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Wagner Wildcat/ Puma

Y.Heller Member

Hey guys,

Looking to update my current spray pump and was looking for feedback on either of these pumps from any shops that might be using them.

The place I apprenticed at and got into finishing, we used Wagner pumps (I forget the models). They always ran great and never had issues for the 7 years I was there.

Iíve been out on my own for 5 years and had bought a Wagner coloratecni. Itís what I could afford starting out and Iím pretty sure itís somewhere around 25 years old at this point. It refuses to die. Iím impressed with that.

It had been rebuilt once by the previous owner and and I was looking at the costs to rebuild it + parts availability and was up in the $1000 range.

it still makes sense to me to rebuild it at some point because itís been a great sprayer for me and will become my dedicated clear finish gun. But for pigmented finishes I would like to update with a new system. I just went through hell with a dark green that was sensitive as hell and showed me all the flaws. Stuff Iíve never had to worry about with whites which is practically all I spray.

I was looking at the Wagner Wildcat and the Puma. Really only going to be running 1 gun on this thing as Iím the only one spraying finish (2man shop). Shooting MLC conversion varnish on the regular, Kemvar plus time to time, but have been looking to go to 2k poly.

I was reading articles recommending getting a pump that is beyond what you think you need now for growth (I donít foresee that anytime soon), but more importantly for parts wear. The idea being if the pump exceeds your needs it cycles less/less wear on the parts. it seems to me the Wildcat would fit the bill. Itís an 18:1. The next step up is the Puma which is a 28:1.

$3400 vs $3800 between the two. Not enough of a difference to me not to get the puma. Iím just wondering if I really need to go to the Puma at all using the finishes I use or if the Wildcat is already more than enough for my needs.

Would love to hear more on the icebreaker thing.

Iím also wondering... with a modern system, is there an add on part or maybe itís built in these days... essentially something that keeps constant spray pressure at the gun while the pump cycles so that there is no pulse in the finish?

My old coloratecni pulses at the gun and I typically time my spray so that Iím clearing off of the component when it pulses. This becomes a pain when spraying large doors/ dark colors. If I inspect the part closely, I can see a ghost pattern in the finish of where those pulses are. I typically box coat a large panel like this just to be sure I donít have any starved areas, but in the right light/angle I can see those areas as the finish cures. At least I could in this dark green I just sprayed and I was not pleased with sending the job out, but I couldnít seem to alleviate that. In the end it wasnít noticeable When the doors were hung, but I want that issue gone from my stress plate.

11/8/20       #2: Wagner Wildcat/ Puma ...
Leo G Member

I run a Kremlin 10:14, it's a 10:1 ratio pump. Probably not as strong as what you've been running. What you are seeing with your pulse in the spray is usually called a "wink". It depends on how fast your pump cycle can recover. It is also dependent on the diameter and length of the hose you run to the gun. The longer and bigger the diameter the hose the better it can soften the wink. Also the quicker your pump recovers and the size of the tip you are running. A small tip orifice size will result in less winking. A large tip will deplete the "spare" pressure held up in the hose.

I don't know much about the Wagner pumps. The Kremlin and Cat pumps are what I'm more familiar with. The Cat pumps are less expensive to repair than the Kremlin's.

11/9/20       #3: Wagner Wildcat/ Puma ...
Shane Welch

pump wink can also be fixed with a fluid pressure regulator so it provides consistent outfeed pressure... but in older larger pump the wink is most likely from the lower and upper ball seat wear as well as the balls themselves..... best way to tell is put the pump under pressure and if the rod is visible watch it travel downward while under pressure without using the gun.... let it sit unused and a pump with balls not seating will loose bottom out on it's own if the lower balls doesnt seat correctly..... same for the upper ball if it travels by itself on the up stroke..
With that sort of budget.. over 3K I would definitely buy a kremlin.... yes.. parts are expensive but the longevity is greater than a CAT, Graco, or Binks.... Technically CAT is a Wagner product now.. I've used them all for years and out of all of them Kremlin seems to shine in quality... I have well over 30 pumps of various sizes running at any given time throughout the week during production hours and out of those 98% of them are kremlins....

11/10/20       #4: Wagner Wildcat/ Puma ...
Y.Heller Member

Thanks for the responses Leo and Shane.

Leo Iíve been spraying with a 512 tip so likely what youíre saying with depleting As well as Shaneís points.

The hose is one of those blue Graco hoses from HD. Threw a new hose on in a pinch as that was all that was available locally. Surprisingly hard to find local suppliers that can mate the fittings onto the hoses and it was one of those deals where it went down during a job and I needed a quick solution.

