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Old 05-27-2008, 08:39 PM   #1
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Jet Tub Motor just HUMS


Hi All,

I have an American Standard jet tub - when I push the power button, the motor just hums. I've opened the access panel and can see the motor, nothing is spinning, but it is clearly getting power and nothing seems to be obstructing it.

My guess is that the pump is blocked or obstructed in some way. Unfortunately, it's not an easy access to get at the pump... I can do it, but I don't really know what I'm getting into.

I'm wondering if this is a complicated job or if pulling the pump off the spindle motor is a relatively easy thing to fix.

Or, if the humming motor means something else???

Thanks in advance,
Dustin

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Old 05-27-2008, 09:35 PM   #2
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Jet Tub Motor just HUMS


You'll likely get more responses if you or a Mod moved this post over to electrical, but here goes anyway.

There are really only two possibilities that I can think of. One is that the pump is jammed somehow. You usually can't get to the shaft between the motor and pump, if you can though, it should turn freely. Some motors have a small push-in plug in the center of the non-drive (back) end. If so, it can be pried out with a screwdriver, and often the shaft has a slot that can be turned with a large screwdriver.

The other thing is a problem with the motor. Most of these pump motors are either capacitor start or split phase start. Either way, they have 2 windings. A start winding and a run winding. When the motor is turned on, both windings are energized. At about 1/2 to 2/3 speed, a switch of some sort de-energizes the start windings. Alot of these are centrifugal switches. There's some sort of weight attached to the rotor (the part that turns), and it's arranged to push a set of contacts attached to the endbell. Sometimes they stick. Ridiculous as this may sound, whacking the endbell, not too hard, with a small hammer or the handle of a screwdriver will sometimes snap the switch back into position. Obviously, this doesn't solve the problem, but it can identify it.

If the motor is capacitor start, the capacitor may have failed. Rare, but it does happen. If the motor has a 'hump' on it, the capacitor is inside. Some of them have the capacitor inside the non-drive endbell. If you're going to mess with a capacitor, always insure that the power is off (turn off the circuit breaker in the panel), and once you can get to them, short out the terminals with a piece of wire or a screwdriver. A capacitor is sort of like a battery, and it can store enough of a charge to knock you across the room.

All pumps can be taken apart somehow. Some have a band in the center, easy to get apart, hard to get back together, even harder to get back together and not leak. lol. Some have bolts at one side or the other. You'll need to take the pump apart, if you just un-bolt it from the motor, the shaft won't come out because the impeller is still on the end of it. You'll also wreck the shaft seal. Once you get the pump apart, and you've determined that the motor is bad, if you take it to a motor shop, leave the impeller on. If you're going to replace the motor, you'll need to take the impeller off.

With this type of pump, the impeller (looks sort of like a fan, usually 3"-6" diameter) is almost always threaded onto the motor shaft. Some are right-hand threads, some are left. The reason that alot of pump motors have a slot in the shaft at the non-drive end is so you can hold the shaft with a screwdriver while you unscrew the impeller. It's usually only hand-tight.

If you're going to replace the motor, replace the shaft seal as well.

I realize alot of this is pretty vague, there are hundreds of different pump designs out there, we can get more specific as we go along.

Rob

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Old 05-27-2008, 10:21 PM   #3
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Jet Tub Motor just HUMS


Awesome, thanks a bunch for all the info Rob,

The tub is this one: http://designerplumbingoutlet.com/as2675018020.html

The information plate on the assembly says it's a "WOW Pump, 1 Speed, 5.5 Amps with Air Switch, Plug"

It also says it's 115 VAC, 60 Hz.

Let me know if that changes anything...

Thanks again,
Dustin
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Old 05-28-2008, 10:11 PM   #4
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Jet Tub Motor just HUMS


It looks like the entire pump can be removed fairly easily. If you can get to the pipe that connects to the front (suction side) and top (discharge side), those things that look sort of like gears are unions. They're meant to be taken apart. The outside part unscrews, the rest will be obvious. They're usually hand tight, but you usually need to use both hands. If you need to use pliers, squeeze as little as possible, let the teeth of the pliers 'dig in' to the teeth of the plastic. Since plastic bends (to some degree anyhow), squeezing it too hard will make it out of round, and it'll be much harder to unscrew. A strap wrench would be the best thing to use here.

There might be screws or bolts of some sort holding the base of the motor to the floor of the tub. The ones in front will be easy to get at, the ones in back (if there are any) will be a bit more difficult.

Very likely there's a cord that powers the motor, it can be disconnected at the motor or the control box, whichever is easier. It'll have 3 wires in it, black, white, and green.

If you can get the pump out, testing/repairing it will be much easier.

Rob
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:23 AM   #5
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Jet Tub Motor just HUMS


It humms because it cant remember the words.
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:16 AM   #6
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Jet Tub Motor just HUMS


Damn it 8 ball that was my line
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:21 AM   #7
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Jet Tub Motor just HUMS


That is just awesome. Another smart alec comment to add to my repertoire. lol
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:54 PM   #8
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Jet Tub Motor just HUMS


OK, so I was digging in there again today (I say digging because the access panel to this is a tiny hole in the wall with a 2x4 stud in the way).

Anyway, this is the pump/motor assembly: http://www.ultrajetpumps.com/Ultraje...scas12598r.htm

I'm thinking that I should probably just remove and replace it... BUT before I do that, I'm wondering if there are any easy things I can try...

when we turn it on, the motor does try to turn (turns about 5 degrees and then stops) - so I'm guessing there is something jammed... or the start cycle that you (rob) talked about isn't working...

I did try sticking a screwdriver in the non-drive end of the motor and turning the shaft... it definitely turns, but that didn't seem to help.

Anyway, If anyone has any ideas about what else I might be able to try that isn't major motor/pump surgery, let me know - it would be great to fix this even temporarily since we're moving out of here anyway and I'm just fixing this to sell the house.

Rob - that thing about hitting the endbell? What is that now? Do you think there is an endbell on this motor?

Thanks again for all the help...
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Old 06-04-2008, 09:39 PM   #9
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Jet Tub Motor just HUMS


I went ahead and bought a replacement pump - will be installing this weekend... repairing it seems like a pain in the behind and supposedly, these pumps aren't very durable.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:26 AM   #10
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Jet Tub Motor just HUMS


You did the right thing. Most likely the start switch is bad (corroded) and as hard as you say it is to get to replace it and enjoy.

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