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Whether you’ve been working with a Graco paint sprayer forever, or this is your first time using one, you might have some questions. Especially if it’s not operating the way you need it to.

Don’t worry. It could be a simple fix.

Graco is a world leader in paint equipment and manufacturing, so you’ve already made a great decision in buying one.

graco paint sprayer

First, is Your Graco Paint Sprayer From the Magnum line or the TrueCoat line?


The Magnum line of airless sprayers is geared toward handymen and remodelers. But they perform just as well for homeowners and do-it-yourselfers. The Magnum Graco paint sprayer costs considerably less than other professional grade sprayers.

If your sprayer isn’t from the Magnum line, then it’s part of the TrueCoat line.

TrueCoat sprayers are well-suited for small interior, exterior and specialty projects where a large airless sprayer would be too much work.

How to Troubleshoot Your Graco Paint Sprayer


Troubleshooting the Magnum Line


(Please scroll down to find troubleshooting tips for the TrueCoat line.)

Why doesn’t my Graco spray painter prime or draw paint up from the bucket?

Of course, this is the ultimate question so we’ll get right to it.

You’ll want to get started with these steps:

1. Check to be sure that both the strainer and the suction tube are completely submerged in the paint. The suction tube is the larger braided tube.

2. Flip the on/off switch ON and then OFF until the pump is about to stop and then turn the sprayer ON and then OFF again. Some paints are really thick and so the pump has to slow down to prime.

Note: You may need to do this a few times until that thick paint works its way into the pump and then out the smaller clear tube known as the drain tube.

3. Next, remove the suction tube. Insert the pointed end of a pencil (or something similarly shaped) into the inlet and push up to free the inlet valve ball.

4. Remove and clean the both the outlet valve and the inlet valve, taking extra care not to lose the inlet ball. Some models also have a spring.

Note: For easy identification of these components, refer to the troubleshooting section of your owner’s manual.

5. Remove the strainer. Connect the Power Flush adapter and a garden hose to the suction tube. Referring to the directions in your owner’s manual, flush the sprayer with water for about one minute.

6. Finally, reinstall the strainer on the suction tube. Then submerge the suction tube in the paint and prime the sprayer.

My Graco paint sprayer is on but nothing is happening.

Of course, you’ll want to be sure that the unit is plugged into a working outlet. This might seem an obvious response, but if you’re working in an unfamiliar environment, you can’t always be certain that an outlet is operating.

Once you determine that the sprayer is connected to a reliable electrical source, turn it on. Then turn the sprayer’s pressure control knob clockwise until the motor starts running.

Graco troubleshoot

Why does my sprayer’s motor keep turning off and on?

There may not be any trouble here.

The motor and the pump automatically turn off every time you release the gun’s trigger.

You’ll notice that once you pull the trigger and start spraying again, the motor and pump will turn on once again. This is completely normal and part of the Graco spray painter design. It eliminates constant noise and reduces wear on the sprayer so that it’ll last longer.

If you notice that the motor continues to run when the gun trigger is released, then that means it is not primed.

Why doesn’t paint come out of my Graco spray painter when I pull the trigger?

Once you’ve checked that the Prime/Spray Valve is pointed forward and in the Spray position, then chances are the spray tip is clogged.

Turn the spray tip 180 degrees to the unclog position.

Then, aim the spray gun into a bucket and pull the trigger for one second to blast out the clog.

Turn the spray tip back to the spray position and get back to the job.

graco clogging

Is there a way to prevent tip clogging?

Typically, clogging is a result of debris in your paint. So the best way to reduce tip clogs is strain out the larger debris from your paint before using it.

How do I get rid of lines on the top and bottom of my spray pattern?

First, check to see that the pressure control is turned up to a higher spray pressure. Then try getting closer to the surface and spray.

If the lines are still showing up in your pattern, you may need a larger tip size. Not all sprayers support this, however. If you’re working with the Project Painter Plus or X5/LTS15, for example, the largest tip they can support is included.

Depending upon the material you’re using, you could also try adding a small amount of water or solvent. Work the water or solvent into the paint that is in your paint hose.

You can do this by reversing the tip and spraying the paint back into the paint bucket until the thinner material is worked into the paint hose.

Once you’ve got it all set up, don’t forget to turn your spray tip back to the spray position.

Why is the spray fan not solid or has gaps in it?

You definitely don’t want this, since it’ll leave an uneven finish.

If this is happening, chances are good that you have a tip clog.

Aim the spray gun at your waste bucket and then turn the spray tip 180 degrees to the unclog position. Pull the trigger for a second to clear out the clog.

