How To Replace a Pool Motor Shaft Seal

WRITTEN BY:  Inyo Pools

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If you see water leaking out of the bottom of the pool pump assembly, it's a good indication that you may have to replace the shaft seal within the motor pump assembly. As shown in the pool pump cut away, the shaft seal is located in the motor pump assembly behind the impeller. Although this description is specific to a Hayward pool pump, many of the steps can apply to other models of pool pumps.

Things You'll Need


Step by Step


Step 1

The first step is to turn off all power to the pool pump. For maximum safety turn off the power at the circuit breaker to the motor.

Step 2

Next you will want to remove the motor pump assembly from the wet end housing. Remove the four 9/16" bolts that bind the motor pump assembly to the housing. Note: some Hayward pool pump models have six bolts.

Step 3

Now pull the assembly apart from the pool pump housing.

Step 4

After the assembly is out, you should see the pool pump diffuser and diffuser gasket on the end of the assembly. If you do not see the diffuser or its gasket, check inside the housing.

Step 5

If the pool pump diffuser came out with the assembly, pull the diffuser off the assembly. You may have to pry it off gently with a screwdriver. Now you will see the pool pump impeller. The shaft seal is behind the impeller so you will now have to remove the impeller.

Step 6

To remove the pool pump impeller you will twist the impeller off in a counter clockwise motion. The impeller cannot be freed from the motor shaft without first securing the motor shaft.

Step 7

Move to the other end of the motor shaft in the back of the motor assembly. Take off the two screws that hold the back cover onto the pool pump assembly.

Step 8

You will see the pool pump motor wiring and capacitor. You will have to remove the capacitor to gain access to the end of the motor shaft. Capacitors store power. To avoid a possible shock, lay a screwdriver across the two leads to short out the capacitor. These capacitors sometimes burst when shorted out, so it is a good practice to place a cloth over the capacitor and to wear eye protection.

Step 9

Now unscrew the single screw that hold the capacitor in place and push it out of the way. No need to disconnect capacitor from leads.

Step 10

Place a 7/16" wrench on the flat end of the pool pump motor shaft to secure the shaft from rotating.

Step 11

At the pool pump impeller end, twist off the impeller, counter clockwise. You may have to use a strap wrench to gently free up the impeller.

Step 12

Now you will see the motor shaft seal. One half on the pool pump impeller and the other half in the seal plate on the shaft.

Step 13

Inspect the threads on the inside of the pool pump impeller. If these are badly worn, you will have to replace the impeller.

Step 14

Stand the motor up on end and gently remove the white ceramic seal inside the seal plate. You may have to use a small screwdriver to gently pry out the seal. If the seal plate lifts off, it may be simpler to push the seal out of the seal plate from the other side.

Step 15

Set the new seal on the shaft inside the seal plate - white side up. Be very careful NOT TO TOUCH the white ceramic side of the seal with your hands. If necessary, gently seat the seal with the blunt end of a screwdriver.

Step 16

Grab the seal on the pool pump impeller and twist it off. Make a note of how the seal is positioned on the impeller so you know how to place the new seal. It is possible to place this seal upside down. Note: You may have to also have to remove the metal collar if the new shaft seal also has one. Several people have written in saying that the new seal won't fit because they were trying to place the new collar on top of  the old one.

Step 17

Now push the other half of the new seal onto the pool pump impeller. Place the new seal on in the same postion noted above. Again, DO NOT touch the bearing (top) surface of this seal.

Step 18

With the wrench securing the back end of the motor shaft, screw the pool pump impeller back onto the shaft (clockwise). Hand tight is sufficient.

Step 19

Inspect the diffuser gasket for wear. Replace if required. Put a thin coat of lubrication on the gasket.

Step 20

Snap on the pool pump diffuser - no screws are required. Ensure that the part of the diffuser labeled "TOP" is aligned with the "TOP" labeled on the seal plate.

Step 21

Slip the motor assembly into the housing.

