Can't get pump to prime - Pentair Challenger 1 HP


New member
Apr 16, 2017
Austin, TX
I am new to the forum. I have been a pool owner for 10 years and have enjoyed reading this forum for issues from time to time.

I have an old Pentair Challenger 1 HP pump that has been sitting idle for sometime. I was using it for rainwater collection and replaced it years ago since I needed a bigger pump to move water up hill. I decided to resurrect this pump to irrigate from our wet weather creek for a while.

I can't get this pump to prime. My suction line is 3 feet long with I guess with about 2 feet of lift. All the fittings are glued, teflon tape used on threads, new rubber gasket for the lid, and I made sure that the gasket between the strainer housing and pump was in good shape which it is. So, I am not sure what I am missing. The pump is sucking water into the strainer basket and it does pump water, but it's operating like at 50%. Can anyone make some suggestions? I have three other pumps on the property and am familiar with the sounds that they make when they are running. This motor sounds good, just can't get it to prime.

Thoughts? I have included two pictures.



Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Hello and welcome to TFP! :wave: In your scenario, there's not much left to look at since you are right-up against the creek except the clear basket lid O-Ring (good shape and well-lubed) or perhaps the small drain plug gasket at the bottom of the pump's wet end. That would rule-out any suction leaks for air. I wonder if it's at 50% prime because there's no backpressure from a filter?

Perhaps someone else will have another thought. Nice to have you with us.

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