View Full Version : Box of bad valves. What to do?

06-13-2012, 04:58 PM
Back story:
In March, I got an entire box of new valves, and installed all of them (across 3 sites) before the water was turned on this Spring (Where I work, we have a secondary water district that most homes and offices use for irrigation. The mains are off from October to April.) When the systems were turned on, every single valve failed. They are a great dirty water valve (I may or may not be talking about the Rainbird PESB, but if that is what you want to use in your mind to paint a picture, you have a good picture). Luckily, I used Action manifolds with the installations, so swapping them went much quicker than if I had to cut each one out. After returning the lot, my supply house told me that the manufacturer put out a recall on the valves a few days after I returned mine (sounds like I wasn't the only one that got bad equipment).

I guarantee my work, so I didn't bill the customers to replace the defective valves. The thing that sucks is that I lost time during my peak season, the time when I can charge the most. But maybe even worse, it made me look like I don't know what I am doing (and almost all my work comes from referrals).

So here is my question: How to hedge against manufacturer defects? Do I put in a clause in my my bid/ estimate that states that I will bill labour to replace defective parts? Can I try to bill the manufacturer for their mistake (the rep for this valve told me "no" on that last point)? What do you do?

06-13-2012, 05:20 PM
It's up to you to make good choices when selecting equipment. If you don't like Rainbird customer service, tell them so, and find another brand of product to install.

06-13-2012, 05:37 PM
I always try to use quality parts. That is a best practice that I got used to years ago. But let's say that I only install the very best, with the lowest failure rate and the highest ratings. It might still fail. Do you write in a clause to your contracts? Maybe a mason jar that you put your change in each night with a label that says "in case of failure, break glass, visit Coin-Star?"

Plus, I have never had a problem with this valve in the past, have put in about 30 more since then, and plan to continue using it in the future.

06-13-2012, 05:59 PM
You just have to write the time off, if Rainbird isn't going to help. Certainly your customers aren't going to pay your labor on warranty work. Why should they?

Mike Leary
06-13-2012, 06:23 PM
The factory is worried about more liability. If you are really pissed, I'd keep hammering the branch, the REP and the factory. Tell them you're going to badmouth everyone until the situation is clarified. How did the valves fail? In the past, RB has comped me the parts AND labor for their screw-ups.

06-13-2012, 06:28 PM
I would b!tch to the local/regional Rainbird rep about it. Even if it gets you some free schwag. I went to lunch with my Ewing manager, and the RB rep last year. Told him all my issues from the bad DV solenoid o-rings, the failures of the 3500, the MV Err issue with older ESPm controllers, the old T-Bird failures, and the DVs that slam shut and cause issues in high pressure situations. I received a good size credit at Ewing, and a tackle box of nozzles and RB rotator nozzles, all courtesy of RB. Now, I can't say they will do that for you, but it doesn't hurt to try. And if they don't impress you, move on to another manufacturer.

RB used to pay me good money to replace the TBirds.

06-13-2012, 06:29 PM
At least try to get some free product from them. A case of 5004 heads or sump'in

Mike Leary
06-13-2012, 06:40 PM
Contact Mitch Heiner, he's a quality guy. mheiner@rainbird.com

06-13-2012, 06:41 PM
(I wonder if I can get Toro to comp me for those Super600 heads with the bad wiper seals)

06-13-2012, 07:35 PM
Rainbird came through for me once. Not cash but product voucher that I used like a check at my distributor.

It was another back panel in an ESP-M issue as I recall. Not the MV-Err issue, but several live zones when the controller was supposed to be off.

Replacing the back panel fixed it, but they also came through to compensate for my labor. I would emphasize to the rep how much of a loyal customer you've been and how you're sure they'd like you to continue to buy their products in the future.

06-13-2012, 09:01 PM
Looks like some of us dodged a bullet.

Seems to me if RB recalled the valves they admit a defect and my be liable for ancillary damages, like the cost of replacing them. When GM recalls a vehicle, the dealer doesn't eat the cost of the fix.

06-13-2012, 10:08 PM
But let's say that I only install the very best, with the lowest failure rate and the highest ratings.

Didn't know anyone installed ASCO valves.


That's HOT!!

06-13-2012, 11:04 PM
(I wonder if I can get Toro to comp me for those Super600 heads with the bad wiper seals)

Maybe they'll give you a few cases of Super 700's.

06-14-2012, 09:29 AM
I could only wish - those have been discontinued as well :(

06-14-2012, 09:46 AM
I could only wish - those have been discontinued as well :(

I have a whole mess of super 700 nozzles I can sell you at an exorbitant price.

06-14-2012, 10:00 AM
Nozzles I got - I'm surprised all the Toro rotors, Stream Rotor excepted, that used the standard Toro case, have been discontinued. I'd think they would want to have something available for no-digging head replacements

06-14-2012, 12:27 PM
How did the valves fail?

A bad o-ring on the solenoid that made it almost impossible to screw in all the way. Too big, I think. That tiny gap was acting like "manual on."

No free product or credit, but I did get a nice polo shirt. Didn't make me very happy though.

Unfortunately for me, I don't have time or the inclination to keep going after the rep for additional compensation. My supply house on the other hand, has tried to make it right by sending work my way, and I have picked up a few extra clients because of their referrals.

So the moral for the story is: Roll with the punches. Deal with it and move on. Build a better relationship with the rep, so if it happens again, I might get paid or at least get free stuff out of it.

Thanks for the input.

06-14-2012, 12:38 PM
Couldn't they just give out new O-rings?

06-14-2012, 07:54 PM
Couldn't they just give out new O-rings?

That would be admitting that there was a problem to begin with.

06-18-2012, 09:12 PM
I had what appears to be a bad batch of rain bird valves myself DVF's replaced thirty something valves and counting..... I have gotten a free case of valves from rainbird so far. overall I like rain bird products but am looking into other options due to poor customer service/ willingness to stand behind there product.