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Thread: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

  1. Back To Top    #1
    hmiser's Avatar
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    Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Hi Guys,

    I just installed a new Pentair IntelliFlo XF pump station. It doesn't seem to be priming properly. The basket does not fill all the way up with water.It fills to the top of the basket after much "work". So like an inch from the lid - one heck of a bubble.

    I saw here at TFP the post for poor suction and I tried to trouble shoot air leaks with candle smoke and used some silicone grease around union seals and the Ortega 3-way on the suction side. Nothing seemed too apparent as far as smoke getting sucked in.

    Also, I noticed a leak on the motor side. It appears to be dripping at a decent rate from the back side of the motor plate. Like maybe the shaft seal?
    Also the pump runs smooth at 2300RPM but seems to idel badly(car reference) at lower RPM. Especially at 750RPM. Like it might stall out(also car reference). And it sounds like the impeller may have air in there - a little gravelly sound. Not quite like pumping gravel but unsettling to hear. Higher RPM seems to fix the noise though.

    So maybe I have two problems.

    My intake for the Spa and the skimmer drain are 1.5" but all the plumbing in my pool shed has been replaced to 2".

    I was thinking that at higher speeds that maybe my 1.5" intakes couldn't keep up with the draw. But the problem also exists at lower speeds. Also at lower speeds I can see bubbles in my CircuPool SWG cell. And I can here water running at my heater intake. Like it sounds like there is air in there. I don't see any bubble after the pump in the outflow. I have a see through check valve there. So I'm guessing I might have some air leaks post pump. Like the filter unions.

    So my first questions are:

    1. What's up with my new pump station leaking? I made sure the plate bolts were snug, some were looser than the tighest bolt so I tried to snug them up to that torque.

    2. Air leak at suction? Maybe I should replace my Ortega 3-way? It's on 1.5" and probably old-er. Then I could put a 2" 3-way in?

    3. Priming. When I add water to my basket it seems to drain back into the pool. So it's impossible to fill it all the way before starting the pump. Maybe a check valve before the suction side of the pump station? I was thinking about getting that FloVis from TFTestkits - looks cool.

    Note: I'm betting that if the pump station primed properly I would eliminate a lot of the problems except for the leak.

    Thanks again see pictures and video below. - hmiser

    Pictures of Pump and Plumbing Layout:






    YouTube Videos:

    Pump Basket not filling all the way:


    Bubbles in CircuPool
    Pool: 15k gal, Pebble on Plaster, 2.25HP Whisper Flo, 60sqft Pentair DE(running cellulose fiber), Polaris 380, Big Rubber Ducky
    Spa: 470 gal, Jacuzzi J-480, xHP Pump 1, xHP Pump 2, ??? pretty cool stereo, ozone, Smaller Rubber Ducky
    I got a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology, worked as a scientist for years. TFP is the best resource I've found on the internet.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    I edited your original post. Just right-click on the picture and "Copy Image URL" and paste that in the IMG tag
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Leaking at the motor plate is very likely a bad shaft seal. You should call Pentair about warranty repair on that right away as a leak in that area can damage other parts fairly quickly.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    hmiser's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    I called Pentair they are going to send someone out.

    I did read that some people have had small suction side air leaks worsen after new pump installs. Makes sense. My old pump was a WhisperFlo 1.5HP 1.47 SF so it was definitely pulling. I had some air in the basket but nothing major. Maybe the new install and the bigger draw on the new pump accelerated the death of my Ortega 3-Way?

    Can I put a check valve in before the suction side so the basket stays full when priming?

    Would a bad shaft seal contribute to bad priming? Let air in?

    I'm assuming for the suction side fewer elbow and shorter runs are better, as is larger pipe diameter. The intakes are rather close together so it was plumbed with elbows going out and then coming back in. Should that be redone? Can I put a 3-way valve on it's side or back?

    Or maybe a better question is... is there anything terribly wrong with my current intake setup? Short of any air leaks should they exist?

    Thanks,
    -hmiser
    Pool: 15k gal, Pebble on Plaster, 2.25HP Whisper Flo, 60sqft Pentair DE(running cellulose fiber), Polaris 380, Big Rubber Ducky
    Spa: 470 gal, Jacuzzi J-480, xHP Pump 1, xHP Pump 2, ??? pretty cool stereo, ozone, Smaller Rubber Ducky
    I got a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology, worked as a scientist for years. TFP is the best resource I've found on the internet.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Trying to figure out the exact same problem here with my new XF, air in the top/chugs at real low RPM (I think that's the nature of the beast) runs smooth and SWG runs @ 1800, Solar @ 2300, but water level slowly drops, never below the top of the intake though. Oh plus, I have an intermittent load chirping that actually comes and goes (Pentair is coming out for that). I took out a 1.5HP wisperflo that was as tight as a drum!
    I checked all of my fittings by rubbing dishsoap into them including the lid (thinking I would see soap bubbles in the basket) but nothing, don't see ANY air coming in the suction.
    Sorry no solutions yet, still researching!

