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Thread: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

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    Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    This is a post that I hope will help others in the forum.

    I have an undermount encapsulated Coverstar track system.

    My Coverstar automatic cover fabric was dying after 9 years ( not a bad run for this kind of cover). As many of you know anything Coverstar does for you tends to be incredibly expensive. I watched a few years ago when one of their techs changed out a broken rope ( $800 thank you!). The hardest part was removing the plastic molding the secures the track into it's encapsulation.

    To replace my cover Coverstar gave me a bid that I just couldn't live with. I found a vendor that would sell to me online. He could have sold me a Coverstar or PCS replacement cover . PCS was just easier and could ship to me directly. Coverstar would not. So I bought a PCS cover.

    Understanding the rope system, replacing the cover was remarkably easy as long as you have some basic handyman skills. So far (about 2 months in) The new cover is working well, it is better bonded than what Coverstar did 9 years ago. PCS is 1 mil thinner than Coverstar, but actually glides more easily. (I have a kidney pool inside a rectangular deck). Both claim to have welded seems which PCS reinforces with stitching. Whichever company you choose doing the install yourself may save you 50% or more. It sure did in my case.

    I was terrified to spend the money with an online vendor, but the vendor was very attentive and I got exactly what I paid for. I don't know if I should put his URL here so if you want the name of the company you are welcome to e-mail me privately through TFP.

    Some Helpful tips:

    There are Coverstar Installation manuals and parts manuals online-- include PDF in your search and you can save and download these files.
    I found them helpful in planning the install.

    I used this opportunity to replace many of the ball bearings in the pulley system after 9 years and I also replaced my Plastic encapsulation trim.
    I replaced my sliders as well.

    If you remove your inner tracks be sure the outer track is clean and be sure the inner track goes all the way in and up. The encapsulation shim will fit in much more easily that way ( the shim locks the inner and outer track into position).

    The plastic encapsulation trim can be difficult to pry out if the tracks are tight. This go round I left tabs beyond the track to grasp onto. I find a vice grip helpful to pull them out.

    PCS cover comes with built in ropes, The cover comes with sliders too, so you don't need to order another set. If your ropes and pulleys are intact you can use the old ropes to pull through the new ropes without having to remove your encapsulated track.

    If the PCS ropes break you would just buy a set of Coverstar replacement ropes (which you can do online) and attach them to your sliders as coverstar does. I didn't understand that PCS covers came with ropes and sliders so I purchased these additionally but will save them for future repairs.

    With both covers you have to make holes at the reinforced front corners to attach the cover to the sliders. My holes we a little far from the edge so the sliders were tight in the track. Solved this by making the holes a little bigger. Next time (hopefully in a decade) I will drill a bit closer to the edge.

    The leading aluminum edge screws to the sliders from below. I found a shallow right angle Phillips screwdriver that made this easy.

    The cover is intentionally wider than the tracks to allow some necessary laxity. On the take up roll Coverstar pleats the cover to allow for this extra width. Because my pool is a kidney within a rectangular cover at the take up end of the cover this created folds in the material which eventually created leaks through the fabric. In my own install rather than pleats I took up the fabric between screws on the take up reel much more slowly. As a result there are no major folds to fail now. This is probably not an issue for you if you have a rectangular pool and cover.

    My old cover was not bonded to the leading edge or take up reel. I did bond it (just a couple of extra screws through a metal tape) in my install and properly bonded the tracks as well. Its all in the Coverstar install guide so I don't know why they didn't do it on my original cover install.

    Coverstar wanted $100 to dispose of my old cover. I cut it into strips and squares and my trash guys took it away for nothing !

    Anyhow,

    You clearly need some knowledge about your own system if this post is to be of help, but I hope it saves someone else a lot of money. It sure did for me.

    If you have questions feel free to contact me.
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    bmoreswim's Avatar
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    Re: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    Thanks for posting your details. We are early in the ownership of a Coverstar cover. However it will invariably need replaced someday. I'm going to print this out and put it with my cover materials to consider when the time comes.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

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    Re: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    Hoping you can share the information on who to contact to buy the cover direct. I sent you a PM.

    Excellent post.

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    Replace your own pool cover One year follow up

    Just a quick follow up to my post a year ago:

    Replaced a coverstar canvas with a PCS canvas:

    No issues, no problems and had a great season. My pool is a kidney inside a rectangle , so the cover drags on some of the stone. Every week or two I would hose out the tracks and the stone which made gliding much easier.

    I attached the end of the cover to the take up reel with smaller more frequent pleats so I no longer see folds at the take up end of my pool . These folds in the original cover became cracks and points of failure.

    I still want to change the hydraulic fluid in the pool cover motor (it has never been changed) but It was working so well I just left it alone. If anyone has experience with that please let me know.

