Trench Pump Can Really Move Water
Restored CMC trench pump, powered by a Wisconsin ABN, earns its keep
Regardless of the name, whether you call it a trash pump, mud pump, sludge pump, diaphragm pump or trench pump, this engine can really move water!
This kind of pump is known by a host of names: trash pump, mud pump, sludge pump or diaphragm pump, and its own manufacturer called it a “trench pump” — but regardless of the name, this pump can really move water!
Made by CMC in the 1940s, this pump is a Model FD3 and was designed to move difficult materials such as mud, slurry, sewage and other viscous liquids. With a rubber diaphragm that does the pumping and rubber flappers that do the valving, the pump is capable of moving about 90 gallons per minute and lifting water as much as 20 feet. Its unique construction allows it to handle solids mixed with the liquid, and this pump is able to pass 1-5/8-inch solids. That makes it ideal for pumping out trenches, which always have a mix of water, mud and gravel.
H. B. Lichty founded the Waterloo Cement Machinery Corporation in Waterloo, Iowa, in 1909 with the purpose of making cement mixers. The product line soon expanded to include hoists, trench fillers, brick and block machines, and pumps, and the company name was changed in 1920 to Construction Machinery Company, abbreviated to CMC. By 1922 they had 125 employees and a large factory and foundry. The company had a number of innovative products and a faithful customer following until it was merged into a much larger organization, Roper Industries, in 1976.
We acquired this CMC pump in poor condition, as the “before” photos above show. It had been used roughly on a beef cattle farm, and then stored outdoors. We quickly determined that the engine, a Wisconsin AB, had a host of problems, and we decided to replace it. We found a rebuilt ABN unit for sale at Bob’s Small Engine Repair, Marion, Iowa, that fit perfectly and starts and runs nicely. The ABN develops 3.4 HP at 2400 RPM, and has a good governor, which is an asset with a cyclic load like this pump. Because the pump crank and diaphragm work relatively slowly, about 60 to 120 strokes per minute, the engine has a reduction gearbox, which then drives an additional sprocket and chain reduction system. This reduces the engine speed and increases torque in order to operate the large diaphragm.