From truck to well puller

TitleFrom truck to well puller
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1980
AuthorsCoupland J.W., Yarbrough C.C., Garcia E.L.
Date PublishedApril 1, 1980
Keywordslivestock, truck chassis, water wells, well repair, well-pulling unit
AbstractIn south-central New Mexico, as in many arid areas, water wells are the main source of water for livestock. On the Jornada Experimental Range, a 190,000-acre range and livestock research facility located north of Las Cruces, NM, a major maintenance problem is the replacement of pump leathers and cylinders of the 14 water wells that are 300 to 400 feet deep. In former years, the wells were repaired by using sheave assemblies and a cable attached to a vehicle that provided lifting power when driven away from the well. Although effective, this method was neither efficient nor safe. Jornada personnel decided to build a winching apparatus that would reduce the time needed to pull a well, the safety hazards, and the physical strain on workers. The result of this endeavor is a well-pulling unit that can be constructed at low cost, saves labor, and is far less hazardous to use. The well-pulling unit was made by modifying a 1-ton truck chassis with cab and engine. The basic concept was to use the engine and transmission to supply power to a double-drum winch made from the rear axle assembly. The first step was to remove the rear axle and bolt it on top of the frame behind the cab. The axle was placed so the front part of the two-part drive line could be connected to the differential using parts of the original universal joints. To make both sides of the axle assembly pull simultaneously, the spider gears in the differential were welded together. Wheel mounts and brake assemblies were left intact since the wheel mounts provided an easy means of attaching winch drums and the brake assemblies provided a ready-made, winch drum-braking system. A cable spool was made from a 1-ft length of 12-inch pipe and two 5-inch flanges made from 1/4-inch plate steel. This spool was welded to the outside of one 20-inch truck wheel which was attached to the wheel mounts on one side of the axle assembly. The 12-inch spool holds 150 ft of 34-inch cable and the lips of the wheel itself form a drum which will hold 150 ft of reserve cable. This winch drum is used as the pipe and sucker rod lifter. Using a crown sheave in the well tower and a single line direct pull (1-1 lifting ratio), 5,000 lb can be raised safely.