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 !
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.