Got around to Installing thru wall hydra tools wide mouth skimmer today . . Here's a few bullets if yer interested:
1) I'm hard headed so I didn't drain my pool to install it. It was a few inches low - around 11,12, and 1 o'clock on the stock return out of the water. This made several screws out of the water but several under water. Most people lower their pool. Being on well water I couldn't bring myself to just dump water so I didn't drain.
2) I wasn't sure how heavy the skimmer would weigh hanging on the wall so I went one panel to the right from the outside of the existing inlet. I thought maybe I would need two posts to rig support from and I didnt want want obstructions. Come to find out, it hangs on the wall fine when full and doesnt appear to stress the wall at all.
3) This model has 18 screws to hold on the final face plate. The screws go into plastic tunnels and threads are cut in the plastic as you tighten the screw. It's a large Phillips head so make sure you get an appropriate screwdriver. One too small could easily strip the heads.
4) Not having the luxury of help, I gathered the following and got in the pool: an awl, screwdriver, torpedo level, bag of screws, front and back and gaskets for the skimmer. I placed the front plate with gasket on it where I wanted it . . Since no one to hold anything . .i punch a top corner hole through the face plate and into the liner. I thought it would be easier . But the liner really is tough . I actually kinda had to wallow the awl around and still had to use force to get a screw through. So anyway I got corner in . . I moved to the opposite corner . Placed the torpedo level on top of the faceplate and punched the second top corner. Once I had two screws the faceplate and liner I placed the back into position the screwed the screws in about 3/4 of the way so I could still adjust if necessary. I then did the top center and worked in a lug nut style pattern for all screws above water.
Then finally I had to go below the water line for holes and screws. . After doing a few screws I kinda locked into the process and I got all 18 screws in place rather quickly. I then proceeded to hold on the back and start tightening the screws for their final torque. This took longer then one would expect as your hand starts getting to you. But finally . .all screws tight.
4) I hop out of the pool and need to hook up the skimmer to the sand filter. I had an extra intex hose, so I cut off one of the threaded ends where it has one threaded fitting and nothing on the other end. I then took the skimmer hose fitting which is a male piece. I placed a hose clamp on the hose then pressed the fitting onto the cut end. I then put on Teflon tape on the fitting's threads as per instructions, and screwed it in to the base of the skimmer. Since the threaded end was not ran to the sand pump I was able to screw it on and flap the hose around and get it in place. I then threaded the other end to the sand filter pump.Wanting to check to see if it leaked, I used the water hose and filled skimmer with water. Not one drop and never even had to use hose clamp.it was in place in case though.
5) Since I was out of the pool and by the back of the skimmer, I checked for gasket leaks. Sure enough . .leaks from there. So I hop back in and go around tightening again. To the point I thought my hand would fall off or I could get it any tighter. Hop out and Check for leaks. Better but still some leakage. So I run to the shop and grab a T Handle wrench that has interchangeable heads and find the largest Phillips head. I also grab a razor blade and get back in pool. The T Handle gave me more leverage then a regular screwdriver and I was able to tighten everything up removing all leaks.
6) Since I already had holes in my liner, I had no reservations about slicing out the liner inside of the skimmer faceplate area. Easy and cut using the sides of the plate as a guide for the razor blade. No issues here.
That was pretty much it. So in summary . .you don't HAVE to lower your water to install the skimmer . . In fact at some point you need the water to check for leaks sooooo . .get a T handle screwdriver . . unless you are the hulk or have eaten your Wheaties, You will have a hard time getting them as tight as they need to be. I couldn't have done it without the T handle as my grip and wrist was spent using a regular screwdriver. Also, dont be scared of the liner . .that thing is really tough. I am pleasantly surprised by the force it took to puncture it. Anyway, this is my experience and I honestly wouldn't do anything different looking back. I'm sure others will disagree with my methodology, but it worked for me. As far as the performance of the skimmer . I am just now running my first cycle with it. It has to be better than the over the wall intex one I had. Hope this helps or gives food for thought for anyone considering the mod.