Rob is a pool-service industry professional with over 20 years of experience.
The Hayward Navigator
A common pool cleaner is the Hayward Navigator, which consists of many moving parts. Occasionally, those parts fail and need to be replaced.
If you’re like me, you like to save money. Many pool stores will repair these cleaners with no “labor costs," but believe me, you will be paying more than enough for the parts and could save at least 50% or more by ordering the parts online and fixing it yourself.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to repair it. If you take the time to read through this article and refer to the photos, there really isn’t much to it.
Determining What Needs to Be Replaced
If your navigator seems to spin around in circles without really going anywhere, or if it doesn’t really move at all, or if you’ve owned it for a while, you probably already know that something may have gotten stuck in the unit. You need to pull whatever it is out. (Surprisingly, this problem accounts for around half the calls I get.)
Next, take the unit out of the pool and check the “shoes” or “feet.” These are the four pads that allow the cleaner to grip to the surface. If these are worn down too much, they will need to be replaced.
Checking the “A-Frame”
The A-Frame is inside the navigator, but I can usually tell if this is bad by how loose the pods seem to be. If there is a lot of play when you move the pods back and forth and it seems very loose, then the problem is likely to be the A-Frame. The A-Frame is the most common repair I make on these cleaners and are easy to replace. The "pods" are usually not bad unless they are visibly cracked or broken. Other parts include the turbine, bearings, and gear box, which I will talk about shortly.
Disassembling the Navigator
Please be sure to reference the photos for this section.
How to Disassemble the Navigator
- Remove the “wings” from the unit. The wings are attached to the pods.
- Pry off the round protector in the center of each pod, which will expose the screw heads. This will require a ¼ inch socket to unscrew.
- After removing the two ¼ inch screws, the pods may still be on tightly. Pry with a flat screwdriver on either side of the screw and work gently. Pods will come off.
- After pods are removed, turn the unit upside down and remove the center screw and remove the center piece, which that screw holds in. This will expose the turbine.
- Now remove the 4 Phillips screws as shown in the photo. This will remove the section that houses the A-Frame. Remove the A-Frame gently and set it aside.
- STOP! If the A-Frame is the only part that you are replacing, you will not need to go to the next step and remove the six perimeter screws. You can stop here and re-assemble the unit with the new A-Frame.
- There will now be six more screws around the perimeter of the unit. These are much longer than the first set of screws you removed. You will need to remove these to get to the turbine and bearings. Once screws are out, this piece will also be removed fully exposing the turbine and bearings. The bearings and turbine will lift out and the new bearing and turbine kit will go in its place.
- Lift the turbine and the two bearings out of place. Old bearings may fall apart. Don’t worry, the new ones won’t. Replace with the new bearings and turbine. They can only go in one way. Now replace the plate with the six screws. Turbine should spin freely.
The gearbox does not often need replacing. If it does, this is a very easy part to replace. With the six perimeter screws, turbine, and bearings out, simply pull out the old one and replace.
After replacing the parts, it is just a matter of re-assembling the unit just as it was disassembled. It's not difficult since there aren't too many screws to remove and put back in. If all was done right then it is ready to go back into the water and clean your pool!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have had the Navigator for about two months, and its sucking, but not moving around the pool. Why is this?
Answer: If it's 2 months (brand new) it should be under warranty if there's something broken. Do the pods move back and forth when it's not on the bottom? I would also check for any obstruction in the turbine (a rock, large leaf, etc...) These rarely go bad when they are that new unless you bought it used. Also check valve positioning on the pool pump, meaning, does it have ENOUGH suction? If there's not enough suction, it won't move much.
Question: My Hayward pool vac wasn't moving so I replaced the A-frame and turbine kit. It now only stays in one section of the pool. No matter where I move it, it always makes it way back to the same section and does circles in that area. I replaced the gear box and medium turbine spindle gear last year but I assume its one of these. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: The pods might need to be replaced. Where the pods fit on to the A-frame can become loose over time, allowing for a lot of movement. They should fit snug. Also, check the rubber shoes to make sure they aren't worn down.
Question: All of the inner parts of my Hayward Navigator pool vacuum are new; the pods and shoes are new, the hose is new. When the Navigator is suspended the pods move. If I place the Navigator on the bottom of the pool all action stops. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: The only suggestion I would have, knowing that you've replaced all the inner parts and pods, (otherwise, I'd say the A-frame or pods), would be to make sure there is enough suction through the cleaner. If you have a separate cleaner line, close the main drain valve and close the skimmer valve halfway and have the cleaner valve all the way open. Make sure filter is clean and the system has plenty of flow. More suction on the cleaner will make it work better. You can look at this article that explains how the valves should be set.
