Spa Repair Thread - Pump bearing, leak, and new cover. With pics!

JamesW

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Mar 2, 2011
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I was just trying to evaluate it from a cost/benefit analysis. Many people get into a project like this for purely financial reasons thinking that they are going to save money by doing a repair and it ends up costing them way more than they expected in time, money, effort and aggravation.

If someone wants to do it for other than financial reasons, that’s purely a subjective value that will be different for each person.

It’s analogous to restoring an old classic car. You don’t do it for financial reasons as the owner of the car. You do it for personal reasons where the car has some value to you or you just like doing it.

My main point is that when evaluating a project like this from a purely financial point of view, it’s important to understand the entire cost so that you can make a better, more informed choice.
 
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jseyfert3

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Fair enough, and a good point. I thought you were asking me specifically, sometimes I forget people may be asking questions for their own benefit, or for the benefit of others reading the forum. :)

To be honest I'm not sure how much time I've put into it. Could be as much as 8 hours by now. A lot of that was learning by doing, getting the tools I needed (or had to get cause I broke out that hammer when I shouldn't have). How long this will take will vary person to person based on their skills and what tools they have on hand.

And there's another part to the time thing. That's time it'll take the next time you do it. If you are a DIY sort of person, chances are you'll do something like this again. For example, I plan on swapping the bearings on the pump that this pump is replacing. Then that pump will become a spare that will sit downstairs until I need it. I suspect that I will be able to change the bearings in that other pump in approximately two hours, give or take a little bit. And if I ever need to change bearings on a pool pump in the future, I've got the basics down.

This obviously doesn't cover the time required to swap the pump in and out, but of course you'd either have to do that yourself if you bought a whole new pump anyway, or you'd have to hire a service guy to do it (yet another tradeoff).

It’s analogous to restoring an old classic car. You don’t do it for financial reasons as the owner of the car. You do it for personal reasons where the car has some value to you or you just like doing it.
Perhaps. I think it's much more analogous to maintaining your daily driver though, as a classic car usually requires a lot of custom fabrication or extremely expensive spare parts. On your daily driver though parts are wildly and cheaply available. You can pay someone swap parts, or buy parts and do it yourself. Whether or not that's worth it is up to the individual person of course, but eventually you build up a set of tools, skills, and knowledge and the time required goes down. And a lot of this skills and knowledge helps you get a jump start on fixing other things. So there's an additive value to the value of doing stuff yourself that's really hard to calculate.

For example, I can probably swap the average pair of brake pads and rotors in a few hours. That's what, $300-$400 if you take it to a shop? But it's like $100-$150 in parts for decent parts. So call that $225 in savings for four hours of work. From a purely financial aspect, that's like I paid myself $56/hr. That's definitely more than I get paid at work, so it's completely worth it. But was the first time worth it? Probably not. What about somebody who has no tools? Most likely no. Again though it's an additive process, you slowly build up tools that you later don't need to buy, you build up skills and knowledge that lets you do stuff faster in the future even if you've never done that particular thing before, and so forth.

Anyway, off to the Home Depot. Today's project is swapping out my outdoor spigot that's broke and won't turn off. I've been turning it off with the inside shutoff valve, but that get really annoying when I need to top up my spa every couple weeks. I get to learn how to solder copper pipe today. :D
 
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dan1333

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Nov 1, 2020
10
Orange, CA
Fair enough, and a good point. I thought you were asking me specifically, sometimes I forget people may be asking questions for their own benefit, or for the benefit of others reading the forum. :)

To be honest I'm not sure how much time I've put into it. Could be as much as 8 hours by now. A lot of that was learning by doing, getting the tools I needed (or had to get cause I broke out that hammer when I shouldn't have). How long this will take will vary person to person based on their skills and what tools they have on hand.

And there's another part to the time thing. That's time it'll take the next time you do it. If you are a DIY sort of person, chances are you'll do something like this again. For example, I plan on swapping the bearings on the pump that this pump is replacing. Then that pump will become a spare that will sit downstairs until I need it. I suspect that I will be able to change the bearings in that other pump in approximately two hours, give or take a little bit. And if I ever need to change bearings on a pool pump in the future, I've got the basics down.

This obviously doesn't cover the time required to swap the pump in and out, but of course you'd either have to do that yourself if you bought a whole new pump anyway, or you'd have to hire a service guy to do it (yet another tradeoff).


Perhaps. I think it's much more analogous to maintaining your daily driver though, as a classic car usually requires a lot of custom fabrication or extremely expensive spare parts. On your daily driver though parts are wildly and cheaply available. You can pay someone swap parts, or buy parts and do it yourself. Whether or not that's worth it is up to the individual person of course, but eventually you build up a set of tools, skills, and knowledge and the time required goes down. And a lot of this skills and knowledge helps you get a jump start on fixing other things. So there's an additive value to the value of doing stuff yourself that's really hard to calculate.

For example, I can probably swap the average pair of brake pads and rotors in a few hours. That's what, $300-$400 if you take it to a shop? But it's like $100-$150 in parts for decent parts. So call that $225 in savings for four hours of work. From a purely financial aspect, that's like I paid myself $56/hr. That's definitely more than I get paid at work, so it's completely worth it. But was the first time worth it? Probably not. What about somebody who has no tools? Most likely no. Again though it's an additive process, you slowly build up tools that you later don't need to buy, you build up skills and knowledge that lets you do stuff faster in the future even if you've never done that particular thing before, and so forth.

