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Thread: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plumb?

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    Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plumb?

    Hello Pool Masters,

    I'm a long-time lurker, and so far have learned a lot about maintaining my (first) pool, so thanks!

    My Challenger pool pump is on the way out with a bad motor. This is an old single-speed, and I'm interested in replacing it with a two-speed or variable-speed pump. After researching here, I think I'd prefer the simplicity of a two-speed pump if possible.

    My question: are there pumps out there that would be a direct replacement for my challenger? I.e. I wouldn't have to re-plumb my PVC? I'm hesitant to re-plumb a pump myself based on past experience, even though I know it should be feasible. My current pump is: Pentair 346209 Challenger High Pressure Energy Efficient Up-Rated 2-1/2HP Pool Pump, 230V.

    I'm interested in possibly a 2-speed Whisperflo, but haven't been able to confirm if its inlet / outlet positions match those of the Challenger.

    Thanks so much for any help.

    Cheers,
    Greg

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plum

    Welcome to the forum!

    Is the pump in good condition? You could just replace the motor with a two speed motor.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plum

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    Welcome to the forum!

    Is the pump in good condition? You could just replace the motor with a two speed motor.
    Thanks!

    The pump appears​ from what I can tell to be in good condition. However, I've never taken it apart to inspect it, etc. The pump itself is about 8 years old, and while it may have some useful life left, I'm a little concerned about putting money into it if it may fail due to other issues in the near term. That said, if the price is right, a motor replacement might be in my future.

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    Re: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plum

    I couldn't tell you for sure what could be a direct replacement, but I replaced my single-speed noname pump with a VS Pentair. Yeah, I had to do some cutting and gluing, but it's one of those things that if you take your time, measure twice and cut once, and dry fit components before committing to glue, you should be in fine shape. Make sure you use new primer and glue, new pipe and fittings, use pipe dope instead of teflon tape (I had to re-do some fittings because of this).
    16 x 32 IG plaster pool, 23k gallons, built 1992, DE filter, Pentair VS pump, IoThyngs controller, Taylor 2006 test kit, SoCal water restrictions
    Newbies with green pools, see SLAM and Recommended Test Kits. My company: IoThyngs

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plum

    An 8 year old pump should have many more years left in it. There isn't much that can wrong and not be replaced. The wet end housing can last indefinitely as long as there are no cracks which are usually do to freezing or a two by four.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plum

    Okay, you're convincing me.

    I'm looking into two-speed replacement motors for the Challenger. From what I've seen so far, they all come with integrated timers -- which would mean they need to be powered on all the time.

    I also have a booster pump for the pool cleaner, and my timer makes sure that the booster pump can't run unless the main pump is switched on. I like that feature, and think I would be fine with a two-speed pump that just had a switch on it for speed, rather than the timer. Do those exist?

    Regarding re-plumbing the PVC myself for a new pump: I like to think I'd get it right. But I have lots of pipe coming out of a slab, and with everything there I feel like I'd get one try before I did some damage and caused some serious trouble...

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    Re: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plum

    A.O. Smith 2 HP Dual Spd. Motor - Full Rate (B984, B2984) - INYOPools.com. This motor would fit your pump, it has a switch on it to change speeds

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plum

    The B2984T comes with a timer, the B2984 is without.

    A.O. Smith 2 HP Dual Spd. Motor - Full Rate (B984, B2984) - INYOPools.com

    You can usually ask for a mechanical switch.


    Regarding re-plumbing the PVC myself for a new pump: I like to think I'd get it right. But I have lots of pipe coming out of a slab, and with everything there I feel like I'd get one try before I did some damage and caused some serious trouble...
    That's why a motor swap can not only save you some money but can also save your sanity.


    But one question, you have a very large pump. Do you run a spa with that too?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plum

    That motor with a switch looks like it will do the job. I think the booster pump (for the pool cleaner) would run fine with the main pump on low speed? If so, this is a solved problem.

    We do have a spa that is also driven by the main pump. The pump may still be oversized for that, but to be honest I don't have a good estimate of the total dynamic head to be sure. We don't use the spa ever as the heater was gone when we moved in, but some day we'll get a heater and enjoy the spa as well

    Thank you both, I really appreciate it.

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    Re: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plum

    Update: I installed the two-speed motor as recommended above. I also added an Intermatic PE153 digital timer. It took me a while, but I cleaned up my electrical setup, and now have the two-speed pump and booster pump wired up and working properly.

    On high speed, I measure a current draw of 11A; on low speed I measure only 1.8A, and the water seems to be circulating sufficiently well.

    So, a big success, and at a fraction of the cost that was quoted me for a new pump + install.

    Thank you all for the help!

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    Re: Replacing Pentair Challenger 2.5HP pump: 2 speed / VS replacement without re-plum

    Congratulations! It feels really good getting a system up and running correctly, doesn't it?
    16 x 32 IG plaster pool, 23k gallons, built 1992, DE filter, Pentair VS pump, IoThyngs controller, Taylor 2006 test kit, SoCal water restrictions
    Newbies with green pools, see SLAM and Recommended Test Kits. My company: IoThyngs

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