Kinetico softener head rebuild with pics

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Jon Heron, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Jon Heron

    Jon Heron In the Trades

    Hello all,
    Great looking forum here!
    I have acquired a 2 tank well water Kinetico softener along with our house 3 years ago... Long story short there has been a long line of butchers "renovating" :)mad:)this old home and one of these butchers had installed this softener. The butcher also left a complete valve assembly completely disassembled in a heap in an old box I found in the basement. :)
    So here is my story;
    I accidentally snapped the drain barb off the softener one day while working in the pump room and lucky for me I had a spare plate in the box of parts I found so I took apart the valve, cleaned it all up and replaced the plate with the broken drain barb. I then reassembled it all, put it back into service and never thought about it again. That was back in November.
    About a month ago we started noticing that the water was getting hard and we started to get large rust deposits on the tub and sinks etc. I determined that the softener is no longer regenerating/drinking in the brine even when manually turning the control dial.
    Here is what I have done so far based on other posts I have found here;
    1) Disassembled and cleaned out the brine pick up tube.
    2) I left the pickup tube off and manually cycled the dial to see if I had any suction on the hose, no joy, just water pouring out continually. The flow did slow during the "brine-rinse" cycle but it would certainly not pick up any water.
    3) I have now disassembled the valve again and made sure everything is clean and moving freely. I blew out all the orifices and the venturi with compressed air.
    4) Disassembled and cleaned the gear housing and screen and closely inspected the pawls and gears, all looked good to me.

    I then decided to have a good look through the box of parts and low and behold I found 4 plastic balls, 2 small blue ones and 2 bigger white ones (see pics) that I did not have in my newly reassembled valve?? :confused:
    Does anyone know if these balls are part of this valve? Does anyone have an exploded view or diagram for this thing?
    In the pictures the valves are in the same position that they where in when I disassembled it, do they look like they are in the right positions? Anything else I should do while I have it apart?

    Any and all help is greatly appreciated!

    Jon Heron

    Attached Files:

  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Balls are check valves.

    I have looked for years for a parts breakdown and have never found one. No one has said they found one either. It's part of Kinetico's way of protecting their dealers from DIYers.

    If you had soft water for months and then it went hard, I wouldn't think there was missing parts.
  3. Jon Heron

    Jon Heron In the Trades

    Thanks a million! :D
    I found the 2 pillars the blue balls sit on in the base but what about the 2 larger white balls, do you know where they belong?
    One of the blue balls was floating on the top of the tower and the other one is missing?? Should I try and flush it out of the towers or just not worry about it?
    Thanks again,
  4. Jon Heron

    Jon Heron In the Trades

    Thanks guy's!
    I am going to put it back together now then and try it.
    I tried to send you a PM to see if you knew if these white balls are part of this unit but the board replied back that you are not accepting PM's.

    Finest regards,
  5. Jon Heron

    Jon Heron In the Trades

    Also, the rust in the window is likely because the tanks have not regenerated since I "fixed it" back in November. :eek:
    I am pretty sure I misaligned one of the blue balls when I assembled it back then...
    I took apart the pickup tube and it looks pretty straightforward, there appears to be a floating ball type check in the bottom and a small rubber cylinder with a hole through it at the top above a screen? I cleaned the screen and check ball assembly... Is it worthwhile updating to the newer style? What is the advantage?
    Thanks again,
  6. Jon Heron

    Jon Heron In the Trades

    :D Back in action! :D

    Thanks for your help guys!
    I had a nice soft water shower this morning reminding me of what I had been missing...
    I guess the white balls where from a different machine.
    You really wont need an exploded view to rebuild one of these valve heads, they are very simply and elegantly designed. Other than the 7 piston style valves (moved by water pressure) and the gears in the top the only moving parts are the 2 blue balls and a small rocker arm that you can see in one of the pictures above.
    Quite simple really, just got to pay attention to the blue balls! :rolleyes:

    Thanks again all for your help!

