Troubleshooting a Fleck 5600

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by Harry Maddin, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. Harry Maddin

    Harry Maddin harrymanimus

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    I'm limping along with a Fleck 5600, perhaps with multiple issues. Had it serviced a couple years ago, had some new resin put in. I'd had it set for 1000 gallons before regen ever since then. Recently noticed that water was hard before the 1000 gallons were up. Inspected tank and I'd bought some cheaper salt a while back and I saw a good bit of dirt in the tank. Did a half-ass clean out of the water sitting on top of the salt (there was maybe 30lb left), and put some better salt in.

    Some relevant info as to what I've been seeing:
    • It was very hard for me to change the gallon settings the first time. Like the gears were not aligned. Didn't want to force it but my fingers hurt a bit after that. It's easier now.
    • Regen *sometimes* messes up my gallon settings. I'll come back after, and it will be set to something crazy like 3200 gallons. Seen this twice, but not the last time.
    • Water in tank looks clean.
    • Water in tank seems too high. I have about 1 ft of salt in tank, and 2 ft of water above that.
    • Checking for salt bridge brings up dirty sediment.
    • After several reductions, now have settings for regen at 600 gallons. Been trying to find the best setting.
    I have to baby sit it for gallon setting issues, but seems to be working at the 600 gallon settings. Ideas on things I should do?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Your 5600 Economizer has a problem... it could be various things. Here are some things from the service manual:

    PROBLEM CAUSE CORRECTION
    Softener fails to draw brine. A. Draw line flow control is plugged. A. Clean drain line flow control.
    B. Injector is plugged. B. Clean or replace injectors.
    C. Injector screen plugged. C. Replace screen.
    D. Line pressure is too low. D. Increase line pressure (minimum 20
    psi at all times).
    E. Internal control leak. E. Change seals, spacers and/or piston
    assembly.​

    You have the service manual, right?
    You need to empty that brine tank and clean it. Maybe debris sucked up is contributing to your problem. So clean the brine tank before getting in and cleaning (and maybe rebuilding) the controller.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
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  4. Harry Maddin

    Harry Maddin harrymanimus

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    I cleaned it out really good. The poor quality small granule salt I'd added had fallen past the screen. I noticed that there were numerous tabs on the screen that were broken off that allowed that. I guess I might replace the screen at some point, but I'm using larger salt cubes now.

    I added one 40lb bag of salt and put water in to the top of the salt. It did a re-gen last night and the water level is still down near the top of the salt. My gallon settings have not gotten messed up on regen for the last few times. Maybe that issue has gone away.

    So I guess the ball that regulates the water level might have been stuck, and the backup float was being triggered. With there being too much water in the tank, maybe there was not the right salinity to clean the resin. I checked the line and the little plastic grommet type thing with the tiny hole. They were clear.

    I ordered a hard water test kit so I can monitor.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    In a regeneration, water should get sucked down until the check valve at the intake shuts off the water draw. At the end, the water gets refilled for an amount of time. The float should only act as a failsafe. It would be good to watch a regeneration to see if the brine is indeed being sucked down during the brine draw cycle. The brine is normally sucked out during the first 1/3 of the cycle.
    Your water is way too high. That is compatible with brine not being drawn.

    In your cleaning and inspecting, make sure the injector is clean, and that the injector screen is clean. It is also possible that a small leak in the brine hose path could kill the vacuum by admitting air, while not leaking a noticeable amount of water.

    The injector is a little venturi pump that produces suction to suck the brine out during brine draw. The brine drawing is normally complete about 25% into the brine draw cycle. See
    It is good to lightly lube O-rings with food-safe silicone grease upon re-assembly. It is probably not necessary. I have a tube of Molykote 111. It is handy to have around. I use a nitrile gloves to very lightly apply the grease when I do use it. However I have checked my screens without using grease, and I expect most people don't bother with that.

    The manual page 6 says
    5. Manually index the control to the Brine Draw position and allow the control to draw water from the brine tank until it stops.​

    If you could do that, that could speed your troubleshooting.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  6. Harry Maddin

    Harry Maddin harrymanimus

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks a bunch for the info. That looks like an excellent video and the internals of the injector do not look too complex.

    I'm not sure I understand what a normal water level is. The screen sits something like 5 inches above the bottom of the tank, I'd think the water has to be above the screen to dissolve any salt. Before a regen, does is the water below the screen, then during the process it puts water in to get to the level of the salt and then sucks that back out and it stays like that?

    I tested my water after 400 gallons of use and it is in the Very Hard range. So definitely something is still not right and I hope it is the injector, I'll tackle that this week end.
     
  7. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Occupation:
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Post a couple pictures of your system. It may help since certain components can cause problems depending on the manufacturer.
     
  8. Harry Maddin

    Harry Maddin harrymanimus

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Will do.

