Marine Aquariums

SC skimmer pump removal and cleaning







With the arrival of my new SC3070 I decided to remove the pumps before installation and snap a few pictures to aid those that want to remove their pumps for cleaning.

 Pumps will require cleaning every 3-6 months, venturi,silencer and air taps every month.

The skimmer body requires very little cleaning but if kept under light algaes will build and for best performance the skimmer body should be cleaning and soaked with Ezyclean or Vinegar to remove calcerous algaes when these build up.

 

Step one.
 
Remove the cup and reach into the skimmer body and carefully remove the black diffuser plate by lifting each of the three stand off blocks a little at a time in a clockwise direction.
 
 
 
Step two
 
Remove the silicone air lines from the venturi pipes and twist the white intakes whilst pulling carefully away from the skimmer body. The clear intake pipe and venturi should then slide out of the body for cleaning.
 
                                                                     
 
Step three
 
Now reach inside the skimmer and unscrew (counter clockwise) the clear perforated pipe/connector that holds the pump onto the skimmer. The skimmer pump will drop down out of the skimmer body once the connector has been unscrewed so its best to cup the pump with one hand as it drops away.
 
  
 
Step four
 
The pump can now be taken apart away from the skimmer. Unscrew (counter clockwise) the ring that holds the front suction plate onto the pump and place it to one side. Now pull the suction plate out of the pump, the suction plate seals onto the pump casing via an o-ring.
You should now be able to view the pin wheel, locate the red removal tool (provided) and screw this onto the threaded end of the impeller/pinwheel (clockwise). Once the tool has been threaded onto the impeller pull the tool away from the pump without exerting any sideways pressure on the tool. Any sideways pressure may result in a snapped ceramic shaft or impeller location tab, there will be some resistance so pull with an even pressure and expect the impeller to initially pop out and the impeller move forward suddenly.
 
      
 
Step five- cleaning
 
Extract the impeller and inspect it for calcium build up, debris in the pins and any scoring. Clean with a toothbrush in water or soak in Ezyclean or vinegar solution to dissolve any calcium carbonate deposits.
 
Now inspect the inside of the pump housing for scoring caused by sand or small shells entering the pump , if sand is found in the pump you will need to put precautions in place such as foams or filter socks on the standpipes to prevent this happening. Sand and snail shells will quickly damage the impeller well and score the impeller.
 
Clean the pump impeller well with a tooth or bottle brush and soak in Ezclean or vinegar to remove calcium carbonate deposits.
 
Within the outlet of the pump you will find a small flap, ensure this flap is free to move side to side. If it is stuck or doesn’t move smoothly soak the pump in Ezyclean or vinegar then work the flap side to side until it is free. The flap ensures the AC pump is working correctly as when it starts the pinwheel can turn in either direction, the flap directs the water depending on the start direction. If it becomes stuck over the wrong way the pump will perform at reduced duty.
 
It is recommended that the whole pump is soaked over night in Ezyclean to dissolve any calcium build up every six months or sooner if the pump suffers from heavy scaling from near by calcium reactor effluent.
 
The bottom bearing can be removed by sliding the shaft of a posi-drive screw driver that is slightly smaller in diameter that the bearing and wriggling the bearing from side to side whilst pulling up on the screwdriver. The bearing will eventually move up out of its housing and drop out of the pump when the pump is inverted.
 
Check that the water ways under the bearing are clear of scale/calcium as if they start to block with calcium lubrication to the bearing will fail and the bearing will over heat, sieze on the shaft and spin in the housing thus destroying the pump stator bearing housing.
 
Also check the impeller shaft for wear where it would usually sit inside the bottom bearing.
 
Important maintenance points to check
 
1 - Pump flaps
Inside the outlet of the pump there are is a double flap which changes the shape of the outlet of the pump depending on which way the impeller starts. If it is not free to move due to buildup of calcium or grit then the pump performance can be halved.
 
This flap must be loose and move easily from side to side when you shake the pump and be heard to clack back and forward. If this is not the case then clean and soak in a suitable acid descaler like Ezyclean.
 
2 - Venturi pipes
 
The small pipe where the white silicone meets the hard plastic of the skimmer is the venturi pipe. This will restrict with a build up of dry salt and calcium at the air water interface and must be regularly cleaned to maintain efficiency and stop the water level rising in the skimmer. My own SC3070 begins to show build up every 3-4 weeks, this will partially dissolve by turning the pumps off for 10mins to allow tank water into the pipe but is only a temporary fix.
 
On the SC skimmer as soon as the water level starts to creep up in the flow adjuster this is a clear sign that the venturis are starting to block.
 
Take the venturi pipes (removed in step two), give them a clean with a bottle brush and inspect and clean the small air inlet pipes that connect to the white silicone air line,It is best to remove the venturi pipe every month to give it a manual clean; this is very simple as you only need to remove the white silicone pipe from the pump leaving the skimmer and venturi in situ. If the pump is running then air will b drawn in and not come out.
 
If there is a build up within the pipe take a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the pipe and clean it out by turning the bit by hand. The build up may be quite hard and stubborn.
 
 
Now remove the air silencers from the skimmer body and remove the tops. Dust will collect in these so clean the pipes well and inside the clear body as any dust that partially blocks the pipes will greatly reduce performance.
 
If you have air taps fitted to the skimmer (SC 3070 and 3070s European) removes these open the taps and give them a clean to remove any dust build up that may reduce air intake. It’s also worth checking the soft airlines for any dust build up.
 
  
 
Step 6 Assembly
 
Assemble the parts in reverse order but take note of the following.
 
1. Replace the bottom bearing and ensure that you fit it parallel to the bore by using the back of the red tool to position it completely vertically. If fitted at an angle then it can jam on the shaft and cause starting issues.
 
2. Align the impeller location tab with the cut out within the pump housing before carefully feeding in the impeller by holding the removal tool.
 
Take great care as the strong magnets  will snatch the impeller in,
 
If the location tab isn’t aligned this could become damaged or the shaft chipped as the impeller gets pulled in rapidly by the powerful pump magnets when nearly fully installed. Also make sure the impeller is firmly pushed down so it clicks into place, if the impeller isnt installed so it has been pushed into place the impeller may rub the suction plate and cause wear to the top bearing over time.
 
If the impeller is not fully pushed home until you feel the click as the oring goes into it's groove, so that the white plate of the impeller is flush with the inside of the pump then it is possible to have starting problems and noise as the impeller catches on the suction plate. `check and refit.
 
3. Before you fully tighten the pump onto the skimmer body from inside of the skimmer install the venturi pipes from outside. If you tighten the pump up and the pump turns slightly off angle you won’t be able to line the venturi pipes up with the pump to install them.
 
Once the venturi pipework is in place tighten the pump up hand tight, this doesn’t require any real force so just enough to secure the pump. Try to keep the venturi pipe central within the hole in the skimmer body when doing this by holding the end as you tighten the pump down, this will keep it central so the pump doesn’t turn and cause it to move to one side and damage or vibrate on the hole in the skimmer body.
 
4. If the clear intake pipe is pushed into the pump too far the impeller may fail to start, in this case pull the pipe back out and only install it far enough into the pump so it is snug.
 
          
 
Step 7
 
After you have cleaned the pump / body the skimmer will take 48 hours or more to return to normal operation. This is due to the clean plastics that need to become 'wetted' again. After this time the water surface tension within the skimmer will return to normal and skimming will return.
 
This is usual for any skimmer from any manufacturer.
 
 
I hope this guide has been of some help.
 
Tony
 

 

 

 
 
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