Note: these archives were compiled from past Parking Lot Planet Forums. The answers and opinions are those of the posters. Things may have changed since then, so be sure to get up to date information from the current Parking Lot Planet forum





time to winterize

From: brrr in Iowa
Date: 11/21/99 9:01:19 PM
This is my first year striping and its time to shut down for the year. I have a linelazer I really have to disassemble all hoses or can I just run mineral spirits through it and leave in for the winter? also what’s the best way to clean the machine from top to bottom? I use waterbase paint. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!


From: jpanz
Date: 11/21/99 9:02:08 PM
There is an article in the Pavement Maintenance Mag regarding winterizing. I run mineral spirits through my machine and keep changing to clean mineral sprits until nothing but clean fluid comes out. Then I drain the gas and run the engine dry. Prop the machines on blocks so the tires do not get flat spots. And that’s it. In the spring fill up with gas and one pull and the engine starts right up, no problems yet in 4 years. Also if you have an 3000,3500,5000 make sure the machine does not freeze, there is a part in the controls that can freeze and break, A very expensive part to replace. I keep my machine heated to around 40 degrees with a problem.


From: Striper
Date: 11/23/99 5:37:42 PM
jpanz covered it very well. To save on mineral spirit, circulate it through your system by undoing the spray gun and placing the hose inside the container, siphoning and circulating your solvent for about 5 to 10 minutes through the system. Its easy and works great. Also , if you leave your tips on the striper, apply a little grease on the inside and outside of your tip.





Suction tube cleaning

From: jpanz
Date: 1/19/00 2:28:11 PM
Does anyone clean their suction tubes on their airless machines? And how.




From: Robert
Date: 1/20/00 6:24:12 AM
We clean the outside with a knife when the buildup gets a couple inches thick.


From: TomTom
Date: 1/20/00 1:15:47 PM
We clean ours once at mid summer and again when the season is over.


Date: 1/23/00 8:08:18 AM
I guess I misunderstood I clean the outside, but I also clean the inside of my hose.


From: Robert
Date: 1/23/00 9:37:32 AM
I clean the inside of the entire machine by circulating MEK or lacquer thinner through and letting it sit for a day or two. Then clean the machine again, including the filters, until all the loose material is removed.


From: City
Date: 1/22/00 10:28:55 PM
I use a very sharp utility knife to slice and dice the paint off. A fellow striper I know uses a small torch to soften the paint first but I prefer good old fashion elbow grease and a shiny new blade.


Date: 6/18/00 10:09:36 PM








Leaving paint in a 3900

From:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Date: 4/19/00 4:36:41 PM
Can you leave paint in a 3900, should you leave the pressure on slightly, does leaving paint in it do any damage....this is my first one and I've heard conflicting stories......


From: Don
Date: 4/19/00 5:49:14 PM
Ok you Graco guys argue if you will but he asked... I would NEVER leave paint in any airless machine for more than an hour or two (travel time between jobs etc.) You're asking for serious trouble. I have heard of people doing it but my oldest airless is 9+ years old and the "new" one is almost 5...still both going strong with very few repairs. There's something to be said for maintenance. At least follow the instructions in the owners manual. I personally go beyond that on ours.


From: jpanz
Date: 4/19/00 9:22:29 PM
I always run thinner or water to dilute the paint. I do not always clean it until clean water comes out. Its important to break down the solids in the paint. There are a lot of guys who do leave it in over night, but all it takes is a tiny air leak to have the paint set up in your machines. Isn’t ten more minutes on a job worth spending rather than several thousand dollars to replace the pump and all the hoses. If you use thinners, what we do is to reuse the thinner over and over, just pour it back into the can. The solids will fall and settle at the bottom and the thinner is still good.



