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

Written by:  Danny Rhodehamel

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.

Tips & Warnings

Things You'll Need

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.

Comments (1 to 32 of 32)

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User: Inyopools

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.


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.

User: Inyopools

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

User: bretneck

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.

User: Inyopools

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.

User: Rick

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?

User: Inyopools

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.

User: Inyopools

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.

User: Danielle

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!

User: Sugar308

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!!

User: Inyopools

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.

User: Mike

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?

User: Inyopools

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.


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

User: Inyopools

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.

User: KDH

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

User: Inyopools

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.

User: RobbieRob

My aquabug is currently not sucking up debris from the ENTIRE pool floor. It's missing certain areas and other areas are being cleaned perfectly. It seems to be getting the middle of the pool fine, but missing the outer edges of the pool. Could this be an issue with the gears, as the pattern that it's following seems to be off? Thanks for any help you can provide me with.

User: Inyopools

cleaner feet - Hard plastic for concrete; cork for fiberglass and vinyl (AG pool liners); slotted for AG vinyl; ceramic for tile.


How do I know what type of feet to order? There seems to be about 4 different types now.

User: Inyopools

JohnL - Sometimes debris gets caught up in the control mechanism or cogs. And often this debris can be cleared by back washing the cleaner. Take the hose off of the suction line and hold it to one of the return port to force water backwards though the cleaner. If this doesn't work, you may have to take the insides of the cleaner apart. See our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner". Much of it is applicable to the Driver Dave.

User: JohnL

I have a 2 year old Diver Dave...worked great last season. Put Dave to work yesterday, and he just circles to the right. Checked shoes, wings, etc., and all seems to be fine. Cleaned minimal sand particles from black (steering) screen...all ok there. Is there anything I've overlooked? Thank you for any help anyone can provide!

User: Inyopools

matt - This tilting may be caused by air trapped in the top of the cleaner or by a coiled hose. When you submerge the cleaner, swish it back and forth to purge the air out of the top section. If the hose tends to coil, try laying it out straight in the sun for a few hours.

User: matt

I replaced the gearbox and now the aquabug moves freely around the pool, but it seems to end up riding up on one side, with one side on the floor of the pool and the other side about 4-5" in the air, then eventually flipping itself over. Any thoughts on what would cause this? Thanks

User: Inyopools

diver dave - Sometimes air gets caught in the upper dome of the cleaner when you put the cleaner in the water. Try swishing the cleaner back and forth as you are submerging the cleaner to clear this air out of the top.


I have a diver dave and he will not stay upright. Once I put him in the pool he moves a few inches and flips over. Any ideas?

User: Inyopools

Diver Dave kit - Here's the link to the Hayward Aquabug Diver Dave Repair Kit.


Where can I order the repair kit for Diver Dave as mentioned in your site titled "How To Repair a Hayward Aquabug Diver Dave or Wanda the Whale Cleaner", step number 5. I need the kit to repair my Diver Dave for a vinyl above ground pool. Thanking you in advance. Eric Brown

User: Bobcat

I think I need a new Aquabug

User: InyoPools

Debra - Unfortunately the springs are not sold separately. They are packaged with the pod kit, item # 3259-0018. If you have a pool store near you, you might see if they have any old parts from returned cleaners.

User: Debra

I need a sring,I replaced the shoes but there is a spring missing. I can't find one online yet. All the part pictures do not show the spring.

User: liz

ok so my diver dave is about 4 years old. he doesnt move very fast so we look for an adjustment as shown on youre settings and repair page,no adjustment to be found. is this adjustment something that has been added to the newer models or should ours have that adjustment somewhere we are not seeing ? Great escape states there are no adjustments on these models they have there own path and thats it. anybody help or should i drown diver dan and get a new cleaner ???thanks any help would be appreciated !!! liz

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Tips & Warnings

Check the hose periodically to ensure that there are no leaks in it.

DO NOT use the pool cleaner to clear excessive amounts of leaves and debris from the bottom of the pool - for example when it's first opened in the spring. Clean the pool manually and then use the pool cleaner to maintain it.

DO NOT coil the hose when storing it. If the hose maintains a bend from coiling it will not allow the pool cleaner to work properly and must be replaced.

Please Note:

Inyo Pool Products is not responsible for any injury or damaged equipment
while using our guides. Using our guides is doing so at your own risk.
These guides are suggested use of your pool or spa equipment and may vary
depending on which product you are using.