We have an automatic cleaner for our swimming pool. It’s the kind that runs on water pressure and uses a booster pump. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with it. When it works, it works great, but when it doesn’t, I’m constantly swearing at it. It’s got a lot of moving parts (belts, gears, you name it) and it seems like something breaks on it every year. Anyhow, this year it was the automatic backup valve’s turn to break.
The backup valve is a big conglomeration of gears driven by a paddle wheel. It’s actually quite ingenious. The gears drive a rotating port that changes the flow of water through the valve every several minutes, which causes the pool cleaner to “back up,” which is an essential feature as it’s continually getting stuck in the pool’s corners. One of the gears is held in place by a small retaining clip, and at some point this year the clip came off and disappeared into the great unknown. The result was that the gear no longer stayed on the shaft. It would stay there for awhile, but eventually it would fall off and the backup valve would stop cycling.
Lacking a matching retaining clip, I wasn’t sure how to fix this without shelling out megabucks for a new valve. So I decided to try Gorilla Glue. We picked up a bottle of this awhile back, and it’s pretty impressive stuff. One of its interesting properties is that it expands as it cures, sort of like that expanding aerosol spray foam stuff. This can be a pain when you’re using it to repair furniture, as the glue tends to ooze out of the repair as it cures. But, it’s exactly what I needed in this case. I just stuck the gear on the shaft and added a dab of Gorilla Glue, and it expanded into a small blob, holding the gear in place perfectly.
So anyways, Gorilla Glue claims to be waterproof. During pool season (which runs from Memorial Day through around the end of September in these parts), The pool cleaner spends 90% of its time at the bottom of the pool, submerged in chemically treated water. I made the repair somewhere around the end of June, and it’s been mostly submerged ever since. At the end of pool season, I’ll take the valve apart and see how well the repair has held up. I’ve had no problems with the backup valve since making the repair, which I take as a good sign. But I can’t think of a better way to see how waterproof this stuff really is. Stay tuned!