From: Robert Liles
Date: 4/19/00 9:58:06 PM
We often leave paint in for several days with no ill effect. Chlorinated rubber paint is self-dissolving (fresh paint will re-dissolve any dry particles). We also leave waterborne in overnight without any problems. When I first started out, I never loaded an unclean machine in the truck, but now I know cleaning is a waste of time and money. We clean when we change colors. Occasionally we will clean with MEK and leave it in overnight to clean it out really well. For instance when we switch to a 2 component paint for warehouse floors etc. By the way, it's best to release the pressure when you shut down the machine. Air won't get in anyway, and you take the strain off valves and springs. Not to mention releasing makes it safer and unlikely to shoot paint accidentally.


From: Fonz
Date: 4/20/00 2:40:05 AM
I cleaned religiously for 3 years.......dead tired.......dirty....dire need of a shower.....whipped...but still had to clean the darn striper.............the last 2 years I used the "start it up every day" paint thru the gun and the bi-pass..........NO PROBLEMO!!! big "DITTO" to Roberts reply!!


From: Bob
Date: 4/20/00 7:18:58 AM
I agree with Robert and Fonz up to a point. If you are using contractors guns that have internal filter you need to run some paint through the lines daily. That little 50 grade screen will cause problems if you don't.


From: sdechene
Date: 4/21/00 7:47:15 PM
The official word, given to me by a Graco rep. and designing engineer, is that leaving paint in the machine is actually the preferable course of action as a viscous fluid will help the pump packings retain their shape and integrity. I agree with bleeding off the pressure for safety's sake, but I leave just a bit of pressure remaining. I find it quite nice to simply start the machine, cycle the paint for 5 seconds or so, put on a tip, and paint away. =)


From: Barknee
Date: 4/24/00 9:56:37 PM
I remember jumping out of bed after being rained out having suddenly remembered that I didn't clean out. Still laugh about it. I do as Robert, clean only when changing from white to yellow, but not the other way. liv n lern


From: JT
Date: 4/25/00 7:43:26 AM
What about the paint that's left in the suction hose after pulling it out of the pail? Do you run the pump a little? Seems like this would introduce air into the pump. Do you leave the tube in the pail and seal it somehow? This would save me a lot of time if I can get over the "fear" of disaster.


From: Robert Liles
Date: 4/26/00 6:43:00 AM
Don't pull it out of the pail! Just finish that last line, kill the engine, release the pressure, and load. The paint will keep fine in the bucket for a few days, even though it's not sealed airtight. I keep a few of the giant soft drink cups from the local movie theater. These are polyethylene, about 4" dia, 12" tall. Sometimes like when the paint bucket is almost empty, we put the tube in the cup, inside an empty bucket, and fill with thinner. We also use these when cleaning to reduce the amount of thinner required to start the cleaning process.


From: Cormac
Date: 4/30/00 10:32:24 PM
I never leave any pressure in an unattended machine. Always reduce the pressure to zero. I don't have a big problem leaving paint in machines overnight with paints I am familiar with. I won't over weekends or longer. Waterbornes are more finicky than solvent based when left in a machine, especially the fast dries.





cleaning where to draw the line

From: Greg K.
Date: 5/16/00 7:37:40 PM
would someone give me some advice on how clean is clean. when I am not going to use my Pro Liner for a few days or more I like to clean it. But I would at least 20 gallons of thinner to get all the yellow {blue white} out of it. How clean is clean is a slight yellow color acceptable in your thinner during cleaning ?

Thank You Greg K


From: ken
Date: 5/17/00 12:54:14 PM
I NEVER clean......not cost effective. I'd rather be striping. I do use three filters, though. One on the suction, one on the pump and always one at the gun and seldom have any problems. You can get an inline filter for ~ $30.


From: Don
Date: 5/17/00 2:24:01 PM
We ALWAYS clean (wait---no argument with those of you guys that don't) but you must be doing something wrong. We never generate more than a gallon or so of dirty thinner at most to completely clean the machine (to clear). Then we save the "dirty" thinner to use again. If you let it sit still for a week or so almost all the paint residue will settle to the bottom and you can carefully pour the clean thinner off the top leaving only a small amount of waste material on the bottom.


From: greg k
Date: 5/17/00 7:56:30 PM
don, I can't figure out how you can only generate one gallon of dirty thinner. what is your secret?


