Toro winterization trouble

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by shayne4sales, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. shayne4sales

    shayne4sales LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I've run into a challenging system for winterization. Homeowner system, 6 zones, Toro controller and with 53707 valves 1" valve with bleed screw, bleed handle and flow control screw. I do a number of these systems a year along with Hunter, Ittrol, rainbird. This particular system has me stumped. I'm using a 125cfm compressor with 50psi. I've tried going through the PVB, through the 1/2" blow out plug, even the boiler valve, yes has both plug and boiler valve. I cannot get the zones to blow, except for one zone and that was only for 20 seconds before the zone dropped again. I've used the controller, the remote for the controller, even opend the bleed handles manually on the valves, no luck. Get this though, if I resupply the whole system with water and activate the valves electronically or manually the system irrigates just fine with water. It's only when I try to put 50psi of air through the system that I'm having this trouble. I got so frustrated I told the homeowner I would be back tomorrow, after trying for an hour to diagnose. After studying Toro's information the only idea I've not tried yet is to open up the flow control screw's on the valves to wide open. Thinking back on it the flow coming through the heads with water appeared to be pretty light. Any ideas my irrigation/ blowout experts? All ideas are welcome.
  2. mitchgo

    mitchgo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,935

    Man those look like the irritrols .. I don't believe I've seen a toro like that..

    It can be pretty tricky to get it to work, sometimes you won't be able to. Get as much out of the main line as possible and then dig up a head per zone and blow out each zone this way.

    But from my experience with old school toro jar tops ( Particular the ones with daisy chain solenoid's) Is to actually crank up the pressure. Try about 100 PSI through the TC #2 on the pvb so you have reduced air flow.Then turn a zone on electrically from the controller and use your valve that you are able to manually turn on. Turn that on manually and the zone that's on electrically should turn on ( Then turn your manual valve off)
    I've had really good success with this process.

    With toro valve's it's all about manipulating the air pressure that's in the line to get that diaphram to drop
  3. shayne4sales

    shayne4sales LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks Mitchgo,
    I'll give this a try but I am apprehensive to hit it with 100psi. I do have an inline pressure guage right after a ball valve so I could start at 0 and steadily work up to 100psi I suppose. I realise water pressures can hit that with water hammer it just makes me a little nervous.
    What do you think of turning the flow control valve wide open on the valve body? What really stumps me is I've done a number of these toro systems with these exact valves and have never had to go through this kind of monkey business. Yes the Irrtrol valves appear to be identical by appearance but I'm positive they are Toro.
    Here's the shortcut to the datasheet on the Toro valve.

    By the way the PVB(Pressure Vacuum Breaker) is a real pain as well. It doesn't want to seat very well with either water or air going through it. I've taken it apart to see if there was some debris or a bad seal. It really just looks like the spring is so strong that it takes a number of trys before it forms a good seal. I makes for a real pretty bubbler when it doesn't seat.

    Overall this whole setup appears to lack reliability.
  4. Fireguy97

    Fireguy97 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    Did you consider that a PVB is not designed to seat with air going through it? Did you consider that backflow prevention assemblies are not supposed to be subjected to pressurized air?

    Did you open the #1 shut off with a snap or nice and slowly like you are supposed to open all ball valves?

    Try closing the #2 shut off, then open the #1 shut off with a snap - not nice and slow like you have always been told to do. Snap the #1 shut off open to seat the valve properly.

  5. shayne4sales

    shayne4sales LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks Fireguy97
    Yes I've considered that the PVB is not designed for air. I'll try closing #2 and snapping #1 open. I've even gone through the boiler drain which is down stream of the PVB with #2 and #1 valves being closed It was the same result, cannot get the heads to activate with the exception of a breif activation of zone 1 for about 20 seconds before the heads dropped back down and almost no noticeble air flow through the heads in zone 1. I've tried activating zone 1 electrically and manually by turning the bleed handle on the zone valve counter clockwise, even manually when the solenoid is activated electronically same result, very little airflow through the heads. It seams as though the zone valve is not opening. But again I'm thinking the flow control screw on individual zone valve might be turn down to a very low flow. Could this be problem? I did not think to open the flow control screw to wide open before leaving for the day. Any thoughts are welcome. I intend on trying what you have suggested as well as Mitchgo's ideas. Just looking for anyone who has run into this before.
    P.S. I'm aware that going through the PVB is not best pactice and try to avoid it whenever possible.
  6. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,801

    crank ya pressure up to 95 psi
  7. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,209

    Yes increase the pressure. If you're afraid of air hitting it too fast, then you need a ball valve at the hose end or at the hook up to the compressor. This would allow you to enter air slowly into the system. IMO you should have a ball valve at both points.

    Try the flow control idea as well.
  8. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,369

    Just to throw in an alternate viewpoint, I had a system with the old 250 series Toro valves, that didn't want to fully open with 60+ psi of air on the supply side. I shut the ball valve on the PVB (yes, blowing air through the thing, so there!) and looked at a head with the merest trickle of water flowing from top. All of a sudden, she opens up wide, and everybody's happy. Too much pressure, I figured.
  9. shayne4sales

    shayne4sales LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Hey everybody, wanted to give you an update. I had success!!!! I don't know if you want to call this a rookie mistake or maybe you have never run into this either so if you haven't please take note.
    The problem turned out to be the hose bib. Like the one pictured at this link. Hose Bibs: Standard Hose Bibbs/0/1/12/1/41/0

    similiar to model 201, 202, or 301.

    The darn hose bib would not allow air to go backwards through it even when it was fully open. My guess is that there is a rubber ring that receded backwards shutting off the opening. Almost acted like a backflow preventer.

    I ended up going through the drain plug in order to get enough volume of air through the system to close the Toro PVB. So with the hose bib acting up, I tried going through TC#2 but just couldn't get the PVB to seal properly even at 100psi. I know I know not best practice but I was left with no other option. Result, no damage, winterized system, happy understanding homeowner and a valuable lesson learned on my part.

    I wanted to thank all of you for the great ideas. It wasn't the zone valves at all in this case so I guess I need to retract my feelings about Toro's zone valves for now.
  10. irritation

    irritation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,577

    I'm confused, your first post said you tried different blow out points.

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