How To Repair a Hayward Navigator or Pool Vac Ultra Pool Cleaner

WRITTEN BY:  Inyo Pools

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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 Navigator/Pool Vac Ultra 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 Navigator/Pool Vac Ultra with new shoes. Note how far the shoe extends above the pod surface.

Step 3

Next inspect the Navigator/Pool Vac Ultra'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 Navigator/Pool Vac Ultra'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 Navigator/Pool Vac Ultra 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 navigator 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, be sure that the extended leg of the spring is inserted into the notch on the front of the lower body. 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 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 16

Turn the Navigator/Pool Vac Ultra right side up and look at the lower left side of the unit. Look for the blue 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 Navigator/Pool Vac Ultra down if it's climbing the walls or sticking in corners; III setting speeds the Navigator/Pool Vac Ultra up if it can't climb the slopes.

Step 17

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


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Inyopools  Posted: 10/11/2016 10:53 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

TerriB - If your cleaner has a adjustment screw like the one shown in Step 16, try that. Otherwise, try adjusting your diverter valves to reduce the flow from the main drain or skimmer and increase flow to the cleaner.

TerriB  Posted: 10/07/2016 11:33 AM 

I have a brand new Hayward diver Dave that moves very slow if at all and turns left to right I have a 2hp pump running it any help ??? Is there a way to adjust it ?

Inyopools  Posted: 09/25/2016 12:55 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Tony Lo - It sounds like you have a leak in your hose. Check the connections in your hose for cracks. Then take one section of the hose out and see if that improves suction. Repeat for the other sections one at a time. This should help identify when and if you have a leak in your hose.

Tony Lo  Posted: 09/21/2016 16:54 PM 

Here's what's happening with my Hayward navigator at this moment. When I attached the holes to the skimmer port and I select skimmer only on the manifold and shut off the main on the bottom of the pool I get 20% suction not 100% suction with or without the navigator attached to the other and of the holes. Basically when I put my navigator in the pool with everything attached and manifold selection on skimmer only it does not move. I have so far replaced the gearbox, new A-frame, and new turbine. And I still get no movement from the navigator and no suction coming through the hose. But, when I disconnect the hose assembly and navigator from the skimmer port I get tremendous pressure 100%. Also if I select both main and skimmer suction is fine no problem. What else can I change? Do you have any suggestions? I have also inspected the hoses took them apart found no obstruction in the hose. Perhaps there may be loss of suction from all the connecting sections of the hose? Hope you can help

Inyopools  Posted: 06/29/2016 11:08 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

pg - There are several gears inside the Navigator that control its turning. See our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner". A good candidate is the Gear Box Assembly - step 12.

pg  Posted: 06/28/2016 19:45 PM 

My pool vac ultra is moving around the pool correctly but the hose is twisting. I was told maybe the hose had a leak in it so I replaced every section and it is still twisting ?? I'm wondering if the mechanism in the unit that attaches to the hose is moving properly as it turns in different directions around the pool ??

Inyopools  Posted: 06/06/2016 17:06 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Gamera - It sounds like there might be something stuck in the throat of the XL. Try attaching the cleaner hose to a return port to blow the obstruction out backward. If that doesn't work, you may have to take the lower section of the cleaner apart.

Gamera  Posted: 06/05/2016 17:08 PM 

My XL stopped working. There is suction all the way through the hoses to the cleaner but when I attach the hose to the cleaner there is no suction on the bottom of the cleaner and no movement. It happened all of a sudden. What is wrong? Thank You.

Inyopools  Posted: 05/23/2016 16:06 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Navigator circles - Here is one possible solution from a previous customer:
"My problem was that the cleaner was not turning, so would get stuck against the wall or corner. It turned out that there was a tiny string stuck in the gear box. I just opened the gear box, then carefully removed the stack of gears, making sure I kept track of the order. After cleaning out the debris, I reversed the process. After I was done, I was able to blow into the gear box and hear the spinning sound, as described. I suspect that some people are replacing their gear box, when it really just needs to be cleaned out."
See our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner" for detailed instructions.
Another solution might be to take the curl out of your cleaner hose. Lay the hose straight on the pool deck and let the sun heat it up for half a day.

