How To Replace a Pool Motor Shaft Seal

Written by:  Danny Rhodehamel
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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.

Tips & Warnings

Video

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.

Comments (1 to 40 of 103)

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User: Inyopools

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.

User: LeeInHbg

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.

User: Inyopools

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.

User: Mike

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?

User: Inyopools

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

User: peejmeister

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?

User: Inyopools

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.

User: Val in AZ

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?

User: inyopools

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.

User: danshoopty

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?

User: Jim

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.

User: Inyopools

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.

User: bobthebuilder

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.
Thanks,
Patrick

User: Inyopools

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.

User: Texas

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.

User: Inyopools

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.

User: 

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

User: Inyopools

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.

User: JJinYardleyPA

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...

User: Inyopools

$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.

User: 

I have a Hayward Super Pump. As I was putting in the wrench to hold the motor shaft, I had it at the wrong place. A small metal tab broke off above where the springs are, but it looks like the tab bumps up against a plastic piece for some reason. Did I just make a $400 mistake by breaking off this metal tab? If so, is there anything i can do to fix it now?

User: Inyopools

FrustratedPoolOwner - Yes, GOKIT3 or GOKIT3SALT are the GOKIT options for your Hayward Super Pump. If you have a salt water pool, I would recommend the salt version. The gaskets in that kit will hold up better against salt water. These kits come with all the gaskets and seals required for a motor replacement. I would replace the housing gasket first and see if that stops your leak. If not, then replace the shaft seal and other gaskets. Avoid running the pump dry (water level below skimmer etc). This will cause the shaft seal to fail and start spraying the motor.

User: FrustratedPoolOwner

My pump is a Hayward Super Pump Model# SP2610X15, and it is leaking from the bottom of the pump. It is only 14 months old (out of warranty by 2 months), so I hope this isn't a sign of things to come every year!! However, based on Google searches it looks like I am not alone. :-( Does the salt water cause this much corrosion to ruin the gaskets and shaft seal in such a short amount of time?

I can't pinpoint if it's just leaking at the housing gasket or the shaft seal. Is there an easy way to tell? I've re-lubricated the housing and diffuser gaskets and made sure the bolts were tight; but haven't gone further into the motor yet until I decide what to order. Although the steps I described above have helped some, it is still leaking (more slowly than before) and I'm not getting as many air bubbles.

1. Is there something I'm overlooking that could be causing the leak besides what I've listed above?

2. Just to clarify, if I order the Tune Up Kit (GOKIT3/GOKIT3SALT), will it come with the shaft seal AND all the gaskets I will need to (hopefully) repair the leak?

3. What is the difference in the Salt Water Tune Up Kit and the regular version, besides one is made for salt water?

Thank you in advance for your time!

User: Inyopools

Richard - The pressure on the shaft seal should be positive when the pump is running. If you could see the seal leaking, you would see it spraying onto the motor. Your suction leak is somewhere in the piping between the pool and the front end of the pump, before the impeller.

User: Richard

I have an Haward Super Pump 1HP. When I stop the pump, I can see the floor becoming wet under the pump between the basket and the motor. I presume my seal gasket is leaking. However when the pump runs it remains completely dry but my pump is sucking air. At run time is the pressure on the shaft seal positive or negative? A negative pressure would explain my problem but I have not seen that being described anywhere on the web. The drain plugs of the pump are not leaking this I am sure.

Thanks

Richard

User: Inyopools

silly question - Yes, some water will flow out of the top of the filter, but that will fill again when your prime the pump. If you have an above ground pool, make sure you also plug the return port. This is not an issue for an in-ground pool since the pump/filter is above the surface of the pool and not gravity fed.

User: silly question

I know this might be a silly question for some, but I am not certain if the water will flow out the motor when I remove it to replace the shaft seal.
I can plug the skimmer, but can I stop the water from flowing from the sand filter?

User: Inyopools

Mike - I am not familiar with this pump, but if it is like most pumps, the impeller has to be twisted off the motor shaft (counter-clockwise). Most set screws are there to prevent the impeller from twisting off during operation. Try twisting it off CCW with a strap wrench.

User: Mike

I am trying to replace the shaft seal on a Pyrex series A pump! I pulled the set screws out (2) and sprayed WD40 in the holes, I came back about a hour later and with a slide hammer puller, ( made for this ) tried the pull the impeller off. Won't move, tried several times. I tried to heat up the impeller and tried again. It won't come off. Any suggestions

User: Inyopools

No flow - Generally when something isn't working it has to do with what you just changed. Go back through your steps and check the parts that your removed to make sure they are good and that you placed them back like they were.

User: 

I just replace the shaft seal for our Hayward motor. The basket is full of water but it is not filling up the filter and circulating back into the pool??? Any suggestions

User: Inyopools

TheChlorinator - Did you replace the shaft seal with a new one? If so and you used all new gaskets, check and see if you have a crack in the pump housing where the motor and housing come together.

User: TheChlorinator

Hello - So I just went through and replaced the gasket, impeller, seals, etc. via a maintenance/go kit. I used your video which helped me every step of the way. Turned on the pump, still behaving the same. I had to work up enough water between the skimmer and drains/jets to get the pump to work, but the water is still coming out of the bottom pretty heavily, not dripping. It's more of a stream of water than a drip. Any ideas what I should try next? It's really hard to see where the leak is coming from since it's on the bottom, but it's definitely what seems like in the area of the bolts that connect the motor and stuff. Sorry I'm not so pool savvy. Any ideas?

User: Inyopools

Newpool owner - Try applying a soapy solution on all the suction line connections [between the intake port of the pump and the pool]. If you see any bubbles being sucked in, you have a suction air leak.

User: Newpoolowner

When I open the pool this year the pump stated to suck air. It's fine for about 20 secs and then again air bubbles inside the pump strainer. I didn't have this problem last year. I hope it's not a cracked line, I am also not losing water. That I can see.

User: Inyopools

starite seal plate leak - Sounds like a good place to start, but if the pump is "very old", you might better put that money towards a new more cost efficient pump. Look for EE [Energy Efficient]. Saves about 20% in operating costs.

User: starite seal plate leak

I have a drip between motor and pump, and replaced the shaft seal and all O rings, but drip continues. Could it be a "warped" seal plate (it's very old)? If I buy/install new seal plate kit including shaft seal, is it likely to fix drip? Sta Rite dura glass/maxe glass pump. Seal plate kit C203-193P?

User: Inyopools

Craig - You don't have to lubricate the motor shaft seal. And definitely don't lubricate the surfaces of the shaft seal that come into contact with each other.

User: Craig

I didn't order any lubricant with new my shaft seal. Can I lubricate the pump motor shaft seal with silicone grease?

User: Inyopools

SAMUEL JOYE - Make sure all the gaskets are installed - like the diffuser gasket. If applicable, check the union on the suction side of the pump to make sure the o-ring is in place. Fill the strainer basket with water before you turn the pump on.

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Tips & Warnings

Do not touch the white ceramic surfaces of the new seals during installation

Short out capacitor before handling to avoid shock.

Remember to turn off power to the motor at the circuit breaker prior to working of the motor pump.


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.