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Old 23-04-2020, 15:04   #1
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Spectra Watermaker problem has me stumped

I have an older Spectra Santa Cruz model that was professionally reconditioned for our refit 2 years ago (new membrane and pumps, rebuilt Clark, etc).

Since then, it's been a PIA and I've had it apart numerous times to replace pump heads, fix leaks, etc.

Now I can't get the pickling/cleaning procedure to work. It won't suck anything from the solution bucket. It worked before. I've checked all the valves, etc. and can't find anything wrong. I tried priming the intake line, work-arounds such as bypassing the service valve and no joy. No leaks, good pressure. Any ideas?
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Old 23-04-2020, 17:34   #2
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Re: Spectra Watermaker problem has me stumped

Open the pressure valve on the Clark Pump to let it prime? I have had similar issues and this has usually worked for me. Last time I disassembled the feed pump to no avail before I remembered the pressure valve, Dooh.
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Old 24-04-2020, 09:07   #3
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Re: Spectra Watermaker problem has me stumped

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Open the pressure valve on the Clark Pump to let it prime? I have had similar issues and this has usually worked for me. Last time I disassembled the feed pump to no avail before I remembered the pressure valve, Dooh.
Yep, did that, which is clearly mentioned in the owner's manual as part of the procedure which I have read a million times trying to spot what I'm missing!
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Old 24-04-2020, 17:25   #4
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Re: Spectra Watermaker problem has me stumped

The Santa Cruz model of Spectra watermaker is as you know one of Spectras first watermakers models. Back in the day Spectra thought it a good idea to make an all in one contained watermaker in basically a box. It is the fore runner of the very successful and very modular Cape Horn Extreme unit. It is most likely that if your two feed pumps running at the same time cannot draw the pickling solution that after two years of use they are a bit tired and just can't create enough vacuum to draw the solution up through the intake service. Some times on these older systems they can also lose their prime and they can get air locked. One trick is to hold the bucket of pickling solution just above the level of the intake service port your pickling hose is attached to. This way there's a bit of gravity feed as well and with both pumps running it should start the intake and flow. Of course this is always done with the pressure relief valve on the Clark pump open about 3/4 to 1 full turn. If this does not solve your problem let me know and we can go from there. I've worked on more Santa Cruz units than most. It was the very first Spectra unit I ever worked on. I used to be known in my earlier days as the Santa Cruz King because no one else really wanted to work on them because they are certainly a pain to work on with that un-gangling front cover. You have the basics of a Cape horn Extreme. If you ever wanted to re arrange it and get rid of that white box it is all in I could help you with that as well. They're much more enjoyable when you can easily get to all the parts.
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Old 25-04-2020, 11:31   #5
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Re: Spectra Watermaker problem has me stumped

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Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
The Santa Cruz model of Spectra watermaker is as you know one of Spectras first watermakers models. Back in the day Spectra thought it a good idea to make an all in one contained watermaker in basically a box. It is the fore runner of the very successful and very modular Cape Horn Extreme unit. It is most likely that if your two feed pumps running at the same time cannot draw the pickling solution that after two years of use they are a bit tired and just can't create enough vacuum to draw the solution up through the intake service. Some times on these older systems they can also lose their prime and they can get air locked. One trick is to hold the bucket of pickling solution just above the level of the intake service port your pickling hose is attached to. This way there's a bit of gravity feed as well and with both pumps running it should start the intake and flow. Of course this is always done with the pressure relief valve on the Clark pump open about 3/4 to 1 full turn. If this does not solve your problem let me know and we can go from there. I've worked on more Santa Cruz units than most. It was the very first Spectra unit I ever worked on. I used to be known in my earlier days as the Santa Cruz King because no one else really wanted to work on them because they are certainly a pain to work on with that un-gangling front cover. You have the basics of a Cape horn Extreme. If you ever wanted to re arrange it and get rid of that white box it is all in I could help you with that as well. They're much more enjoyable when you can easily get to all the parts.
Thank you Tellie, you certainly appear to be the most qualified guy on the planet to help with my Spectra Santa Cruz!

I don't have enough room in the engine room to put the bucket above the service port, so my work around was to use a turkey baster to fill the intake hose to prime it. Didn't work, and putting my finger over the hose (as I've done before to test successfully) there was zero suction happening.

Given that all components are new, there are no leaks, and the unit works fine to produce water, any other ideas?

Regarding the Cape Horn Extreme, is there a way to re-purpose my new pumps, membrane and rebuilt Clark pump or would I need to buy the whole kit and caboodle.

Thanks so much for your help!
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