Anonymous  Posted: 05/23/2016 11:43 AM 

I changed out every replaceable parts, yet the pool cleaner goes around counter clock wise in fairly small circles. Why.

Inyopools  Posted: 05/09/2016 12:23 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

KHALED - Unfortunately, we do not sell the springs separately. You might see if a local pool store might have them from previous repairs that they might give you.

KHALED  Posted: 05/08/2016 17:02 PM 


Inyopools  Posted: 03/23/2016 10:22 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Sean - First swish your cleaner from side to side to remove any air trapped in it. Then check your hose for leaks by removing a section at a time. Then look at our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner" for other clues on what might be wrong.

Sean  Posted: 03/22/2016 18:54 PM 

My Poolvac has had most everything replaced within past year including pods. All replacables look OK now. But the poolvac hardly moves. It appears to be doing a kind of nose dive as though hanging up in the front. Flow pressure is within norm. Took unit apart - nothing inside and all parts seem to be fine. What is likely culprit?

Inyopools  Posted: 03/18/2016 11:22 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Marianne - I doubt that you need new bearings. You and your neighbors would hear them failing. If your cleaner ran well last summer, you probably have a problem with low water flow. Try switching the inlet side of the hose from the suction port to a return port to blow any debris backwards out of the cleaner. If that doesn't work, look at our guide on "How to Correct Low Water Pressure in Your Pool System". Also, if you have a cartridge filter, try running your system without the filter to see if that improves flow significantly. If so, you might replace the filter.

Marianne  Posted: 03/17/2016 13:51 PM 

Yesterday, I had my Hayward pretty much rebuilt (ALL, except bearings, which they said were ok). I had my pump cleaned for the summer. My vacuum is running VERY slow. Any suggestions??? Do I possibly NEED new bearings? I live in AZ. I don't need algae!!!

Inyopools  Posted: 10/13/2015 9:39 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Jerry - See step 29 in our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner". If that solve your problem, you might take your cleaner apart again using this guide.

Jerry  Posted: 10/12/2015 4:29 AM 

My navigator gets stuck in corners, for ever and tends to topple over for a while at times. I have completely disassembled it including the gearbox and examined all the gear parts. Can't see any obvious signs of damage or wear. Any ideas? Thanks.

Inyopools  Posted: 09/28/2015 10:48 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

jim - If your cleaners hose has a tendency to coil, try straightening it out on the pool deck in full sun for a day to "reprogram" it. This guide shows you how to determine if the shoes are good. Also you might also check the bearings. See our guide on "How To Replace the Navigator Pool Cleaner A-Frame Assembly".

jim  Posted: 09/27/2015 11:53 AM 

My vac is stalling while it travels and the hose is curling at times just after the robot connection. took it to a dealer, they disassembled cleaned somewhat inspected but still doesn't work. The pads seem ok however I don't know whats good versus bad. Any help?

Anonymous  Posted: 08/18/2015 13:36 PM 

I had put all new parts on my Hayward Navigator and it still wasn't working right. I asked what to do because it kept falling over and not being able to right it's self. This site told me exactly what to do. Thank you so much.

Inyopools  Posted: 08/09/2015 9:47 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Vicki-Lynn - Two of the more common reasons for a stalled Navigator are worn A-Frame wheels and worn Turbine bearings. Both are inside your Navigator. To inspect these parts and possibly replace them, see our guides on "How To Replace the Navigator Pool Cleaner A-Frame Assembly" and "How To Replace the Navigator Pool Cleaner Main Turbine Bearings".

Vicki-Lynn  Posted: 08/07/2015 12:30 PM 

I was wrong. It was the front flap that needed replacing. I have given "Sophie" new shoes and flaps. When turned over, all seems to be working well. But on the bottom of the pool, she doesn't go anywhere. Help!

Inyopools  Posted: 07/27/2015 16:32 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Vicki-Lynn - Base on your description, I think that the part you are looking for is the Lower Body of the Hayward Navigation.

