Finding Hydraulic valves

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by spthomas, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. spthomas

    spthomas LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I'm working on my first hydraulic system. Interesting. It's a Toro Freetime 4 station hydraulic system (looks like NO valves). Anyway one is leaking and can't be shut off (curiously, there is an in-ground valve with a cover marked "toro", and it operates, but doesn't shut down anything!).

    How do I locate this valve? No wire, so can't use a locator. And of course there is no valve box, that'd be way too easy!

  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,722

    Consider a complete rebuild, with a new controller. What kind of backflow preventer is there on the system? Sometimes, one can replace four hydraulic valves with four anti-syphon control valves, and get working valves and backflow protection in one repair job.
  3. spthomas

    spthomas LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    There isn't a backflow preventer (old system), but it'll have to have one if we break the main line, a state requirement. I was sort of hoping to fix the valve or replace the top part of it without breaking the line. But, the biggest deal is finding the valve. And I don't want to dig up the whole yard looking!

    All in all a very expensive proposition to fix one valve!
  4. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    The valve will be a toro hydraulic valve when you find it. Most likely a pin type valve that you won't be able to repair, and if you can, it will require you to remove it from the main line to do so. No matter what you do, your going to have to shut off the main and open the main line to fix this one. That means you get to sell them a backflow preventer. That used to be DC country, but it has been a long time. As to finding the valve.............flag your heads. Draw the lines the way YOU think they SHOULD be. Dig down and find the lateral by the head nearest your best guess. Cut the line and see which direction the water is dripping from. Take another best guess and dig again. When you know the water is comming from between two holes, I usually go middle, middle, middle, bingo..........oh crap a tee, and start over.
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,722

    I don't recall any hydraulic-valve system that had any real backflow prevention. You have to level with the homeowner that it's time to upgrade, and that it won't be cheap. Many of the Toro hydraulic valves are non-repairable.
  6. brookviewlawncare

    brookviewlawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 356

    The only toro valve that are nonrepairable are the hyd. piston type valves and they are bullet proof. It could be pin type or normally open type which are both repairable. mud puppy is correct dig up heads find the feader line get out your locater and steel fish tape and start hunting. To replace all the valves for one bad diaphram is nuts. Just my opinion
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,722

    No hydraulic valve with water in it (in the control tubes and control portion of the valve) over the winter is 'bulletproof' ~ I've seen all models of Toro hydraulic valves fail
    If you take care of a system that has no backflow protection, and one of those incidents, the kind that get written up in the "bad things that can happen without backflow protection" pages, should occur, you have to allow for the distinct possibility that the connected insurance companies will gut you like a fish. They operate completely without remorse. (in the financial interests of their shareholders) I deal with that possibility by requiring functioning backflow protection on any system I do repair work on.

    Because of the usual lack of backflow protection on old hydraulically operated sprinkler systems, I always advise upgrading the plumbing. If allowed by code, antisyphon valves are the easiest way to go. The hard part about the upgrade is finding the old valves.
  8. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,642

    Its old , simply sell them a new system and be done with it .
  9. Green Sweep

    Green Sweep LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts: 322

    I had a Toro hydrolic system for an apartment building with a bad valve - knew where it was. Gave the property manager an estimate for converting to electric 2 years ago & he hasnt even started up the system since. He now just hand waters the flowers. Oh well.
  10. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Or learn to witch. Doesn't work with everyone. :dizzy:

    Seriously, you can pothole suspected line areas and follow the lines. Smaller means you're getting closer to the head and larger means your getting closer to the source... EXCEPT ... on those residential systems where the same sized pipe is used throughout. :rolleyes:

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