 18' so it in essence would gain you an extra 2.6psi over what you can make right now.
Any other questions feel free to email me at work wwojcik at marchpump dot com :D (i spelled it so the email harvesters would get it :D )

I have an 809 that I bought from someone retiring.  It has always run well for me.  This past weekend I had some issues with air locks causing free wheeling.  Whenever this occurred I would immediately shut the pump off.  I then would find it would not restart and I would notice the fan would pulse when the switch was turned on, but it would not turn.  The fan was magnetically held in place.  After a few minutes (potentially as the motor cooled) it would run.

Is there a potential dead spot in the motor windings or could it be overheating?

We would have to see the motor and test it....but from what you said in the posting i would venture to guess the clearance on the impeller ID is too tight and its sticking on the shaft when it heats up. it could be tight from the molding process or you may have sugar buildup from not cleaning it out good enough.....easiest thing you can do is drill the impeller center section out with a 17/64" drill bit to give it more clearance.

Is it possible to purchase a stainless pump head to replace the plastic one on the 809 HS? Also, is there more risk of trub, etc. clogging/catching in the larger upgraded impeller? Thanks!


Hi guys, sorry i haven't been on here in a while...not sure why but i don't get notices when there are new postings on the thread...i figured there was no traffic here...
anyway yes you can buy just the stainless head if you like. The part numbers are:
0809-0150-0000 for the center inlet style
and 0809-0211-0000 for the inline version.
you can order one from any of our distributors.
You will also need a different o-ring if you change over as they are different size. that's part# 0809-0165-1000
As for the impeller...that depends on how much debris goes through the pump and how hard/soft it is. Most very soft stuff will get shredded in small amounts and pass right through....other will jam the impeller and decouple the magnets and you will loose all pumping action.

Thanks for the reply.
For now I've elected to pickle the bronze pump head using a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. I found instructions on this process on John Palmer's how to brew website. It was like high school chemistry all over again! I'm much less concerned about any lead making it's way into my brew than before.

The stainless heads are sold out all over the web but I eventually plan that as an upgrade anyway.

Thanks again

No problem...let everyone know how the pickling works out for you incase anyone else is thinking about going brass as well :)

Walter, I dropped my 809 off the utility table, It makes a humming sound but that is all. I thought I would ask before taking it to a pump repairman. Any ideas what I could do to fix it?

First thing i would do is remove the pump head off the motor bracket (4 philips screws) and run the motor alone. If it works then the motor bracket shifted slightly and what you need to do is install the pump back on. Plumb it up with water...then just barely loosen the 4 flat head screws holding the bracket tot he motor and tap it around the base till you get the bracket re-aligned again and not'll know when you are close when it starts pumpng will most likely have a metal rubbing sound to it as the drive magnet rubs against the stainless rear cover plate...just make small taps till its quiet again and tighten it all up.
If the motor wont go at all then all i can say is send it back to me here and i can try and hammer it back out for you....i have a good streek in fixing these guys as of late! :D

During my upgrade to the 815 impeller, I noticed that the teflon washer was long gone.  Unfortunately, I only ordered 1 new teflon washer with the impeller. 

That 809 HS pump is over 10 years old with about 100 batches.  I'm sure the washer was probably gone a while ago, but no ill-effects were noted.  How important is that washer and how long (run-time hours) do those washers last?

The cost of the washers is next to nothing, so the only real cost is the shipping.  Wish I had ordered a couple of spares.

The washers will normally last the life of the pump as long as theres nothing attacking them chmically...or unless you have restriction on the inlet side of the pump sucking the impeller up against it...The newer washers are all white...the older ones were black and sometimes hard to see if they were still there or may be the washer was there but didnt look like it! :D

So, I'm building my system up and was wondering which March pump would work best for a 10 gallon system?  I will be adding a plate chiller as well, probably 40 plate.  Any advice would be great!


Sorry guys, i wasnt getting notifications for some reason...anyway getting back on track:
 Most guys are now ordering the 815-PL....or upgrading their 809-HS pumps with the 815 impeller.
The thing i'm not sure about, is how much pressure or restriction that chiller plate would put ont he pump. Once thats figured out then i could size the pump easily.

Walter, I use an MDXT-3 pump that I bought 10 years ago from McMaster-Carr.  The manual shows the maximum liquid temperature to be 190ºF, however, I regularly pump 200+ water through it.  Other than the occassional air lock, what other negative effects should I expect to crop up?

