Fleck 5600 - Brine tank fills AFTER regen

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CanDo

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Had a problem with my Fleck 5600 softener getting stuck in the "Brine rinse" phase of regen.
Took it apart. Cleaned. Greased.
Could not find any issues, so put it back together.
First regen went great, but noticed a bit of a leak at the brine tube connection (at the softener).
When taking the fitting off, the brass cracked.
With the lockdown in full force, was not able to go to a store to figure out what I needed.
Fortunately, my neighbour was throwing out an old softener. Same Fleck 5600 head.
So, grabbed my tools and walked down the street to salvage what I could off theirs.
Got the brass fitting, piston, seals and spacers and brine valve.
Compared everything with what I took out of mine. Looked identical.
Used what appeared to be the best of everything from both systems to rebuild mine.
No more leaks. Yay!
BUT....
Regen works normally still. At the end of the regen, the water level in the brine tank seems correct (about 8 inches). After a few hours, though, the brine tank fills with water to the safety float stop.
I cleaned the pickup tube with the air check valve at the bottom (does not have a float for the water level. Only the overflow safety float).

Any ideas of what is causing water to flow slowly into the brine tank after a regen?

PS... as it turned out, the original problem with getting stuck in "brine rinse" was caused by the brine valve catching on the cam. It has happened again since, so need to address that as well, but probably just by lightly sanding the cam and/or top of brine valve.
 

Reach4

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I think that leakage is caused by either a seal or piston. Usually the action would be to replace both piston and seals. Get the right piston. They are color coded. If you want to postpone that, you could inspect piston, and if good, replace only the seals. You could maybe even just shuffle the seals, putting the leaky one in a less critical spot.
 
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Bannerman

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As you did not indicate it has a digital controller (ie: a 5600SE or 5600SXT) I then anticipate yours is a mechanical control, either an Econominder (metered) or a version that regenerates after a set number of days.

The mechanical controllers rely on the timer motor to also power the valve during regeneration. Over time, the piston seals can wear, tear or swell slightly, which can overload the motor, often resulting in the valve binding or becoming stuck in a position that is not fully the SERVICE position. This is likely the cause for the sticking 'Brine Rinse' and the extended 'Brine Fill' time.

Recommended to rebuild the valve with at least new seals, spacers and brine valve. The piston has a Teflon coating which if scratched or flaking, will also need to be replaced.

When ordering parts, ensure you specify the appropriate valve version as some parts for the 5600 mechanical softener valves and electronically controlled versions are not necessarily identical.

 

CanDo

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Thanks for the replies, folks!

Should have specified... this is a mechanical metered version.
And to clarify, the brine tank filling happens AFTER the regen cycle has ended. The tank water level is correct at the end of regen, but there is a trickle of water still flowing. After a few hours, the brine tank is full to the overflow safety float.

I've restacked the seal and spacers many times. They don't look bad (no cracks or bits missing) and I put silicone grease on them. The piston also looks ok although I've had to take the piston apart and grease the small seal in the collar because there is a very small leak there during regen (during normal service there is no leak at the collar. during regen there's about a drop every 20 seconds that leaks out).

As for "sticking" in the brine rinse, I'm 90% sure it's the valve head getting caught on the cam. There are scratch marks on the cam and the top of the valve is worn to expose the metal (paint is gone) so I think it's a friction problem. The last time I did a manual regen I watched it happen. As soon as I put a little pressure on the valve head with my finger, it "let go" and ran normally.

Is the suspicion that the seals/piston are not providing a tight seal anymore and that's where the water is trickling in?
 

Bannerman

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Is the suspicion that the seals/piston are not providing a tight seal anymore
In addition to potential leakage between the seals and piston and through the brine valve, any binding of the piston movement can throw off the timing of the various regeneration stages.

PM sent.
 

CanDo

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Thanks folks!
Sounds like the rebuild kit is the way to go.
I'll let you know how it goes after rebuild.

Cheers
 

CanDo

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UPDATE:

Yesterday found the basement partially flooded. The over flow safety float did not stop the flow to the brine tank.
The good news is I found the source of the trickle. Bottom o-ring on the brine valve was chewed.
I remember checking it last time it was out and it was fine. My mistake was putting in on the valve before installing.

The openings in the side of where that valve goes can tear the o-ring if it's on the valve as it goes in.
DO NOT place o-ring on the brine valve before inserting.
Seat the o-ring on the bottom lip first, then install the valve.
Lesson learned.

O-ring replaced and now the level of the brine tank is the same as it was last night.
 

Ryan Symons

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The piston does not regulate the brine tank refill the brine valve does. If if the rubber seat on the brine valve goes bad it will constantly leak to the brine drum. Get a new brine valve and i recommend a safety float to prevent overflows if the brine valve goes bad again.
 

CanDo

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The piston does not regulate the brine tank refill the brine valve does. If if the rubber seat on the brine valve goes bad it will constantly leak to the brine drum. Get a new brine valve and i recommend a safety float to prevent overflows if the brine valve goes bad again.

Done! It's not leaking into the brine tank anymore, but I'll still replace the piston, seals and spacers, and valve.
I'll have to look for the safety float.

Thanks!
 
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