New build for 2002 Sundance Optima 850

smithlevenson

Active member
Nov 18, 2017
40
Atlanta, GA
So I am finally getting around to building the deck for the Hot Tub and it is going great so far. Engineer designed the 10'x10' deck so that the tub sits about 6" higher than the floor of my main deck. Luckily I had power and spot for breaker within 6', so power was the easiest part. I am still a little worried about using such an old hot tub, but it ran fine before I got it 1.5 years ago and I winterized it while it has been in my possession. I can tell you this, it is going back down in pieces if it doesn't last. Taylor 2006 is on it's way. The Hut Tub Mover comes next week, so it should all be ready to go Wed 3/27/19.

My last few questions are:
1) I really want to fill it while it is on the ground. Just started filling it on the ground. A few small leaks at the bad seals at the motor, but nothing else so far. I can grab temp power from nearby. It will only be 30amp 220v so I can't check that everything will work at once, but I can check the heater, circ pump, and the two jet pumps.
2) I need a new cover that I can lock down. The tub is sunken in the deck if that makes a difference on suggestions.
3) A few of the bearings on the jets are toast. It looks like they are about $25 a piece to change. May start with them broken and see if it makes a difference. Thoughts on best place to get replacement parts? I am in Atlanta if that matters.
4) Has any one swapped an old light halogen/incandescent for the LED? I would much prefer that unless it is a pain.
5) Salt or No Salt on this model? I like the feel of salt water, but I don't have a drape over SWG yet. (I do BBB)

I can't think of anything else at the moment, but I appreciate everyone's thoughts.

I am posting some pictures of the design, build, and tub.
 

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smithlevenson

Active member
Nov 18, 2017
40
Atlanta, GA
1) I really want to fill it while it is on the ground. Just started filling it on the ground. A few small leaks at the bad seals at the motor, but nothing else so far. I can grab temp power from nearby. It will only be 30amp 220v so I can't check that everything will work at once, but I can check the heater, circ pump, and the two jet pumps.

OK filled and I have a few issues.
A) The Pump 2 (1 speed 10 amp) is screaming and shooting water out. It is sending pressure into the system, but when I was dismantling the pump to winterize I found a piece of the cover leather in the pump. I imagine it is toast, but I can try breaking it down to see if I can fix any damage. It looks like they can be had for $200 on a quick google search, so I will probably go that route unless anyone else has a better idea.
B) There is a leak behind the insulation on the left side of the tub while I was filling it up. This seams to be the only leak from a non-visible non-pump location. I guess this requires surgery? I think most of the seals on this thing are either brittle or broken (Here we come Magic Lube). Maybe try the seal around the jet in the tub first?
C) The heater has a small leak. I think I need to take it apart and see if it is an easy fix before replacing. I will update on if it is warming the tub up at the end of the day.
D) A few of the flow controls are about to break. I will find replacement parts and go from there.
E) Needs a new filter.
EDIT:
F) The Auxiliary Control panel isn't functioning.

Compared to my 2017 Hot Springs Limelight Glow at my parents, this thing is a rumbling tumbling beast. I guess I shouldn't be shocked being 15 years older, but man has tech come a long way.

One the bright side.
1) The shell is intact and looks good. (Hopefully this isn't the origin of the leak, but I doubt it).
2) Pump 1 seems fine, but could use a break down and grease if I am feeling ambitious. Would like to put it on a vibration mat.
3) The board is fine and all switches and readings seem normal. Temp reading looks right (confirming manually shortly).
4) Circ pump seems fine.
5) The Light works
6) The Air Blower seems to work fine. Some seal issues at the in tub control.
 
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smithlevenson

Active member
Nov 18, 2017
40
Atlanta, GA
So the small leaks seem to be the biggest concern. No discernible drop in water level after 5 hours. I will see overnight.

I am not sure how much I should cut into the insulation looking for leaks. Should I start inside the tub at the Jets? Can I silicone around them? Would it do any good?

I am assuming that a small leak on a PT deck is still a big problem.
 

smithlevenson

Active member
Nov 18, 2017
40
Atlanta, GA
So what started out as a “path to victory” post swerved into a nightmarish war of attrition between me and the tub. It was such a disaster, that I look back in awe at how it could all go so wrong. However, I fought back and I won. Let me tell you how...

Moving day and I had identified a few leaks around the top jet bodies. I pealed back the foam and tightened them with an oil wrench and figured I was set. $400 and a lot of cursing later the tub was up a flight of stairs and into the hole I created to sink the tub into. I wire the tub up and fill it after plugging the holes for the broken pump 2 inlet and outlet.

