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How to rebuild a Spectra Watermaker

After 2 years and 600 under hours, my Spectra Newport 400 needs to be rebuilt.  The symptoms were that the production of water went down from 61 liters (17 US gallons) to only 25 (6 US gallons) per hour. There were no leaks.

Spectra rates the Newport 400 at 61 liters per hour (17 gal) with an energy consumption of 4.8 watts per liter (18 watts per gal).

We could not determine if the Clark Pump was asymmetrical, since we didn’t have an analog pressure gauge mounted.  We suspected the Annular Rings were worn out and needed to be replaced.  But at a closer inspection, the annulars were just fine.

Spectra Clark Pump

Annular rings and spool

We replaced the Annular Rings, the Spool Assembly and all the o-rings anyways.   Then we inspected the cylinders, and we found out that one of them was seized.

Spectra Newport Cylinder
Spectra watermaker Piston
Spectra Newport piston

We found out that there was a lot of build up around the piston coming from corroded Nickel Bronze fittings.

[photogrid ids=”7146,7143,7147,7148″ captions=”yes” columns=”two” fullwidth=”no” ]

We replaced the piston only, not the cylinder (we didn’t have a spare one).  We also replaced all Nickel Bronze fittings with high quality Stainless Steel.

New Stainless Steel fittings

Finally, we added an oil filled 0-200 PSI pressure gauge on top of the pump.  This gauge is paramount to identify if the feed pressure to the Clark Pump is asymmetrical from one stroke to another.  The electronic gauge is useless.  Asymmetries are very important to make diagnosis.

Here is a video of the rebuild:

All in all we are happy with the Spectra Newport 400 but we are really surprised that they didn’t use Stainless Steel for their fittings.  The Clark Pump (pressure intensifier) is a very nice piece of engineering:

But for some reasons, Spectra used cheap Nickel Bronze fittings that corrode and clog the system instead of more expensive Stainless Steel ones.

In 600 hours of operation, I had to change once cylinder after 200 hours because it developed a crack in the thread at the end cap, and now a piston (plus annular rings, spool and all o-rings).

Not sure how it compares to other popular brands, for example ECHOTec made in Trinidad and Tobabo, or the HRO and the Schenker.

If you own one of these brand, please feel free to drop me a line with your feedback.

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Oct 26, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Hey, thanks for sharing your experience!

I'm just taking apart the clarke pump of a watermaker I got from a package deal, every information helps :)

Regarding the fittings, since I have now spent countless hours reading about everything spectra these days :

Apparently (info coming second hand from a forum), a manual states that they replaced stainless with nickel/bronze due to the material they now build the body with, to prevent corrosion. Same manual apparently also states that with stainless fittings, if fittings cleaned every 2 years, there shouldn't be any issue.

In practice, many professionals and users agree that 316 stainless fittings are superior. No more gunk damage!

Personnaly I suspect spectra may be trying to make a…

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