Water Well Drill Troubleshooting

Lone Star Drills answers your top questions.

Water Well Drill water swivel maintenanceWater well drilling challenges happen. We have a few tips to keep your operation up and running while you’re in the field with Lone Star Drills water well drilling rigs. Our experts answer some of the most frequently asked troubleshooting questions we hear from our customers.

The mud has slowed or stopped coming out of the borehole. What’s wrong?

The drill and mud have stopped circulating. There are a few items that could be contributing to this. The first thing to check is the mud pump suction strainer. It may be clogged or the hose may be crimped. You may have to idle or shut down the mud pump engine to clear the strainer. Another possibility is a plugged bit. When drilling through clay it is important to go slowly and make sure that you are always seeing a return of cuttings from the borehole. Frequently, the only solution for a blocked bit is to remove the drill pipe and bit and manually clean it.

The drill bit keeps getting stuck after I add drill pipe. I have to raise it up a few feet before it will start to turn. What is happening?

Most likely, the cuttings are building up in the borehole and settling around the bit when circulation stops to add the next section of pipe. In this situation, run the rig without drilling down for about 10 minutes to flush the borehole of cuttings. You might also need to thicken the drilling mud to remove the cuttings more efficiently while drilling.

water well drill greasingWhat do I do when the drill is leaking from the water swivel?

For the LS100 & LS200, this indicates that the seals need to be tightened and greased. If that doesn’t stop the leak, then the seals should be removed and cleaned of any sand that has accumulated. For the Hydraulic and Trailer-Mounted Lone Star rigs, use the grease gun to add grease to the swivel. If the leak continues, replace the packing. When replacing the packing, you should carefully inspect the seals, bearings and swivel shaft for damage. If it is damaged, contact us for a replacement part.

The drilling mud won’t thicken even though I put a whole bag of bentonite in a 55-gallon barrel of water. Why?

Check the pH level of the water. It should be a nine or above to ensure proper bentonite hydration. If the pH is too low, add calcium carbonate (soda ash), which is often available at swimming pool supply stores. Remember to give the bentonite about 30 minutes to fully hydrate to create the drilling mud. The best way to mix it is to use your mud pump. Put the suction and discharge hoses into a barrel of water and run the pump as you slowly pour in the bentonite powder. Work the suction around the bottom to pull up any lumps. It usually takes 10 to 20 minutes to mix thoroughly.

The hydraulic oil is leaking out of my drill. What do I do?

Use a piece of cardboard or wood to search for the leak by passing this piece under the area where you suspect a leak may be occurring. If the piece comes away with a stain, there’s likely a leak. Don’t search with your hands or fingers as the pressurized fluid might cut or injure your skin. If you find a leak, tighten or replace the leaking fitting. The torque charts in the owner’s manual for your drill list the proper values and various sizes of fittings and fasteners.

For more information on troubleshooting with your Lone Star Drill, contact us today or check out our YouTube channel for more in-depth maintenance information.