Hayward Pool Vac XL barely moves.

cooltouch

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2018
107
Houston, Texas
For the past several weeks my little Pool Vac XL has been zipping along the bottom and sides of my pool, getting the job done with few issues. About the only time it would stop would be if it sucked up too many leaves or sticks which ended up jamming the impeller. But once I cleared the jams, it was back to scooting along the pool.

Until a couple days ago, that is. I've been keeping the bottom of the pool clean, skimming all the leaves and sticks every morning as part of my pool maintenance routine. I try to skim them up before the pump starts (the pump runs from 7am to 4pm), which reduces the chance of the Pool Vac sucking up debris. But a couple of days ago, it just stopped. Or almost stopped. It was still moving, although just barely. What's strange is, when I pick it up, its feet are kicking like crazy and if I put my hand up against the inlet at the vac's base, there's good, strong suction. So there's plenty of suction to spin the impeller, which is what is making the feet kick away. Reasoning that something else in the mechanism must be off, I totally dismantled it, looking for any hidden issues, and I didn't find any. No hidden debris, no obvious wear on any of the internals. The external wear items -- the feet and skirts -- still have plenty of life left to them, or so it seems. So I don't lose the pump's prime, I keep the vac's hose below the surface of the water, and I dunk the vac and shake it some to get all the air out of the unit. And as soon as I hook the hose back up, its feet start kicking merrily away. But as soon as it hits the pool floor, it just stops.

Even though there was good strong suction at the end of the hose, where it connects to the vac, I went ahead and cleaned the filter this morning, hoping that might do it. The filter was dirty, but not that dirty. Not enough to choke off the suction to the point where its function would be impaired. But it didn't make any difference. The vac is creeping ever so slowly across the floor. I don't know what else to check. I've run out of ideas. But I've got to be missing something. Any ideas what I might have overlooked?
 

cooltouch

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2018
107
Houston, Texas
Just a quick follow up. I finally broke down and RTFM'd. I saw a note in it, mentioning wear on the shoes -- what I was calling the feet. The manuals sez the shoes should be replaced when they wear down to about 1/4" thick. Well, my machine's shoes' thickness isn't that thin, but close. So I ordered another set.

One of the things I tried when I was trying to figure out what the problem was, I took a sheet of plastic and submerged it so I could watch the vac walk across it. I couldn't really detect a problem, cuz the feet were moving, but the vac wasn't. And then it finally dawned on me that, if the shoes wear down far enough, this is going to place the suction inlet so close to the floor of the pool that it's gonna choke off the flow rate into the inlet. The bottom of the vac wasn't dragging on the floor -- yet -- but it was so close to the floor that the suction was being severely restricted. Or at least that's my take on things. I'll find out once the new shoes get here.
 

mcgeechelle

Member
Nov 13, 2014
14
Melbourne, FL
Just a quick follow up. I finally broke down and RTFM'd. I saw a note in it, mentioning wear on the shoes -- what I was calling the feet. The manuals sez the shoes should be replaced when they wear down to about 1/4" thick. Well, my machine's shoes' thickness isn't that thin, but close. So I ordered another set.

One of the things I tried when I was trying to figure out what the problem was, I took a sheet of plastic and submerged it so I could watch the vac walk across it. I couldn't really detect a problem, cuz the feet were moving, but the vac wasn't. And then it finally dawned on me that, if the shoes wear down far enough, this is going to place the suction inlet so close to the floor of the pool that it's gonna choke off the flow rate into the inlet. The bottom of the vac wasn't dragging on the floor -- yet -- but it was so close to the floor that the suction was being severely restricted. Or at least that's my take on things. I'll find out once the new shoes get here.
Fwiw, when my XL doesn’t move (even though, like yours, it kicks like mad when I pick it up), it’s either the feet or the A frame. I’d try the feet first since they're the easiest and cheapest to replace, and if that doesn’t work, then the A frame and turbine.

I hate diagnosing this pool vac. It’s very trial and error. I always end up just replacing parts bit by bit until it starts working to my satisfaction even when it seems like the parts I’m replacing “look” fine or appear to be operating the way they should. There always seems be multiple possible points of failure when you google or YouTube; at least the parts themselves aren’t particularly expensive. Good luck.