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DIY Vortech MP-40 Wet-Side Maintenance

About a year after purchasing my Vortech MP-40ES, they started to make a bit of noise.  Eventually, one started making so much noise that it was distracting.  Consider a new wet-side can run over $90, I decided I would try a maintenance kit for just over $20.

Vortech MP-40ES Wet Side

Vortech MP-40ES Wet Side

Long story short, this worked, and worked well.  My MP-40s work just like new.  I imagine regular MP-40, MP-10, MP-20, and MP-60 maintenance is quite similar with the respective kit.  So, here’s how to do a bit of maintenance yourself to save some money.

The MP-40 Maintenance Kit includes an impeller, two clear gaskets, a spacer, two screws, and two nuts.  I was able to use one kit to repair two wet-sides.

MP-40 Maintenance Kit

MP-40 Maintenance Kit

To start, you’ll need the following:

  • Wet side
  • Wet-side Maintenance Kit
  • Vinegar/water bath
  • Safety gear (safety glasses, etc.)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • 3/8″ wrench

Tools required

Tools required

Instructions:

1.  Assess the outside of the wet-side.  Look for debris (snail stuck), egg sacs, etc.

Wet-side outside

Wet-side outside

2.  Pull off the back spacer

Remove the back spacer

Remove the back spacer

3.  Twist the cage off

Twist the cage off

Twist the cage off

4.  Inspect the gasket for debris, wear, and tear.

Gasket

Check the gasket for wear, tear, and debris

5.  Gently try to wobble the impeller.  The magnet should align with its housing and barely wobble.  If it doesn’t (like in the photo below), this is likely the cause of any noise or drop in performance.

Magnet

The magnet shouldn’t extend and wobble this much

6.  Although the screw looks like it requires a Phillips-tip screwdriver, I do not recommend one as it can cause damage to the screw.  I used a flathead screwdriver to hold the screw in place while removing the nut with a 3/8″ wrench.  It may be easier to have two people do this step since the magnet makes screwdriver tip placement quite difficult (be careful to not mar the magnet).  Use a non-magnetic screwdriver if available.

Disassembly

Use a screwdriver and wrench

7.  Pull the assembly apart and place reusable parts in a vinegar/water bath to remove calcium deposits.

Part cleaning

Clean reusable parts in a vinegar/water mixture

8.  Inspect the old impeller for damage.  Pitting is often caused by cavitation (pushing air bubbles instead of water), and gouges can be due to snail shells, etc.  If the impeller passes a visual inspection, the shaft hole may still be out of round, meaning it could wobble and cause noise later.  I replaced the impeller on one pump and reused one on my other.

Impeller inspection

Inspect the impeller for pitting

9.  Remove the parts in the vinegar/water bath once all deposits have disolved and dry them.  It’s time for reassembly!

10.   Reassembly is the opposite of disassembly, but with adding the replacement parts.  Slide the new screw into the magnet (check the countersink…the screwhead should fit flush with the magnet.)

Magnet and screw

Push the screw through the magnet

11.  Add the clear washer onto the screw.

Clear washer on magnet

Clear washer on magnet

12.  Next, install the white washer if it came out.  It is specially fitted with cut-outs so it can only be installed the correct way.

White washer

White washer is specially-fitted

13.  Install the magnet housing over the magnet.

Install the cap

Install the cap

14.  Add the black spacer.  It should fit inside the white washer shown below.

Spacer

Spacer must seat into the white washer hole

Spacer

Spacer fits into the white washer hole

15.  Add the impeller.

Add the impeller

Add the impeller

16.  Add the nut.  Tighten the nut with the wrench while holding the screw still with the screwdriver.

Disassembly

Use a screwdriver and wrench

17.  Do not overtighten.  The impeller should spin freely with some resistance.  The magnet should barely wobble, and should closely align with the magnet housing.

Magnet

How the magnet *should* fit

18.  Add the cage and twist to lock it in place.

Twist the cage on

Twist the cage on

19.  Add the back spacer.

Add the back spacer

Add the back spacer

20.  And…your wet-side is complete.  It may now be reinstalled in the aquarium.

Vortech MP-40ES Wet Side

Vortech MP-40ES Wet Side

 

*Disclosure: Nicole Bridges is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.”

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