From: Don
Date: 5/19/00 9:33:48 AM
Here's the "method" taught me years ago by a 30+ year painting veteran (not a striper) Get two 2 1/2 gallon buckets. Fill one about 1/3 of the way full of thinner. Be sure and let any paint in the pick up tube drain back into the paint can. Take a rag soaked with thinner and wipe down the pick up and return tubes. Place the pick up tube in the thinner bucket and the return over your paint. Start the engine and circulate the pump ONLY until thinner comes through the return tube. Then place the return tube in the thinner bucket after setting the valve to spray position. For safety always place the gun in firm contact with the paint can, then spray the paint in the lines back into the paint container, stopping when fairly light thinner comes through the gun. (you may have to mix this paint in with a fresh container the next time you start if you get too much thinner by accident) Then place the gun in the thinner bucket and hold the trigger on (some have trigger locks for this purpose, if not wear chemical proof rubber gloves) for 1-2 minutes allowing the paint to circulate through the guns & lines. After that allow paint to circulate through the return for a little bit. Then kill the engine, allow the thinner to drain back into the bucket, use this dirty thinner to wipe down anything about the machine you need to clean. Fill the second clean bucket about 1/4 full with a hotter solvent like lacquer thinner (use toluene for all steps through this one if using chlorinated rubber). Before starting the machine remove and clean all filters (gun, line, etc.) with your fine brush and a dash of solvent over the "dirty" bucket. Also use your "test tube" brushes at this time to clean the inside of your tubes and any other internal nooks and crannies depending on the brand of machine, type of gun etc. Then just pump enough solvent through the machine to load up all the lines and tubes. Let it set a few minutes while returning the clean unused solvent to it's orig. container. Use a little of this hotter solvent on your tip brush to finish cleaning the tip and or pick up tube screen (which should have been soaking in a little jar all this time) Then place the pick up tube directly into a container of clean mineral spirits. Flush the lines ONLY until the mineral spirits replaces the hotter solvent. As soon as the mineral spirits emerges it should be totally clean if all procedures have been followed. We store this "almost clean" thinner in a separate container from the "dirty" thinner because it is reusable faster but you could combine them. Let it set until the paint settles out then re-use the thinner for thinning paint or cleaning in the 1st bucket some other time. After all is done this process should leave you with about a gallon or 5 quarts settling in your containers for re-use after which you should only have a cup full or two to dispose of. A similar method can be used for latex with soapy water followed by clean water but water doesn't settle the paint out. Leave it about 2-3" deep in some open buckets until it evaporates out most of the water then you only have a small amount of "paint sludge" to dispose of.


From: jpanz
Date: 5/17/00 10:07:15 PM
I thought I was the only one here that cleans their machine. I use 1/2 gallon in two buckets. One to breakdown the solids then change to the other one to clean the rest of the crap out.





Switching from latex to alkyd or rubber

From: ol dave
Date: 10/9/00 6:25:36 PM
Suggestions for changing from latex to alkyd or rubber. I've only shot latex this summer and need to switch due to lower temps. Your help please!


From: Fonz
Date: 10/10/00 2:23:02 AM
#1) After cleaning machine with the best water based detergent you can get your hands on.....maybe pine-sole for example......flush with water to get rid of the detergent the best you can.#2.) Then run alcohol thru it. The alcohol will absorb every single drop of water in the entire system. It's a chemistry thing. #3) Then flush with mineral spirits......or stronger solvents if you think it necessary.....from xylene to MEK #4) you're ready for alkyd...CR..etc


From: Don
Date: 10/10/00 7:44:34 AM
I agree with Fonz... We use Simple Green for detergent, after removing water we use lacquer thinner or toluene and just let it set in the machine for 10-30 minutes to cut any remaining paint residue. Then flush with mineral sprits for storage. If you're leaving the pump unused for a while pump just a little diesel fuel into the pump itself to keep it lubricated until use. Don't forget to change all your filters from the larger latex sizes to alkyd size.


