The Last Gasps of a Dying Slurry Pump. Your Definitive Guide to Pump Failure.

pump failure

Machinery fails—it’s just a part of life. The good news? Machines very rarely fail without any warning whatsoever. Being aware of the signs of pump failure (both the obvious and the not-as-well-known) will go a long way in helping you avoid costly downtime, and stop problems before they spiral out of control. 

In this blog, we’ll go over some of the main categories of pump failure signs as well as some preventive measures you can take to maintain optimal slurry pump health and efficiency. 

Pump Failure: The Most Common Signs

When it comes to performance issues in your slurry pump, there are three main components that are most likely to be the underlying cause: bearings, seals, and couplings. Knowing what to look for in these areas will put you in a good position to prevent pump failure and avoid downtime. 


Lubrication is a crucial preventive maintenance step. While bearings are lubricated at the factory, they need to be relubricated regularly to avoid serious performance issues. How often your slurry pump’s bearings need to be lubricated will depend on the pump’s specific application as well as how often it’s used. 

Some of the most common signs of pump failure in regard to bearings include more noise than usual during operation, higher vibration readings, and unexpected temperature spikes. 


While mechanical seals thankfully show fairly obvious signs of failure, it’s crucial not to overlook them. It’s estimated that up to 85% of pump failures occur because of seal problems. Typically, a failing mechanical seal will look like process fluid coming from the seal gland. Sometimes it will present itself as a slow drip, and other times it’ll be more of a steady stream. 

One of the most important things you can do to ensure a long seal life starts with the seal itself. Oftentimes, choosing a mechanical seal based on fluid type alone isn’t enough. Review your process conditions carefully and consult a professional to make sure you’re getting the right parts


Where couplings are concerned, misalignment is the biggest threat. Sometimes this means a pump shaft and motor shaft were never properly aligned, but sometimes they fall out of alignment over time due to system vibration. A common sign of misalignment is finding black debris under the coupling area. 

Inspections of the coupling should be performed regularly so you can catch the problem as soon as possible. If any repairs are ever made to your slurry pump, it’s crucial to verify proper alignment, both before the pump is started up and again when the pump has reached operating temperature. 

Avoid Pump Failure with the Right Partner

When it comes to the health and lifespan of your slurry pump, it all starts with investing in the right equipment. Getting a slurry pump designed for your specific application, as well as fitting that pump with the right parts, is one of the best ways to avoid pump failure and ensure efficient production. At Vulcan Pumps, we have decades of experience providing the perfect equipment for applications in a wide variety of industries. We’ll get you what you need while respecting your time and your budget, as well as providing you with industry-leading customer service. Get in touch with us today to start the conversation.