How To Repair a Hayward Aquabug Diver Dave or Wanda the Whale Cleaner


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If your automatic pool cleaner is not operating efficiently, it may be time to replace the parts that are designed to wear. If you see significant wear on your cleaners shoes, wings or flaps, replace these parts to improve performance, and to prevent damage to the more costly components.

Step by Step


Step 1

Turn your pool cleaner over and look at the cleaner's shoes. The picture at left shows an example of badly worn shoes. When the shoe is pushed up against the end of the pod, the shoe should extend above the surface of the pod or the pod will start to rub against the pool floor. This shoe should have been replaced before the surface of the shoe had worn below the surface of the pod.

Step 2

This picture shows a pool cleaner with new shoes. Note how far the shoe extends above the pod surface.

Step 3

Next inspect the pool cleaner's wings for wear and cracks. There is a wear line on each of the wings. When you can no longer see this line, replace the wings. The picture at left shows an example of a badly worn and broken wing. At 1, the wing has worn through by the peg that holds it in. At 2, the hole in the wing has worn to the point of breaking. Not shown - the tip of the wing has worn beyond its replacement line.

Step 4

Now inspect the pool cleaner's flaps (rear and front) for wear and cracks. The picture at left shows an example of a worn rear flap that needs to be replaced.

Step 5

When replacing pool cleaner parts, consider purchasing a pool cleaner tune-up kit. If one set of parts requires replacement, it's probably a good time to replace all of these parts. This kit includes a set of 4 shoes, a set of 2 wings, a set of 2 flaps (front and rear) and a screwdriver and brush to install the parts. When you purchase this kit, check to make sure you purchase the kit with the correct shoes. Shoes for concrete or gunite pools are different than shoes for fiberglass of vinyl pools.

Step 6

For ease in replacing these parts, disconnect the pool cleaner from its hose. Pull the hose straight off to avoid breaking the internal gears.

Step 7

To replace the shoes, first turn the pool cleaner on its back. Then insert a screwdriver between the shoe and the pod to pry the shoe off.

Step 8

Next dip a new shoe in the water for lubrication and press it onto the holes in the pod. Note, the two plugs on the shoe fit into two different size holes, one bigger that the other. This ensures that the shoes are properly attached. Press until you feel it snap into place. Repeat for the other three shoes.

Step 9

To remore the wings, first remove the plug above the wing from the pod.

Step 10

Remove the old wing by bending it slightly and lifting it off their hooks on the pod. Note: If any of the wing hooks are broken, you will have to replace the pod. See other "How To Guides".

Step 11

Place a new wing onto the pod hooks. There are markings for "R" or "L" on the wings and each pod. Make sure these match up.

Step 12

Replace the pod plug and tap then into place with the screwdriver handle. Repeat this process for the other wing.

Step 13

To replace the rear and front flaps, insert the screwdriver between the flap and the lower body, near the pivot point of the flaps. Gently pry the flap pivot point out or the hole in the body and slide the flap out. Repeat to remove the other flap.

Step 14

Note that the new flaps are marked "Rear" and "Front". Make sure to install the proper flap in the front and real of the unit. The rear of the unit has the screen in it. When installing the front flap, push the flap in place so that the pivot nibs engage the pivot holes in the body. Fold the flap in towards the bottom of the cleaner. There will be some resistance until the flap snap into place. Check that the spring is in place and that the spring action works freely.

Step 15

When installing the front flap, be sure that the extended leg of the spring is inserted into the notch on the front of the lower body.

Step 16

When installing the rear flap, make sure that the spring leg is placed on the cam on the rear flap adjuster. As the rear flap is pushed into place, it will snap into its normal operating position. Check that both flaps move freely and that they both spring up.

Step 17

Turn the pool cleaner right side up and look at the lower left side of the unit. Look for the rear flap adjuster, a round knob about the size of a pencil eraser with an arrow slot. You will see the Roman numerals I, II and II around the adjuster. With a screwdriver turn the slot so that its arrow points to the II. This is the normal operation level for the cleaner. I setting slows the pool cleaner down if it's climbing the walls; III setting speeds the pool cleaner up.

Step 18

Use the long-handled brush from the kit to clean the screen at the rear of the pool cleaner. This screen allows water to flow into the pool cleaner's steering mechanism. If the water flow is obstructed, the pool cleaner steering cannot function properly.


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 Posted: 7/14/2019 

Where can I purchase the spring for the feet .

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/15/2019 

Unfortunately, the spring is not a part sold by itself. It looks like you would need to buy a pod from the Hayward Aquabug parts diagram

 Posted: 9/18/2018 

Hello Barb - generally, Intex filters have a pretty small capacity for holding dirt. Your new cleaner is picking up a larger volume of heavy debris from the pool bottom causing the filter to reach capacity quicker. A few ways to handle this: get a bigger filter, continue backwashing as needed, or do not use the cleaner.