Question: One of the pods is jammed on my pool vacuum. How do I get it off?
Answer: If the pod is difficult remove, I usually use some wd-40 around it and a flat screw driver to work it off.
© 2012 Rob Hampton
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on July 28, 2020:
Rob Tron. These are the kind of comments I love to see! I'm happy it worked out well. Thanks for reading!
Rob Tron on July 28, 2020:
Thank you so much! Your guide was very helpful. I bought new shoes since they were quite worn. I also ordered an A-Frame since you said it was so common to see it fail. And I am glad I did, since once I took the old one out, I saw 2 of the wheels I could turn by hand, but not smoothly. The third wheel didn't turn at all, and the 4th had lost all its ball bearings, so it was just a piece of plastic dangling on the axle. After replacing everything I put the cleaner back in the pool and it worked! Thanks to you I saved so much money buying just a few replacement parts!
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on May 22, 2019:
Gary, make sure there is enough suction on the cleaner line. Be sure there are no breaks or leaks in any of the hose sections.
Gary on May 22, 2019:
I’ve replaced just about everything on my navigator. When it’s out of the water it will spin at the house connection but when I place it in water it won’t turn. Everything else is working fine.
Mauricio Batista on April 21, 2019:
Hi I would know if the house can cause the problem for the navigator not moving or moving slowly? Thank you.
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on April 09, 2019:
Tom.. Thanks! I love comments like yours. I'm glad it worked well for you. Ya, I don't think I've replaced a gear box, it's usually one of, or all of what you replaced. Should last for a few years for you!
Tom Roberts on April 09, 2019:
Great info, it gave me the courage to attempt the repair. I had to replace the turbine, pods, wings and A frame. Works like new.
Thanks for posting this info.
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on February 19, 2019:
John (and anyone else) I've now enabled the "ask the author a question" Please post questions under that platform but also feel free to leave comments here. John..The parts you replaced should last much longer than a few months. Without being able to physically check out the cleaner, hard to say. Gear box? Maybe. A lot of different issues could cause it to spin in circles. Check the pods and "shoes"
john on February 19, 2019:
So, I have replaced all the inner parts,and it worked for a few months now it gets stuck. I notice it doesnt pass the hang test and the main plastic gear that the hose hooks up to gets stuck and will move a little bit in one direction but not the other, My thoughts is maybe the main gear is worn out. Any thoughts?
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on October 11, 2018:
Hi Rebecca. Yes, replace all four. These can be purchased on Amazon. A local pool supply store will have them, but you'll pay 4 times as much.
Rebecca on October 11, 2018:
I just looked at my Hayward and see the feet are worn down and the back ones are gone. Where can I get theses and do I have to replace all four of them
Rob Hampton (author) from Port Richey, Florida on July 02, 2018:
Sorry for the delay Robert. I'll do my best here. So..should the gear cone spin freely? No. It should be pretty tight and take some "effort" to turn by hand. Sounds like you've done everything right so far although you did not mention a pod replacement. Pods can have new "feet" but often where they are placed on the a-frame, that connection or piece where the pod screws into the cleaner can be worn.. IE; gaps causing it to slip. Gear "grinding" noise? Depends on what you mean. Yes, it's normal when the cone is turned to make a sound. More like gears moving rather than "grinding". The valve positioning... You mentioned the fountain.. That is on the return side of the pump so doesn't have anything to do with the amount of suction on the cleaner. Not sure how the intake side of your pump is set.. But should be... SKIMMER/MAIN DRAIN/CLEANER (possibly spa if a combo pool/spa but spa should be closed anyway if in normal pool mode) Valves should be (on intake side)... Main drain closed completely. Cleaner fully opened and skimmer open half way. Adjust only the skimmer valve for more or less suction on the cleaner. Hope this helps
robert miliano on July 01, 2018:
i have a pebble tech pool and a hayward navigator pool cleaner. a hayward DE filter system.. the cleaner would not move from the center of the pool .. i replaced almost everything(shoes,a frame assembly, turbine and bearings , gearbox assembly, the intermediate gear and spindle gear and spindle,front and rear flap.. the only thing i hadn't put into this $$$ pit was the cone gear.. is the cone gear suppose to turn freely ...??
its stiff and makeS a grinding noise.. i looked at the teeth to see if any were missing or out of shape but they appear to be ok... i used the vac gauge and it said max.... i don't know how to set up the valve handles for skimmer and water fall.. HELP!!!