Step 22

Replace the four bolts evenly. If bolts were numbered 1 though 4, replace bolts in this sequence - 1, 3, 2, 4 - to ensure that the motor is set properly inside the housing. Loosely tighten bolts in this sequence, then go back and tighten them down again in this sequence. If pool pump has 6 bolts, replace bolts in this sequence - 1, 3, 5, 2, 4, 6.

Step 23

Replace the capacitor on the backside of the assembly. Make sure the plastic strip is in place between the clip and capacitor so that the capacitor does not short out.

Step 24

Replace motor cover and secure with two screws.

Step 25

Prime pump by removing strainer lid and filling strainer with water. Replace lid.

Step 26

Reset circuit breakers and start pool pump.


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Tereasa  Posted: 12/3/2018 

I installed a brand new motor Hayward Tristar motor HP1.85 SP3200EE. When hooked up and turned it on, it hummed. What would be the problem. Any recommendations please. TJones

InyoPools Product Specialist Matt S.  Posted: 12/4/2018 

Hello Teresa - a humming pool pump motor that is not turning is a common sign of a bad capacitor. Testing for a bad pump motor capacitor is relatively easy. If the capacitor checks out, then you may have a bad phase winding. I would start troubleshooting the capacitor and move on from there.

John Fitzpatrick  Posted: 11/23/2018 

I notice there was no impeller ring on this pump. I have an SP3007X10 Super II 1 HP. Should it have the impeller ring or not?

InyoPools Product Specialist Robert M.  Posted: 11/26/2018 

Hello John - There should be an impeller ring on the Hayward Super II pump. You can view the part schematic on our Super II parts page. The impeller ring is key 7.

ShaftSealHelp  Posted: 11/17/2018 

Great guide, really helpful! Could you let me know which shaft seal I would require for a Hayward Super Pump being used on a Salt Pool?

InyoPools Product Specialist Patrick P.  Posted: 11/17/2018 

You would require this Hayward Super Pump Salt Water Shaft Seal.

InyoPools  Posted: 8/16/2018 

Hello Lori - We have a guide titled "How to Replace the Governor on an A.O. Smith Motor". This would be the only content available that may help you reassemble the governor.

Lori  Posted: 7/15/2018 

I used a wrench to hold around the governor to turn the impeller off and the springs fell off. We ended up taking off the governor, now in 4 pieces. Can you show me how to put it back on? Thanks!

Anonymous  Posted: 5/12/2018 

This video was extremely helpful! Thank you for posting.

Inyopools  Posted: 10/13/2017 

Takashi - No, water heated to 88-90 degrees would not damage your pump motor. It sounds like the bearings are going on your motor. This is usually due to the motor running dry for a period of time or failure to replace the shaft seal when a motor is replaced. The old shaft seal breaks down quickly and sprays the motor coils internally. If this is not the case, I’d talk to the supplier and see if they will replace the motor.

Takashi  Posted: 10/9/2017 

Hi, I accidentally left my pool heater running for a week which heated the pool temperature to around 88-90 degrees. Now my pool motor makes a loud screeching noise. Do you think the water temperature ruin my motor? I just replaced the motor five months ago. Thank you.

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 7/3/2017 

Anonymous (shaft seal) - Thank you for your feedback. You are correct. The silver metal piece that is shown in the picture after the seal is removed, does have to be removed to allow the new metal piece to slide on. We do say this in the text, but it may be confusing with it not removed in the picture. I changed the picture.

Anonymous  Posted: 7/1/2017 

Step 16 makes it look like the silver metal piece should remain on the impeller, but this piece is part of the replacement kit, embedded in the rubber/ceramic part with the spring. After some confusion, I pried this piece off using a small screwdriver blade. Then the kit part fit on perfectly. Now all is well, with a dry pump room floor for the first time this season.

