What do you call these things?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by miacharger, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. miacharger

    miacharger LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    Our sprinkler system is over 40 years old and consists of spray heads and brass impact heads both single and double stream. The sprinklers fit into these quick couplers which are in the ground and have either alumminum or blue plastic covers. You lift the lid, then screw the brass key which holds the 1" sprinklers. Trouble is that the rubber inside of them is old and cracked, and they leak everywhere, reducing pressure and making the areas around them soggy. What are these things called, our local suppliers haven't heard of them and can't figure out what I am talking about. I have Nelson model 30 and rain bird, neither fits the other. Also the system is mostly galvanized pipe, so you know what fun that is to repair. They are rebuildable, the Nelsons but contacting the company hasn't seemed to help. I would like to get the flat seals for the valve and the round seals for the key to valve. Does anyone have experience with this system? Any advice is appreciated, but I am not going to update to gear driven heads as it would involve nasty plumbing headaches, and it's kind of relaxing to see the streams of water and hear the tap tap sound. Last resort is to get some rubber tubing and flat rubber stock I guess!
     
  2. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Well,I still suggest you update your system,after being in use for 40 years,you have to have more issues than just leaky seals.I personaly don't know where you can find rebuild kits for those because they are so outdated even the company has no idea what you are talking about.I cant see how updating will involve and nasty plumbing headaches as all you will need to do is remove the old heads from the quick couplers and replace with a new head.
    I suggest you remove a one of each type of head and cap off the line temporarily,then take them into a plumbing or irrigation supply store and show them what it is exactly you need for them.Then if you still cannot find what you need,replace all the heads with new ones.
     
  3. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    Those are called quick coupling valves. They are probably Nelson QCV and they had an Acme type thread. You can replace them with current issue QCV and get another coupler key or two. The system you have is under continuous pressure and would require a major redo to install valves, etc. Can you post a picture of the coupler with the head on it? We can probably identify it from that.

    Check with an Irrigation Supply house and they should be able to get the right parts. If you have a John Deere or Ewing close by they can probably fix you up.

    Sheshovel, unless it is a very special plumbing house, they usually don't have the foggiest idea about what constitutes an irrigation system component. They usually look at an irrigator with a blank stare when you ask for a specialized part.
     
  4. miacharger

    miacharger LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    Jerry's right, I have taken the actual part to quite a few supply houses and then haven't got a clue. Upgrading this system would be a nightmare as it would involve installing new solenoid valves, or valve in head sprinklers, and then have to run hose or wires between each head. The whole system has 25 couplers but can only support 10 heads at a time so they are moved around, and removed w hen mowing time comes along, or at night and weekends to prevent theft. The lines are buried 24 inches deep and in our rocky soil this was no small feat! Replacing the "QuicK couplers" would involve digging a hole at least 12 inches deep, grabbing the pipe and brass with wrenches and praying that the pipe doesn't break at the threads, then having to go deeper, cut, thread and add a nipple to bring the valve to the correct height. Surprisingly the existing system has endured being run over with trucks and the skid steer with no damage. Only once lost a cap when making a turn in the Bobcat.

    How can I post a pic? The head is sitting on my desk and I have a cam. Took a look at the Nelson website but didn't see anything about QCV. I am doing an experiment now to see if rubber tubing and flat stock cam be used to fix them. It takes a 1 and 1/2 inch socket to disassemble the head, and so far every one I try comes out really easy!

    Does anyone still install a system like this? It's the only one around here that's mostly trouble free.
     
  5. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    You're dealing with a "quick coupler" system and have identified the parts correctly; valve, key and impact sprinkler. The standard for years has usually been single lug/slot and double lug/slot. Neither of these has a seal on the key itself but contain a rubber "upper seal" that sits in a grove (double slot) or sits between the upper/lower halves of the single slot valves (top screws off after loosening a set bolt). Most of the original seals from years ago were actually made of leather. The smooth brass section of the key compresses the seal when inserted but can still leak (even if the seal is new) if the key is warped, bent or worn down.

    However, there is a third type that I'm aware of and it is a true "screw" type where the bottom of the key has a wide brass thread. These are very unusual and hard to find replacement parts for. We had an older school that had a combination of single slot and screw types and couldn't find the screw-type replacements over 10 years ago. We ended up converting the entire site over to the slotted type quick coupler valve and it's still the method of irrigation for this site.
     
  6. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    When you reply to a post scroll down the reply page a little and you'll see a button called "Manage Attachments." Open this and then browse to the picture on your computer. After browsing to it, hit the "upload" button. The picture can be no bigger than 800 x 800 pixels and watch your compression ratio or Wet Boots will give you a quick compression lesson. :p
     
  7. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Remove only the QCV, build a PVC QC swing joint off a galvanized 90 and install the new QCV. You'll be able to set the new QCV close to the old location and the swing joing will swing downward so the valve can be placed level with the ground.
     
  8. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    There are a lot of parts that are "irrigation specific" and plumbing houses have no need for them. You should have seen the look on their face when I took a TOE nipple into them because they'd never seen one before. LOL :p
     
  9. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

  10. miacharger

    miacharger LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    I have both types, the Rain Bird which has the double lug keys and are used for attatching the taps which go to hoses connected to whirly sprinklers. The others are like a very coarse screw thread, which seems to be like the hard to find type you described. Just took one apart and made new seals from the flat rubber and the hose and they seem to do the trick. Beveled the hose with a soldering iron, who know how long this will last. Purphaze, do you remember what types of couplers you upgraded to? ( Nelson Rain Bird e.t.c.)These are 1" inlet and about 3 and 1/2 inches high. Also some have a funny little square head screw which holds the lid in place when tightened. By the way the building next door had the sprinkler guys today and I asked them but they had never seen a system like this. I was shocked to see that they only bury the pipes 8 inches down and use flexible hose for the feed to each head! The "funny pipe" doesn't even have a clamp to hold it on!

    Also when fixing an existing galvanized pipe, is it OK to use the slip compression fittings? One section of the main line was hit by a backhoe years ago and rusted out causing a big geyser. We fixed it by cutting it out and adding a new section of 3" schedule 40 pvc and it's threaded at one end and a slip fitting at the other. I was told that it would work it's way out but being under ground 2 feet isn't that impossible? BTW the galvanized pipe was in very good shape everywhere other than the hit.
     

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