Then turn the spray tip back to the spray position and test it out. Repeat if necessary.

Why is fluid leaking from where the spray hose attaches to the spray gun or the pump?

The simple explanation? The spray hose connection is not tight.

This is one of the easier fixes. Simply use a wrench to tighten the spray hose to the sprayer and to the gun.

Why is there paint leaking from the bottom of my Graco paint sprayer?

Unfortunately, there’s no DIY fix for this one.

You’ll need to get that pump serviced or replaced.

If you’re having other difficulties with that are not listed above, refer to your owner’s manual or contact Graco Technical Support at 1-888-541-9788. They’ll help you out.

Remember, the above troubleshooting tips are for the Magnum series. If you are using a sprayer from the TrueCoat series, you’ll want to read on.

graco leaking

TrueCoat sprayer troubleshooting


How do I stop air from leaking back into my sprayer cup?

First, the cup lid needs to be securely tightened and the VacuValve lid closed.

Once you’ve ensured that, also check to be sure that the cup assembly is securely attached to the sprayer. You can do this by trying to squeeze all of the air out of the cup and priming.

Then remove the black o-ring on the pump inlet and clean/lubricate it.

Note: For easy identification of components, refer to the troubleshooting section of your owner’s manual.

How can I reduce the amount of paint coming out of my Graco paint sprayer?

You can only reduce it if your sprayer has a dual speed or variable speed control.

If it does, turn the speed down to low. Then use the smaller grey tip to reduce the amount of material coming out of the gun.

Why did my Graco paint sprayer stop spraying?

Chances are the spray tip is clogged.

Turn the spray tip 180 degrees to the unclog position.

Then, aim the spray gun into a bucket and pull the trigger for one second to blast out the clog.

Turn the spray tip back to the spray position and get back to the job.

Is there a way to prevent tip clogging?

Typically, clogging is a result of debris in your paint. So the best way to reduce tip clogs is strain out the larger debris from your paint before filling your sprayer.

graco tips

My Graco paint sprayer was working fine, but now the motor won’t run.

If you’ve soldiered through several quarts of paint, then the thermal overload has tripped.

Don’t worry. It will reset on its own.

Just let it cool down for 20-30 minutes and then try again.

How do I get rid of the lines or stripes in my spray pattern or finish?

Slow down. You’re just moving too fast.

Try not to be too eager to get the job done. Start by slowing down your arm movement.

And if you have a Graco paint sprayer with speed control, switch it to the High position. If there’s not a specific High position, just increase the speed setting to the highest setting.

How do I get rid of the lines on the top and bottom of my spray pattern?

If the lines are showing up in those two specific places, you probably need to move closer and slow things down.

But if that doesn’t work and you continue to see the lines in your pattern, then add a small amount of water of solvent. (Which one you add depends on your material.)

Then reprime and spray.

The motor runs but my sprayer won’t spray.

Turn your Graco paint sprayer upside down and pull the trigger. If it sprays then means there is air in the cup.

You’ll need to purge the air through the VacuValve cap.

Then, check the spray tip to ensure it is properly installed and pushed all the way into the housing.

Why will my Graco paint sprayer spray water but not paint?

It’s likely that you have debris caught in the sprayer.

First, reverse the spray tip 180 degrees to see if paint can be sprayed.

If it can, turn the spray tip back to the spray position. Then turn the sprayer upside down with the cup and strainer removed.

graco won't spray

If you sprayed water-based materials on the last project, then pour hot water into the inlet of the sprayer.

If you sprayed oil-based materials on the last project, then pour mineral spirits into the inlet of the sprayer.

Let the sprayer sit for 5 minutes.

Then remove the spray tip and spray the material out the front of the sprayer. You’ll want to be sure that your Prime/Spray Valve is at Spray.

If the above steps don’t resolve the problem, then you’ll need to contact the Graco Technical Support experts at 1-888-541-9788.

My Graco paint sprayer worked great the last time I used it but now it won’t spray anything at all.

The most common reason across the board for your TrueCoat sprayer to not work on next use is that the front guard was removed.

This likely happened during cleaning.

Removing the guard can frequently cause damage or result in missing parts when it is reassembled.

If this is the case, please call Graco Technical Support at 1-888-541-9788. They can help you identify the problem and hook you up with replacement parts.

We hope this troubleshooting guide is of help to you. If you have any other Graco paint sprayer issues and/or solutions, please share them here.

What to Do if Your Graco Paint Sprayer Won’t Work

by Tyler Saunders time to read: 22 min
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