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 6/22/2017 

Poolprobs - I know of now way to pressure check underground lines by yourself. Have you checked for a clogged impeller? That is one of the most common (and simple to fix) solutions to low water flow. See our guide on "How To Clean Out a Pool Pump Impeller".

Poolprobs  Posted: 6/20/2017 

Since opening pool this year large amount of air bubbles coming from return jets. Pressure is steady 9/10 and color in pool is good, however it seems not enough suction from Skinner basket especially when trying to vacuum. Have changed vacuum hose, sealed o-ring, replaced pvc union at pump intake and tested for clog in Skimmer line with bladder hose and feeding snake through line. My water level is unchanged and no suds sucked on with soap water test. Is there a way to pressure test the underground lines myself? Otherwise I may be trying shaft seal replacement as last check? Not sure how else to better my suction?

BBHY  Posted: 6/4/2017 

I just completed this whole process on my Hayward SP2510X15, It was working ok last winter, but this year I was getting bubbles coming through, The intake pipes seemed ok, so I bought the kit and followed your instructions,
I'm happy to say it's back to working like normal. Thank you so much for the step-by-step instructions, I wouldn't have attempted this without them!

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 9/10/2016 

NC Pool Owner - Replace the housing gasket with a new one. Check for cracks around the housing where the gasket is placed. Then take the motor out again and check that the shaft seal is seated completely in the seal plate and that the two pieces of the seal are placed correctly.

NC Pool owner  Posted: 9/7/2016 

I replaced the shaft seal and still have dripping under the motor. I replaced the diffuser gasket and lunricated the housing gasket. At a dead end on what is going on.

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 8/19/2016 

PJP - The spring portion of the seal slides over the hub of the impeller and the white ceramic portion slides into the seal plate which is the side which is closer to the motor.

PJP  Posted: 8/19/2016 

Which way does the white ceramic portion of the shaft seal face?

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 6/30/2016 

LeeInHbg - I haven't heard of chemistry causing bubbles. As you say, you could have a blown pipe or connection underground. It doesn't take much of a break to create a suction leak even underground. You might have to have someone come out and pressure test your suction lines.

LeeInHbg  Posted: 6/29/2016 

I've been battling continuous air bubbles in the pump strainer which also make it through to the returns as a quite obvious stream. Have gone through all suggestions from replacing and lubing all o rings, snugging up gate valves, applying silicone to plumbing joints plus replacing all pump seals o rings and lid. Stumped. Had a pool professional out. He thinks the problem is a chemistry issue. He gets the same results with his stand-alone pump bypassing all my plumbing. Note though that I question his test scenario since his suction side hose was in my skimmer enclosure, albeit loosely. Is this possible? We use a non-chlorinated product that is hydrogen peroxide based - bioguard softswim. The only other cause I can think of is blown pipes. Given they are underground I can't imagine that much air could be entering though. Thanks.

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 6/10/2016 

Mike - Sounds like you are doing good with motors. Not sure what you mean by "a weep hole at the bottom of the impeller assembly". The only possible "gap" under the impeller might be in the housing gasket. You might pull the motor out again to see if the gasket is seated properly.

Mike  Posted: 6/9/2016 

I'm on my second motor in 6 years. This time I replaced all the gaskets and seals but I'm getting a drip out of the weep hole at the bottom of the impeller assembly. I have a Hayward super pump. Any sugesstions?

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 6/7/2016 

peejmeister - I would just wipe each of the surfaces good with a soft cloth.

peejmeister  Posted: 6/7/2016 

I received a shaft seal set that came in a zip-lock bag. I'm concerned that the person who placed the seal into the bag may have inadvertently touched one or both of the seal surfaces.

Is there a safe way to clean off any potential finger prints, etc.? Rubbing alcohol, perhaps?

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 6/3/2016 

Val in AZ - I would say that if your pool bubbles go away in 15 minutes, you are probably safe running the system. If you have a suction leak, the bubbles would not go away.