All **** proceeds to break loose. First night while prepping to fill, I step on the filter cover and crash into the tub. The cover is in 8 pieces and cost hundreds to replace. I decided to super glue, reinforce, and fiberglass it all together. The kids will be walking on it so why not fix it for good. Kinda a fun project, but messy.

Then, came the leaks in several spots all over the tub. It is in a 8' by 9.5' hole with a 7.5’ by 7.5’ tub and little access to the bottom. My only option seems to be to drain the tub, get some boss 802 silicon, and go to town on the inside of the jets. I refill and it seems to be holding. As I am finishing the refill, I snap the brittle plastic at the flow switch and at pump 1 to the flo switch. Both broken beyond repair, drain the tub because water is pouring out of Pump 1 and it needs to be removed and repaired.

Dispair edges in.

I order a new flo switch, change it out. Retap pump 1 so I can run a new line to the flo switch and rewire the Flo switch to the board. Refill #3 and all seems right with the world. The hut tub is running, it is 1 am, and I go to bed with a cocky smile on my face. Until...

At 3 am I hear a pop up thunderstorm, I race down to the deck because I haven't covered anything up. Too late, breaker is tripped and the circuit board is soaked.

I get back to it Saturday morning drying everything off and assessing the damage. I flip the breaker in the afternoon and get FLO error. I try the pumps and the breaker snaps. It is just a straight short from that point forward. Disgusted, I start googling the cost of a new circuit board. All the while, I hear dripping from what I assume was the gutter and AC condensate line. I go below deck and realize the silicone did very little to stop the leaks. Water is leaking from everywhere and I have zero access to fix anything.

Despair takes hold.

What have I done? I just built a $5,000 monument to stupidity. I put a 900 lb tub in a 30" hole 10' off the ground. The tub doesn't work and I can't even assess if it's worth fixing. My options are:

A) Chainsaw the tub out of spite and fill the hole with balls for a ball pit.
B) Go to a dealer and pay some stupid amount (+/- $8,000) to make all my problems go away.
C) Stay the course and repair it out of wounded pride. Not knowing how long or how expensive that might be.


Despair starts to lift and stubborn resolve begins to take over.

First chore, get the tub out of the hole without starting this process $400 more to the same movers. First I have to cut out part of the deck the carpenter just finished. I needed room on 2 sides and only left room on one. Me and another guy spend 6 hours jacking and winching the tub out. Blood. Sweat. Tears. It is now out on the regular (+/- 50 lb/sf) deck.

Second chore, I have to remove all of the foam sprayed under the tub. Not only do I have leaks everywhere, but I will have no access to get the foam out if a new leak springs forth in the sunken deck. All foam has to go. Straight mechanical removal. Fingernails and a wire brush on a drill. One contractor bag a day for about 10-12 days. I can’t even tell this part because of the horrible memories. It is awful. I can’t see how any heat savings would be worth basically making a tub a disposable product. {Shudders}.

Third chore, I am foam free, but far from free. I am now confronted with a tangle of manifolds, air hoses, jet bodies, and water hoses. It is all fairly rigid, so I am debating cutting it all out and starting over ($$$$) or trying to fix the issues (which aren’t even quantified). I opt for cheap, hoping that Murphy’s law will miraculously break on this decision. I begin work on the 14 smaller jet bodies with almost zero access. I am turning jet bodies 1/10” at a time, bloodying myself against fiberglass and hose clamps. Each body takes almost an hour to fully loosen. The threads all have foam jammed in them. The larger Jets loosen quickly. I scrape the old silicone off, check the o rings for cracks, and get to work. I have to silicone each jet body one at a time. The set up time is 15 minutes and it takes about 20-30 mins per to tighten them back. I do them front and back. Two large silicone tubes later and I am in business. Every jet is now resealed and re-tightened.

Fourth chore, I cannot refill the tub to check for leaks on the standard deck. It is too heavy. If the deck fails, I just doubled down on my Darn situation. There is no choice but to lower it back in and refill it in the hole. I gather two more people and ease (winch and Jack) it back down. It was actually fairly easy (thanks gravity). I fill it and pray.
I come back out the next morning and the deck is dry. It is a miracle. I have one tiny drip that is accessible and I can fix at any time I let the water out. Hallelujah!

Even if I have to replace all pumps, heaters, and boards at this point I am ahead of the game. I have about $600 in a tub that cost $8,000+ to replace.

