impeller spins freely, cannot unscrew it

andrevm

New member
Sep 15, 2019
4
South of France
I am french, and live in the South of France, my pool (and the pump) are 12 years old. The pump is spanish made (ESPA, Silen 50M), good quality (about $300) for a power of only 0.5HP.
The pump is not leaking, the motor spins without any noise (bearings in good conditions, I suppose), but no flow of water. I dismantled the pump, and figured out the design is similar to some Hayward pumps I saw in some videos. So, the motor spins, and if I block the shaft, the impeller spins freely also. Hence, I cannot unscrew the impeller.
Am I right in assuming the impeller is broken somewhere around the overmoulded thread? What amazes me however is that I cannot pull the impeller off the shaft: if it was broken, I thought it would be free, and would sort of fall off. Have I got that wrong? how come it is stuck there on the shaft, and yet turns freely?
I am ready to cut the impeller into small piecés with an angle grinder, but if someone thinks I have it wrong, I am ready to try something else!
Note: I searched the internet in France, then in the whole of Europe, (to no avail as usual) for the whole day yesterday, and nowhere, except in THIS forum, have I seen any reference to my problem. Hence, I commend the admins for this forum. You are tackling the REAL problems people have in the field, ...
I wish you all a good week end
your ideas and comments are welcome, many thanks in advance
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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Stuart/FL
And,

Welcome to TFP! Sounds like it's broken but your solution sounds a little radical. To avoid unnecessary damage, can you please post a photo so one of our experts can advise?

Thanks.

Chris
 

1Sammy

In The Industry
Jul 20, 2017
210
Windsor, Ontario. Canada
I had a pump with the same issues a few years back. There is a metal nut that was embedded in the impeller when it was made. Now that has come loose from the plastic but will not pull off because of the location in the plastic. Go ahead and cut away the impeller and use a wrench to remove the nut.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
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Jun 22, 2009
23,698
SouthWest Alabama
As Sammy said, there's a nut or 'spider' encased in the impeller that has stripped the plastic, so while it turns, it's captured so you can't just pull the impeller off it.

As you suspect, you'll have to cut the impeller apart to get to it where you can unscrew it.

Just be careful cutting the impeller, not the cut the backplate or shaft.
 

andrevm

New member
Sep 15, 2019
4
South of France
to Chris: the pictures I could take now don't show much. Actually, they show nothing. However, I am relieved to hear form Sammy and Dave that my radical solution may be the only way around the problem, and I am relieved to hear that someone else has had the same problem. I suspect that the thickness of the plastic around the "nut" is too low , I'll have a look at that tomorrow, and if you are interested, I will share my comments with you (I used to work on plastic parts design, ...). I said in my initial post that the Spanish manufacturer is generally considered of good quality, we will see that.
As I destroy that impeller tomorrow (it is midnight here right now, ...), I will think carefully about what pictures to take. I will send them, it may help one day another member of the forum.
A million thanks to all of you for your comments, I'll be back with photos! I love to see that the comments came from different parts of the US, and even Canada!
On another note, I just saw on French TV tonight "A Bronx Tale", by and with Robert De Niro, what a story, what a film, I loved it, ...
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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Stuart/FL
And,

Glad you got what you needed and our experts agree your solution isn't radical... just seemed like it might be to me and this is one I'm glad I was wrong on. It's great to learn from our experts on this stuff.

Cut carefully and good luck!

Chris
 

andrevm

New member
Sep 15, 2019
4
South of France
Hi, everyone, the radical idea was indeed the right thing to do! I thought it would be a piece of cake, well yes, until the last bit. Let me review that:
In figure 1: no comments, as I said previously, it looks very much like any other impeller.
Figure 2: I used a cutting disc for metals, I would have prefered a disc for bricks as bricks and plastic are materials with poor heat conductivity,but that is all I had available, and anyway, since I intended to destroy the impeller, who cares? The metal disc cut easily into this Fiber reinforced plastic.
Figure 3: I had tried to cut a notch in the nut, while there was still a lot of plastic around, but that did not work out. So, I had to get all the plastic off. Anyway, here is the nut. Gosh, was this hard to unscrew! I left a good quantity of WD-40 sink in for a pair of hours, and even so, I had to use a curved jaw locking plier to maintain the motor shaft, and even then, that was hard! The locking plier left some dents on the shaft, but I will polish that away, no problem.
Figure 4: here is the mechanical joint, ceramic disc, steel spring: that does not look like anything I have seen on internet, ... I hope I will be able to find the replacement parts. The manufacturer web site is silent (contact does not respond): note: this is Europe, not the US, we are used to it, ... unfortunately.
By the way, I said originally there were no leaks: well, there was a leak (small). I will replace one of the bearings: it is not corroded, but it is not spinning freely.
My personal feeling about the impeller: ur, bad design! Having said that, it worked well for 12 years, ... so, even a bad design did well.
A million thanks to everyone, I will hopefully comeback from time to time to see how things are doing on the forum
Andre (like Andre Agassi, ...)
 

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setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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Stuart/FL
Great photos and description. This could be very helpful to somebody else one day. If you have difficulty with the seal they look very similar to standard seals and bearings I've seen here in the US. If it were me, I would find a seal and bearing store (most industrial areas have a few). They will be able to measure it very accurately and find high quality brand name replacements.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

Chris
 

andrevm

New member
Sep 15, 2019
4
South of France
Hi Chris,
I guess you may be right, and they could be standard parts, but, returning from my Tai-Chi course this morning, I stopped by a pool shop and showed the parts, with all the references:. In my presence, he called the manufacturer (who does not respond to my mails, ...), and made sure I would get all the proper parts.
Sure, from the outside, it looked like the same as the other pumps, but in the details of the impeller and the seal (once removed), the parts didn't look exactly the same as what I had seen on various videos (except for the bearings).
In total, it may be a bit more expensive than if I picked replacement parts on internet, but I have little confidence in webshops in France. for anything worth more than $10: if the parts they send are not compatible (or not at all what you ordered!!!), you never, ever, get your money back. You cannot imagine how bad the situation is! At the pool shop, the vendor takes the responsability for the compatibility. I don't like complaining, but at times, it is reassuring to vent off emotions, ...
best regards
Andre
 

setsailsoon

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TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
1,879
Stuart/FL
Hi Chris,
I guess you may be right, and they could be standard parts, but, returning from my Tai-Chi course this morning, I stopped by a pool shop and showed the parts, with all the references:. In my presence, he called the manufacturer (who does not respond to my mails, ...), and made sure I would get all the proper parts.
Sure, from the outside, it looked like the same as the other pumps, but in the details of the impeller and the seal (once removed), the parts didn't look exactly the same as what I had seen on various videos (except for the bearings).
In total, it may be a bit more expensive than if I picked replacement parts on internet, but I have little confidence in webshops in France. for anything worth more than $10: if the parts they send are not compatible (or not at all what you ordered!!!), you never, ever, get your money back. You cannot imagine how bad the situation is! At the pool shop, the vendor takes the responsability for the compatibility. I don't like complaining, but at times, it is reassuring to vent off emotions, ...
best regards
Andre
Andre,

In your case if you can get the parts from the manufacturer I'd do so. I should have been more clear that my suggestion was for the case that couldn't get the manufacturer's parts. If you could find a real physical supplier that is a distributor for Crane Seals or Timken bearings. that would work well too. Internet shop would not be my choice either.

Thanks for the response and good luck to you!

Chris