    Finest regards,
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yeah 7 months or so without soft water is no fun.

    The breakdown etc. wasn't for me, it was for guys like you needing or wanting to tear their Kinetico apart and put it back together correctly.

    I'm told a new Kinetico brine pickup is like $85. Quite pricey compared to what it is and regular softener pickups.
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Looking at all the plastic parts in the pictures, knowing there are many more in the head we aren't seeing, I wonder what makes Kinetico cost so much. They use the same tanks and resins I or any other dealer uses.

    Could it be it is simply to make the dealer more money?
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I care. And a lot of people that contact me care because they have had Kinetico come out and give them a proposal that they say is ridiculously high and they ask me why that is.

    Why do you care that I care and others care?

    BTW, that should be a ? after Who cares, and then QUIT, not quite. And if you check the user CP, there may be an option to ignore my posts since they seem to bother you so much. Otherwise, you don't have to read them.
  10. Jon Heron

    Jon Heron In the Trades

    Its called supply and demand Gary, if Kinetico cost too much money then they wouldn't be in business now would they? And yes the name of the game is to make the most money and keep the customers happy... What is the name of your game, make as little profit as possible and be regarded as a hero to your customers??
    Your logic just does not make any kind of business sense...
    So is your bitterness pointed at Kinetico because they cost more than your product? Or do you just feel bad for the consumer? If so DON'T because the consumer is always right and if they pick the more expensive Kinetico over your cheaper product its because they WANTED the higher end unit...
    Its called CAPITALISM!
    Grow up and figure it out! Your comments are juvenile and show a lack of understanding of how the world turns... At least you can spell though eh! :rolleyes:
    Carry on,
  11. Jon Heron

    Jon Heron In the Trades

    I received the entire thing.
    If you EVER need any electrical advice or information don't be shy!

    Finest regards,
    Jon Heron
    PS. its still working great!
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    IF you have the only softener that "does not use electricity", have a controlled sales and servicing environment, have a huge advertising campaign, and charge a lot for it, you can sell it based on "superior" technology, but mostly it is because you have to charge a lot to pay the expenses, not build the softener.
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Supply and demand.... really! Ok, maybe because of the fairly few Kinetico dealers.

    "... to make the most money...". I don't agree. The largest, most successful and profitable retailer in the world is Wal Mart. They did not get there by charging the most for the products they sell as Kinetico dealers do. And the only parts of the softener Kinetico makes is the control valve and bypass valve, the rest is the same as I and other dealers sell. The problem with that is the Kinetico customer doesn't get a higher end unit, they get an over hyped and overpriced and very proprietary control valve that they can't get parts for anywhere except at the one'n only usually overpriced local dealer.

    Also, we aren't taking about people buying a Kinetico instead of the industry standard off the shelf softeners I sell. It's the other way around, the person doesn't buy Kinetico and then contacts me, and 7-8 out of 10 buy from me.

    As far as my business, I sell a lot of equipment by charging a fair price and I'm very pleased with what I make (I'm sure you'd be surprised). I've been in direct sales for 28 yrs and I'm set in my ways so I won't be changing anything, especially when it ain't broken. But thanks for your concern.
  14. Jon Heron

    Jon Heron In the Trades

    Forget it Gary, you dont get it. Your posts speak for themselves. No point in continuing this line of discussion...

    Thats right! All I needed was a 5/16" and a 1/4" nut driver and a little soap and water to put it back together... Not bad for a dopey sparky eh! :D
    Then again unfortunately for my spare time DIY is my middle name! :)
    In all seriousness though the valve is quite easy to rebuild, I was impressed at the simplicity of the design. Not needing ANY electric motors or timers to fail and or reset after a power outage make you wonder why other manufacturers wouldn't move towards the same technology...

    Thanks again!
  15. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Jon, you're right, I don't get why a bunch of blow molded plastic parts and a few gaskets cost so much.