Time to find out what damage my negligence caused. I unhook everything from the panel except the power and flip the breaker. It holds this time. I add back the panel and sensors and it still holds showing various errors. I add back the circ pump and it comes on fine but with a FLO error. I can see that the new flow switch is functioning correctly and water is flowing, so I try a sensor reset and nothing. I am thinking it’s the board or the new flow switch is defective (I don’t have the filter in yet). Google says only known cause is I have blown the K10 relay. I change the wiring set up on the circ pump as suggested, no more FLO.

I plug in the Air Blower and the breaker snaps. Blower comes off easy, but is rusty and the line is full of water (probably from moving the tub). Blower to trash can. I plug in Pump 1 and it works perfectly. I plug in the heater and FLO comes back. It makes no sense. The heater has nothing to do with the FLO error, it is only disabled by a FLO. I check the sensor harness and realize that I have pulled two of the tiny pins back too far by accident. I reseat them and FLO goes bye-bye. At this point, no one gives a Dang about what happened to the Ozonator.

We actually now have a minimally functioning hot tub.

Before anything else can go wrong, I heat the tub up and the kids and I go swimming in our “new to us” Hot Tub!!! Sweet is the taste of Victory!!!!

Updates to follow…


(I wrote this for me, so sorry for the length if you actually read this)
 
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smithlevenson

Active member
Nov 18, 2017
40
Atlanta, GA
So back to the grind.

Needs:
1. New Pump 2 - $280
2. New Air Blower - $120
3. Check valve for Air Blower - $8
4. Replacement jet fittings - $90
5. New Diverter valve fitting for Pump 1 - $60
6. New Flo Switch - $50
7. New Filter - $40
Total: $648

Wants:
1.
2. New LED light - $85
3. Pumps on vibration pads -$20
4. Hard plumbed drain - $50
5. Rock wool insulation -$50
Subtotal: $205

6. Roll up cover - $1,200
Total: $1,405

Grand Total: $2,053
 
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smithlevenson

Active member
Nov 18, 2017
40
Atlanta, GA
We have been in the hot tub every day! I have it set on 87 which is refreshing, but not chilly. It is awesome and everyone in the neighborhood keeps coming by saying they hear splashing and playing. Yep, Life is good.
 

smithlevenson

Active member
Nov 18, 2017
40
Atlanta, GA
So TFP oriented, without an ozonator the FC is much easier to maintain. Even though I will drain when the pumps arrive, I went ahead and balanced the water and added borates. I want to add salt too, but I am still in "one thing at a time" mode. We built up .5 of CC (after 2 hours today), so I left the top off overnight to try and help that along. I am planning on maintaining where I currently am:

FC: 4-5
CYA: 40
PH: 7.6
TA: 75
CH: 150
BOR: 40
SALT: 1500 (Future)

Overnight:
I lost 3 FC overnight. Seems reasonable for how much we used it. I new to get the new filter in, because the one I am using is clean, but old.
 
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Kidswimin

Member
May 4, 2015
20
Madison, WI
I do not envy you. That is a lot of work. I need to chase some leaks on my tub, it's been leaking since "new to me" about 3 years. I don't even want to start tearing it apart.
Good Luck.
 

smithlevenson

Active member
Nov 18, 2017
40
Atlanta, GA
I do not envy you. That is a lot of work. I need to chase some leaks on my tub, it's been leaking since "new to me" about 3 years. I don't even want to start tearing it apart.
Good Luck.
It is a huge PIA, but ultimately worth the effort. Hot Tubs are so simple that if you fix them right, it's hard to imagine ever having to replace the whole thing. If you decide to do it, make sure to get the cup style wire brush for a drill. That is the only thing that will get through the cured foam.
 

smithlevenson

Active member
Nov 18, 2017
40
Atlanta, GA
So I am finished with the repairs: Two new pumps and all leaks fixed. Nothing is leaking and the tub works as expected. I am not sure if it is pride in having completed the entire job myself or what, but I love this tub so much. Better than my 2017 Hot Springs Glow. It is so big and the jets all seem strong and in good positions. Maintenance seems so easy with BBB everyday. I think the kids and I have been in it everyday. Putting a roof over it was great, because we stayed in during a rainstorm yesterday. I think my youngest (1 yo) loves it the most (don't worry it is set at 93 degrees). I have pretty much messed this up in every way possible, but it is all perfect now.

The only thing I haven't done is re-insulate the compartments. I live in Georgia, so this really isn't huge thing for me. I will probably put Rock Wool in when I refill this Winter. I just don't think it will be an issue and I can manually heat the compartment if necessary. The only pro is that it may be quieter, but it isn't that bad now.

So here is to perseverance!