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Thread: Can I relocate the pump on my whirlpool tub?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member chumbley's Avatar
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    Default Can I relocate the pump on my whirlpool tub?

    I'm doing a master bath remodel, and purchased a Kohler 1337-CN whirlpool spa. I built the tub deck according to the documentation Kohler had - and I assumed (my first mistake) that "custom pump location" meant that I got to decide where the pump goes. Not so. Custom pump location to Kohler means they put it in a different place than it normally goes. Problem is, that doesn't work for me...

    So, can I just cut the lines and extend them to where I want the pump to be? (about 4' away from where it is now). I assume I want to keep the suction line slightly elevated to the pump so that it will drain, but not so much that it has trouble pulling a suction to get things started. Anything else I need to be concerned with?

    Also, the air intakes on this tub are too close to the rim to allow the tub deck to work. Again, just PVC, so I know I can move them, anything to be aware of here? Do they need to be higher than, say, the overflow or anything?

    And finally, they conveniently put the air start switch on the far side of the tub. I can easily move that - but will have a hold in the tub. Any idea where I can get white acrylic fillers?

    Thanks so much!

    Jeff

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I think if you want to have a chance of keeping a warranty, you should ask Kohler.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member chumbley's Avatar
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    Yes, I do intend to do that. Ideally, they will have an answer for me.

    But just in case, I'm also looking for other paths, and what will and will not work. Unfortunately, I've had the tub for a few months now, so I'm doubtful that I could return it. I think no warranty is better than no tub. I just haven't ever worked with whirlpool tubs much (some experience with general plumbing, pools, etc.), so I don't know how touchy these things are.

    Jeff

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It is fairly easy to relocate an air turbine for the air part of the system. The tub I bought (not a Kohler) came with instructions on how to do that. Since I didn't have a pump, if it had anything about remoting the water pump, I didn't read it or remember. One of the hassles with a whirlpool is that the system retains some water in the pipes, and you must limit what you allow in the water (such as oils, or scents). Since it is dark, often warm, and may have some organic material in there, it is important to perform the periodic sanitizing maintenance. I opted for 'just' and air tub, since the thing blow-dries itself after use. you can't do that with a whirlpool as you'd ruin the pump...its bearings must remain wet while in operation.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member chumbley's Avatar
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    Thanks Jim. The air intakes for my whirlpool are just open inlets that allow air to mix with the water at the spray heads. Typical spa stuff. They just put them in a really bad spot.

    Hopefully someone else who has moved a spa pump, or knows more about them than I do, will chime in. Calling Kohler today to see what they have to say.

    Jeff

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    "Custom pump location" usually means you tell them where you want it when you order the tub. A lot of the pipes for jet tubs are "flexible" PVC, and that is not always an easy material for the DIYer to handle when you start reconfiguring the tub's components. There are companies which can "close up" the extra hole but it is not inexpensive.
    Last edited by hj; 03-02-2010 at 01:16 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member chumbley's Avatar
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    Thanks HJ. Perhaps that is where this went wrong - maybe my e-tailer didn't know that and just happened to find one somewhere configured however. Though I did find documentation on Kohler's site for other tub models where the pump location change was similar for the "custom" version.

    I did talk to Kohler today - they weren't much help - but did acknowledge the pump could be moved by changing the lines. They were not helpful at all on the other two items.

    I've done a good bit of work with PVC over the years - though never the flexible stuff. Is there someplace that I could learn about the issues you referenced that make it not easy for the DIYer?

    Thanks...

    Jeff

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