Fixing a Swamp Cooler Water Distribution System

I love when I try to make something work, work better or pretty it up and I end up breaking a part. That was the case with this post. I was preparing to repaint the swamp cooler when I look down and saw one of the arms of the water distribution system was broken off. After a long sigh I went to Ace down the street and bought a replacement kit.

Broken Swamp Cooler Water Distributor
Broken Swamp Cooler Water Distributor

Getting Set Up

When buying the replacement kit, it usually is based on the number of arms. I needed a 6 arm kit.

Replacement Water Distributor Kit
Replacement Water Distributor Kit

The replacement kit came with

  • Distribution block
  • MEK gluing compound to attach the arms to the block
  • Screw in adapter for the supply hose
  • Screw for attaching the new kit to the swamp cooler

Water Distribution Kit Parts
Water Distribution Kit Parts

If you’re lucky like me you’ll need a couple of tools.

  • Hacksaw or something to cut the plastic arms
  • Tape measure
  • Flat head and possibly a Philips screwdriver
  • Pliers

Hacksaw and Measuring Tape
Hacksaw and Measuring Tape

Pliers and Screwdriver
Pliers and Screwdriver

Disconnecting The Water Supply Hose

Disconnect the clamp from the supply hose. If I though ahead I would have bought a new hose and just reused the clamps.

It might be necessary to use a flat head screwdriver to pry the hose off of the old distribution block.

Removing Water Supply Hose
Removing Water Supply Hose

Figuring Out Arm Cut Length

Looking at the distribution block, it looks like the same size. That means the arm length will most likely be the same. Also, make sure all the arms are close to being the same length.

Cut Length = Arm Length from the Distribution Knuckle + Distribution Joint Depth

Measuring The Arm Length From The Distribution Knuckle

Use the old water distributor to measure the arm.

Measuring Old Distribution Arm
Measuring Old Distribution Arm

Measure from the knuckle to the end of the arm.

Measure Old Arm From Distribution Knuckle
Measure Old Arm From Distribution Knuckle

Measure Old Arm To End
Measure Old Arm To End

Measuring The Distribution Joint Depth

To measure the distribution joint depth, push the arm into the distribution block joint and mark the spot with your finger.

Push New Arm In Distribution Block
Push New Arm In Distribution Block

Pull the arm from the joint and measure from your finger to the end of the arm.

Measure From Finger To End
Measure From Finger To End

Cutting The Arm To Length

Take the two measurements above and add them together for the cut length. For me, my cut length is 10 ½ inches, 10 inches for the arm length and ½ inch for the distribution block joint.

Because the new arm didn’t have a sharp 90 degree angle where the water came out, I measured for the cut further down the bend.

A screwdriver helped me figure out where to mark. (All I did was place my fingers in the spot. I didn’t think I would see a Sharpie mark on the black plastic.)

Measuring To Cut The New Arm
Measuring To Cut The New Arm

Cut the arm with a hacksaw.

Cutting New Distribution Arm
Cutting New Distribution Arm

Test the first arm that is cut by putting it in the distribution block and measuring it to the furthest part.

Test Fitting The First Distribution Arm
Test Fitting The First Distribution Arm

For the other cuts on the arms, use the first arm on top of the other arms to measure and cut them.

Using The First Arm As A Template
Using The First Arm As A Template

Test Fitting

Before gluing the arms to the distribution block, dry fit everything and place it in the swamp cooler to make sure they are the correct length.

To check for correct length, place one of the cooling pad holders in place. The arms should feed water into the cooling pad holder.

Test Fitting The New Water Distribution Before Gluing
Test Fitting The New Water Distribution Before Gluing

Glue Up And Installation

Glue it all together using the MEK glue that comes with the kit. WORK FAST!! (Sorry no pic on this one. Had to work REALLY fast and couldn’t take pictures.)

The glue is very thin so make sure you either don’t care it gets on your hands or wear gloves.

There is not much time for positioning, so make sure the arms are facing the right way when you put them in the distribution block.

Screw in the adapter for the supply hose. Make sure to check if it is going in straight. Mine started to go in crooked the first time around. This doesn’t need glue.

Screw In Adapter For Water Supply Hose
Screw In Adapter For Water Supply Hose

Time to reattach the hose to the adapter using the old clamp.

Re-attaching The Water Supply Hose
Re-attaching The Water Supply Hose

Use the screw that came with the kit to attach the new water distribution system to the swamp cooler.

Attach New Water Distribution System To Swamp Cooler
Attach New Water Distribution System To Swamp Cooler

Installed In Swamp Cooler
Installed In Swamp Cooler

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4 thoughts on “Fixing a Swamp Cooler Water Distribution System”

  1. Thanks for the great photos. Mine originally had three arms,each with a “y” on the end, facing down. I think I’m just going to replace with a six arm arrangement.
    Thanks!

  2. Hola! I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you
    a shout out from New Caney Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the
    fantastic job!

  3. Thank you! I am about to tackle this project!! I am 70 but know I can do this now that I see what you have done. thank you for your clear directions!

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