    But, I do get that it has taken you, a seasoned DIYer as you say, 7 months and posting here numerous times over a few days and receiving whatever Andy sent you or told you, along with biermech's input, before you could fix your Kinetico and you had a spare valve in a box!! And for most of the 7 months, you thought you had fixed it. LOL

    Hopefully Andy told you what could be wrong that is allowing rust up in the head.

    BTW, the rest of the industry doesn't go with Kinetico type water powered control valves because they don't have 1% of the problems with their electrical or electronic components that Kinetico and their dealers' salespeople claim. Or that their duped gossip repeating customers claim. And, the electronic valves have many features that water powered valves can not have.
  16. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    For the record, Walmart sucks and I refuse to shop there! If you think the ideal business model is being the cheapest, then let's look at the discount retailers and the wake of dead bodies. Hmmm ... Caldor, Bradlees, Ames, Grants, Montgomery Ward, Woolworths, should I continue or do you get the point. Never, Never compete on price only ... knowledge, service, etc gets the order. If you try to get every order (with the lowest price strategy), then you are doing something wrong. BTW, I shop at Targets and willing to spend more.
  17. Kenitico and culligan

    as far as I am concerned both Kinnectico and Culligan are overpriced junk.......

    The electricity factor is a "bell and whistle" that probably saves only about 2 dollars a year..
    Of course they dont tell the customer how much they actually will save.....
    then it would be a complete joke.

    its all in the mass marketing that they do,
    TV and getting their foot into the new customers home first .......
    before they have a chance to cool off and weigh their optioins...

    I am presently getting a flyer put together right now
    to send out to people that have just bought a home.
    something like Culligan and kinnectico do....

    Planning to offer them a CLACK and a Rheem Pro water
    heater for less than what Kinnectico will cost them alone.$2250.
    ...around 1999 installed for both....

    I am very nterested to see if I get any takers...
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Well you're certainly in the minority if you don't shop at Wal Mart. We do, every chance we get, we especially like Super Wal Marts.

    The point is Wal Mart is the biggest and most profitable because they give their customer quality merchandise at very affordable pricing; in many cases the lowest price but that doesn't mean "the cheapest" quality.

    The companies you mention didn't do that and are out of business. That's life.

    Just a little while ago I sold a 2.5 cuft softener with a Clack WS-1 control to a guy with a busted down 6 yr old Hague that had Kinetico out a few days ago because his father has had a Kinetico for years and suggested them. Kinetico was way too high priced so he called Culligan out this morning and they were too high priced. So he ended up online, somehow he found my customer comments forum, read for over an hour and called me. We went 'round'n round about twin tank softeners and he was about to hang up on me but eventually he came around to understand how they work and that he has no need for one.

    Now from my limited research my price is on the lower side of 'average'. We spent over an hour and a half on the phone. He learned a lot about how softeners work and the different types and correctly sizing and programming a softener and the 'why' behind all of it and salt efficiency. Neither Kinetico or Culligan gave him a 10th of the information I did. So, as I was ready to hang up and telling him to think it over and check with his CFO, He says his wife looked at my prices for a twin and a regular softener from his notes, and she didn't care which he went with and he said let's order it. As usual I did not mention Kinetico's or my competitors' prices but he said Kinetico was over $3,000.00 and Culligan IRC was like $2100. With special resin and distributor tube my delivered price was under $1375.

    Someone here recently mentioned my "mobile home". The only way we can support the fulltime living in it is to buy 'cheap' at Wal Mart and make a lot of softener sales. Yes I could put softeners in the trailer. If I'm right this is in a Wal Mart parking lot.

    Attached Files:

  19. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    Well It is a beautiful rig Gary ... in your case, I can understand your comittment to Wal-Mart since you get to park for free:D
  20. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Free parking but with groceries and such plus our $4 per prescription life altering drugs we spend about $450 a month there. More if the place has fresh salmon.
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