 Posted: 9/17/2018 

Hi! We just purchased a Wanda the Whale for our Intex pool. When first hooked up she works great, but loses suction and stops working after about 15 minutes. If we then backwash the pump and start again, she'll work for another 15 minutes then stop. My husband has tried everything and can't figure out how to keep her running. Thanks!

 Posted: 5/25/2018 

Hello Dan - Replacing the feet may not correct the problem. There is a small white gear box on the inside of the cleaner. Sometimes a small amount of sand can get into the gear box and prevent the gears from turning. You can test the gear box by blowing into the small hole. If nothing turns, you'll need to open it up and clean out the gears. While you have the cleaner open look for any bearings that may have fallen apart.

 Posted: 5/19/2018 

I have a Wanda. She will only make left turns. Suction is great. She hauls ass. Time for new feet?

 Posted: 7/29/2017 

Thank you! I looked at videos on how to rebuild my aquabug and thought oh boy this is going to be a lot of work. I found this article, grabbed my bug and realized the back shoes were completely missing. I got the replacements and now she's working again! You saved me hours of work. Thanks again

Anonymous  Posted: 7/13/2017 

New Aqua Critter owner here, if anyone is having trouble with their cleaner suddenly getting stuck against the wall of your pool, take a close look at the square gearbox inside the main body of the cleaner.
I found that a hair had gotten inside the gearbox and it was preventing the small impeller from rotating. If you are good with your hands you should have no problem taking it apart and putting it back together, just follow the pictures and instructions in this how to and you soon will be back in business.


InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/24/2017 

Anonymous (Diver Dave) - You may have air trapped in the top of the cleaner. When you place the cleaner in the water, swish it back and forth a couple of time to clear any air collecting at the top.

Anonymous  Posted: 6/22/2017 

My Diver Dave rolls on his side alots. What should I do?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/11/2017 

Anonymous (Diver Dan) - You may have to check inside the cleaner to resolve your problem. See our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner". The insides of many of these Hayward cleaners are very similar. Check the bearings on the A-Frame and Turbine. Also, check for debris in the Gear Box Assembly.

Anonymous  Posted: 6/8/2017 

My Dave the diver was just doing circles but now he goes straight and get stuck against the wall.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/2/2017 

Guy - You may have to get further into the body of the cleaner. The bearings on the A-Frame and the main Turbine sometimes go bad and bind up. See our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner". It should show you where these parts are and how to replace them.

 Posted: 6/2/2017 

My pump is a 2100 GPH KRYSTAL CLEAR™ SAND FILTER PUMP. Could the gear box be part of this problem.


 Posted: 6/1/2017 

I just replaced shoes and "A-frame," but critter still doesn't move consistently, continuously, or not at all. suction is great at end of hose, but "paddles/shoes" aren't moving when check.I can put finger inside port and get things turning, but when I set it back down on pool bottom sweeper doesn't move.HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/29/2017 

Anonymous (Diver Dave) - Your pump may be too small. This cleaner needs a minimum of 32 GPM water flow, or a 3/4 HP pump to operate efficiency. Or the pump's impeller may be clogged. See our guide on "How To Clean Out a Pool Pump Impeller". Or the cleaner may be clogged. See our guide on "How To Clear Debris on a Hayward Aquabug, Diver Dave, or Wanda Whale".

Anonymous  Posted: 5/28/2017 

I bought my diver Dave 700 2 years ago. He's never moved very well though. We have taken apart and checked all parts which are in good working order and the hose has no leaks. All help sites have said to check the speed adjuster knob but Ours does not have a knob we can find. I even put out the money thinking my pump wasn't strong enough and went to a high power sand filter for a pool 3x's the size of mine but still nothing. Any ideas that might help get Dave moving?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/26/2017 

Poodle the Pool Guy - Unfortunately, the springs for the shoes are not a separate part available for retail. I would check with some local pool stores to see if they have any loose/extra springs they can give/sell you. They are a little difficult to get in and out. You have to force then in at an angle.

 Posted: 5/25/2017 

do you know where I can get springs for the shoes and also how to change the springs?

Anonymous  Posted: 8/23/2016 

wanda the whale - Your cleaner may have debris caught in the gears or mechanism. Try blowing it out by reversing the water flow through the cleaner. Take the end of the suction hose off the suction port and hold it on a return port to see if you can backflush the debris. Then check your pump's impeller to see if it is clogged. See "How To Clean Out a Pool Pump Impeller".

Anonymous  Posted: 8/22/2016 

hi everyone I just purchased a wanda the whale cleaner. I used it the first time it did awesome for 15 min, cleaned out the basket now cant get to move at all. I did the same steps when I first used it. any suggestions

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/20/2016 

Aqua Bug 500 - There are a couple of repair kits for this cleaner. See keys 27, 34 and * (Universal A Frame Kit), in this Aqua Bug 500 parts list.

Anonymous  Posted: 7/18/2016 

Trying to find a parts kt for Aqua Bug 500 poolcleaner tune-up kit. Was on hold twice and then disconnected. Do you have kit and what is cost? Arnold 615 351 5567

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 9/14/2015 

wanda the whale - Generally that's a problem with weak suction or binding bearings. The bearings that control the feet should be good since this is a new cleaner but make sure they work smoothly by toggling the pods back and forth manually. Then check that your hose connections are tight and, if you can, try shutting off one of your other suction lines (like the main drain) to add suction on the cleaner line.

