Pump/Motor Failing, Problem Not Fixed w/ Capacitor Replacement


New member
Jun 2, 2019
Grapevine, TX
First post so excuse me if I inadvertently break any forum rules.

A few days ago, my pump (2HP Pentair Challenger) shut itself off in the middle of the day. I tried turning it back on and was greeted with a humming noise and no movement. The humming noise lasted for a few seconds, would stop, and then start again a minute or so later. Some research suggested a bad capacitor as the likely cause, so I pulled that out, took it to Leslie's, got a replacement for $30, and installed the new capacitor. I turned the pump on, but was greeted with the same humming noise and no movement. So, in hindsight, the original capacitor may have been fine.

After further research, I decided to see if I could 'kickstart' the motor by manually rotating the shaft, protruding from the back of the motor's exterior, while the power was on and humming. To my pleasant surprise, this worked. The pump primed itself and seemed to be functioning normally again. However, after ~10min, it shut itself down again and won't turn back on unless I help it by rotating the motor shaft, which will get it going for another ~10min. I've tried multiple times and can confirm this happens every time.

Any insights on what may be happening would be greatly appreciated. As the picture shows, my equipment is very dated. The valves don't seal tight and I commonly see drips of water coming from the pump, booster pump, filter and connections. I have every intention to hire a professional to replace it all and install a heater (Intelliflo VS pump, MasterTemp heater, Quad DE filter, new valves, smart controller, etc.), but I anticipate that costing ~$7K and had planned to wait till next year when I have some more money saved. So, I'm trying to squeeze as much life as I can out of what I've got. Thanks for the help in advance!

Last edited:


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
Pleasanton, CA
Welcome to the forum!

The bearings are likely shot. Failing bearings create more resistance to movement which makes the motor run hotter and then shuts off. You can either replace the bearings or the motor or the entire pump assembly.
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Well-known member
May 29, 2015
You have a Challenger pump (very good). It is very easy and inexspensive to put seals in. Consider replacing the motor with a variable speed motor and controller. I rebuilt my Challenger 1.5 hp and replaced the motor with a varible speed set up a couple of years ago. It is very quite running a half speed. Very good numbers on my electric bill as well.
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