Rainbird R-40 balldrives

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Dirty Water, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,794

    We recently got the maintenenance contract to maintain the medians and curb grass strips in a small subdivision.

    The originall installers used RB R40's exclusively, even watering areas as narrow as 4 feet (Yes, theres some overspray :D)

    Anyways, when we got there, we fixed a multitude of pipe breaks (Yeah, class pipe under a driveway without a sleeve is so clever).

    About 20 of the R40's refused to spin. Is the R40 that unreliable (the system is only 3-4 years old), or is there a reasion why they crapped out?
     
  2. James234

    James234 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 59

    I've never heard of a Rainbird R40. Did you mean Rainbird R50?
     
  3. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,794

    Your right, I don't know why I typed R40 :)
     
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,024

    Is this an area with freezing conditions? (thinking of the broken pipes) - There might be a problem with the bypass stator, if it gets warped. I saw that one time, on a system I had taken over maintenance on, and was curious enough about the one non-turning head to take it apart. I 'un-warped' the flexible plastic part, and reassembled the head, and it still works today.
     
  5. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    here they are junk..

    my #1 service call is replacing the r50's becuase they will not turn......
     
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,024

    I never paid R-50's much mind, but I had a number of old ball-drive-rotor installations to service, that these heads were a good match for (low pressure operation, and sometimes a low angle of trajectory needed) the old ones. In a very limited sampling of personal observation, mostly of heads I saw installed, they seem to operate very reliably, once they are properly adjusted for rotation speed.

    But still, that warped stator disc made me wonder if it was a fluke, or a symptom of future breakdowns.

    Any common denominator to the systems the failed heads are in? Sandy water? Incompetent installation boobs who tried to slow down the rotation speed, or mismatched nozzle and stator? (I realize that collecting data is very much secondary to the task of making broken systems run)
     
  7. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    Replaced many of 'em. Hate 'em!!
     
  8. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,024

    Obviously, Rainbird must have data on them, but most manufacturers aren't eager to share the details of any goofs of theirs. I did see a sheet detailing modifications to one Rainbird rotor (the T-Bird, I think) and there were plenty of changes made. I'd prefer they figured this stuff out before they release these products. I think the earliest dates of manufacture on the (still-working-reliably) R-50's I've seen are 1993. I'd still want to hear from someone who installed the heads, and changed their mind, before I write off the R-50's. There's too much possibility of installer errors, for me, sight unseen, to assume it was all the sprinklers' fault.

    Certainly, the ball drive concept is a proven one, with a track record for some of the ball-drive sprinkler heads that surpasses any gear-drive sprinkler ever made.
     
  9. James234

    James234 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 59

    The early Rainbird R-50's were made in the USA. The exterior case and top were green in color. These rotors were not ready for prime time. The cases did not seal properly and debris intrusion was a constant problem. Rainbird recognized the problem and offered new seal kits for these rotors. I just got through this year in replacing the last of these in my systems.

    The newer R-50's are made in Mexico and the cases are all black in color. Rainbird made a few internal modifications to the newer rotors as well such as stronger retraction springs and making it easier to adjust the flow rate and nozzle match. They are now called TDR-2/R-50 and they out perform every other rotor on the market. Most professionals dislike them because they are so widely available via Home Depot, Lowes, etc. for do-it-yourself installation by the average homeowner.
     
  10. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,794

    These are the all black ones.

    I also disagree with you on the "out perform all rotors" statement.

    These are junk.
     

Share This Page