First Call...

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by AceSprinkleRx, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. AceSprinkleRx

    AceSprinkleRx LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Posts: 95

    Received my first call from my classified ad this evening. I felt pretty confident up until now in troubleshooting. First "job" jitters I suppose, since I've run plumbing before, installed kitchens/bathrooms, and even lived in a farmnhouse for a few years where the water was from a shallow well/cistern which I took care of.

    Elderly man just had knee surgery. Most likely a classic problem all of you would laugh at. Zone 1 valve problem. Won't always start and sometimes stays open. Isn't certain what type of valve he has. Bought the home and the system was already in. Some RB stuff, Toro stuff, "hodgepodge" he says. Somehow I feel a need to search for the thread where someone was talking about how to get off a property! :) Dude's a talker.

    Sounds like a check the electrical and swap a valve/solenoid. I was hoping for some simple head replacements to start out with though. Any words of wisdom to share? You guys have been a great help as I've read about every post here. tnx.
     
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    Heres an odd thing I've found happen a couple times for the symtoms your describing.

    The really old Rainbird ESP timers have the ribbon cable that goes from the control panel to the jumper board kink pretty good when the control panel is shut, I've seen a few rare instances when homeowners complain about valves working sporadiacly actually be the timers fault, if you wiggle the door, sometimes the valve will kick back on or go off.

    In that case, I inform them of what the problem is, and usually upgrade their timer to a new ESP-M (I don't like changing brands, because most customers are used to the ESP control scheme).

    I've ran across a few cheapskate people who just prefer to go wiggle the ribbon cable though :rolleyes:

    Good luck :)
     
  3. AceSprinkleRx

    AceSprinkleRx LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Posts: 95

    Stopped by the site and all wiring checked out for the 7 zones. Started Z1 from the controller and the far head, Toro 300-02 multistream, barely came up and had water shooting from the base of the riser. Another head just upstream didn't seem to have enough pressure to pop up. Rest of the zones work fine.

    The 3 old valves for the front zones are buried next to the front door steps and are each covered by maybe 4" black plastic pipe set vertically. Valves are grown over with sod and I had to dig them out.

    Homeowner requested I put in (3) 6" valve boxes to cover the valves out front (A landscaper used similar boxes in the backyard when landscaping early this Spring). He wants last head replaced and feels this will allow other the heads to come up. I'll also check the nozzle filters.

    Our local Ace doesn't have the 300 in stock. Will a 500 series be fine for replacement?
     
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,992

    300's are easily substituted for, since they usually use higher pressure than a lot of other rotors. However, if other zones of 300's are working fine, you need to look for a leak. Also, since you have a pressure gauge, see what the house pressure is when a faulty zone is running. Lower pressure indicates a leak. Higher pressure indicates clogged filters (and the 300 heads have special fine mesh basket filters to protect the nozzles, so they will trap any dirt in the line) or, a valve that isn't opening fully, or, worst of all, a pipe that is being choked shut by tree roots. Good luck!
     
  5. AceSprinkleRx

    AceSprinkleRx LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Posts: 95

    Thanks WB. leak might be an option, but there aren't any obvious signs or evidence of one. The grass is fairly brown in Z1 and the valves are right next to it as well. No trees or shrubs in the vicinity either.

    Pressure testing the house is a good one. If head replacement and adjusting doesn't fix it, I'll try the house pressure test.

    ~ Ace
     
  6. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    I'm willing to bet you have a clog.

    Judging by the symptoms.

    Keep us informed :)
     
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,992

    Check the basket filters first. If an incompetent repair was made in the past, letting dirt into the line, the basket filters will clog, and give you the symptoms you noted. For one thing, most replacement heads are taller that the 300's, and you won't just screw them in like light bulbs. Working 300's are worth saving, and in the case of heads in a corner, difficult to substitute for. And do use the pressure gauge, because you might want to keep a log of readings to refer to. Besides, if you're getting paid by the hour, time spent writing down numbers in a notebook is never wasted. :p
     
  8. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    While we are talking about toro stream rotors, Does anyone besides me have issues with them stopping spinning?
     
  9. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,992

    I sometimes see the ones in corners stop spinning, especially if they have the '63' low-gallonage nozzles. I think Toro may have some design issues with the head, because its oil-filled gear case may not have been easy to update to the water-lubricated gear drives of today. Still and all, it's a head with a track record of reliability that few others can match. And you can replace just the drive assembly in those heads.
     
  10. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    This is going to sound real obvious, but since you found the valve for the zone in question, is it noisy when it opens? like water rushing? and did you check the flow control to make sure it was open? This sounds like an older Toro system, and (not just the toro valves) a lot of older valves don't close well unless the flo control is partially closed. If the pressure changes later or as the valve wears, sometimes the original setting of the flow control is to much. Also, try the bleed screw, if it is a diaphram not opening completly, opening the bleed screw will allow the diaphram to "invert" and you will suddenly get full flow (have access to the main shutoff BEFORE you try this one, valve may not close).
     

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