Sewer Jetter Maintenance and Refurbishing

Protecting your equipment, especially critical work machinery like sewer jetters, is crucial to long-term success. Ignoring basic upkeep can lead to costly repairs, expensive replacements and wasted labor hours. In contrast, sewer jetter maintenance and refurbishing often only requires inspecting and replacing simple parts and materials.

Sewer Jetter Maintenance and Refurbishing Tips

This maintenance interval plan, provided by, includes general guidelines for keeping your jetter running smoothly and extending the life of your equipment. Refer to your model's manual for additional maintenance tips.

  • Every 100 Hours: Change engine oil, check/replace air filter, check battery electrolyte level, inspect and tighten loose fasteners, clean/replace spark plugs

  • 200 Hours: Change oil filter, inspect radiator and hoses, check fan belt (if equipped)

  • 300 Hours: Replace air cleaner element, clean combustion chambers, check and adjust valve clearance, clean and lap valves if needed

  • 400-500 Hours: Change pump oil, change gearbox oil, replace spark plugs, change engine coolant (if equipped)

Remember that unleaded gasoline today usually contains some ethanol, which is incompatible with the fuel systems of most small equipment engines. Only use gasoline with less than 10 percent (E-10) ethanol, as ethanol-related problems are typically not covered under your engine maker’s warranty. If the unit is going to be stored for more than one or two months, add an E-10 fuel stabilizer.

Keep in mind that your equipment likes to be used. More equipment problems are related to improper storage than regular use, especially in colder climates. Also, keep dirt away from your drain cleaner and spray wand couplings before connecting them.

Also, a few simple steps will make your high-pressure line last longer (

  • Take care not to knot, kink or mishandle the line

  • Keep it away from hot surfaces, such as engine exhausts

  • Drain water before storage

  • Store it in a cool place when not in use

Nozzle Cleaning

Sediments and mineral deposits in your water can also create buildup in jet nozzle orifices. According to, clogged nozzles often push water intermittently, as if the spray wand trigger is being continuously squeezed and released.

photo-2-6Most nozzle tools aren’t made for a drain cleaner’s tiny orifices. For a homemade fix, use a small straight pin, like those found in the package of a new dress shirt. Disconnect the nozzle from the hose and use the pin to gently loosen any clogs. After cleaning, reattach the components and check to make sure that the hose is working normally. It may take two or three attempts to remove the sediment.

Nozzle Life

Due to the pressure from constant use, even high-quality sewer jetter nozzles will gradually wear out. Jet orifices will enlarge slowly over time, making it hard to tell when orifices grow larger and the cleaning pressure drops at the tip.

High-quality nozzles used with a pressure washer that operates at 4,000 PSI or less, cleaning primarily PVC sewer pipe with a low-sediment water supply, can expect to perform about 20 full-length drain cleanings with a 100-foot jetter. A replacement nozzle may be necessary at that point.

Finally, remember to inspect all components of your sewer jetter after each use, and replace any part that appears damaged or worn.

Southland Tool offers parts and equipment for many of your sewer jetter maintenance and refurbishing needs. To find out more, visit our product catalog or call (714) 632-8198.

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