M1 Troubleshooting Guide

WaterRower M1 Preventative Maintenance
Troubleshooting Guide

Preventative Maintenance

The WaterRower can be stored upright. To do so, lift the end of the rower and move the WaterRower on the front wheels to the area of storage.

Please note, when standing your unit upright, slide the seat forward towards the footboard prior to lifting the rower.


Wipe down handle, seat, rails and frame after every row.

Dust Build Up

Dust tank and belts regularly.  Clean the top of the rails where the wheels run.  To do this, run a damp cloth along the top and sides of the rails. This will remove the dirt, dust, etc. which builds up with use.  In addition, clean any residue or build-up that has accumulated on the wheels.

Loose Bolts

Each week, inspect the bolts along the tank assembly and rail assembly to ensure they are all secure in the frame of the rower. If necessary, use a 5mm allen key to tighten any bolts that have come loose.

Weekly Belt Alignment and Monitor Test

On a weekly basis, row several strokes on the rower to check the alignment of the recoil belt; it can, sometimes, come misaligned on the front pulleys (see picture).  If the recoil belt is off a pulley, the recoil of the handle will be sluggish and not feel smooth. It can also lead to fraying of the belt. If the recoil feels misaligned, check that the recoil belt is aligned and runs over each pulley correctly and smoothly as seen in the second picture.  While checking the alignment, review the monitor to ensure it is working correctly. Turn the monitor on and it should flash all zeros, indicating it is ready to start. As you begin rowing, the monitor should register your stroke rate, speed, distance & time.

Check the Tension of the Recoil

To test the strength of the recoil, first remove the top deck cover. Next, lift the handle out of the handle rests and release the handle so it slides along the top deck cover, towards the forward riser pulley. The handle should slide smoothly and quickly all the way to the front.

Water Condition

We have included purification tablets in the kit. We recommend adding 1 tablet to the water every 6 months. If the water turns cloudy and the tablet does not clear up the water, then it may be best to change out the water. Please use the hand syphon pump and refer to our service website on how to remove the water.  *Note: If you use the blue dye in your tank, it is not recommended that you use the purification tablets.  Discoloration may occur if you do so. Instead, please visually monitor water quality and change when necessary. It is recommended that dyed water is changed out every year.

Tank Stopper

The tank stopper can fall out, on occasion. If this occurs, you will need to reinsert it into position.  Moisten the tank stopper to help with putting it back into position.

Handle Strap

Every 6 months, review the stitching and wear on the handle strap. If you notice excessive wear, replace the handle. Fraying can be caused by incorrect use. Please see instructions on our service site for replacing the handle.

Replace the Batteries

If the monitor readings begin to fade or are incorrect, we recommend changing the batteries.  Four AA batteries are located behind the monitor.  Using a Phillips screwdriver, unscrew the two screws, one on left and one on the right of the monitor, and gently lift to access the battery pack located behind the monitor. Check the batteries are positioned correctly in the battery pack.  Replace the batteries and reattach the screws to the monitor housing.

Replace the Bungee

Over time, and with use, the bungee cord can lose its elasticity, which will affect the recoil of the machine. If this happens, it should to be replaced.  To perform this task, detach the bungee from the recoil belt. Next, remove the two horizontally positioned bolts with the 5mm allen key from the bungee pod.

Remove the old bungee assembly and position the new one into place on the rear bumper.  Replace the two horizontally positioned bolts with 5mm allen key

Troubleshooting Guide

Monitor Turns On but Does Not Start

Check the connection of the sensor cable and the monitor cable. Check that the wiring on both the monitor and sensor cable is intact.

Remove the top deck cover and check the position of the sensor disk underneath the top deck.  It may be necessary to shift the sensor disk up to a position that is closer to the optical sensor. To do so, use a flat instrument to gently raise the disk up.

Frozen Monitor Screen

If the monitor screen is frozen, statistics stay the same or if the monitor does not turn off, remove the batteries for 10 seconds and replace the batteries.  If the problem persists, contact your nearest WaterRower office or email:
[email protected].  If the monitor does not turn on, it could mean the batteries are faulty and need to be replaced.   If the monitor does not turn on after replacing the batteries or there is a break in the wires, contact
you nearest WaterRower office or email [email protected] for replacement parts.

Erratic Numbers

If the monitor is reading higher than usual numbers, we recommend trying the following:
1. Using a can of compressed air, spray the sensor disk and clean the sensor (you may need to remove the top deck).
2. Use a dryer sheet or anti-static spray to clean the sensor and sensor disk.
3. If in direct sunlight, move your WaterRower to the shade. The S4 sensor is optical and light may interfere with readings.
4. Check for loose wires in the wire harness between the monitor and sensor.
5. Replace the 4 AA batteries, erratic numbers can result due to low battery power.
6. Check the sensor disk for misaligned teeth.
7. Replace the sensor and sensor disk.

Tank Paddle is Rubbing

First, remove the top deck cover.  With the 5mm allen key, loosen all the bolts (in the order of: 1, 2, and 3) on the tank assembly. Take a few gentle pulls to see if rubbing continues.

If rubbing has stopped, gently retighten the bolts in the same order. Replace the top deck cover.  If this does not solve the problem, determine where the paddle is rubbing in the tank: right side/left side, top/bottom or front/back of the tank.  Please refer to the Troubleshooting section on our Service website www.waterrowerservice.com, or contact your nearest WaterRower office. You can email: [email protected].

Sluggish Recoil

First, remove the top deck cover and check the belt alignment to make sure all straps are positioned correctly on the pulleys.  Second, when the handle is in its full forward position next to the forward riser pulley. Check the recoil belt is wound 1½ times around the shaft of the paddle, underneath the clutch.

Third, shorten the recoil strap by readjusting the strap in the buckle. Be careful not to make the recoil belt too short, as the connector may catch on the forward riser.  Replace the bungee cord if necessary.  Please contact [email protected] or call your nearest WaterRower office to order a new bungee.

Ensure the seat is correctly positioned on the rails.  The rail extrusions and the guide wheels are under the lip on the extrusion. If the seat does not slide smoothly with first use, check the rails are clean and free from obstruction. If the seat feels rough, clean the rails and the seat wheels.  If the problem persists, please contact your nearest WaterRower office, or email: [email protected].

When replacing the M1 Footboard, please ensure that the spacer that goes between the rail and the footboard is in place when adding the new footboard onto the machine. If the spacer is not in its proper place, this could cause the seat guide wheels to begin rubbing on the extrusions, eventually causing them to deteriorate.  If the problem persists, please contact your nearest WaterRower office, or email: [email protected].

If the water begins to turn cloudy, add in one purification tablet.  If after two weeks the water has not cleared, drain the water from the tank, fill the tank with fresh water and add in a purification tablet.  *Note: If you use the blue dye in your tank, it is not recommended that you use the purification tablets.  Discoloration may occur if you do so. Instead, please visually monitor water quality and change when necessary. It is recommended that dyed water is changed out every year.

When taking the first few pulls on your rower, the only sound you should hear is the swishing of the water. If there are any other sounds, please determine where the sound is coming from and contact your nearest WaterRower office (details on back page).

First check the level of water is not filled above the maximum level. Please refer to the level gauge sticker on the side of the tank.  If the tank is filled to the correct level, determine where the water is coming out of the tank and
contact your nearest WaterRower office or email [email protected]