Cant find suction side leak, basket wont prime


Oct 27, 2018
Phoenix, AZ
Hi, guys.

I have a 20 year old pacfab challenger filter pump and a separate pump for my infloor system.

The past few weeks, noticed dirt wasn't cleaning off pool floor very well. Water in strainer basket was slowly getting lower. Removed housing to check impeller, everything looked ok.

Since then, can't get the basket to prime. I replaced drain plug gasket, o ring on pump lid, put shaving cream all over unions and basket looking for air leak. No luck.

6 months ago, pump housing sprung a leak, so replaced. Am thinking maybe a small leak in strainer basket, so waiting for new one to arrive to install, but I'm not convinced that's the issue.

Any other tips to try? TIA

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
When you replaced the O-rings, I'm assuming you coated them with pool silicone correct? Regardless, I would start at the top (above ground) and eliminate each area systematically. Don't forget 3-way valves if you have them. Maybe post a pic of your equipment pad and update your signature so we can see everything you have to work with.