Above ground 3-way valve replacement


Jul 31, 2012
My pool is an above ground, 17000 gallons, with a deep end, main drain and one skimmer.
The main drain line and skimmer line go into a 3-way valve that outputs to the pump.

I've recently replaced the pump and am having some trouble keeping a really good prime. It primes well enough for the pump to work, the water level in the pump basket gets above the top of the suction port, but usually not much higher than that. But if I try to vacuum or even just a little debris collects in the skimmer basket, it will lose its prime pretty quickly. If I open the valve for the main drain a little so that it is open along with the skimmer line, the pump does a little better. There's still a pretty big air bubble in the top of the basket though. I've re-tightened everything on the suction side and things haven't really gotten much better.

So I'm considering replacing that 3 port valve since its probably almost 20 years old and there's nothing else left for me to tighten. I think this is the one I have now: Ball Valve (4-Way) - PoolSupplies.com

I'd like to choose the most reliable replacement I can get since its really not a lot of fun trying to diagnose these priming issues. The best option I've come up with is the Jandy Never-lube. It seems like this is meant more for PVC plumbing though. The valve I have now has threaded ports. I have flexible plastic hoses that I think are typical for above-ground pools. So I would need to glue fittings into the Jandy valve ports, right?

For the skimmer line and outlet to the pump, I would need a fitting with a male connecter on one side that glues into the Jandy port and male on the other side for the plastic hose to slip over and clamp on to. Something like this, but smooth instead of threaded on the left side: Backwash Fitting - PoolSupplies.com . I haven't been able to find that part yet. Does anyone what this would be called or a good place to browse to look for it?

The line coming from my main drain looks like it has a fitting glued to it that has 1 1/2 male threads that screw into the existing 3-port valve. What should I do with this? I'm guessing I would want a fitting that fits into the Jandy port and has 1 1/2 female threaded connection on the other side. Is there any way to stop the water flow from the main drain while I'm trying to reconnect this stuff?

Pictures that might help illustrate my rambling:


Also, the skimmer line makes a pretty sharp u-turn before connecting to the 3-way valve. Should I be very concerned about that? Is that restricting the flow enough to cause my priming issues?

Pool Tool

Well-known member
May 15, 2014
Western Chicago Area, IL
Have you tried holding a garden hose over the valve? You can let the water run over each connection point (and handle) on the valve and skimmer and see if that helps "seal" the leak. Shaving cream can be used to find a pin hole as well. I would not be concerned with the sharp turn in the skimmer line.

If it works better with the main drain open and gets worse when you vacuum via the skimmer, I would focus on those connections first. Rather than tighten the connections, might be best to take apart use more teflon tape and reseat them. Good luck.
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