Val in AZ  Posted: 6/2/2016 

Pump is appx 11 years old, doesn't leak anywhere. Pool has started having bubbles from the return jets when the pump starts up, they do go away after about 15 minutes. Replaced O ring on filter basket lid. Pressure is right where it should be. Any ideas?

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 3/23/2016 

danshoopty - I have not installed this type of motor. Try giving Jacuzzi a call at 450-250-4500. They should be able to help you.

danshoopty  Posted: 3/23/2016 

I am trying to replace my pump motor on a Jacuzzi pump. I have the correct pieces installed where they should be and when I try to fit the pump into the proper position, the tabs around the ring will not go all the way into the motor housing with the large nut style retainer. Any advice?

Jim  Posted: 2/11/2016 

Viewers be apprised that the impeller ring orientation shown in the video is incorrect. The broader, wider diameter end should be toward the pump end, not the motor end. I just had an email exchange with Inyo Pools outside of this blog and they confirm this. To clarify, I'm talking about the one piece, white, plastic impeller ring, not the impeller or seal.

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 2/5/2016 

bobthebuilder - We show using the plastic end of the screwdriver in the step by step guide. Like you say, I would not use a metal tool to press the seal into the plate as erroneously shown in the video. If you prefer using your finger, place a clean cloth over the ceramic seal face. The oil in your fingertip will cause the ceramic face to burn.

bobthebuilder  Posted: 2/4/2016 

I have ordered a new motor and seal kit from INYOPOOLS and should be getting them today. I plan of doing the swap during the weekend. Your instructions are very clear and helpful. I do however have a question pertaining to the shaft seal replacement. You very strongly warn against touching the ceramic part as well as the graphite part (mating faces) with fingers. Instead you show seating of the ceramic seal using a screwdriver and pliers. On other sites, the warning is never to push the ceramic seal down using a screwdriver. Which is correct? As long a fingers are clean and free of grease etc, why is it not okay to touch the seal face? It seems that using metal tools to push down on the ceramic seal is more risky especially for inexperienced diy'ers. Please elaborate.

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 8/31/2015 

Texas - I would take the motor out again and make sure the two halves of the seal are seated correctly especially in the seal plate. Also check that the two ceramic surfaces are placed together. It is possible to flip one or the other.

Texas  Posted: 8/29/2015 

I replaced the shaft seal and now when the pump motor runs, it makes a load high-pitched squeal like the ceramic bearings are rubbing together causing a whine. The motor and impeller turns freely with no binding or drag. Could the new ceramic shaft seal be defective? I didn't touch it with my bare hands. Very loud noise.

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 8/20/2015 

replace shaft seal - If you get the capacitor out of the way, you should be able reach the flat part of the shaft to secure it. If your shaft has a slot on the end of it to place a screwdriver, use a large screwdriver to secure the shaft.

Anonymous  Posted: 8/18/2015 

I have a Hayward Super Pump 1/12 HP. I was trying to replace all the gaskets on it. Mine does not have a place for a wrench, just for a screw driver. I have not been able to take it a part. Any suggestion's? Thanks

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 7/29/2015 

JJinYardleyPA - With that much noise, the motor's bearings are probably going. But you may want to check that the impeller is not rubbing against the inside of the pump or debris between the impeller and the side. See the first part of our guide on "How To Replace A Pool Pump Impeller" for instructions on getting to the impeller.

JJinYardleyPA  Posted: 7/28/2015 

I have a Pentair pump, (ironically) the Whisperflo model, which can now be heard inside the house on the 2nd floor with the windows closed and our AC on. It is NOT leaking any water... do you think the noise is from the seal, from the motor / bearings, or the pump head / impeller? Thanks...

InyoPools Product Specialist Dennis R.  Posted: 7/27/2015 

$400 mistake? - Not sure which metal tab broke off but I would guess it's not critical. Some of these tabs/posts are there to keep the wires from getting caught in the spinning governor under the switch. You would have to tuck that wire somewhere else.