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I have a Karcher K3.97 pressure washer. I think I'm losing pressure somewhere because the motor surges on and off every few seconds. No obvious leaks though. Could there be an internal leak through a diaphragm or valve?

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  • patmoore Aug 24, 2008

    My machine is alse switching off and on when at idle. Works ok when washing. Im afraid it will burn out the motor

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Dear Sir(s),
The majority of power washers have a spill valve or sometimes called a Control Valve. This spill valve will contract when the gun is closed. As it contracts it switches off a micro switch. Also at the base of the spill valve, an opening opens to let water circulate. Now if this Spill Valve is defective, it will make the machine lose pressure and it will make the machine switch on and off also. I sometimes service the Spill valve and lubricate with special Silicon grease. But if the end of the Spill Valve is not closing correctly, then I suggest that the Spill Valve be renewed. To come to see the Spill Valve, you have to open the cover. Most probably you see wires or a thick wire attached to the head. The part attached to the head contains the micro-switch. Remove the Miro-Switch holder and then you might see screws holding the jammed or faulty spill valve. If you cannot pull the spill valve out, try attaching water and sometimes you can switch on the machine for a second...and with the pressure,...the spill valve will be spitted out.
The switching of ON and OFF due to a faulty Spill Valve, will for sure damage the capacitor. A damaged spill valve gives all these symptoms. Machine going on and off while gun closed and while gun opened, and added to these,... pressure gets less. One small other hint....if all is OK with the machine, and when spraying the machine goes on and off....this is due to a blocked nozzel.
Regards,
Fulltech.

Posted on May 27, 2009

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1 Answer

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One simple thing you can do, is to check for leaks. Check if hose at machine is leaking. Check gun if it is leaking. You can also check if water still comes out of lance nozzel. These leaks however so small, will cause the machine to surge.
Another reason is due to a faulty SPILL VALVE. This spill valve( often called CONTROL VALVE) will contract when the gun is closed. When it contracts under the enclosed pressure it will switch off the machine by means of a Micro Switch. Now if this Spill valve is faulty it will loose its compression under pressure and puts on the micro switch again. This can be seen once in a while or more frequent, as in your case. I sometimes do service Spill Valves, but mostly I replace them with a new one. I do not know the model number of your machine, but normally you have to open the cover and you should spot the spill valve on the head. Most probably you see a thick wire or a cap containing the micro swith. If you find the micro switch, you have found the spill valve. Sometimes it is a bit hard to pull out the spill valve. Myself, in various Karcher models I remove the spill valve by trying to feed water and put on a bit the machine. In this way the spill valve will be spitted out.
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