Ancient Water Softener Guidance, Advice, and Spraying Water All Over the Garage

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by DavidK, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. DavidK

    DavidK New Member

    Jun 1, 2011
    Pflugerville, TX
    Eight years ago we purchased our home in Pflugerville (North of Austin TX) and it had this ancient-looking Rainsoft water softener installed and working fine. It always provided satisfactory service until a year or so ago when it started using less and less salt, and finally my wife is complaining about the taste of the water and the softener seems to use no salt. I went to poke at it and found that Rube Goldberg apparently started as a Rainsoft engineer and this thing has no manual and I'm no water softener guru.

    The problem that really brought me here is the yellow transparent cylinder with a ball floating inside it. This looks like a check valve to me. It was covered with crazing and it started spraying like mad through all the cracks when I switched the valve to and from bypass. Broken, anonymous part, strike one.

    It always screamed pretty loud during a regeneration cycle, and when I left it running a cycle the other day it stayed stuck screaming in the Brine 3 position for several hours before I left it in Bypass and went to bed. At one point as I was twiddling the dial it started letting water into the line to the salt tank, but I didn't dig out 3 feet of salt to see if it took the brine up again (yet). The thing sounds like a clock and does advance, but it doesn't advance all the way around the dial. Sticking mechanism, strike 2

    I'm pretty sure the resin is at least 20 years old, and needs replacement - strike 3

    It looks like a solenoid coil in there is corroding - strike 4, Something Must Be Done! The resin and salt tanks and plumbing seems like I should be able to re-use, and I'm not a fan of paying the same number of dollars for some chinese pile of junk from Sears, so here is where I think I stand:
    • I'd like to repair this dinosaur if possible
    • Couple hundred bucks for a new head made in this century
    • Hundred or two for a fresh load of resin

    • Can anyone tell me how this "Rainsoft Electronic Brain" is supposed to work, including what I should be able to see happening at what point in the cycle?
    • Will a leaking check valve make it stop advancing on the cycle timer wheel programming whaziz?
    • Is it rebuildable or is it too old? I have more time than money available - is there something likely wrong with this that I could fix?
    • What is this leaking plastic cylinder thingy and where can I get another one?
    • Will I need a new bypass valve assembly if I replace the timer/valve bits?
    • Is there any place anyone can recommend for buying parts/supplies?

    In all its glory:


    Looks old, looks like a manual probably came with it.


    Can I buy a vowel? Skip wheel knobs set like they mean it, time of day setting seems to set, big program knob rotates/clicks, switches all seem to "do something", regen time thing just spins with no resistance


    Silicone & packing tape stopped the gross leaks, still drips pretty fast out from under the tape

  2. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Dec 28, 2009
    "retired" and still building and troubleshooting
    northfork, california
    Hold onto it for the museum of primitive mechanical obnoxious devices after you tear it all out.

    Looks like that primitive gear driven computer from about 1500bc that they dug out of the Aegean sea a few years back.
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  4. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 In the Trades

    Nov 24, 2010
    Owner of SWS Systems WWW.SWSSYSTEM.COM
    Ocala, Florida
    I spend 13 years in the water business in Round Rock. The best person you can call is Tommy Dorsey Water in RR. He has been in the water treatment business for over 40 years and will give you a great price.
  5. DavidK

    DavidK New Member

    Jun 1, 2011
    Pflugerville, TX
    I'll look him up, thanks. Sorry about the delay my whole family came down with something nasty all yesterday.

    So nobody knows much about the electromechanical wonder then? Oh well. I guess worst case I could try a manual regeneration (pour salty water in the tank and let sit) so the water isn't so nasty.
  6. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Dec 29, 2009
    Business owner/service and sales
    I know of two new timers, but with the rest of the valve the way it is and most likely in need of a rebuild... would it be worth replacing the timer and not rebuild the rest of the valve? The rest of the valve most likely does not have parts save for some one that has one on a shelf that is used but has not found its way the the dump...

    The timer has the before micro switches...
  7. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Mar 30, 2011
    Rocket Scientist
    Houston, TX
    Welcome to Terry's Forums David,

    I would Buy a new unit, I hope your family was not drinking the water from that unit, Could make them sick.

    Any repair would be a waste of money, I think.

    It was a good one in its day, but ballvalve is correct; "Hold onto it for the museum of primitive mechanical obnoxious devices after you tear it all out." , It was a work of art, Years ago, and did work. They also wasted salt, and made the water salty tasting.

    Have a Great day.

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  8. rjh2o

    rjh2o Member

    May 10, 2011
    That is an OLD Rainsoft "70's". The part you have all goobered up is part of the brine assembly. There is a check ball in there that seats when the brine draw cycle is done.
    The system will never work with all that goobered up. The PINS control when it regenerates, PIN OUT indicates day of regeneration.
    It is time to replace the Dinosaur. Putting any money into this is pointless.
  9. FHN

    FHN New Member

    Mar 13, 2016
    Does anyone have a service manual or step by step theory of operation as to what happens during a regen cycle? How long should each step of the regen take. Then I will know what to look for as it attempts a cycle.

    I have this exact same unit. Not working but is in mint shape. Bought it new in 1996. It quit working after 13 or 14 months. I don't remember the detail other than it would not regen properly. Local rainsoft guy "replaced the o-rings" for $100 and it worked for another 2 months before the same problem. Got too busy to deal with it so I unplugged it and put it on bypass and we have been using hard water for the last 19 years. Wife wants me to make it work or buy a new one from anyone but Rainsoft.

    Just plugged it in again and motors see to operate and it does things but not sure if they are the right things at the right time. and when it is supposed to be filling or emptying. So a step by step explanation of the regen would be nice to have.
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