Vicki-Lynn  Posted: 07/25/2015 15:16 PM 

I guess the technical term is "Pivot Hole" on the left front is gone. There is no place to put the "Pivot Nib" into.

Inyopools  Posted: 07/25/2015 10:35 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Vicki-Lynn - I'm not sure what part you are referring to. Do see your broken part in this Hayward Navigator Part List?

Vicki-Lynn  Posted: 07/24/2015 21:54 PM 

The front plate on my Pool Vac has broken off. The part where the hole is to fit the peg on the left is gone. Now what do I do???

Inyopools  Posted: 06/27/2015 22:59 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

maggiemae - try replacing the cleaner's shoes with cork shoes for better traction on a vinyl surface.

maggiemae  Posted: 06/26/2015 13:58 PM 

"Kenny", our Navigator cleaner for our vinyl in ground pool get stuck in different corner places and will not move. What could be the problem

Inyopools  Posted: 06/26/2015 11:24 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

MEL - See our guide on "How To Replace a Pod on a Hayward Navigator or Pool Vac Ultra".

MEL  Posted: 06/25/2015 12:53 PM 

Where are the screws to tighten up the rocker arms on the Hayward Pool Vac XL? I would like to try and do this.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/22/2015 12:01 PM 

My Hayward was extremely slow also. I replaced gear box, pods, etc. It was still just as slow. Finally I popped off the cap on each side of the rocker arms and tightened the 1/4 inch screw on each side. This completely solved the problem. The rocker arms had become too loose because of the continued movement.

Inyopools  Posted: 06/09/2015 11:49 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Terri - I don't know what to tell you at this point. As a last resort, you might take the clearer completely apart to check inside for cracked parts or debris in the mechanisms. See our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner".

Terri  Posted: 06/08/2015 20:30 PM 

Got new shoes. Still no go. If I hold it up in the water, everything seems to work. It turns around, feet move, suction seems fine. Little blue button on II (though I tried I and III) and no luck. I am just stymied. Short of a new frame (which looks fine), not sure why it's not working. As soon as I let it fall to the bottom of the pool, it just sits there. :-(

Inyopools  Posted: 06/04/2015 23:43 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Terri – Try holding the Navigator just under the surface and see if the feet actually move continuously. If not, something is binding inside the Navigator and it’s generally the A-frame wheels or the bearings on the turbine. If you just replaced both, check them again to make sure they were installed correctly and move freely outside the water.

Terri  Posted: 06/04/2015 14:28 PM 

Thanks for your prompt reply - that's awesome. :-) So, here is what I have replaced:

Pod Kit
AFrame/Turbine Kit
Gear Box Assembly

The whole thing seems to work find until it touches the bottom - then doesn't move.
Going to order another pair of shoes even though they don't look worn. Other thoughts appreciated!

Inyopools  Posted: 06/04/2015 11:21 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

carmela - See our response to Terri below. Your problems seem to be the same.

Inyopools  Posted: 06/04/2015 11:10 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Terri - You might have to go inside the Navigator. As the Navigator ages, the four wheels on the A-Frame Assembly wear and lock up. See our guide on "How To Replace the Navigator Pool Cleaner A-Frame Assembly". Also you might have to check the bearings on the Main Turbine. See our guide on "How To Replace the Navigator Pool Cleaner Main Turbine Bearings". And finally see our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner" for other related problems.

carmela  Posted: 06/04/2015 9:59 AM 

I have the same problem replaced the shoes played around with the 1.2.3 seems to work fine then once it is in the water inground vinyl it does not move...checked preassure everything

Terri  Posted: 06/03/2015 18:21 PM 

I have pretty much replaced every moving part except the housing/frame. The unit works, has suction, etc. But when it's on the pool floor (fiberglass pool), it doesn't go anywhere. I have tried increasing and decreasing the pump pressure but nothing. Shoes are new-ish (cork). Should I try another set of shoes or could the frame or spring loaded flaps be the issue? They are the only parts not new. :-(