Durability for a poorly designed college campus...

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by turf4kansas, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. turf4kansas

    turf4kansas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    I'm a grounds director in the middle of Kansas and have inherited 5(5-12 zones each) systems that are exclusively Toro Super 800's, Toro Mini 8's, Toro 570Z w/ TVAN(for the most part), P-220 valves, and TMC-424 clocks. I'm happy with the clocks and valves, but the heads do not hold up to the foot and cart traffic this campus gets. The heads are all highly prone to locking up and getting clipped off (by foot, blade, or wheel) even weeks after installation. Unfortunately most of our sidewalks are only 4 feet and are poorly designed to handle traffic without wearing the edges, but we have been going through replacing sidewalks at least up to 6 feet.

    I am in no way looking for "the final word" on what I'm going to choose, but I'm curious to hear personal experiences with heads or series you've been impressed with where they take a beating.

    Up until this point I have been asked by the school to stay with the product lines we were already using, however we recently have undertook at large construction project. In that project, we'll be tearing up the old system and expanding to cover at least 3 to 4 times the area.

    I've been given the greenlight to start changing what we use on campus, but I'm tired of pouring over spec sheets and listening to salesmen. I want real world verification. :)

    Any facility managers or companies that manage larger property like a college campus that could weigh in?
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,764

    Newly installed heads not retracting points more at the install height. Favor a Rainbird 1800 series popup spray body, for reliable retraction, still paying attention to install height.
  3. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    I find that Toro spray heads have the weakest springs. And if you want an even stronger spring than a standard RB 1804, go with the RB 1804 SAM. The check valved head has a stronger spring (if I remember correctly).
  4. turf4kansas

    turf4kansas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Thanks for the replies so far. To clarify, the Mini 8's are probably the worst at pop/retract failure. The Super 800's seem to get about 2 good years out of them then go on the fritz. They're all plenty easy to replace, but I would rather spend some more money and spend less time replacing heads I've already replaced that current year.

    Install heights have been the culprit on 2 or 3 of the instances, I'll admit that. However, the majority of them are at similar heights to when they were installed with steady foot & wheel traffic across them. I think in a basic residential situation they'd be fine, but they are costing me too much time.
  5. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,174

    Bite the bullet, if you can. Switch over to RB products, and use 6" pop-ups. If you've got low-drainage, use the SAM versions and compressor-winterize.
  6. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,109

    A couple of points to help....

    There are companies which will make you a plan for a fee...well worth the money to have an experienced licensed pro do the design so it functions properly and does not waste water.
    Installing heads so they don't protrude above the ground when not running will keep the lawn guys from breaking them...also use a flex coupler or swing joint rather than installing directly into pipe so there is some play if they are run over
  7. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,358

    What does the LA and OSA spec? If this is a public college there should be at least a spec page with details.

    Even in Kansas.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,174

    Most of the big boys know the "experts", especially after expensive failures, don't know jack, and deal with the client accordingly: that's the name of the game. LAs have brought me to the table with their "designs" and I've turned them down, since it's MY warranty, not the their's.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  9. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 977

    Preach it brother! Most LA's are working off a % of the irrigation system cost, so they spec high dollar crap. i.e. we just got done installing 12" pgp ultra rotors to cover bermuda grass.

    Also, a properly installed POS is much better than the best head on the market installed incorrectly.

    I like hunter 6" PRS 30's with factory installed check. As for rotors, anything stainless hunter or RB.
  10. LawnMastersTx

    LawnMastersTx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    At the University of Texas we are using 1806 SAM PRS heads across campus and have not had a lot of problems with them. I have had a few heads chewed off due to squirrels, but no big problems other than that.

    We have looked at the Hunter PRS but they come made with the check valve which does not work with our flow monitoring.

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