Anonymous  Posted: 9/13/2015 

I just got a new wanda the whale because our ladybug quit working. There is strong suction and feet move but once I put it down it won't work. Any suggestions? I also bought a regulator valve to no avail.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/23/2015 

bretneck - Thanks for your comment. We really appreciate your feedback and solutions.

 Posted: 8/22/2015 

My diver dave (purchased last year) had good suction but would only move in a circle. After trying all the tips on various website, with not much success, i set off to take it apart and fix it or break it for good.
It is not an easy task, but it is doable if you are somewhat mechanically inclined. I found, in my teardown, that one of the springs that pushes the rubber feet out, had gone missing. I was able to cut a spring to fit as a means to get by until the hayward repair kit arrives.
Also, as i dug deeper into the diver dave internals, i found some trash in between the little plastic gears that move the unit. After cleaning those, ensuring free movement, and removing all trash/debris within the unit, i put him all back together and gave it a test run. Seems like problem is solved, Diver Dave is, once again, the hardest working member of the family!!) Thought maybe this could be of some help to others, as I found very little troubleshooting tips online.


InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/17/2015 

Rick - To check if you have a hose leak, try holding the hose that floats on the water below the water surface. The end of the hose going into the skimmer should also be under water. If this solves your problem you need to replace your hose or a section of it. To see what section might be leaking, remove a section one section at a time. One other thing to check, if your filter has a breather tube running from the top of the tank to the bottom, make sure it is not clogged.

 Posted: 8/16/2015 

When using my older wanda the whale, air is entering my skimmer. When I turn off motor, there is so much air, the air pushes the cover off. This is our second whale that has done this. I think the hoses are the cause, but how?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/3/2015 

Danielle - The cleaner may have debris caught in a gear. Try blowing it out by taking the hose off the suction port and placing it on a return port. This will reverse the water flowing through the cleaner and may dislocate the debris. If not, you may have to take the cleaner apart to remove any debris. See our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner" for detailed instructions.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/3/2015 

Sugar308 - Yes, the springs are difficult to insert but they do go in. Try using a pair of needle nose pliers to help position it. Don't know why you had two of them pop out. I don't see many problems with springs.

 Posted: 8/2/2015 

I have a 6 week old aqua critter. Lately, she seems to go from one side of the pool, across to the other and gets stuck at the wall. She doesn't seem to be correcting herself and turning...ever. Any suggestion? I have yellow algae I need to treat now and NEED HER HELP to vacuum! Thanks for any help!

 Posted: 8/2/2015 

i have a 2 yr old diver Dan and a new Wanda whale. The old one lost the springs to the feet on one side so I bought a new one. Now the new one has lost a spring on one foot. I found the spring but cannot figure out how to get it into the small space where it sits. Also, why are the springs not installed better so they don't fall out so easily. Very frustrating!!

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/29/2015 

Mike - Your pump may be too small to pull water through your current suction pipes and the suction cleaner. Do you have the option of temporarily shutting down the main drain while you are using the cleaner? This would provide more suction to the cleaner. Check also that you don't have an air leak in the cleaner hose by holding the hose and any connections below the surface of the water.

 Posted: 7/28/2015 

I just purchased a new Aqua bug. Pretty much as soon as I start it the catch filter near the pool filter motor doesn't stay full with water. Suction seems ok but the water flow and overall operation isn't what it should be. Any thoughts?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/13/2015 

Driver Dave - Try adjusting the speed control shown in step #17 to level III. If that doesn't work try back flushing any debris that might have gotten caught in the gears. Take the end of the cleaner hose off of the suction port and hold it onto a return port so that water will flow backwards through the cleaner.

Anonymous  Posted: 7/12/2015 

I just purchased diver Dave have it a month it has suction to hose but it stopped moving can't figure out why they is nothing stuck in it

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/12/2015 

KDH - If the feet don't toggle left-right smoothly when you push on them, it's generally means the A-Frame is binding and has to be replaced. See our guide on "How To Replace the Navigator Pool Cleaner A-Frame Assembly". If that is not the issue, you may have debris caught in the control mechanism. See our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner" for dis-assembly instructions.

 Posted: 6/11/2015 

Aquabug one right side of the rocker feet not moving left side does. Rollers and water wheel checked ok no play both sides. Checked installation of water wheel Right is on the right side left is on the left side as it should be. When pressing down on the legs it will work, but stops after releasing the pressure. Only used for 6 months it did work when it was new

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/9/2015 

RobbieRob - Your cleaner may have debris caught in the gears or mechanism. Try blowing it out by reversing the water flow through the cleaner. Take the end of the suction hose off the suction port and hold it on a return port to see if you can backflush the debris. If that doesn't work, you may have to take it apart and check for cracked parts or debris. See our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner" for step by step instructions.