    LB
    Sunny Sarasota Fl area
    10K Pool/SPA, Pentair equipment
    IntellifloXF
    Easytouch upgrade Panel
    Intelliclor IC-40
    Techno-Solis Solar Panels

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Air collecting on lower speeds is not uncommon in VS and 2-speed pumps. Mine gets quite a large bubble if I only use low speed for a few days. Does not loose prime and the air does not seem to get to the filter until I flip high speed back on.

    I think the theory is that air is able to enter by the pump lid on low suction, but the higher speed suction pulls on the lid enough to seal it up.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    hmiser's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Ok.Thanks.

    Do you guys figure that a leak at the shaft gasket or motor seal plate would affect vacuum as well? That kind of makes sense to me.
    Pool: 15k gal, Pebble on Plaster, 2.25HP Whisper Flo, 60sqft Pentair DE(running cellulose fiber), Polaris 380, Big Rubber Ducky
    Spa: 470 gal, Jacuzzi J-480, xHP Pump 1, xHP Pump 2, ??? pretty cool stereo, ozone, Smaller Rubber Ducky
    I got a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology, worked as a scientist for years. TFP is the best resource I've found on the internet.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    The pump would have to leak a lot before it started to affect the vacuum. A small leak should not.

    Sounds like you have a defective pump but once you get it fixed, I wouldn't run the pump much above 2300 RPM. At higher speeds, that pump is much too large for 1 1/2" plumbing and could easily cavitate under the right conditions.

    BTW, do you have filter pressures at each of the RPM values you have referenced?

    Also, are both of the suction ports open at the same time during normal operation?

    What is the priming RPM?

    The gas accumulation in the SWG is a consequence of the type of design (inverted U) and lower flow rates. This has proven to be an issue for some. Also, check this out:

    exploding-pool-t55561-40.html#p456777

    You might keep the cell covered.
    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: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    What size is the plumbing coming out of the floor. Looks to me like it is maybe 1 1/4"? If so that may be part of the problem, the pump maybe starving for water. The XF pump might be too much for your supply.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
    We build vinyl, fiberglass, stainless steel pools
    Certified in Hydraulics

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    hmiser's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Mark:

    Thanks for the reply. Priming RPM is 3450. Both suction ports are open but they go through an Ortega 3-port valve which severely reduces flow. All of those elbows can't help either. I had pressure at both RPMs mentioned and through that range. And I'm assuming that pump side leaks don't affect the vaccuum as much as they could potentially affect flow. Which if the leak was bad enough then maybe that would be an issue.

    I think the issue is leaks in the suctions side, pipe size at suction side, 3-port valve size and design, and too many elbows. I'm betting if I clean it up, replace with 2" I'll be okay, or at least better off. Question: Should I use 2.5" for the suction at the pad instead of 2"?

    On the Kaboom... So we can assume that the "air" in the SWG might be HCL? Add some UV and boom. That might be a fun trick at pool parties. Maybe I can install a water feature. I wonder how high I can launch a geyser - lol

    wimcmp:

    Thanks for the reply. There are two 1.5" intakes coming out of the floor. One from the spa, the other from the main drain and skimmer.

    I'm going to replace them with 2" and send them into a jandy 3 port then to the suction side of the pump station.

    Should I go with 2.5" instead of 2" or would the 2" be better?
    Pool: 15k gal, Pebble on Plaster, 2.25HP Whisper Flo, 60sqft Pentair DE(running cellulose fiber), Polaris 380, Big Rubber Ducky
    Spa: 470 gal, Jacuzzi J-480, xHP Pump 1, xHP Pump 2, ??? pretty cool stereo, ozone, Smaller Rubber Ducky
    I got a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology, worked as a scientist for years. TFP is the best resource I've found on the internet.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Priming at 3450 RPM is far too much for that pump with your plumbing. That is likely the issue you are having. At most, I would not operate that pump above 2900 RPM which would be the equivalent of a WF-3 pump. 2500 RPM would be the equivalent of a WF-2 so I would try that first and see if it doesn't prime better/easier.

