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Thread: Pool return pipe is non-threaded -- eyeball fittings keep falling out

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    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Davidsonville, MD
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    Pool return pipe is non-threaded -- eyeball fittings keep falling out

    Hi folks. I'm brand new to TFP so looking for some advice on a problem I am having with my newly-acquired pool. For whatever reason (I'm not that familiar with prior owner's work), the pool return pipes are smooth 2 inch PVC with no female threading. I'm not sure how to attach two eyeball fittings (appear to be 1.5 inch "knock-in" fittings with no threads) into the return pipes, as once I place them into the pipe and turn on the pool pump system, the pressure simply blows them back out into the pool. The pool company that opened the pool for me for the season suggested I wrap the fitting with some electrical tape to try to jam the fittings into the pipe. That didn't really work well because (1) it made the diameter of the fitting too large to effectively fit into the return pipe, and (2) on the few occasions when I did manage to get the fitting inserted, the tape only worked for about a half hour or so before the pressure pushed the fitting out of the pipe and back into the pool. This is very frustrating as when the fittings pop out, the pressure back into the pool effectively drops and the water is not agitated enough to effectively clean with skimmers, etc.

    Any advice on what I should do to get the fittings to stay in the pipe? Do they make a fitting or combination of fittings that would solve this problem? Another thought I had was trying to glue the fitting to the pipe using underwater glue such as Mr. Sticky's or a similar product, but I have never used that before and have no idea if the glue could hold up to the pressure on the fitting from the returning pool water.

    Hopefully the great minds on TFP can help me come up with a solution. Thanks in advance.
    DHPool
    32,500 gallon in-ground gunite
    Constructed in 1986
    DE Filter
    Polaris 280 w/booster pump

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    Thimble's Avatar
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    Re: Pool return pipe is non-threaded -- eyeball fittings keep falling out

    You will need a 2" to 1 1/2" reducer bushing. Some bushings fit over the outside of the pipe, some fit inside the pipe. My guess is you will need an inside bushing, unless the builder was kind enough to glue a coupling on the end of your return. You should be able to tell by sliding your finger or a screwdriver along the inside wall of the return for 3-4 inches. If you find a step off, there is a coupling on the end and an outside bushing will work. If it is smooth, you will probably need an inside bushing. Either way, bushings are cheap- I'd get one of each just to save a trip. Any place that sells PVC fittings should have them.

    You might get something like Mr. Sticky to work....or not. I would pump down below the returns and glue it in with regular PVC cement.
    15x30 IGP; 20,000 gallons; plaster
    Hayward SP2607X10 Pump; Purex Triton Tagelus Sand Filter
    Hayward Goldline T-Cell 15 SWG; Aquarite G1 Control
    Southwest Spas 400 gallon hot tub w/ozone
    TF 100 with speed stir

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    gtemkin's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    Seattle, WA
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    Re: Pool return pipe is non-threaded -- eyeball fittings keep falling out

    Are you sure you're pipes, where they enter the pool are 2"? I think you'd have to wrap an awful lot of tape around the fittings to build them up to 2" size. If your pipes are indeed 2" and your fittings 1-1/2" then do follow Thimbles recommendations.

    If you possibly have loose 1-1/2" press-in fittings going into 1-1/2" pipe, and you need them tighter (the situation I had in my pool) you can wipe a few coats of PVC glue onto the fittings, letting them dry between coats. That will build their size up and make them nice and tight. Just make sure they're fully dry (overnight) before installing them, other wise you'll never be able to remove them.

    Good Luck!
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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    Sep 2014
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    Bakersfield, CA
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    155

    Re: Pool return pipe is non-threaded -- eyeball fittings keep falling out

    I had the same problem, although my returns were 1 1/2". You need to look for "self aligning" fittings. These fittings have a bulge in the straight section and you have to hammer them into your return piping. I put a 2"x 4" piece of wood over the fitting and hammered on that so I wouldn't damage it.

    Here is an example of what I mean by the bulge. Buy Infusion Pool Products Inlet Fitting, Venturi, Self-Aligning Slip, Dark Gray # VRFSASDG Fast Shipping !

    I think these guys also have a 2" Swimming Pool Eyeball Fittings - CMP Scroll down to "Aussie Insiders".
    Cheers, Peter
    20,000 gal, 52'x17' kidney shaped IG, Pebble Tec, IntelliPro P6E6VS4H-209L pump. Intellichlor IC40 SWG.
    300 sf Sta-Rite System 3 cartridge filter. Poolvergnuegen 4-wheel suction pool cleaner. TF-100 test kit.

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    Davidsonville, MD
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    Re: Pool return pipe is non-threaded -- eyeball fittings keep falling out

    Thanks everyone for the great advice. I will try some of these suggestions before I try to glue and report back to the group. And to answer Thimble's question, the return pipes are smooth with no coupling, so if I go the bushing route, it looks like an inside bushing.



    Quote Originally Posted by prs View Post
    I had the same problem, although my returns were 1 1/2". You need to look for "self aligning" fittings. These fittings have a bulge in the straight section and you have to hammer them into your return piping. I put a 2"x 4" piece of wood over the fitting and hammered on that so I wouldn't damage it.

    Here is an example of what I mean by the bulge. Buy Infusion Pool Products Inlet Fitting, Venturi, Self-Aligning Slip, Dark Gray # VRFSASDG Fast Shipping !

    I think these guys also have a 2" Swimming Pool Eyeball Fittings - CMP Scroll down to "Aussie Insiders".
    DHPool
    32,500 gallon in-ground gunite
    Constructed in 1986
    DE Filter
    Polaris 280 w/booster pump

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    swoopman's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
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    Annapolis, MD
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    213

    Re: Pool return pipe is non-threaded -- eyeball fittings keep falling out

    Have the same issue here with non-threaded returns. This fitting was recommended by Pool Skim and it might help you with your issue but it's only 1-1/2 (not sure if 2" is available):
    POLARIS 1 1/2IN STUB PIPE CONNECTION KIT - 9-100-8003

    There is a schematic on that page but it's tough to see. Pool Skim's installation video shows the fitting a little better. That video is at the bottom of this page and the fitting is shown starting at 1:05 in the video:
    PoolSkim Installation and Tips - installing the award-winning PoolSkim is easy; PoolSkim installation video
    TF-100 Test Kit
    22,000 gallon, 20x40 kidney-shape IG plaster pool built in 1986
    Nautilus NS-36 DE filter, Hayward Self Prime Super Pump 1HP
    Polaris Automatic Pool Cleaner, PB4-60 3/4 HP pump

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    Sep 2014
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    Bakersfield, CA
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    155

    Re: Pool return pipe is non-threaded -- eyeball fittings keep falling out

    DHPool, the other thing to consider is that fittings with larger diameter eyeballs will produce lower pressure drop, and are less likely to be pushed out of your pipe.
    Cheers, Peter
    20,000 gal, 52'x17' kidney shaped IG, Pebble Tec, IntelliPro P6E6VS4H-209L pump. Intellichlor IC40 SWG.
    300 sf Sta-Rite System 3 cartridge filter. Poolvergnuegen 4-wheel suction pool cleaner. TF-100 test kit.

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