Polaris Pool Sweep 280 Fails To Move, Free Repair

The customer had a Polaris pool sweep that needed a nudge to start moving and begin to clean the pool.  Upon taking the sweep apart and doing a close examination of the parts, I found that one of the drive wheels was flawed.  The nut that attaches the wheel to the unit was found to be loose.  This allowed the wheel to cycle around in other than the correct angle to the drive shaft.  (Incorrect drive wheel engagement to drive shaft might cause this problem too.  See below).  As a result, the metal drive shaft, over time, wore out the wheel gear teeth as seen in the image below.


The easy solution was that there were three wheels all the same in that they could be interchanged.  I needed the two drive wheels to be perfect.  The third wheel was not driven and it’s teeth did not matter.  I just switched out the back wheel with the flawed one and the unit worked.  This repair cost the customer nothing for parts, just labor.

CAUTION:  The lesson here is to make sure that each wheel shaft screw is tight.

The next thing to check is the two rive wheels engagement to the drive shaft.  Each wheel has 2 screws that allow the wheel to slide a bit back and forward closer to or away from the drive shaft.  Make darn sure that the two drive wheels engage the shaft, not tight but close enough for a complete engagement.

The Polaris factory rebuilt kit instructions that describe the wheel to shaft adjustment:

Adjust the wheel so the spline of the driveshaft assembly engages 3/4 of the wheel gear teeth (see drawing). It is easier to see the engagement if you peel back the tire. To test the wheel placement, spin the wheel; it should spin freely. Also, hold the wheel and quickly rotate it back and forth. The gears should not slip or chatter.

My final test is to take the whole sweep unit and put it on a flat surface such as the pool deck and gently try to slide the whole unit back and forth to see if there is any resistance.  The movement should be smooth and easy.  If the unit stops, or you feel a resistance, begin again your troubleshooting.

Note:  I discovered that the pool sweep works darn near perfectly if I remove the small idler wheel that couples the front drive wheel to the rear wheel.


Posted April 25, 2019
Updated: May 22, 2019

Wrong Polaris Debris & Leaf Bag Saved Me About $30

I asked my daughter to buy me a Polaris debris and leaf bag for our model 180.  Well, I thought our model was 180 because the people who we purchased the house included some documents of items included with the purchase of the house.  We were given quite  few documents for the pool equipment.  When the bag arrived, I noticed that it was incorrect. It was missing the quick connect plastic ring clips.  It only had Velcro, no clips.  The Polaris 280, 480 and 3900 use “tear drop” shaped clips to secure the bag to it’s cleaners.

The image shows the “incorrect” bag for our pool sweep. It is missing the quick connect clips and the top bag zipper. Not that that bag has a rather long connection collar. I had to cut my 2 inch PVC pipe long enough to go up the full distance of that collar which is about 4 inches.

The bag shipped to us did not have quick clips to attach the bag to the pool sweep.  It was also missing a zipper at the end of the bag to allow quick removal of the debris and leafs.  I then discovered that my daughter did purchase the correct bag for a 180 model.  We must have had a newer model and the prior home owners failed to include that model in the documents given to us.  This new bag is way cheaper, costing close to $13 while the proper bag for our pool sweep costs just over $45.  I decided to find a way to make this cheaper bag work.  It was easy.  I removed the old ruined bag from the fitting by using screwdrivers to pry out the outside ring.

This image shows the concept for this project. The bag is at the top. Into the bag is a 2 inch PVC pipe cut to 4 inches so it extends up into the bag . I found that the bottom of this pipe did not have to be glued into the bottom parts as it fit very tight. The bottom parts consist of the old bag clips and a 2 inch PVC coupling had been inserted into the bag clip portion. Later, I would use irrigation primer and glue to marry the bag clip to the union.

I discovered that a 2 inch PVC irrigation pipe joint fit rather perfectly into the top of the part that clips to the pool sweep.  It was a bit slack but the irrigation glue should fix it in place.  I wanted to maintain the largest opening for leaves to pass upward into the bag.  I measured the diameter of the bag and it was close to the 2 inch pipe diameter.  I then cut  an irrigation pipe that slips into the 2 inch joint for a distance of 4 inches because the bag has a rather long stiff collar with a long side slit.  I wanted all the debris and leaves to go up into the bag and not slip out of that side collar opening, which is the reason for the rather long, 4 inch pipe length.

This image shows the full complete modification. The new bag slips down from the top, over the top ring and ends at the 2 inch union. The long pipe length was needed to ensure debris would pass completely into the bag. Note that a ring (not seen in this image) has been removed from the bottom clip part so as to not interfere with the new bag. I had to remove the prior ruined bag which was locked in place by a hard to get off ring. If you want to save time, just cut the old bag with a sharp knife or razor saving you form removing the outer ring, which is a pain to get off.

I decided upon 4 inches because the bag has a rather long throat and I wanted the pipe to go up into the bag.  I was worried that the bag just might slip out of the plastic pipe upward.  I needed a solution to that problem.  I found an old 2 inch PVC joint and cut just a little off of it.  I then glued that small ring to the top of the 4 inch pipe to the bag would not slip off.

The above image shows the completed new construction.

This pools sweep modification PVC parts cost less than $5 for new parts.  The correct bag would have cost about $45. The new bag, my daughter purchased cost only about $13.  In just under 2 hours I had created a modification to the pool sweep that saved me just over $30.

