Buffer tank priming issues

Hello, maybe someone can have an idea of what I’m doing wrong here, I just finished setting up a 55gal buffer tank, when I pull up to a house, hook it up, and fire my machine I don’t get any water out of the unloader, the solution to this has been playing with the throttle on the engine and squeezing the feed hose until it slowly starts to put more and more water out, then after a while it’ll finally primed and be ready to go, I’m sure this is not normal and I cant have my pump running dry on the first minute or so every day, then if I shut it down and turn it back up it works fine, but once I go home and try to crank it the next day, same issue, I’d love to get some wisdom on how to keep it primed without adding a ball valve before the machine, this is my current plumbing

What size hose are you using? Also you should be using non collapsible hose (if that’s not). What your using can cut off flow by vacuum effect.

It’s 3/4 contractor hose, really needed to get it running and I’ll need to replace it with spa hose or any of the ones recommended here, but I figured for a short time on a 4gpm machine should be okay, no issues of It collapsing so far

I wouldn’t use less than 1" hose to feed a 5.5 and always non collapsible.

1" Non Collapsible

Home Depot 1" Spa Hose (Same)

Between the connections you have in place and that hose ID you’re starving the pump. Just briefly glancing at the pics you need to remove everything down to the head of the pump, get a 1" hose barb for the inlet, and some 1" non collapsible hose.

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@TexasPressureWashing thanks, looks like Im redoing my plumbing lol

@bdubs thanks for the insight! So I need to make everything bigger to 1” including the pvc plumbing? So I’d need to get a 1” filter since this one is 3/4? Or I just need to replace the hose with a 1” one?

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Also one of the hoses coming out of the T is just to empty the tank when needed, so there’s no flow going that way when the machine is in use

Yes 1" for all of it. The drain hose is fine but you should put a ball valve there…

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People on here don’t like this company, or the owner, and i’ll probably get a bunch of guff for sharing this link, but that’s the stuff you’ll need to properly plumb your system (in a nutshell/give or take a few items). Alternatively you can pick up all of that equipment from your local hardware store and have at it.


I’m assuming because of where the filter is that you’re trying to feed the machine off of the middle of the Tee. Water doesn’t want to go that way, even with the other hose capped off. That’s your first problem.

Second problem is that everything is undersized. You have so many fittings on that tiny supply line that are dropping the inner diameter to less than the ID of an already undersized hose.

If that machine is a direct-drive, that’s your third and biggest problem. They’re not great at pulling water from a tank, and prefer to be fed via pressure.


I used that kit for my 5.5 and the 8GPM kit. Worked great.




Show the full picture of everything. If your not bypassing to the buffertank and instead back to inlet feed, its another source of problem.

It’s a 4/3500 belt drive, thanks y’all for your help! @Redjess I’m bypassing into the inlet for now, looks like I’m going to order that kit and get everything done at once

Try bypassing either back to tank or on ground, but plug up the inlet where bypass was. See how that works out if your curious and want io fiddle I seem to remember someone recently on here with same issue.

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You’ve got an air leak somewhere. The 3/4" is fine on a 4gpm but get the non-collapsible. When sucking water, don’t want to use a garden hose, if you were feeding off a spigot would be fine, but they’re not air tight. Get your bypass done back to your buffer, what it’s for, before you burn up your pump. If you don’t want to buy the kit, get you a on-off valve and however many feet of 3/4" non-collapsible hose you need, barb to connect it to your machine and you should be set. But the kit is all inclusive and and then you’ll know everything is right.


Update: we installed the kit today, pump primed just fine after giving it a few pulls before firing it up, thank you so much for all your help! I’d probably never figured this out on my own lol😂


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Looks good.

Where is the red hose going? The one on filter bowl?

@Chesebro it’s just to wash our hands, fill buckets, dump the water from the tank, it’s got a ball valve on the other end

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