    Which if the leak was bad enough then maybe that would be an issue.
    If the leak got that bad it would flood the room. Remember that the pump flow rate is probably 100,000x more than the leak rate. It's like a fart in a hurricane.
    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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    hmiser's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Ok so I re-plumbed the suction side. I went from the existing 1.5" verticals to new 2" and was able to run that into my new Jandy diverter and then into a Jandy check valve. This eliminated 8 elbows to only one 2" elbow. Plus it eliminated the crappy Ortega 1.5" valve, replaced, to a Jandy, which is a Full Port valve.

    What happened?

    So now I can fill the basket with the hose because the check valve keeps the water from flowing back into the pool - great.

    Then I can turn the pump on, it goes to prime. Much better filling in the basket. Bubble almost completely eliminated. Then I can cycle the pump on/off again and on the third prime - no bubble! completely filled basket! Wow. Then I can dial back the RPMs. At 2400RPM I get same clean filter PSI(15psi) I would get with my old 2.25HP WhisperFlo which ran at 3450RPM. But the new pump runs a ~900W versus ~2000W. Amazing. I can further dial it down to 1700RPM without any "chugging" smooth running.

    I still have the leak at the motor plate. Local guy coming soon to check it out. I'll update once that occurs.

    But I'm happy to report that the Intellifo XF is doing what it should. I ordered a FloVis from Dave last month - free shipping special! And when it gets here I'll be all set to dial in my optimum run times. Love this forum.

    Picture of new suction side re-plumb:
    Pool: 15k gal, Pebble on Plaster, 2.25HP Whisper Flo, 60sqft Pentair DE(running cellulose fiber), Polaris 380, Big Rubber Ducky
    Spa: 470 gal, Jacuzzi J-480, xHP Pump 1, xHP Pump 2, ??? pretty cool stereo, ozone, Smaller Rubber Ducky
    I got a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology, worked as a scientist for years. TFP is the best resource I've found on the internet.

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Hi Hmiser,
    Glad to see your progress!
    So did you just bush from your existing 1.5" out of the floor to 2"? leaving 1.5" to the pool?

    I hate it when I get that close to the floor, I usually put Unions at that point
    What exactly do you mean by "Full Port" valve?

    Thanks,
    LB
    Sunny Sarasota Fl area
    10K Pool/SPA, Pentair equipment
    IntellifloXF
    Easytouch upgrade Panel
    Intelliclor IC-40
    Techno-Solis Solar Panels

  14. Back To Top    #14
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Quote Originally Posted by LKB
    What exactly do you mean by "Full Port" valve?
    A full port valve is a valve that has an opening (when fully open) that is at least as large as the equivalent pipe would have. Many kinds of valves narrow down the water flow to a smaller cross section as the water passes through the valve, lowering the total flow rate.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Are my Pentair valves "Full Port"? They look like the narrow down a bit

    Thanks,
    LB
    Sunny Sarasota Fl area
    10K Pool/SPA, Pentair equipment
    IntellifloXF
    Easytouch upgrade Panel
    Intelliclor IC-40
    Techno-Solis Solar Panels

  16. Back To Top    #16
    hmiser's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    Hi LB,

    I did use a 1.5" to 2" bushing to go from my 1.5" intakes from pool. I had to modify the 2" street elbow to get it to fit into the Jandy valve. The intake pipes were too close together and of course set in cement. But I was able to shave off part of the street end to get it to fit closer. See Pict.

    Also, the local Pentair guy came out to check on my leak. I guess that when a shaft seal goes bad the assumption is because the pump ran dry. I didn't run it dry. And it's brand new. It didn't appear to have been a too much heat issue affecting the shaft seal but he went ahead and replaced it and everything is working... swimmingly at the moment.

    Thanks again to everyone at TFP!

    -hmiser

    LB,
    Pool: 15k gal, Pebble on Plaster, 2.25HP Whisper Flo, 60sqft Pentair DE(running cellulose fiber), Polaris 380, Big Rubber Ducky
    Spa: 470 gal, Jacuzzi J-480, xHP Pump 1, xHP Pump 2, ??? pretty cool stereo, ozone, Smaller Rubber Ducky
    I got a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology, worked as a scientist for years. TFP is the best resource I've found on the internet.

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Trouble with new IntelliFlo XF pump station

    I have exact same leak issue with a second XF Intelliflo (Pentair replaced first leaking one). Took two months to develop the slow drip by the motor. These pumps are flaky!

    Did you ever redevelop a leak? Wondering if there was a bad batch of seals.

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