From: HH
Date: 10/10/00 8:29:31 AM


From: ken
Date: 10/10/00 8:12:50 AM
I've had alkyd in my machines almost continuously for over 2 years. I did take Robert Liles suggestion and always reduce the pressure. The only time I have any problems is when I change to latex or vice matter how meticulous I am. Get ready to have one of Fonz's unexpected buggers.



From:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Date: 12/19/00 8:21:24 PM
Appreciate some "proven" methods of cleanup on the job. Especially when you have 1 machine and are using 2 colors (Handicap & white traffic lines).


From: God
Date: 12/21/00 7:08:08 PM
'Tis the beauty of AIRLESS machines & their incredibly high pressure! If you use your machines regularly, say at least once a week, there is no need to clean them. Just remove the suction tube from the pail and substitute a freshly agitated pail of paint. Then knock the paint "booger" off the spray tip, blow 1 or 2 seconds of paint through the tip into a cup or the grass or gravel, and go to work. Changing form latex to alkyd or vice-versa? Blow a pint or 2 into a container after switching pails, and go to work. My favorite mortal, THE GREAT BOOKMAN, was going to put that tidbit in the STRIPER'S BIBLE, but I told him I didn't want to take the heat from people who couldn't read and follow his instructions. Have a great holiday!


From: Bookman
Date: 12/20/00 10:01:47 PM
Start with white, then yellow, then blue. If you're going to do a blue and white handicap logo, ROLL on the background, because you're going to spray white paint on top of the blue. Wrap the roller in aluminum foil if you've got need for it later the same day. If not, toss it.


From: Barknee
Date: 12/21/00 9:52:51 AM
We keep our roller in a dedicated blue pail, lasts all year


From: City
Date: 12/21/00 9:46:39 PM
Recycle those plastic grocery shopping bags and use them to store your rollers, making sure theyre tight as not to let air in. I put the roller in the bag then pull it off the handle (keeps hands clean)then wrap it up tight. We only clean machines when changing from latex to alkyd and vice versa and mainly at the end of the season, otherwise by using the machine on a daily basis , theres no need to clean up.


From: Bookman
Date: 12/23/00 1:24:03 PM

Since we've catapulted the new striping PMCs from striping 101 (or lower) to a 501 graduate course in treachery, we need to keep them from becoming their own worst enemy. Here's how:

First, just because you don't have to clean your airless sprayers every day doesn't mean you can ignore them for weeks. Several years ago I forgot about mine for about 3 weeks during a rainy period. My business is diversified to the extent that weather rarely prevents me from working. Rain actually helps some of my services. When I was able to resume striping, I discovered the pump was locked up. The latex paint had hardened from the tip of the gun all the way back to my Graco's main filter. It took about 5 hours, a lot of cussing, a bunch of hardwood toothpicks and some Goof Off to get it operational. Another week or 2 and it would have cost some serious money. To prevent that, all you need to do is keep the paint fluid, and you can do that in about 10 seconds every day or 2. Simply direct the paint spray back into the pail. It shouldn't take more than a minute each time.

Second, make sure there is enough paint in the pail that your suction tube filter is COMPLETELY SUBMERGED. You don't want the paint to harden between the suction tube filter and the main filter.

Third, before you load the machine into your truck or trailer, replace the pail of paint with one that is fully agitated.

Fourth, strain the old pail to remove any sheets of hardened paint that will fall off the sides of the pail and reduce the flow of paint into the suction tube. A reduced paint flow will cause your stripe to suddenly narrow to a trickle or cause wavy line edges. A real pro paints straight lines with straight edges every time!

If you decide to play like the big dogs do, don't complain when you sink your fangs into your own butt. In other words, if you're not using your machine for a while, clean it or run it every few days so it doesn't set up on you.


