Whether working in a professional auto-body garage with state-of-the-art technology, in the racing pit crew striving to keep a driver in pole position, or beneath a tent in a backyard rebuilding an old car, the lube equipment you’re using can be just as important as your actual repair work in keeping cars on the road.
A pump’s ratio (3:1, 10:1, and so forth) is determined by the size of the motor piston (portion of the pump above the drum, inside the motor itself) divided by the pump piston size (portion of pump inside the drum, within the pump's tubing). For example, if a motor’s piston is 2 in2 and the pump piston is also 2 in2, then that pump’s ratio is 1:1. If a motor’s piston is 4 in2 and the pump piston is 2 in2, then that pump’s ratio is 2:1, and so on. These ratios can get as high as 75:1 (note: This is working under the assumption that the motor in each pump is provided the same amount pressure (or “bar”) during operation).
Generally, the higher the motor piston to pump piston ratio, the higher the outputting PSI will be. But that also means that the flow rate will be lower. And conversely, low ratios equals high flow rates. But higher ratios (which equates to more power) is needed to pump more viscous fluids like grease and very thick oil types. Whereas when pumping something like antifreeze or lubricating oil, a low ratio will work fine.
And two pumps can have the same sized motor piston but different sized pump pistons, which results in higher PSI and lower GPM for the pump with a lower ratio.
A motor has a finite amount of power available so you can experiment use its technical specifications to develop maximum flow at low pressure. You can also use it to develop maximum pressure at no flow, or some balance of the two.
Having the correct pump ratio for the job all depends on the specific pumping application. A professional garage may want to have numerous high flowing pumps on hand to keep up with a large day-to-day customer base. The same would be true of a company maintaining large vehicles with fluid at a construction site. But the backyard mechanic may only need a moderate or low flowing pump since he or she would be working with only 1 or 2 consumer vehicles at a time.
Pumps not only come individually but as part of a complete set designed to be easily and immediately attached to a drum for use right out of the box. These oil pump systems and grease pump systems come with pumps and hoses standard and, depending on the package, can also include flow meters, wall mounts, reels, drum carts, or drum hoses.
Oil control valves, or meters as they are sometimes called, control the flow of fluids from one containment area to another. They can come in many varieties but they are mostly split into three categories – basic control valves, electronically metered valves, and mechanically metered valves.
Standard control valves allow users to manually control the flow of materials, but they have no metering instrumentation that allows the user to see exactly how much fluid is passing through it. But secondary meters can be attached to them and the pump hose for visual flow indication. These often have automatic “lockable” handles, heavy-duty construction, and wide nozzle spouts which make them ideal for large scale bulk fueling, like on construction sites for example.
Electronic meters have an LCD display build into the control valves themselves, allowing users to see exactly how much fluid is being moved and usually in multiple units of measurement (liters, gallons, etc.). These are often battery powered so they don’t need an external power source and are accurate down to the last literal drop of fluid needed for the job.
Mechanical meters have dial readouts and numerical tickers which move according to the amount of fluid being pumped. They also usually have multiple units of measurement and operate in the same way as electronic meters. But these control valves are known for being easy to read at a glance and for being generally less expensive than their electronic counterparts.
Mechanical and electronic meters can be preset to stop flowing at certain fluid amounts. And all 3 valve types are offered with spout variations such as rigid, flexible, and semi-flexible.
Grease Guns & Valves
Grease guns are manually operated lubricating tools, powered by a cartridge, much like the way a normal gun expels a bullet – the bullet is housed in a cartridge (shell casing in other words) and the gun’s firing mechanism forces the bullet from that cartridge via a controlled explosion. In grease guns, a cartridge is in the "chamber" and pulling the trigger applies pressure to the cartridge, expelling the grease inside. Some guns can be reloaded with cartridges and some cannot. Some guns are battery operated, allowing them to operate at higher pressures and expel more cartridges than regular, manually operated grease guns.
Grease valves however functions in the same way oil meters/valves do, in that, they are attached to hoses which are attached to drum pumps and deliver grease primarily based on the pump's PSI. These usually have a constant rate of slow.