Anyway, off to the Home Depot. Today's project is swapping out my outdoor spigot that's broke and won't turn off. I've been turning it off with the inside shutoff valve, but that get really annoying when I need to top up my spa every couple weeks. I get to learn how to solder copper pipe today. :D
Try the sharkbite fittings if you don't want to mess with copper like that. Sooooo easy. I don't know if I'd trust sharkbite fittings inside the walls (tho apparently they're even reliable for that) but for an outside spigot I'd think that'd be perfect. I ran length of copper pipes outside and made a hookup for a water softener all with sharkbite fittings and it was definitely easy and has held up for over 5 yrs so far.
 

jseyfert3

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Try the sharkbite fittings if you don't want to mess with copper like that. Sooooo easy. I don't know if I'd trust sharkbite fittings inside the walls (tho apparently they're even reliable for that) but for an outside spigot I'd think that'd be perfect. I ran length of copper pipes outside and made a hookup for a water softener all with sharkbite fittings and it was definitely easy and has held up for over 5 yrs so far.
I thought about it. I thought about it really hard, looking at the 1/2" to 1/2" Sharkbite valve. All I'd need to do is cut the copper and stick that onto the existing copper pipe, then stick in some 1/2" PEX on the other side. But something in me balked, perhaps it's the issues we've had with certain types of hose and push to connect fittings at work, that I just didn't want to use Sharkbite for household plumbing.

Instead I got a solder/flux kit, picked up a small torch (I had a big one but it'd be overkill) and soldered in a PEX adapter. It was easy and went well. Used too much solder, next time I'll have to tone that down a bit.


The previous owner had installed the outdoor spigots too close to the house, you should barely get on the "modern" garden hoses with their wide ends for easy gripping. So I built a spacer out of some scrap cellular PVC I had laying around.


Got the new spigot installed. It's the more expensive model, with a 1/4 turn valve. So much nicer than the multi-turn valves they normally are. While at Home Depot I thought about winter spa top-offs, and decided I didn't want to fiddle with screwing and unscrewing a hose each time. People in parts of CA and the south don't have to worry about this, but where it freezes in the winter you need a self draining spigot. The actual valve is in the house where it won't freeze (12" back in my case), and it's mounted with a slight downwards slope so water drains out of that section of pipe past the valve. But if you leave a hose connected it can't drain.

So I got a quick connect garden hose fitting. This model had a water shutoff so you can hot swap hose attachments, but that would trap water. So I punched out the little valve thingy in the quick connect so it would be able to drain when disconnected. Then I attached that up. Now when I fill my spa I can pop the hose on, fill, pop the hose off and the spigot will drain. The hose side of the quick connect had no water valve so I can easily drain the water out of the hose before coiling that up so it won't freeze either. This should make filling in sub-freezing weather a slightly faster process too.


 
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jseyfert3

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I got the new seals and impellers from SpaCare, along with a lot of PVC fittings and some new flex PVC cause I have at least one bad valve and I suspect another so I need to swap those out.

I got 6 new bearings ordered but it’ll probably be the first week of January before those come in.
 

RDspaguy

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Mar 21, 2020
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Cabool, Mo
Every spa has residents, wether you find the evidence or not. Don't feel special about that.
I would not bother with the spray foam, you will never notice any difference.
Those wall fittings usually have a bulb in the back that connects to them. You have to dig them out but don't have to replace the plastic lens part in the spa wall.
 

jseyfert3

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Those wall fittings usually have a bulb in the back that connects to them. You have to dig them out but don't have to replace the plastic lens part in the spa wall.
Okay, I'll try to dig out one of the non-working ones and see what I'm working with. I can't find any replacements in a quick search, but hopefully it's just a regular RGB LED and if so, I can find replacements on Digikey.

I do have a couple of cracked plastic lenses (on the tiny above the waterline ones) but it looks like someone on eBay is selling those for $8/each.

Actually I wonder if the lights not working is less the LEDs burned out and more the wires corroded. The first bulbs to not work, I think not working when we got the spa, where ones where the lens cracked off. So when people are in and raise the water level they get covered, or splashed. Then I wonder if the corroded wires could be partially shorting out the lines, and causing some of the wrong colors/random color shifting we see with a lot of the other small working lights.

It's gonna be kind of a pain to dig out a lot of these lights, but they are rather nice to have working...
 

jseyfert3

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Update: Got some new parts, including flex PVC for flexibility it redoing plumbing and future repairs.


One of the two pump unions didn’t have an oring. I contacted them about this.


The new impeller has a much longer shaft. It does fit on the pump just fine, and looks identically shaped though it is a 3rd party impeller and not NOS.


The last thing is I ordered Valterra 3-piece valves. My packing list shows part number for Magic 3-piece valves, which is what the stickers on these bags show. This is an issue as the Magic valves are $17 vs the $24 for Valterra. A bigger issue though is that only one of these is a Magic 2” 3-piece valve. The other is a unibody 1.5” or so valve that got labeled wrong. I contacted them about this too.
 

jseyfert3

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I didn’t check my email before posting. 17 minutes after I contacted them I received the following reply:
Hello jseyfert3

I’m not sure this one could have been more screwed up then what you received

I will have the correct valves and O-ring shipped 2nd day air on Monday – we will not want any of the parts you received back

Sorry for the error.

Thank you!

David Pratt
www.spacare.com
Mistakes happen, so it’s how they are corrected that’s important. I’m impressed with the quick reply!