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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.
 

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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 :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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?
 

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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!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
bicmudpuppy said:
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).
I stocked up on a couple of new valves prior to going out thinking I would have them on hand if I needed to swap one out. Is there a "standard" setting for the flow control like turn it all the way in and then back it out so far? And if I were to open it fully the zone should fire?

The guy at Ace wanted me to swap the Toro TR50 for the 300 Series . If the rest of the zone are multistreams, they should be replaced with multi's, correct?
 

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Do everything methodically. Take the cover off one of the 300's that isn't popping up, and check the basket screen. There are no replacement heads as short as these, so substitutions won't be easy. If there are any 90° 300-02 heads, those are consuming less than one gpm.

As much as is practical, you want to be able to keep a system with good equipment repaired with original parts. 300's are one of the few gear-drive heads that are repairable. Is there no Toro distribution near you?

As for a flow control on the valve, I adjust one like I would adjust a carburetor - turn it down until it begins to affect the flow, then back out a quarter or half a turn. Do you have flow control valves on this system? Note that if you'd had that pressure gauge, you could have already determined what that valve was doing, especially if you try to open it manually, and get no pressure.

Just a stab in the dark here, but if the control valve is an old Richdel, a 'broken' diaphragm assembly will prevent it from opening correctly. You do want to have a stock of replacement diaphragms for those. The diaphragm assembly is still used in Irritrol R-205 valves. In general, you want to be able to repair zone valves. (with the obvious exception of Toro Flo-Pro's which you rip out and replace)
 

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On older style vavles, I "dry set" a newly rebuilt valve by opening it completly and closing it 3 full turns. This is my starting point. If it works, fine. If not, adjust from there. Two identical valves on the same system will not always adjust the same. Enjoy the learning curve, your in a full speed :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the help and advice guys. The threads here have been a tremendous advantage in taking my first steps and this afternoon I picked up my first "Paid In Full" check for $145.00. Now I need to go find a suitable frame so I can hang it up on my wall and admire it!!! LOL :p

~
 

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AceSprinkleRx said:
Thanks for the help and advice guys. The threads here have been a tremendous advantage in taking my first steps and this afternoon I picked up my first "Paid In Full" check for $145.00. Now I need to go find a suitable frame so I can hang it up on my wall and admire it!!! LOL :p

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Just out of curosity, what do you think you had into the call as far as labor, parts, and drivetime?

EDIT: BTW, congratulations :) Have you gotten any more calls?
 

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AceSprinkleRx said:
Thanks for the help and advice guys. The threads here have been a tremendous advantage in taking my first steps and this afternoon I picked up my first "Paid In Full" check for $145.00. Now I need to go find a suitable frame so I can hang it up on my wall and admire it!!! LOL :p

~
Congrats, but you forgot to tell us what was actually wrong? and like Jon asked, what did you have to buy to fix it, and how much time did you invest on the learning curve?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Initially water was blowing through the riser seal on a corner Toro 300 and a 300 upwater wasn't working correctly. I picked up a seal to fix the corner head along with 3 6" boxes the guy decided he wanted and installed those. Afterwards he mentioned a rotor in the back wasn't turning so...

The next day I picked up (3) Toro 340 heads so I'd have a couple on hand, and (3) Toro Stream Rotors, one to replace and two on hand. Miscellaneous fittings too.

3 hrs labor. Maybe $36 for parts. And drive time was a few blocks away. The worst part was the guy was over my shoulder for most of the time. Wanting to visit and then wanting me to adjust some of the older 300's.

Overall I replaced 2 heads, installed 3 boxes, replaced a seal and adjusted another head he knocked sideways with his riding lawnmower.

I read the manual on toro.com on adjusting the stream rotor, then forgot which way to increase and decrease the arc after I got it installed! lmao!

The learning curve was mostly jumping in there and getting your hands a bit dirty. He wants me to come back and winterize for him so must have went better than what I thought.

~
 

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AceSprinkleRx said:
I

The learning curve was mostly jumping in there and getting your hands a bit dirty. He wants me to come back and winterize for him so must have went better than what I thought.

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I think it was you who I originally told that you can do all the book work you want, but once your in the field, you realize that the hands on experience is 60% of the battle...I don't remember though.

Anyways, sounds like you had a good start. We keep a huge inventory of everything we ever use (50' ConEx box) so we keep trips to the dealers at a minimum, But we also do fulltime installs.

Do you have a compressor for winterizing yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
JonHolland said:
I think it was you who I originally told that you can do all the book work you want, but once your in the field, you realize that the hands on experience is 60% of the battle...I don't remember though.

Anyways, sounds like you had a good start. We keep a huge inventory of everything we ever use (50' ConEx box) so we keep trips to the dealers at a minimum, But we also do fulltime installs.

Do you have a compressor for winterizing yet?
More than likely you said it to me and a few others Jon. I've always been self-reliant and learning new skills comes easily to me. Mastering them is another thing though, like drywalling (which I've decided is an "art".)

My profession is in the commercial insurance and sales field, so reading a book and attending a few seminars doesn't make you proficient there either. Hands on and working in the field is what it takes in any endeavor to become a success.

As for the compressor, no I don't have one yet. My thoughts are to secure 'X' amount of winterizing accounts, and then either look to rent one for a week, or purchase one outright depending upon the number of jobs I have lined up.

While in Home Depot and Lowes over the weekend (still remodelling our house for resale next year), I was looking at some of their portable compressors. A mid-size portable, electric or gas powered, would be ideal for my remodelling at home and for blowing out.

Do you have any recommendations?

~
 
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