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Thread: Leaking Vari Flow Valve

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    Leaking Vari Flow Valve

    I have an old Hayward sand filter with the Vari Flow Valve model SP117 that came with the house I recently purchased. I haven't had a whole lot of experience with a Sand Filter or Multi Port/Vari Flow valve and want a second opinion before I go tearing into it. Every time as of late after I backwash & rinse, it takes a while and several times of rotating the valve around to stop the discharge of water out the back wash pipe. I have been turning off the pump, switching from Filter to Backwash, letting it run until clear then turn off the pump, switch to rinse for 30 seconds or so, turn off the pump and switch back to filter. The discharge isn't under as much pressure as when the valve is on backwash however I'd guess it as about half the flow. I can even get it down to a trickle but it always takes some finagling to get it to stop. Sometimes as much as 20 minutes worth of rotating the valve around 180 degrees. I've tried holding my tongue on the left and right side of my mouth, standing on one foot, crossing my fingers etc. but just can't seem to make a smooth transition from Rinse to Filter. Is this a sign that the spider gasket needs replacing?

    Dave

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    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Coastalish 'down easter'
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    David, that has all the signs of the spider gasket (I've always called them wagon wheels). The fix is incredibly easy! Turn off pump, remove the 8 - 12 bolts which secure the top (keep your finger on the bolts, they like to fall off and roll away) - have a cup to put the nuts and bolts in so you don't lose any of them. Lift off the top and you will see the spider gasket, you will probably also see that 1 or more of the 'webs' has warped and lifted out of it's seat. Having previously obtained a new gasket (part # SP 710 D for units with 1.5" threads or SP 715 D for those with 2" threads) remove the old one, you may need to scrape out the old gasket from the seating channels with a small flat-head screwdriver. Also have procured some silicon or teflon based lube which you should liberally apply to the new gasket prior to installation - DO NOT USE A PETROLEUM BASED LUBE (ie Vassoline) ON POOL GASKETS OR O-RINGS!!!!!!! - petroleum products destroy the gasket material!. While you've got it open, inspect the channels which hold the gasket in place for cracks or warpage and be sure to lube the o-ring which seals the top of the unit. Put the top of the multi back on - most of the bolting areas have round edges but one on the side of the unit has a flattened side, be sure to match up the flats so that the ports are properly oriented - screw the bolts together in pairs N & S and E & W, then do the others, this will keep even pressure on the gasket and o-ring.


    If you'd care for me to speculate as to the cause I can give 3 possibilities:
    1 - the handle wasn't put in winterizing (between 2 normal settings) and bonded to the port plate
    2 - the gasket was lubed with petroleum at some point and 'swelled up' too much to fit in the channels anymore
    3 - gasket just old

    I'm sure that you can easily fix the problem, if you run into any trouble with it, just post here and we'll help you!
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Wow!

    Ted, you are "da' man" when it comes to equipment repair. A very thorough post!!
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Thanks Waste! The gasket is what I was suspecting. The filter is the original from 1994 and the A.O. Smith pump has has been changed out at some point as the date of manufacture is 2000.
    Both are working but have seen better days. I made the mistake of taking the lid off the inline chlorinator once and discovered a lot of scale build up and 8 or 9 layers of Teflon tape on the lid threads. The collar around the Vari Flow valve has leaked in the past as evident from the scale around it as well as just about every other joint in the plumbing. The previous owner was not "aware" of proper plumbing or chemical balance. I am contemplating changing it all out in the spring. Hopefully I can limp along until then. I occasionally notice a handful of sand in the pool but other than that, the filter seems to be operating as well as can be expected. I sure miss my D.E. filter I had at my last pool. Please see my next thread regarding D.E. filters as I'd sure appreciate your input.

    Dave

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    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Coastalish 'down easter'
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    Daves, one and all, it's my pleasure to help

    To Dave S, I try to be thorough to let the pool owners only have to do something once, I would feel bad if I gave advice and a potential problem wasn't addressed causing them to have to re-do what they'd just done -- it's like at work for me, if I get called out for a return fitting leak and I see a suction line leak - do I just fix what I was sent out there for, or do I address the suction side leak at the same time? I think we scr&w the customers enough on service calls, so I'll fix the suction side at the same time and save them $130/ hr for a call-back --- just MY philosophy


    To Dave D, the sand in the pool is most probably a result of the spider gasket as well, if you'd like to pick up a 12 pack of beer, we can sit down and discuss why Seriously, a bad 'spider gasket' can lead to lots of problems. I will take a look at your new post on DE filters (I'm trying to find the time to make a potential 'sticky' for DE filters - but work {and the need to poorly hit a golfball once a week} gets in the way my DE info is here http://www.troublefreepool.com/viewtopic.php?t=981 )

    As for your chlorinator, if it's a Hayward I can tell you plenty about them, including why there were multiple wraps of teflon on it. I would assume that you have stopped using it since you came here and will be thinking of removing it from the system - if you want a little info on either keeping it or removing it, just ask

    If you'd like some info on 'how to keep the system going for this year', just post it and I, or one of the other knowledgable folks here can probably get you set to 'limp' through the rest of the season and have you all set for next spring!
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Once again, thanks Waste! I will end up trashing this chlorinator now that I stopped the leak but will buy another one. I occasionally use tri-chlor and like the inline feeders over a floater or throwing a puck in the skimmer. I think I’ve figured out how to keep rotating the Vari Flow valve until I stop it from leaking and the hand full of sand shouldn’t be that big of a deal since there is only a couple of months left in the swimming season.
    I’ll still be glad to sit down with you and a six pack anytime. Let me know if you’re ever in Nashville. 8)

    Dave

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Re: Leaking Vari Flow Valve

    Could one of you tell me how on earth to get the spider gasket out when it is glued down with enough silicone lube to keep it there forever? We have tried a flat head screwdriver, needle-nose pliers, regular pliers, an xacto knife. It is budging very very slowly. Never thought it would ever be this hard to get a gasket out!!!

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