Pretty sure itís a 25í which is far more than I really like and a lot more finish just sitting in the line. A 15í is plenty for my booth.

In terms of cycling Iíll try to time it today somehow when Iím spraying some clawlock II. I mean... to me it sounds fast as heck. Thereís no pause or lag in the down stroke/return.

Shane would you say the wagner pumps are better quality in parts than CAT? (Never used one myself). Likewise would you say the Kremlin is better quality than the Wagner? I saw the other brands listed but not Wagner brand. Iím looking for the best that I can afford in that up to 4K range. I know somewhat what I can expect in the durability/dependability with the Wagner as itís all Iíve used for 12 years. Kremlin i have zero experience with. Never used one, but Iíll take a deeper look Into their gear. I know a lot of guys who are shooting on kremlins and Iíve always heard they were good. However I do hear mixed responses on the 10:14 often from full time finishers so I assume they might like a Bigger/different model of Kremlin.

Regarding my pump. I suspect itís time for some rebuilding. The last time I broke the pump down and really went through everything was a year ago. Replaced some of the seals/orings. I had noticed the beginning of some wear to the shim looking things that stack together on the rod (I forget what theyíre called in the manual). The metal balls looked to be in good condition- no visible surface marks, but maybe they are worn anyhow? Iím not sure as I just donít have enough experience working on/rebuilding the pumps and knowing what to look for besides obvious stuff.

Can you post a picture of the set up for a fluid pressure regulator in the system? If getting rid of winks is as simple as that I would love to set this pump up to eliminate it.

appreciate the info guys. I would love to go somewhere and see this stuff in person, but so far I havenít found a shop that really sells this type of gear in a brick/mortar store that you can talk to the guys in person. Always just staring an an online photo and the write ups.

Iím close on the boarder NY/NJ. Unsure where you guys are, but if youíre in the tri-state do you know of any stores that cater to these types of finishing systems?

11/11/20       #5: Wagner Wildcat/ Puma ...
Shane Welch

the kremlin 10:14's are little work horses and the entry level into kremlin AAA... they are fine fine pumps and spray beautiful. If you run the pump for 4-5 hours a day you will wear out the throat seal every 4-5 months if your spraying opaque's and primers and the piston seal will wear about the same.. Not a huge deal to plan to replace the lower unit seal kit every 4-8 months depending on how much abuse you throw at it.... the excite gun wont have any issues until well after a solid year of use... just the normal front fluid nozzle ring and tip seals wear out.... The 15C25 pump is a better intermediate pump and what we run the majority off..... plenty of horsepower for anything we throw at them and about the same seal life..... both of those pump you can break down the lower and clean/ replace seals in under 30 minutes if you have a big vise and some decent size wrenches... some over 30mm... I actually own a CAT of my own at home and it has served me well for 15 years for side projects... it is easy to break down and replace seals as well... I just see the kremlin atomizing so much better than the cat personally. i have zero experience with wagner pumps.....

11/11/20       #6: Wagner Wildcat/ Puma ...

if you need a supplier try Schweitzer and crosson.
they are in Pa. but serve whole tri state area.

11/11/20       #7: Wagner Wildcat/ Puma ...
Leo G Member

I got 11 years out of mine using it about 40 hours a month. Granted by the time I got it rebuilt the pump was barely functioning. But it died rather abruptly and was working good until it wasn't.

I had to rebuild both the upper and lower sections and it cost about $600 to do that.

The upper seal had been leaking slightly for years. You could tell because when I used 2K the oil would congeal because the 2K leaked into it. Still didn't affect any of my finishes for that whole time. I don't use the Kremlin suggested oil, it very expensive. I used run of the mill mineral oil and have never had any compatibility issues.

11/21/20       #8: Wagner Wildcat/ Puma ...

I have never used Wagner, so canít comment on them.
I have used CAT, Merkur and Kremlin, my favourite pump by a mile is the Kremlin Rexon and in the 30:1 ratio, you can spray the thickest materials all day long.
A smaller pump will cause shear on the fluid when pumping a thicker fluid.
If you choose the Wagner I would choose the 28:1 model.
I buy a lot of the seals and o-rings from a local seal shop, my cat pumps I have rebuilt for really cheap.
The Kremlin parts are more expensive so that is one thing to consider, but if you clean and lube your stuff it will last a long time, most pumps of any brand that crap out, have been abused and neglected. Or like Leo said, used for a long time.

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