Old as Dirt!
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tampa Bay Area
Thanked 128 Times in 121 Posts
Rep Power: 7
3 Cheers for Fischer-Panda!
The weekend before last I discovered that the raw water pump on our 2002 era Panda 4.2KW generator was leaking from a weep hole between the impellor chamber and the shaft gallery that houses the bearings supporting the drive shaft. Upon contacting Panda the following Monday, I was put in touch with the head of the Technical Services department, Mr. Bob Grubert, who explained that a rear seal in the impellor chamber was likely the culprit and patiently explained how to replace it and how to remove the pump from the motor to do so, if necessary. The Company’s parts department forwarded the new seals and an impellor kit which arrived the next day at a cost very little more than I had been paying for impellors alone from a local vendor.
This past weekend I set about replacing the seal but, as Mr. Grubert had suggested, the position of our generator made it necessary to remove the pump, a tedious but not difficult job, to gain the necessary access. With the pump extracted and impellor and old seal removed, I discovered that I could hardly turn the shaft/drive pulley by hand. Upon disassembling the shaft gallery assembly and extracting the shaft and bearings, I discovered that an O-ring shown in the schematic drawings of the pump was missing; and, that the rear bearing cage and bearings were completely wasted, evidently due to the water leaking from the impellor chamber having penetrated the shaft gallery. Even without the missing O-ring, I couldn’t fathom how so much water might have made its way into the shaft gallery until my sharp eyed wife spied a break in the side of the gallery wall due to an obvious flaw in the casting of the pump body. When the gallery was machined by Johnson Pump, this flaw left a small but clear pathway into the shaft gallery from the back of the impellor chamber.
This, and the missing O-ring, was an obvious manufacturing defect—by Johnson Pump—that Fischer-Panda could not possibly have detected when our generator was assembled but which, had it been discovered sooner, certainly would have been covered under our original warranty. Unfortunately, almost 7 years (to the day) had passed since we had taken delivery of the generator and I steeled myself to the idea I was in for a $450+ (USD) replacement part as one could hardly expect Fischer-Panda to honor such a claim, however worthy, after such a long time. Never-the-less, we photographed the damaged parts, and the flaw in the casing (no easy task given my poor eyesight!), and sent these and a note of explanation to Bob via email. The following morning—yesterday—he responded with a note simply asking for our address as his technicians were readying a replacement pump assembly for shipping to us (without a word about charging us!). And a brand-new pump arrived here today!
Now that—ladies and gentlemen—is an honorable Company of men, particularly so given the flaw was the fault of a supplier that F-P could not possibly have discovered unless we brought it to their attention, which we did not for almost 7 years!
If any one is considering the purchase of a small generator—one that is so quiet that it cannot be heard above the whoosh from the fan on an air conditioner—and is backed by a good, reliable, manufacturer, we heartily recommend Fischer-Panda. Tell them the crew of s/v HyLyte sent you!
"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."