    Thanks
     
  9. Harry Maddin

    Harry Maddin harrymanimus

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    I took the injector apart tonight as the video showed. Everything looked clear, however the brine valve bottom rubber part looked like it was starting to disintegrate. If I rub my finger on it, it comes away black and seemed a bit soft to my finger nail. The top rubber part looked good.

    I couldn't get the drain line flow control. I don't have the "tool" he uses. But I blew it out and it didn't seem blocked.

    Here are some pics of the system and some of the disassembled parts on google photos.

    https://goo.gl/photos/2rKJSDDo38jvghta6
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  10. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Considering the age of the unit and the fact that you have some rubber degradation, I would suggest starting off by rebuilding the valve. This includes the seals/spacers, piston, brine valve and assorted o-rings.
     
  11. Harry Maddin

    Harry Maddin harrymanimus

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    So I see that after a re-gen last night, there is even more water in my brine tank. Another 8 inches or so. I guess this means it is definitely not drawing brine?

    This is a rebuild kit I found on amazon. Is this all I need? I saw a rebuild video and it didn't look too hard.

    https://www.amazon.com/softener-rebuild-piston-60102-00-spacers/dp/B00FN2F71C

    What if I do all that and the actual problem is related to the hardware in the brine tank? This looks like the same one I have. I guess you cut these to the size of your tank.

    https://www.amazon.com/2310-Brine-S...TF8&qid=1490362161&sr=1-6&keywords=Brine+Tank
     
  12. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The piston, seals and brine valve replacement should address your issues as those are the main 'wear' items. You already identified rubber degradation on some of those components.

    In addition, ensure all fittings on the brine line and safety float assembly are all tight as even slight air leakage will prevent brine from being drawn.
     
  13. Harry Maddin

    Harry Maddin harrymanimus

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    Mar 17, 2017
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    I just ordered the rebuild kit, will have it today.

    Any tips the the videos do not show?
     
  14. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Don't know what videos you have seen. In case not shown, a food grade silicone grease type lubricant is required on all seals and 'O' rings.

    Here is a link to videos from Pentair, the parent company of Fleck:
     
  15. Harry Maddin

    Harry Maddin harrymanimus

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Hmm, this shows some tool to shove the spacers and o rings in. Do I need that?

    Who would have food grade silicon locally? Home Depot or Lowes? What do I look for? I see (the above mentioned) Molykote 111 online. Can't get that until tomorrow eve but that could work. I saw restaurant supply stores mentioned.

    Said hot water and soap can be used as alternative?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2017
  16. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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  17. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Specialty tools not required. The bore in the 5600 is large enough to access with your fingers. Use a screw driver or needle nose pliers if assistance is needed to remove the old seals if stuck.
     
  18. Harry Maddin

    Harry Maddin harrymanimus

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks guys! I should be rebuilding tonight or tomorrow morning.

    After I rebuild and regen, what should I be seeing on my water level in my brine tank? Right now it is about 12 inches above the salt (single bag of salt). Should the level go down? Should I take some water out of the tank before I regen?
     
  19. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Not necessary as the brine will be drawn out during the next regen cycle if your issue has been resolved. Suggest initiating a manual regen cycle directly following the valve rebuild.

    The water volume in the brine tank is determined by the controller BF setting in minutes X the BLFC rate in gallons per minute, as specified on the label located near the controller's brine fitting. Each 1 gallon entering the brine tank, will dissolve 3 lbs of salt.

    edit to add: I've been thinking you have an SXT model but perhaps not. If mechanical, the water fill time is controlled by a cam on the back of the controller, directly above the brine valve.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
  20. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    The height of the water will depend on softener settings (and that depends on hardness and resin tank size), and it depends on the geometry of the tank. A foot of water in the brine tank with only one bag of salt does sound like a lot. As Bannerman says, the next regen should suck it down.

    Normally, you want some salt to be higher than the water. Otherwise there can be stratification where the top part of the liquid is not saturated with salt. Right now you are in a test mode. So you could avoid stratifcation by stiring that water enough... maybe with a board as a paddle. You will soon be wanting to add more salt.

    I like to tilt my salt fill with a little water showing. Normal is to just fill the salt well above the water.
     
  21. Harry Maddin

    Harry Maddin harrymanimus

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    I did the rebuild last night. It went smooth. Used the Danco grease. The last 2 rubber washers toward the inside were showing signs of disintegration, with they last one getting pretty bad, the ridges were totally gone in places.

    Before I did a regen, I added another 40lb bag of salt (I'll guess around 55 lbs of salt total in tank). On the regen/brine-rinse I watched the brine level. It drew ALL the water out the brine tank which started over a foot above the salt. After re-gen the water is a couple inches above the salt. I still don't have a good feel for how much water should be in the tank while in service mode at various salt levels.

    Regen worked fine and I have soft water! This is one more piece of equipment around the house that I now feel much more comfortable working with. I'll add more bags of salt now. Any other tips coming off of this job? Do another regen soon after adding more salt?

    Super thanks guys for all the help and walking me through this!
     
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