Nice update. I also have this model and enjoyed your mods.
What size vinyl hose did you use as a replacement? I couldn't find a size that fit both the top of the filter and the spraybar or intake strainer.
I think the hose is 1/2". It came with the gravel vac that was with the twenty-gallon tank we "inherited". It doesn't fit the top of the filter as well as I would like. I think at some point I'll end up getting rid of the stock fittings on the filter and using ordinary barbs from the hardware store. Especially after the trouble I had this last servicing getting the pump to catch prime again. The stock flex hose is junk.
I also ended up removing the sponge from the pump inlet. Somehow it had gotten so restrictive that it wouldn't let the pump move sufficient water. Instead I just wrapped the blue/white foam into a spiral with the inlet tube stuck down the center. Now I have enough flow to keep the bamboo shrimp happy in the current.