    I will likely replace the sliders at the beginning of next season just as a precaution.

    As of this writing the savings of the DIY replacement has bee well worth it.
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    Re: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    Hope I don't get in trouble here:

    A few of you have e-mailed me about where to get pool cover parts. I don't get on the forum much lately so forgive me for not responding.

    I used :www.automaticswimmingpoolcoverparts.com

    Hope this helps and good luck.
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    Thank you for this very informative and helpful post. I hope we never have to utilize the information but its nice to know its here for reference in case....
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    Follow up:

    Year 3 post DIY automati cover replacement.
    My PCS pool cover continues to hold up well. I decided to replace the sliders this year as a preventive measure.
    I learned from my parts vendor that PCS was purchased by Latham, the parent company of Coverstar. I am sick about this because now I suspect prices will skyrocket without competition. Hope I get a lot of years out of this cover.
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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    wjr75's Avatar
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    Re: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    If you are in the Midwest we used Pool Cover Pros, Inc to replace our Cover Star cover. They use Automatic Pool Covers, Inc replacement covers. They were about $1400 dollars cheaper than having the Cover Star guys replace it with their cover.
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
    Filter dual cartridge Sta-rite 450sq/ft, TF-100 Test Kit
    Heater Raypak 2100 400k btu cupro-nickel exchanger
    Auto pool cover, Polaris 280 auto pool cleaner, Jandy AqualinkRS8 Remote Control System

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Re: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    Wow, you got nine years out of your pulleys? Our cover from Cover Pools is in it's fourth year of operation and it's getting VERY slow to open. I spoke with the installer and they want about $500 to come out and perform maintenance (Which I already do) and replace the pulleys. Cover works perfectly; I lube it as per the schedule indicated in the manual and it opens and closes perfectly, other than very slow on the open.

    He said the manufacturer recommends replacing the pulleys EVERY YEAR, and if I've gotten 3-4 years out of mine, I did really well. But he said that's why it's slow to open.

    I'm just not spending $500 every year (Or every 3-4!) I can get the pulleys from www.automaticswimmingpoolcoverparts.com, it's just a matter of figuring out the process to install them. I'm quite handy, but haven't found any good guides (yet) on the actual install so I can see where all of the pulleys are.
    Leisure Pools Riv 30, 8500 gal, IG fiberglass, 200 sqft cart filter (Clean & Clear 200), Intelliflo 3HP variable speed pump, Aqua Rite SWG, auto cover, installed 5/2013
    Aquacal Superquiet 110, installed 6/2014
    TFT 100

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    Just saw your post. I don't really know your cover brand. On Coverstar undermount most pulleys are easily accesible at the motor end of the cover. There are pulleys in the far end where the ropes turn back on themselves. On coverstar to get at these the inner track must be removed from the outer track. To do this there is a plastic trim (encapsulation moulding) that must be pulled out. It can be challenging to pull out an edge. Once you pull out an edge grab with a strong vice grips and pull it all out. After changing the pulleys the track nust be well aligned in its outer moulding and the plastic replaced carefully.

    When my cover was sluggish I adde hydraulic fluid to my hydraulic compressor and it made a huge difference(see post above). Rinsing the track every so often helps as well. Best wishes.
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: Replace your own automatic pool cover.

    Year 4 follow up.

    Just opened the pool and this is th 4th year with the PCS diy replacement cover. It continues to open much more easily after having topped off with hydraulic fluid last year. The sliders seem to be in good shape so unless there is a reason I will leave them alone this year. I personally have found the best way to clean the cover is to do it in a rain storm. With the cover closed and the cover pump in I scrub it with my pool wall plactic bristle brush and most of the winter debris comes off nicely and is sucked out by the pump. I am pleased with the grey color of the cover it shows dirt far less than my original blue cover. no rope problems yet.

    I contunue to hose down the tracks and pool deck every few weeks.

    Occasionally after a heavy rain it can be hard to get the cover open. water gets under the cover and creates a surface tension with the underlying deck (in my situation). I have been thinking about adding a built in air blower. I think I could channel air along the channels that hold the tracks.

    I bought a coverstar autodrain cover pump last year, but could not make it work in my kidney bean pool inside a rectangle application. One member is interested in it , but if he does not buy it it is still up for grabs in complete and working order.
    " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
    19,000 gallon sylvan pool, Easytouch 2 4p automation, Screenlogic interface, Intelliflo VF 3050 pump, Intellichem with Intellichlor 40 chlorinator/Muriatic acid, Raypac millivolt natural gas heater.Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump.Coverstar automatic cover hydraulic mechanism with PCS cover. Wet edge Luna quartz finish 2016. Northeast climate.

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