First off, I will say that I have emailed chugger, and asked for their opinions. I love community forums and what they have to offer, which is why I'm posting here as well.
1st issue lies in pump operation. When I first received my chugger pump, I hooked a 90* street elbow to the inlet, and the outlet, and ran my lines both inlet, and outlet, to another pair of 90* street elbows to camlocks. I made sure everything that was pre-pump, was at least 1/2" diameter. After the pump I'm pretty sure is also 1/2" ID but I didn't go crazy about it.
Running this set up, the pump ran perfectly, had several brew days and everything went well.
I decided to build myself a ghetto stand out of some bed frames I had laying around (it works, but please don't do this, it was too much work, and ultimately I will be replacing it with real steel soon) Since I got lazy towards the end, I decided to mount the pump VERTICALLY and re-do my setup.
The pump is now mounted vertically, with 2 90* street elbows for the inlet, and the valve mounted directly to the output, then back to whatever I'm going to pump from. I've attached a picture:
It primes fine (Yes i know how to properly prime the thing, again had several brew days with no issue when the pump was mounted horizontally) but once I barely crack the valve it looses prime and does the dying cat noise (I literally had a neighbor look into the garage and I'm pretty damn sure he thought I was murdering a cat)
My thoughts are:
1. inlet line too short. It's 13" long, and I remember it being longer when it was horizontal.
2. the 2 90* fittings on the inlet are causing flow restriction. They are both 1/2" ID but maybe it's too tight of a bend?
Also, I'd like to bring up another issue that hopefully won't cause alarm, but it sure didn't make me happy.
I decided to take the pump apart, hoping for a grain lodged in the propeller or something, and found instead metal shavings attached to the impeller.