Why Will No Pool Shops Repair My Pump Motor?

ncrealestateguyJuly 19, 2012

I have a 4 year old, 3hp, Pentair Whisperflo pump that is dedicated only to my infinity edge. It has worked fine up until the last time I tried to turn it on. It would hum for about 4 seconds and then trip the breaker. I checked the start capacitor. It is fine. I then took off the rear cap which exposed the motor shaft. I put a wrench on it and it is very hard to turn. I assumed it was the bearings. So, I called 6 pool shops and every single one of them told me that it would be cheaper for me to just buy a new motor! They said the labor was just too much to change out the bearings, the new bearings never last long, blah, blah, blah.

So, like most things in my life, I took it into my own hands. I tore the motor apart (never have done this before), and discovered that the front bearing is indeed seized up. It took me a whopping 15 minutes to tear it down to the point of accessing the front bearing. Next, I need to find the correct part and see what the price is. I can not believe it would cost too much. So, a couple of questions:

What would have caused this bearing to go bad so early? I have been told that this pump is a very good pump.

Why are repair shops unwilling to do this repair? Am I missing something?

Should the repair job last a long time, even though two of the shops told me it would not?

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If you have an electric motor shop nearby, they will have the bearings.

Induction motors are not sealed. Unless they run daily, they will form corrosion and that is cumulative. Ceramic seal sets will also leak and that is what likely took out the bearing.

I won't rebuild a motor under 3 HP. Its not cost effective or reliable to a homeowner. When it fails, it reflects on me.

I hope you have at least a 3" suction and 2.5" discharge on the pump.

Any pump over 2 HP, with the exception of the Intelliflow series, is considered a commercial pump. Yours is no exception. If I were doing a repair on it, I might bring it to an electric motor shop.

Since you pulled the impeller off, change the seal set! Its likely it was the root cause. Also make sure when you put Humpty Dumpty back together, the slinger, a rubber washer on the shaft, is in place so water can't drip and travel the shaft into the motor.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:17PM
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Thanks for the reply... I hope things are going well for you.
Why would the repair not be reliable? I will measure the intake and discharge pipes. I have a funny feeling that A&S screwed this part up too.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 6:00AM
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Induction motors, 3 HP and below are made as cheaply as possible. You don't get high quality parts.

Sealed, permanent magnet motors are an entirely different matter at this size. For example, the motor in both the Jandy E-Pump and the Intelliflow pumps are the same. Their controllers limit them to 2 and 3 HP respectively. The motors can be pushed to 6 HP and 10,000 RPM, IIRC.

The only way the cheap induction motors can make money for the manufacturers is on volume.

WRT to the Whisperflow, while it's ports are 2", larger and smaller plumbing can be attached within a few inches without much of a penalty. Bigger pipes = slower velocity for a given flow. Smaller pipes yield a higher velocity at that same flow, assuming the pressures generated don't exceed head loss limits. See the head loss curves of any pool pump and the head loss chart for PVC pipe.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 1:39PM
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If you replace the motor I'd highly look into replacing it with a variable speed.
Most infinity edges are extremely overpowered and in turn costly, especially if your running it 24/7.

I put a dedicated VS pump on every infitinity edge pump and run them 24/7 on the lowest speed possible.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:35PM
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Natural One... I run mine 3 hours a nite for the skimming action, (just so I wake up to a nice clean pool)and then only when we swim. I originally had a 2 hp whisperflo on it and it did not push enough water to give me the sheet of water coming over the edge, that I was after.
So, the good news... Poolguy was right. I went to an old timer's repair shop and found the correct bearings. For $25! I will also order the gasket kit($25)like poolguy suggested because the carbon spring seal up front was leaking and that is what caused the bearing to fail. The only part that I disagree with Scott is that it WAS worth my time to replace the bearings. Everyone was trying to sell me a $300 motor! Americans are such a throw - away society. And to all of the service techs that told me the repair won't last... the old timer, who has been doing this for 55 years says hogwash! He says as long as that front seal stays good, the bearings will last at least 5 years. I am inclined to believe him, as opposed to the pool techs that are trying to sell me a $300 motor as opposed to a set of $25 bearings. And I bet they would have slapped that new motor on there w/o changing out the defective front seal. Not one ever mentioned it. It took me 10 minutes to put the motor back together, and it will probably take me 20 minutes to slap it back onto the pump.
Thanks for the replies.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 4:38PM
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Does anyone know if the seal kit for all of the whisperflos are the same? I am only finding one kit.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 6:52PM
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the important seal is the shaft seal (read all) this mickey mouse pump takes a 1000 mechanical shaft seal, the tank seal can be done with black RTV. cost for both under $15. (Why Will No Pool Shops Repair My Pump Motor? ) the reason is there are fewer mechanics and more technicians, find a repair guy in your local area, as in general they have a wealth of knowledge, and can be quite useful in saving YOU thousands of dollars over the years. Say for instance that 2hp whisperjunk pump motor of yours would cost $85 to rebuild and that comes with a free shaft seal. and a 101 how to take care of it, all you need to do is ask...so search your area for your local electric motor repair shop with free testing and remember to "prime that pump and watch for the wet spot !" Jay

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 9:33PM
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