From: Bookman
Date: 1/1/01 2:23:46 PM

Ken, your wasted cleanup time pretty much resembled mine, especially when I operated in the relatively clean environment of an industrial park. When I began operating out of my farm, cleanup time dropped sharply when it was possible to blow out my cleanup material on a burned out pickup truck. My actual experience with extended non-cleanups began with what I thought was food poisoning but turned out to be a ruptured appendix. A 12-day hospitalization and a 3-week recovery period showed me the "outer limits" of failing to clean my machine on a daily basis. I did not lose any money in the process, just a lot of time. And the real issue here, for people like us is simply TIME. You really can't accept and/or embrace the concept unless you are working at capacity and are willing to risk an expensive repair. It seems easier to accept if you thnk logically rather than emotionally.

Take Barknee's Low Tech example of using a dedicated roller and pail for blue paint. Not only did his roller cover last all year, his plastic and metal roller frame assembly didn't fall apart either! Nor did the bucket develop a leak. What's going on here? Are we to believe that paint buckets, roller frames and covers can hold up for MONTHS OR MAYBE A WHOLE YEAR WITHOUT BEING CONSUMED BY PAINT? Now if that is truly the case, why couldn't the same thing hold true for a High Tech machine like a paint sprayer, regardless of its type or brand? I don't see any instructions in any of my manuals that warn us of the necessity to suddenly halt production after a certain numbers of hours that paint is in the machine's system - just for the sake of CLEANLINESS OR PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO THE PAINT. By the same token, an equipment manufacturer would be insane to imply that cleanliness is not essential. When I wrote my striping book, I tried to keep inexperienced PMCs from getting in trouble - even considered writing Volume II, Short Cuts for Busy Stripers. And after about 17 seconds of careful thought, I said to hell with that. Let 'em learn on their own time and at their own pace. And remember that The Fonz, Monroe, Michigan's greatest striper (and lover) came to the same conclusion we have when he realized how much R&R time he was losing.


Date: 12/23/00 11:39:55 PM
Out here we clean our machines every day and it gives us piece of mind. About handicaps... if you only have a few i.e. 3 or 4 paint all of your white (lines, stencils etc). Switch to blue (this is assuming you have a two gun graco) running blue thru the second gun only leaving white in your first gun (or the one with the longest hose) paint all of your blue and with the extra white in the hose spray your handicap man.


From: RandyV
Date: 12/25/00 9:05:18 AM
I can't imagine taking the chance of enhancing the possibility of problems by not cleaning the machine. We have been striping for 3 years now and to me it is simply not worth it to leave paint in the machine unless I have a job first thing the next morning. The 10 minutes and 4 gallons it takes me to clean the latex out of the machine gives me good peace of mind that my strainer is clean, my filter is not cracked or plugged and that my hoses are not filled with boogers. The embarrassment and expense of having a malfunctioning machine because of lazy maintenance or lack of good cleaning to me is simply not worth the risk. When I unhook from the trailer after 12 - 14 hours of work, and have seen clean water run from every part of my machines, I know 100% that the next time I use it, I will have no plugs, glugs boogers or bugs. I also know that if I happen to hit a pothole (here in MI we have many) the only thing that will spill all over my machine and trailer is water.

And to a previous post, yes we have evaluated the cost of cleaning after every job or at least at the end of practically every day and I hope to tell you the cost is well justified. What is an extra 10 minutes after the long hours we already put in as compared to the frustration and hours of troubleshooting and fixing problems that could have been avoided.


From: Don
Date: 12/25/00 9:50:17 AM

Couldn't agree with you more Randy. Just an additional tip... don't store your machine with water in the pump, use PumpSaver (a water additive) for overnight & short storage, for longer periods use Mineral Spirits to keep parts lubricated, seals from swelling, and minimize corrosion. Be sure to flush out the mineral spirits with water before returning to latex. We go so far as to fill the pumps themselves with WD-40 like during extended shut-downs (like this years Texas weather-I think Fonz e-mailed us this stuff). I have a guess that the guys who leave machines dirty count pump work as a regular maintenance cost. Our 5 year old SpeeFlo pump has been rebuilt once, and our old faithful Wagner that's a '88 model is still on the original guns and has been in the shop twice outside normal maintenance (fluid changes etc.) I guess it depends on your point of view and how much you count the cost of rebuilds, check valve replacements etc. Also I know a lot of guys rebuild their pumps/machines themselves to save money, we use a shop because we don't have time to do it ourselves. For them the time/money factor may make sense.


