Fleck 7000 SXT - brine fill fails

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BillMN

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I've got a 3 year old Fleck 7000 SXT that has been working well until suddenly it stopped producing soft water. After a quick inspection, I noticed that the water level in the brine tank was very low. I added water to the tank, waited for the salt to dissolve and started a manual regeneration which I watched. Everything was normal (including the brine draw) until the end when it was time to refill the brine tank. The timer counted down the 10 minute fill time, but no water flowed into the brine tank.

I searched thru this forum, but didn't find anything about a complete failure of brine fill. I did find some info on slow brine fill and following the suggestions, I cleaned the injector, the injector screen, and the BLFC. None of that helped. I looked at some repair videos on YouTube and there was a suggestion to try depressing the brine valve a few times to "clear any debris". That didn't help either.

For my next test, I put the softener into brine fill mode and then I used a screwdriver to slightly depress the brine valve. It didn't take much movement before water started flowing into the brine tank. Of course, as soon as I released the pressure, the flow stopped. It's almost as if the brine cam isn't sufficiently depressing the brine valve.

I examined the brine cam and the stem of the brine valve and there doesn't seem to be any damage or excessive wear. The valve stem has left a few white marks on the cam, but that's about it.

At this point, the only idea that I have is to try replacing the brine valve and the brine cam, but before I start just throwing new parts at the problem, I'd like to find out if anyone else has had this type of problem or has some ideas about anything else that I should check.

I guess that the one good thing is that as long as I remember to pour a bucket of water into the brine tank after each regeneration, the softener continues to produce soft water.
 

ditttohead

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Sounds like you have a 5600 brine valve in your 7000 valve. Can you post a picture from directly above the valve, maybe I can see something that you missed. I consider myself a "semi-expert" on the 7000 valve and I have rebuilt hundreds of them over the years. I also posted a video on how to rebuild it.
 

BillMN

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Sounds like you have a 5600 brine valve in your 7000 valve. Can you post a picture from directly above the valve, maybe I can see something that you missed. I consider myself a "semi-expert" on the 7000 valve and I have rebuilt hundreds of them over the years. I also posted a video on how to rebuild it.

Is this the detail that you want to see?
 

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ditttohead

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Perfect picture. You have a 7000 brine valve, it is correct. The cam is in the correct position too. I don't see any reason why it would not work. Cycle the valve to the BF position and post a picture. The lobe with the arrow is the brine fill lobe and should be pushing the brine piston all the way in during the refill cycle. You are currently in the "service" or home position assuming your valve is set for either DF1b or DF2b in master programming.
 

BillMN

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Perfect picture. You have a 7000 brine valve, it is correct. The cam is in the correct position too. I don't see any reason why it would not work. Cycle the valve to the BF position and post a picture. The lobe with the arrow is the brine fill lobe and should be pushing the brine piston all the way in during the refill cycle. You are currently in the "service" or home position assuming your valve is set for either DF1b or DF2b in master programming.

I'm posting two pictures. The first is with the cam in the Draw position and the second is in the Fill position. Note that the brine valve stem is depressed significantly further when in the Draw position than it is in the Fill position. There's something else that I noted when taking these pictures. When the cam is rotating into the Fill position it sounds like the water comes on for three or four seconds while the cam is starting to depress the brine valve. Then, just as the cam stops turning, the water flow shuts off. Strange.
 

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ditttohead

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Very odd, I have not seen this issue before. I will play with a 7000 this afternoon to see how close the tolerances are in the valve. Everything looks great. I would start with a brine cam but... give me a little time.
 

ditttohead

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After playing with the brine valve, even a slight push should open the brine valve enough for it to work... please remove the brine valve and inspect it carefully. Make sure there are no obstructions inside the valve, I would even recommend removing the brine valve and open the water up to fluch anything out that may be hiding inside. let me know what you find.
 

ditttohead

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Ok, I slept on this one... try this.

Remove the injector and make sure it is not installed backwards. The check valve will prevent filling if it is installed backwards. Please let us know what you find.
 
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BillMN

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Ok, I slept on this one... try this.

Remove the brine valve and make sure it is not installed backwards. The check valve will prevent filling if it is installed backwards. Please let us know what you find.

I removed and inspected the brine valve. I didn't see any sign of dirt, wear, or any other problems. Since the softener had been working fine for almost three years, I doubt that there's a problem with anything being installed backwards. Anyway, I tried cleaning the brine valve, wiped out the interior of the body, lubed the O-rings, and reassembled everything. I then advanced the softener to the brine fill position and Hallelujah! - water was flowing into the brine tank. I'll keep an eye on things for the next few weeks to see how it behaves when doing a complete regeneration, but for now, it looks like the problem is fixed.

Dittohead - thanks for your help. I'm also attaching a photo of the brine valve when I had it removed showing that the overall length is 2.524 inches. Could you compare that measurement against a new valve? If mine is short for some reason (defect or wear), perhaps I should consider replacing the valve since the problem may return.
 

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Reach4

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I would suspect the brine cam is worn.

At least that is what they call it at 1:56 in this:
 

Old

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Ok, I slept on this one... try this.

Remove the brine valve and make sure it is not installed backwards. The check valve will prevent filling if it is installed backwards. Please let us know what you find.

How could the brine valve be installed backwards? Maybe I am misunderstanding you but I don't think that is physically possible. Don't his previous pics clearly show the brine valve is installed properly?
 

ditttohead

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I would suspect the brine cam is worn.

At least that is what they call it at 1:56 in this:


The brine cam could be worn but you would notice a groove in it if that were the case. Even so, the brine valve would only need to be barely pushed to open.

sounds like it is fixed, he may have had a little piece of debris floating around in the valve which was plugging the refill flow control. Since the button is directional and only restricts during the fill cycle, this is likely what occurred.
 

BillMN

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I thought that I'd update this year old thread in case anyone stumbles into it. When I last posted, I had disassembled and cleaned/inspected the brine valve, injector, injector screen, and BLFC. I didn't find any problems, but when I put it all back together, it worked. That lasted for about two months and then it failed again in the same way (no brine fill). I repeated the process of cleaning and inspecting the same parts and again, everything worked for a few weeks.

At that point, I began searching for another source of the problem. I had noticed that when the 7000SXT was in the Brine Fill state, I could often start the fill by simply depressing the brine valve stem by a small amount. I looked for things that might prevent the brine cam from properly depressing the brine valve stem. I resynced the valve to make sure that the cam was stopping at the right position. I reseated the brine cam since it seemed to wiggle a bit. I tried a variety of things that I've since forgotten. Typically, after every experiment, the brine fill would work for the next few regenerations and then fail again. For a while, I just lived with the problem and manually added 2.5g of water to the brine tank after every regeneration.

Eventually, I decided to do what I should have tried a long time ago. I replaced the brine valve and the O-ring at the base of the brine valve even though I had inspected the valve several times and seen no problems. Bingo! That was five months ago and I haven't had a single brine fill failure in that entire time. As a bonus, I've noticed that the brine is drawn from my tank a little bit quicker than in the past.

Hopefully I haven't jinxed myself by posting that I've found the real solution to the original problem.
 
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