The problem with the above bag is when you remove it from the sweeper, the contents of the bag can easily fall out.  Also, the bag does not hold much and fails to collect that much pool debris.  The next option, described next, is recommended.

A much better solution is to buy a really good cheap bag.  I recommend this bag:

SuMile 2 Pack All Purpose Bags Nylon Mesh Zipper Bags Pool Cleaner Bags Replacement Bags for Polaris 280, 480 Pool Cleaner Replacement Parts K13 K16

You get two bags for a very reasonable cost.   I find them to be very good construction and do a perfect job of collecting the pool debris.  This bag holds a lot.  I love the zipper for opening the bag and removing the contents.


Updated: May 30, 2019

Waterway Plastics Offers Substitution For Polaris Booster Pump.

Our family has an in ground back yard pool with two pumps.  One of for moving pool water through a filter so the water is made clean.  The second motor moves pool water from the pool filter exhaust out to a pool sweep.  This second pump is at a high enough force that it propels a pool sweep that picks up debris that might fall to the bottom of the pool.  What this pool sweep picks up is deposited into a mesh bag that requires cleaning from time to time.

There are two different pumps and motor combinations that we have installed for the pool sweep.  They are as follows:

  1. Polaris Halcyon Booster Pump (quiet version) Part #PB4-60Q
  2. Polaris Booster Pump  (not quiet)  Part # PB4-60

August 2017, the PB4-60Q began to make motor bearing noise and I had to replace that pump.  It seemed that the PB4-60Q was not made any more and I could not find any in stock.  I could find the PB4-60 but I really wanted a quiet unit.  By chance, I found another booster pump made by another manufacturer.  It is a Waterway Plastics 3810430-1PDA 38104301Pda 0.75 hp Universal Booster Pump.  I purchased mine at  Backyard Pool Superstore.  The price was quite reasonable, $219.99.  The Internet reviews were quite good.

I received it incredibly fast.  It was packed perfectly.  It came with all the hose accessories and teflon tape.  I timed the process of removing the old pump and putting in this new one and roughly took one hour and a half.  I must have spent at least 15 minutes of that time looking for my tools.  I used a Sharkbite fitting for our cooper input line and I used our existing plastic hose for the output line with a union fitting which made the pump water line exchange go real fast.  The motor comes wired for 220 Volts but we needed 120 Volts.  Just a simple switch under the rear cover is all that is required to make this change.  Wiring was way more easy than the A. O. Smith motors that come with the Polaris pumps.  I think the noise from this motor may be slightly higher than the PB4=60Q.  This motor was so cheap and new that I decided to add 3 years insurance.

Booster Pump For Pool Sweep

You might get the impression that this motor is made in the USA because there is a sticker on the unit that makes this claim.  It is designed and engineered in the USA.  I called to confirm this and was told that actually it is manufactured in Mexico.

Caution: this motor runs really hot.  I recommend you let it cool down before touching it.

As with any new product, time will tell if it lasts.

Removal Piston Assembly From Pac Fab 2″ PVC Backwash Valve

Most home pool systems have a backwash valve that allows the owner to send pool water through the filter, typically diatomaceous earth, to rather quickly and cheaply clean the filter.  I encountered a major problem with our backwash valve.  I could not make it function properly.  It would not slide the plastic handle completely down and thus I sent a small stream of water out of the pool when the pool pump was running.  When I tried to take the valve assembly apart, the piston refused to come out.  I followed the directions from the manufacturer but it would not budge.  This article is an addition to the instructions that come with the unit.  Please note that this process will require you to buy two new O rings.

Theory behind this repair. If you have not replaced the O rings within the past two years, there is an increased chance that the O rings will enlarge.  Over time the rings will enlarge so much that the valve can not function properly.  Swelled O rings will make removal of the valve impossible.  We will therefor attempt to remove the O rings so we can pull the plastic handle of the valve out and initiate a proper repair.


  1. You should already have released all pressure from the system and drained the filter of all water.
  2. Unscrew the two large plastic valve nuts that connect your filter to this backwash valve.  I found the Husky 8 inch strap wrench (SKU 181 364) to be perfect for this task.  This wrench is a bit tricky to use and there is no instructions as to how to use it.
  3. Once the two nuts are totally loose, backed away and unlocked from the filter unit, slide the filter unit out of the way so you can easily view inside the backwash valve.  You now should see two large openings.
  4. Use a hefty, thick wire, clothes hanger and form a C or J at one end using a pair of pliers.  We will use this wire to hook the O rings inside the valve.
  5. Position the valve about half way up and down so the plastic plates holding the O rings are centered in your view when looking into the openings of the valve.   You may need the use of a flash light to view what you are doing.
  6. Carefully slide the close hanger hook behind the O ring.  I snagged the O ring by sliding the coat hanger along the top of the O ring with the hook parallel with the ring and then twisted the hanger down and around so the hook came behind the rubber ring.
  7. Pull the ring out until it breaks or use some cutting tool.  I just pulled until the O rings broke.  You will need to do this through the top and bottom valve openings.  Make sure you remove both O rings from the valve.  You should end up with two broken O rings.
  8. The plastic valve handle should now easily be pulled completely up and out of the valve.

Follow directions as to replacement of the O rings in your manual.  Be certain you apply the silicone to the rings before assembly.

In my case, the O ring at the bottom opening was so swollen, that it stopped the piston from being withdrawn.  Once the O ring was cut, the piston was able to be pulled apart.