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Saturday, April 2nd 2011, 5:18pm

Rain bird 42SA sprinkler heads not retracting

I have a sprinkler system with 60 heads in 12 zones. Most of the heads are Rain Bird 42SA. These heads last about two years before they will no longer retract. I just finsihed replacing 4 four of them and have about another 6 or 8 others that need replacing. All the ones I've replaced show the same pattern - the pop up barrel shows groves from dirt or debris that collects under the coller that surronds the barrel and causes it to sieze up in the open position. A gentle tap on the top will cause it to retract as it should. I have not been able to find a way to disassemble the head to clean it up and make it work again.

These heads are expensive and a pain to keep relpacing - is ther some way to clean the dirt and bebris or are these just throw-A-away heads?


Supreme Member

Posts: 493

Location: Seattle


Monday, April 4th 2011, 3:21am

Sounds like the sprinkler heads are a tad too low and that you have a sandy- sandy/loam yard.

A easier repair is to cut a 2" ring of grass around the sprinkler head , keep it clean and make sure the heads are exactly at grade so the pooling of the water from the spray doesn't collect sand onto the stem of the rotor. I've seen people use a 2" pipe to go around the canister to keep the dirt minimal inside. Looks a little weird up close but it does help

You can take the rotor apart ( Not the internal section of the stem) .. But simply unscrewing the canister, pulling back the stem and rinse it off , getting the grit off and stretching the spring some will help too.

Also the 42sa is just a crap head to begin with... you get what you pay for right? Upgrade to a better head like the Rain Bird 5006 stainless steel sam, it'll take more then just some grit to break down this baby


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,288

Location: Metro NYC


Monday, April 4th 2011, 11:30am

The proper install height for these heads will be a tad higher than you might want, but you do have to keep the wiper seals free from dirt, and especially sand and grit.

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