First of all let me say I'm aware that this is probably the most frequently asked question on the forum. I have tried to avail myself of previous posts on this question but nothing seems to quiet fit my situation. I am also aware that air leaks causing primming problems are a vacuum side problem and the prime suspect is the O ring on the basket lid.
The equipment: I have a 24 yr old Sta-Rite system. On the vacuum side I have a new 1-1/2 hp motor; new impeller housing on the motor side; new O ring, impeller, diffuser, and seal; original basket; other half of the impeller housing and Jandy valve. New O ring for the basket lid. Just to round out the equipment, on the pressure side I have the stainless steel dome type filter, a little used chlorinator and a Polaris booster pump.
The pump failed to prime one morning which resulted in the motor side rebuild of impeller housing, impeller, diffuser, seal and basket O ring (the motor had been replaced earlier in the fall). Even after this it did not want to prime. I could get it to prime by filling the basket up with water and then turning it on. No visable leaks anywhere. I smeared liquid dish washing soap over everywhere air could possibly get in but never saw the first bubble. Plenty of water pressure jetting into the pool but air as well. At this point I began to suspect the lines because I was running out of suspects. (I'm aware that it seldom is the lines). Turning the Jandy valve from skimmer to drain made no difference, however and it seems unlikely that both lines would have leaks, although the baffle in that 24 yr old Jandy may not make a perfect seal. Also mitigating against a leak in the lines is the fact that the water is clear. My son had a leak in one of his lines and the water turned red (Georgia clay). I'm in Florida, so I have sand instead, but it seems like I would see something. The only unusual thing I noticed is when I filled the basket up to make it prime. Over 24 years I've had to do that more than once and it was always a bit of a race to get the lid back on and pump turned off before the water drained out. Not this time. Even though I filled the basket up to the brim, well over the inlet pipe from the Jandy--nothing drained out. Even when I rotated the Jandy from skimmer to drain and back. So-both lines obstruced? Seems unlikely, and in addition I have plenty of water coming through the system when it's on. I have ordered a Drain King. The pool did prime itself this morning but there is still air in the lines. I can bleed it off by opening the valve on top of the filter a little bit but that will probably only contribute to the priming problem. How about the old Jandy? It looks solid, diverts flow the way it should, it's never been opened, and it shows no signs of any cracks. I'm at a loss here. Ideas anyone?