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Working with Funny Pipe

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by yardmonkey, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    I do lawncare, landscaping, gardenwork etc. I don't have any desire to get into sprinkler systems, but sometimes I run into situations where I need to do a minor repair. For the most part I try to stay out of it. If I didn't break something, then I recommend call your sprinkler guys, but sometimes I try to fix something that I break.

    Anyway - I recently dug a new bed in front of a holly hedge. There were 3 heads that wound up being in the middle of the bed. All of them were about flush with the ground and it seemed like I would need to be raising the ground level a bit so I wanted to raise the heads. These are Toro 300-02 Flow Stream or Rotor Stream or something like that. They are all connected with funny pipe. So I just dug around them and pulled them up slightly, putting a little more dirt under them. This worked fine except that I broke off the inlet on the bottom of one of the heads. I found that this little elbow piece is removable and replaceable, so I got one from Home Depot and replaced it. So the head is fixed, now I have to put it back in the ground.

    When I broke this, part of it stayed in the funny pipe. I cound not seem to remove it, so I decided to cut the funny pipe and add the length back to it with a coupler. Perhaps a better way to do it would have been to dig back to where the funny pipe connects and replace the whole length of funny pipe.

    Anyway, we are into colder weather, like in the 40's, and I am having trouble getting the funny pipe attached to the connectors. I wonder if there is some trick to this. Do people routinely heat up funny pipe when working in the cold? If so, what are some good ways to do this? Other ideas for attaching the funny pipe?

  2. MWHC

    MWHC LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Messages: 213

    Sometimes I will use WD-40 and a small hose clamp. I would have done it like you did. It is almost impossible to get those broken barbed ends out.
  3. Johnny

    Johnny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    I quit smoking the funny pipe years ago. But smoke it if ya' got it!!
  4. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    Heat the funny pipe with a propane torch. Fittings slide in and out with no problems.
  5. NC_Irrigator

    NC_Irrigator LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,444

    cut the funny pipe

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    Take the funny pipe and put it on top of the intake manifold of your truck for a few minutes. Close the hood, leave it on for a few minutes....Take the barbed end and push it in.

    We just use a pre engineered swivel joint made by Rain Bird. Take the whole thing out and replace it. All ya need to do is screw it on each end. Then keep the goofy pipe, replace an end at your leasure, and you have spares if you ever need them.
  7. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    Thanks for the ideas.

    Did not think of WD-40. Might try that, but the pipe is really a tight fit. I'm not sure how cutting it would help - might go on better, but more likely to come off too. I don't have a propane torch, but that could be a useful thing to have, I might look into that. I did just now find that Toro says to not ever expose the pipe to flame - they say to "expose it to sunlight to relax it". Perhaps this stuff is easier to work with in the summer, but in the cold I'm sure it needs a bit more than exposure to sunlight.

    The engine manifold idea is great. I have been trying to think of ways to heat the pipe up onsite. Like put it in a pot of hot water - carry a hoplate for that? Maybe a blow dryer, I think I saw that in a post here. The propane torch might be just the thing if needed a lot. Then I wondered about just putting it over a heater vent in the truck. But the manifold - yes the engine has some heat.

    I actually already have the head back in the ground but I need to go back and redo it. Partly because I don't trust the funny pipe fittings - I want to get it onto the fittings a little better. And partly because I messed it up trying to adjust it. I think Toro has replaced these heads with newer ones that are easier to adjust, but as far as I can tell, I have to unscrew the top of this one and move the little metal washer around to adjust it. When I was trying to unscrew the top, the whole head was turning. Then I realized that I was unscrewing the head from the inlet fitting that I had just replaced on the bottom of the head. I tightened it back up but it doesn't seem to be working as well as it was right before that. Probably I got some dirt in it or something.

    I've got some funny pipe and a couple of fittings at home to play with, so I'll experiment with heating it up.

    The last time I messed up this customer's system, I stuffed something in the exposed pipe to keep it clean. This time I negelcted to do that, so when I came back to fix it, I ran that zone for a minute to flush it out. This turned out to be dumb since it filled up my hole with water. After bailing that out, I attached a 2 foot length of funny pipe and shot some more water through it. When I go back there I guess I'll do that again. I wonder how important that is. Like does it really mess up the heads if a little dirt gets in them? Do people take precautions to keep dirt from getting in the pipes during repairs? Was it a good idea to attach some pipe and just run a little water through it? Probably I'll take the head apart and clean it out this time.

    There sure is a lot to learn about irrigation systems. I'll stick to the plants, but fun to learn about sprinklers....
  8. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    Also, I didn't really follow that about replacing the whole thing with the Rainbird swivel joint. So that replaces what? Is there still a flexible pipe involved? I have had to deal with moving heads a little bit to make room for brick edging on several occasions and it has been really cool to find that I could just dig up the heads and move them around since they are on this flexible pipe. Looks like Lowe's sells Rainbird, so I might look into that. I assume that most of the parts for different brands of systems are pretty much interchangeable?

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    Rain Bird makes Swing Joints in 3 lengths, 4,6, qnd 12" all pre cut with flex hose between the swing fittings... Buy a few of them and keep them in the truck, then all you need do is unscrew the goofy pipe, replace it with the Rain Bird pipe, then repair the goofy pipe when you have more time on hand and keep that as a spare...

    Cost for the swing joints are $1.25 Ea. That is all we use when installing new system, as funny pipe assembly and cost is more than buying a pre assembled joint...
  10. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    Good deal. Thanks. I'll look into that. I haven't yet seen what's at the other end of the poly pipe - where it connects to the PVC, but I guess it should all make sense.

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