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Sticking Valves

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Planter, Apr 9, 2002.

  1. Planter

    Planter LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 214

    Did a lateral repair for a guy today. When I was done I manually opened the valves to check for leaks and see if the head was adjusted correctly. Tried a couple of the valves, trying to find the right one. Anyway, I ended up with three zones running at the same time that wouldn't shut down. These are very old valves and I didn't get the name off them, by they look like bargain store stuff that's 25 years old. Ended up shutting off the main and cleaning off the diaphrams on all three valves. Anyone else see this type of problem and how do you deal with it?

  2. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Yup, all the time. The old RainBird EV100 and what was the Hardie HR1 (same valve and I forget which co made them) are notorius for that. Others will do it too, especially older stuff. When I find that any more, we replace all the diaphrams, check condition of solinoids and wiring connections.

    Small brass valves we usually replace to get something current. Large one we still prefer to rebuild.
  3. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Here is a trick with the HR-1 and others:

    If you need to check the system and can't get to the timer, don't BLEED THEM MANUALLY, go back when you can find the timer.

    When you bleed those valves the rush of water coming off the top of the diaphragm causes it to open too quickly, when it does the diaphragm is built (molded?) in such a way the the stem of the diaphragm can easily become jammed into the bonnet when it opens that fast. When the timer opens the valve the rush of water is much slower because the port size under the solenoid is much smaller than the HUGE holes that the water bleeds from by the solenoid pin.

    Now the tip:

    If the customer isn't home and you can't get approval to replace/repair the valves......do this it is much faster than taking all the screws out and rebuilding the valve.

    1 turn the water to the valves OFF
    2 take out the bleed pins
    3 use the bleed pin to push the diaphragm back down.
    4 sounds weird, but if you push the pin in on just the right angle you can push against the diaphragm stem just right and it will slide down
    5 The water must be OFF or you will never be able to do this
    6 This only works with these types of valves

    The other thing you can SOMETIMES do is while the valve is running and the water is on, tap on the top of the valve it sometimes will break the stem free...tap lightly and don't break the bleed pin!

    My techs are taught not to bleed ANY valves manually unless absolutely necessary just for this reason. Ever go to a house and do a simple repair, bleed the valves cuz you are too lazy to go to the timer and then have to repair some valves? for free? Sucks huh Planter?
  4. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,185

    Yeah those Hardie/Richdel valves are a pain. I also have the same problem with an older Toro. Don't know the model though. I won't bleed those either. But if I'm there and have no access to the timer, I will use my Station Master actuator(sp?). Most other valves I have no problem using the manual bleed.

    Do many of you use WeatherMatic? A few companies here do, and some older systems have them along with a buried master valve. Just checking.
  5. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Ahhh the dreaded Toro 264 or 254 series with the solenoid that has two screws holding it on...............that is another one I make the guys avoid.....HATE THAT VALVE EVEN MORE.

    Nice to see ya Dana, I am about 1 week away man!
  6. Planter

    Planter LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 214

    True story. Had a 20-30 minute repair that took an hour and 45 minutes, cause I couldn't get into the timer. Spent the time looking for the main shutoff and disassembling and repairing three valves. Thanks for the tip. Next time I'll try it and let you know. I really appreciate it.

  7. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,185

    On those Hardie valves I have, in the past when they had stayed open, shut off the water supply (at PVB/RP), drained the mainline or manifold, opened the bleeder again, let it sit a couple of minutes, close the bleeder and mani drain, then start it back up. Usually the valve will close by doing that. Not always, but usually.

    Tony - hopefully we can actually meet after you move here. I know you'll be busy and I am swamped now, but we'll get together soon.
  8. Planter

    Planter LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 214

    Thanks for the tip. I tried that two or three times. First tried opening and closing the bleeder and making sure that was tightened, checked the solenoid for a seal, then I tried shutting off the main, opening the main drain, opened the bleed valve and let it all drain out. Closed everything and opened the main, still no luck. Then I disassembled the valves and cleaned them. That did the trick.

    One of them had very rough edges on the diaphram. The owner said he'd had problems with that valve before. Anywhere I can get a chart that shows the various diaphrams so I can order a couple? The old Century Rainaid catalog had a chart with diaphram dimensions and photos, but Ive long ago thrown that away.
  9. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Just do the customer a favor and carry all the valves on your truck/van. When you need to do a repair, give them the diaphragm, bonnet and solenoid instead of just changing the guts. This way they get a new valve except for the body. It also helps you because you don't have to worry about the solenoid going bad TOMORROW. It happens!

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