That pump is rated for 190*F....and many people do use it for brewing because they use it for short runs at those hot temps. The concern we have with running it above the 190*F  temps, would be more for the long term applications. You may see a softening of the plastic if you were to immedietly take the pump apart and inspect it. And as  long as theres no pressure going throught he pump you will probably never have any issues with it. The polypro we use, shows temps ok to 220*F but the issue we have is that with the design of the pump, the back end of the impeller/housing runs hotter due to low fluid turn over during operation. If you take the pump apart occasionaly, just inspect the rear housing for any deformation and same with the imeller...if all looks good then no worry's :)

I am in the process of upgrading my system and implementing a pump. I currently plan to use it only for recirculating wort back into the kettle while my immersion chiller is chilling the wort. I have a rather tall brewstand and use gravity for taking the hot liquor to the mashtun and running off wort from the mashtun to the kettle.

I see there are polysulfone headed pumps and brass/bronze headed.
I've also been made aware the polysulfone are prone to wear and have fragile threads.
I don't want metallic taste in my beer from the brass. Is this an issue?

Please help me decide which way to go. Pros and cons of both types?
I tend not to want any brass in contact with my wort if I can help it but frankly I've not been able to detect any detracting flavors when using brass ball valves or brass barb fittings on my cooler mashtun or elsewhere in the system to this point.



People have had issues with the plastic head pumps with breaking off the threads.....but we find its more that they are over tightening the fittings when installing them on the pump. We usually recommend 1-2 wraps of Teflon tape....then hand tighten the fitting on but don’t try and crank it down as much as possible by hand.....then when you get it hand tight, give it another 1/4-1/2 turn with a wrench and that should be more then enough. The threads are tapered so the more you tighten it, the more stress you put on the connection as it gets tighter.
As for Brass or plastic....I cant really give you an answer on which is better or not. I can just give you information and you have to make a decision for yourself.
If you go with the brass, the advantages would be the strength most of all....they can take  more pressure internally and obviously have stronger threads for fitting connections. But the biggest thing that i just want to make you aware of is that the brass contains up to 6% lead content. Keep in mind that’s the very same thing you have in your home fixtures unless you live in CA where they mandated 0% content few years back. The only difference is that no one drinks the hot water coming out of your home faucet, and the temp really never see above 135* out of you faucet either. So as to what affect that will have on anything i really don’t know.  If you wanted a metal pump head, you could go with a stainless version we have. But i know for most people its too expensive and there is a competitor that sells them for way cheaper then us. I have seen them sell a complete pump head for almost as much as we buy just the raw castings for!! And we still need to spend some time machining the parts to our tolerances before final assembly!  We strive to try and keep as much as possible made in the US before going elsewhere for parts. Those stainless pump heads are coming out of a foundry in PA. The competition is China...that's why they can sell them for so cheap. If you happen to have an existing 809-HS pump then you could go and buy their stainless pump head and swap it out and have stainless that way....just an option to throw out there for you guys.. :)

Priming is always an issue with these types of pumps. Can you offer any suggestions as to system plumbing modifications, head position, etc, that would help.  Thanks.

A good start would be to look over the tutorial i posted a few threads down or just go here:

Once you understand the mounting issues of the pump head the next thing to check out would be the plumbing itself. Try and keep the hoses or pipes as short as possible and try not to have any high spots between the pump and the supply tank its drawing from. If you happen to trap some air in the line before you start the pump, even though it may be primed in the begining, it will suck that air pocket in and cavitate and give you problems. Most times people that have problems on start-up will shut the pump down and start again and most times that was enough to purge all the air out of the system. That usually tells me the pump head is positioned wrong. Another issue with priming the pump is when you have a full rolling that case you are sucking air being generated from the boiling right off the bottom of the pot. In those cases just kill the flame and let the brew settle down for like 30seconds before starting up the pump so its not generating bubbles anymore.


Thanks for this great info.  I just ordered a new impeller last week as I was having trouble pushing wort through my heat exchanger and back into my mash tun, and a little trouble with priming and air leakage.  I am hopeful that this upgrade along with a few hoseclamps will solve it.  However, if not, are there other pumps availible (or on the drawing board) between your 815 and the nano pump (325?) at $350?

I'm so sorry that i overlooked your answer your question the pump in-between those two you mention would be our AC-3B-MD. That pump will give you an output of 10gpm and can pump up to 20' of head height. Its made out of the same material as the 809 and can handle the same temps..... :)

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