Topeak Joe Blow repair

My Topeak Joe Blow bicycle air pump stopped pumping air. Repair took about 30 minutes. That includes the time I spent eating a sandwich for lunch.

When an air pump stops pumping air, it’s generally because the rubber o-ring attached to the end of the plunger has worn out. If you can get at that o-ring and find the correct replacement part, repair should be pretty easy. Given that quality floor pumps run $40 and up these days, a little time spent in repair might be worth the effort for you. Plus, you can have fun getting your hands a little dirty!

There’s not much to disassembly on my specific model: the Joe Blow Sprint. You just need a 1¼ inch wrench to loosen the handle and a 4 mm hex key to remove the base from the bottom of the barrel.

Topeak Sprint air pump repair

Topeak Sprint air pump repair

Once you unscrew the caps and bolts, use a little elbow grease to remove all of the parts. Work over a clean surface to ensure you don’t lose any tiny parts.

Topeak Sprint air pump repair

Topeak Sprint air pump repair

For my pump, the o-ring is likely a little worn, but the real problem was beach sand in the bottom of the barrel! I cleaned the grit from the barrel, plunger and from the check valve at the bottom of the pump barrel, and lightly greased the o-ring.

air pump plunger o-ring

Regular automotive grease — including lithium grease — reduces the life of rubber and plastic parts. To ensure maximum life, you should use a silicone grease inside of air pumps. In real life, though, very few people actually use silicone grease in pumps.

If you need to replace the o-ring, some bike shops have air pump rebuild kits that include o-rings and other small, breakable parts such as springs and valves. You might also bring your old o-ring to the hardware store to find a match. Finally, you can purchase a rebuilt kit online for a little over $6 from Jenson USA.

Cheaper pumps may have the caps glued onto a plastic barrel. These are not easily repairable.


  • December 11, 2011 - 11:59 pm | Permalink

    I had a cheap floor pump where the head actually broke. Just the Presta side. I had it laying around the shop for about 2 years (I bought a replacement) and planned on fixing it, just never got around to it. I finally decided a floor pump might be nice to have at work, so I picked up a Topeak replacement hose and head and it fit just right. Plus the hose was nearly a foot longer than the original. Great writeup on the full disassembly. A few bucks is way better than paying full price, and although I did just that, I doubt I would have ever justified having a floor pump at work. I have to say I’m pretty glad it worked out for me!

  • December 12, 2011 - 12:08 am | Permalink

    • Good series of photos! Quite sutiable for Instructables, even.

  • December 12, 2011 - 12:42 am | Permalink

    Oh yeah, good idea. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Anonymous
    December 12, 2011 - 4:36 am | Permalink

    This subversive post tempted me to start taking apart perfectly good pumps!

  • December 12, 2011 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    That’s pretty funny. After typing this up I disassembled 2 more pumps, an old frame pump and the brand new ‘replacement’ floor pump.

    Sent from my Googaw

  • December 13, 2011 - 6:31 am | Permalink

    Nice job, if there is video, it’s better. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

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  • orbfish
    April 5, 2014 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Your photos are great, better than anything else I can find. But how did you get the bottom off? You show a picture removing several screws. I have a slightly older model than yours, but everything looks identical so I think you could help me. Thanks!

  • April 19, 2014 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Exactly what I needed. Great post!

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