I have a combination of one of the bottom drains converted to a return along with the skimmer and pump discharge routed to two of the factory holes in the sidewall. Cutting them out and converting the fittings can be found here: Useful Links for Fellow Intex Pool Owners ,hope this helps.I can't help with leaks - but are you putting the skimmer in place of an intake valve or somewhere else? Will you have an intake plus a skimmer or just the skimmer? How are you plugging up the intakes, if you are doing so? I'm trying to understand how to make this work for us.