Trouble with sand filter


Well-known member
May 23, 2007

I'm fairly new to the forum, having lurked on this and for about a month now.

I have a problem I was hoping someone could help me with. We bought a house in the fall, with an 18X40' IG vinyl liner pool. It is a fairly old pool, but seems to be mostly in good shape so far. Originally when we bought the house, we planned on filling in the pool, since we really aren't pool people, and we don't get much of a season up where we are, but decided to try it out for a season and see whether or not we wanted to keep it or not, since when else would we have this chance.

After much work, I finally got the pool cleaned up and pretty much clear, over the last three weeks. The water is clear, the pH and chlorine are looking good, but I do have one problem, "dirt" coming out of the returns from the sand filter. I put a skimmer bag over one of the returns to make sure that is where it was coming from, and so I could take a closer look, and it definately is dirt, and not sand being shot back into the pool. After backwashing thoroughly a few times, I still have the problem.

After reading other posts on other people who had this problem, I tried to check on the sand levels in the filter (Swimquip, an older one, no model number). I cracked it open, looked inside, and there was a big plastic contraption sitting on top of the thing, attached to the tube that runs down the center of the filter. The plastic piece consists of a circular slotted basket type thing, with a plate that blocks it off all except for a certain spot. I was able to figure out that this piece is what controls where the water goes when you change the settings on the filtration mode (waste, backwash, etc). I tried to remove this piece, but it will just not come off, it seems permanently attached. When I tried forcing it, I ended up breaking a few of the small plastic pieces off. Since we might be filling in the pool anyways, thats where I stopped, since I didn't want to actually break the thing.

Is anyone familiar with how to remove this? I want to get in and check the sand level/condition, since that seems to be what it probably was (the seal to the filter had been caulked shut with very old caulking, so its probably low/old sand in it), but I don't want to break the thing and be stuck buying a new filter.


LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
SE Louisiana
Can you post some pictures?

On filling in the pool, I recommend you take your time with that decision. Pools can be a fantastic lifestyle enhancer and aren't really much work to maintain with the techniques you'll learn here.


Well-known member
May 24, 2007
Houston, Texas, USA
I have a sand filter too. Had it for 2 1/2 years. Last weekend, I too decided it was time to have a look inside the thing. Like you, I had trouble getting the multi-port valve off. I finally just grabbed it on both sides, and lifted up, actually lifting the entire filter off the ground. The assembly popped off and almost hit me in the jaw :shock: Anyway, there is a pretty large, horizontal o-ring that seals the assembly down inside the opening. You did remove the collar first didn't you? If nothing else, you should be able to buy just the valve, and not the entire filter should you destroy it.


Well-known member
May 23, 2007
Problem solved (sort of)

I cracked the thing open today to get some pics, and figured I'd give another shot at getting the plastic piece out. Threaded some string through, and it unbinded itself from the central tube in the middle of the filter.

Checked out the filter, everything LOOKS ok, lots of sand in there, didn't see any caking or anything like that.

I figured out what the piece was though when I went to put everything back together. Turns out it wasn't a seperate piece, but actually the bottom half of the multivalve. It had "siezed" onto the central tube in the filter, and the plastic had weakened enough that it had cracked right in half.

Online, it looks like $150 to replace, if they even have the part, since I'd have to buy the whole assembly. I'm trying the cheap way out and the marine epoxy is currently setting on it now, hopefully that holds it for a season :)