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Thread: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

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    Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    I have a Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 cleaner, which I purchased last year. It is on a dedicated line. For a few months now it hardly moves around at all. It will either not move at all or it will move in a small circle in the middle of the pool. I have followed all of the instructions in the manual, setting the correct pressure with the gauge, turned the inlets to point down, gotten the filter cleaned, and yet it still doesn't seem to move.

    I suspect that I am getting air into the system via the hoses. I find that these interlocking hoses are not as good as the old ones I used to have for my Hayward unit. I tried the leaf catcher, but found it so kludgey to interconnect that I removed it.

    Any thoughts or ideas would be great. Also if anyone knows of a good technique to seal the hose connections, that might help. Thanks!

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    Christian's Avatar
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    Re: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    The first thing I would do is open the lid and make sure there is no debris interfering with the gears internally. Also checking to make sure there is no debris in the tracks.

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    Re: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    I have checked, no debris in the device or the gears

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    Re: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    It's either a hose issue or you have a worn part or two that isn't allowing it to function correctly. A call to Zodiac might not hurt.

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    Christian's Avatar
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    Re: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    Yeah if there is no debris anywhere I'd second the notion of calling Zodiac. They also have really great LiveChat support on their site!

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    Re: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    I did open an issue with them via their website. I will try the live chat though as that might speed the process.

    I do know air is getting into the system via the hose, which might be part of the problem. Any ideas how to seal the hose connections to avoid air getting in?

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    Christian's Avatar
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    Re: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    Well it won't look too pretty but you can seal any exposed hose connections with duct tape.

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    Re: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    With our MX8, the hose connections do seem to pull some air, but only when pulled up completely out of the water. Even so, I cannot imagine that this would impact the ability of the cleaner to function properly, as this is only a small amount of air. Those connections would have to be pretty faulty for that. Are you sure that you are getting adequate vacuum through the cleaner line? Have you checked the vacuum level using their vacuum gauge that comes with the MX8? Not using a leaf catcher is likely to lead to clogging, esp. if you get a reasonable amount of debris in the pool. We experienced a problem with clogging about a year ago, and this required some rather "creative" methods to unclog the line. I recommend the large Hayward leaf catcher to be run inline with the MX8 to prevent this.

    If you are getting good vacuum through the cleaner line, then I suspect an issue with the drive mechanism. This could be a problem with the directional control(s), or as mentioned in one post here, it could be the result of the bevel gears on the drive shaft not contacting the gears in the directional controls. That post had a nice and simple solution to this that you might want to look into.

    Lastly, the unit has a tendency to get stuck with debris. If you get any pine needles in the pool, they can wrap up around the drive shaft in a way that is not visible unless you take the "engine" apart. This is actually quite simple, with only four screws holding the top of the engine down over the drive shaft and impellers. Remove those screws and take the top of the engine off and then take out the drive shaft. Then you can clean away debris around the shaft that could be impeding the motion of the impellers.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Re: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    Air in the system was definitely one issue, but not the whole picture. I picked up some clear duct tape, and sealed all the hose connections. That fixed the issue with air getting into the system. Once I had done this the MX-8 started moving around the pool much more. However it is still not operating the way it should. I think the duct tape will only hold so long as it is not truly water proof. However, my local Home Depot sells a single continious 35 ft pool hose with standard connectors. I might try this as an alternative.

    I also contacted Zodiac support, who were absolutely awesome. They promptly responded to my inquiry and set up an account on their site for me. The tech believes there is something wrong with the directional control on the unit. Even though it is way past its 1 year warrentee he sent me a replacement part free of charge (without me even asking). He also provided a handy document with instructions on how to disassemble the unit, though he did advise me to seek professional help when installing this new part. All around I am highly impressed with their customer support. I am very hopefuly that with this new part it should be back in full operating shape again.

    Craig, yes I fully checked the vacuum suction. In fact I had my filter cleaned, which made a huge difference in pressure. I have been using the pressure test unit every time I make any adjustment because I have found that to be very important. I had an issue one time where the pressure was too high and it caused the treads to continually slip off. Also the source air was very obvious. When I switched my Jandy valves to only draw from the skimmers and not from the dedicated port the air pocket in my debris basket went away. As soon as I switched it to the dedicated port, there was a huge air pocket in there (and you could hear a difference as the air rushed in).

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    Re: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    Wow, I've experienced a little bit of air leakage, but not what you've described. You might let Zodiac know about that, as it sounds as if your hoses are defective. There was a post on here recently about the main drive shaft on the MX8 where the gears at the ends of the shaft fail to properly mesh with the gears in the directional controls. The hack in that post was to add stainless washers at the ends of the shaft to push the drive gears on either side of the shaft out a little more. This apparently fixed the issues with directional control for that poster. You might want to search for it.

    I still strongly recommend having some form of leaf catcher on an suction side cleaner. When you get any sort of large debris (leaves, pine needles, etc) there is a good chance these will get stuck somewhere in the plumbing, esp. at elbows and the inlet ports on Jandy valves. It's too much of a pain to have to clean out. As I said, I strongly recommend the large Hayward in-line basket as it comes with a mesh filter bag that is very easy to clean, and it catches all sorts of stuff before it ends up in your plumbing and pump strainer pot. It does require some special fittings to make it compatible with the Zodiac hoses, so your idea of using a standard vacuum hose might be the way to go on this.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Christian's Avatar
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    Re: Zodiac Baracuda MX-8 Sits In the Same Place

    Yeah Zodiac tech support is pretty awesome! I second the notion of adding a leaf catcher to your cleaner.

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