Date: 12/25/00 9:12:15 PM


From: ken
Date: 1/8/01 12:53:44 AM
Again, I use primarily solvent based paints which allows my lack of clean-up....Not possible with latex. I have experience the same problems as describe by others when leaving latex in a machine for extended periods.

I have not cleaned a machine in over a year with absolutely no problems. (Excluding having to go from latex to solvent and back.) My success is also facilitated by having three filters.....One on the suction, one at the pump and one line filter. If I ever experience any hour glass or fingering, I just circulate a solvent and recharge with paint. I also never never allow air in the system.

Like I e-mailed to Bookman....I could completely replace every pump each month and still be ahead.

We are all creatures of habit. BUT, If "peace of mind" is worth more than 25% increase in gross sales.... go ahead....more work left for the rest of us. I will be out striping while another striper is cleaning. When the loss of sales (a FOR SURE quantity) is weighed against a POSSIBLE problem....for me, its a no brainer.

I have registered and have been looking forward seeing everybody again at the "Greatest Show on Earth" in Atlanta, but it appears work may not allow my attendance. If I get to go, it will be a last minute effort.

Happy new year and GREAT STRIPING to all!!!






clean up...a no brainer

From: ken
Date: 1/8/01 6:14:27 PM
I waited to reply back to everybody ragging on me for not cleaning machines to let everybody have a shot at me. I decided to repost my reply here in case somebody misses my reply way back up the list. So, here goes:

As previously stated, I use primarily solvent based paints which allows my lack of clean-up....not possible with latex. I have experienced the same problems as describe by others when leaving latex in a machine for extended periods.

I have not cleaned a machine in over a year with absolutely no problems. (Excluding having to go from latex to solvent and back.) My success (in not cleaning) is also facilitated by having three filters.....One on the suction, one at the pump and one line filter. If I ever experience any hour glass or fingering, I just circulate a solvent and recharge with paint. I also never never never allow air in the system. When paint gets low in a bucket, I go ahead and replace with a new one. This also makes for easier combining of partial pails.

We are all creatures of habit. BUT, If "peace of mind" is worth MORE THAN 25% increase in gross sales.... go ahead....more work left for the rest of us. I will be out striping while another striper is cleaning. When the loss of sales (a FOR SURE quantity) is weighed against a POSSIBLE problem....for me, its a no brainer. Like I e-mailed to Bookman....I could completely replace every pump on every machine and still be many dollars ahead. Losing thousands of dollars in non-productive time does NOT give me "peace of mind."

I have registered and have been looking forward seeing everybody again at the "Greatest Show on Earth" in Atlanta, but it appears work may not allow my attendance. If I get to go, it will be a last minute effort.

Happy new year and GREAT STRIPING to all!!! (Even you, Fonz!)




From: DEAN
Date: 6/11/00 9:47:29 PM
Hi, everyone. I'm new to this business and thanks to all of you it has been a lot easier getting started. My ? is what is the best way to clean the screens(filters)on a Graco 3000. I use S.W. latex paint, also what I need to do on keeping lines, head, tips, pump cleaned after using for the day. To where it might be a few days before I use the machine again. Thank everyone in advance for your help.


Date: 6/11/00 10:24:44 PM





Re: WATER BASED PAINT TO CR............Alcohol...the secret flush

From: Fonz
Date: 4/30/00 1:23:42 AM

I'd like to interject here........and pass on this tip................Anytime going from a water based paint to a alkyd or CR paint, do yourself a favor and flush with alcohol before flushing with Mineral spirits or a stronger solvent. Alcohol will absorb 100% of the water,.....It's a chemistry thing. SO......................going from latex to CR....first flush with water............then alcohol..........then your solvent of choice before adding your solvent based paint..........