Newbie...Culligan Mk 89 Neutralizer Replacement Advice Please

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by Cobra1365, May 28, 2013.

  1. Cobra1365

    Cobra1365 New Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    I have an older Mark 89 system and the neutralizer tank has forever given me problems with leaks when servicing the calcite. Mainly due to the brass slip fittings with O-rings where the control head afixes to the tank. This time around, I have finally had enough! Everytime I fix a leak, it springs a new leak somewhere else!

    Since the system is 20 yrs old, I figure I've gotten more than my money out of it. So, today, I stopped by the Culligan dealer to price out a new tank...WOW! Maybe I am naive...but, he wanted $1695 for a "Medalist" series tank, $1895 for a "Gold" system tank or $1395 for an injection pump set up (Soda ash).

    He tested my water a 6.5 Ph...not outrageous. But, I can definitely feel the difference with out it hooked up.

    So, I am open for ideas on a neutralizer tank/control unit other than Culligan.

    Is this a viable option?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: May 29, 2013
  2. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Nov 8, 2005
    Hansville, Washington
    It looks a lot more viable to me than spending the big Culligan bucks, if you're up to the installation and maintenance, which you appear to be. I've used that vendor for several years and have been pleased with them.
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  4. polychromeuganda

    polychromeuganda New Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    This is only relevant if your problems all stem from o-ring seals...

    Without observing your hassles and skill level this is only a guess, but my guess is you're being defeated by inadequate technique when dealing with o-ring seals. They work easily and flawlessly with lubricated rubber in good condition and clean surfaces. Old dry cracking rubber on rough dirty surfaces is a miserable nightmare.

    An elastomer o-ring rides in groove that holds the elastomer in position as one tube is slipped inside the other. The volume of the o-ring and the volume of the groove are matched so that when one tube slips into the other the elastomer distorts and seals with a light pressure. When the inside tube is pressurised, it expands adding pressure on the seal, so that the seal pressure also goes up, and always stays higher than the fluid pressure, and always stays sealed no matter what the pressure is.

    If the o-ring has aged and has little fissures (cracks) developing, then the seal presure is higher away from the cracks and lower at the cracks, and starts to weep. If the pipe the o-ring slips into is rough, it can start to cut grooves in the o-ring, or twist it in its groove, etc, again preventing the uniform transfer of fluid pressure to seal presure. If the o-ring was lubricated with an oil or grease that swelled and softened the rubber, it can become too long and too soft to ride in the groove anymore so that when you reassemble the seal it rolls out of the groove and it gets nicked, cut, stretched and mashed into a wierd ribbon, etc.

    To make o-rings work every time; Clean the groove the o-ring rides in without goughing or rounding the edges - a wooden toothpick cut off square works for me, Clean the inside of outer pipe that the inner piper with the o-ring goove slides into so its sliding smooth - wipe with a rag, a cleaner, a buffing wheel on a rotary (Dremel) tool if necesary. Use a new or good as new o-ring - it should lightly hug the groove, definitely but only slightly stretched, and it will not quite fill the groove. Avoid oily o-ring assembly lube for water pipes, use it in automobile transmissions. When needed a thin layer of liquid dish detergent works and won't swell the o-ring, but any residue will be sticky and in the way when its disassembled. Special lubes are also available, some are food grade.

    The more expensive medium brown Viton(R) (fluoropolymer) o-ring in the same size really is tougher, more flexible, more resistant to aging, chemicals, swelling, and temperature, and will outlast the natural, synthetic, butyl, nitrile, black, red, green, or blue o-rings. On the other hand if you stretch it like a rubber band to put it into a dirty groove and hammer it into a crudded and corroded pipe all o-rings cut, tear, and leak nearly identically.

    So the summary suggestion is 1) find and use the same size Viton o-ring 2) clean the groove with a cut wooden toothpick, 3) clean the socket until its sliding smooth, 4) lubricate with a very thin layer of liquid dish soap.
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