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Old 09-05-2011, 10:17 AM   #16
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


With water flowing to drain at all times it is likely the valve seals are bad and the valve will need a rebuild kit that includes seals and piston.

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Old 09-05-2011, 03:15 PM   #17
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


If there is water going to the brine tank or salt tank when water should be getting removed then the brine piston , that plastic rod that can be seen on the top of the motor assembly and under the white egg looking cam has an o ring that is bad and or there is a seal that is bad in the main seal pack assembly and could mean that either or both are going to need to be replaced or rebuilt... rebuilding is a challenge , taking parts that are still good and putting them together to form a good seal pack assembly.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:17 PM   #18
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


Thanks for the useful reply, and it kind of confirms what I suspected. The observation that rebuilding is a challenge gives me pause, however, and the potential scope of the repair is more that I expected for a 6-year old unit.

While I will tackle any repair job that doesn't require specialized tools, I have never been inside a water softener or similar device. To help me decide between proceeding on my own and paying Culligan $$$ to do it, could you comment on:
- How easy/risky is it to take the valves apart, and replace them afterwards?
- How I could recognize a seal or other component that is bad?
- Assuming I have to get repair parts from Culligan, can I typically buy individual seals, or a complete seal kit, or a complete assembly? How receptive are Culligan to selling individual parts - I haven't been able to find any kind of repair manual, or any third parties selling seals, etc., so I suspect they don't encourage DIY.
- Generally how should I proceed if I do it myself?

Thanks again.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:20 PM   #19
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


@macman - for what it's worth, I seem to have approximately the same thing going on. I called Culligan, it's $119 for a service call and they also service the softener (probably don't do much... but whatever.) That seemed reasonable enough for me to have them come out and fix it for me though... I determined it was just beyond the time I wanted to spend, and then I very well may have to just pay them to come out afterwards anyway. :\
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:27 PM   #20
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


The seals for the main seal pack assembly are culligan only and not found at the local hardware store.
Some dealers will and some will not, there is one in Kentucky that has a seal pack listed for the culligan mark units and the one that both of you have.
I am not sure if they will sell, but it is listed.
There is an auction site that from time to time has a rebuild kit that has both the seal pack assembly and the brine piston with it cage for sale, but have not seen one for the last few months.

There are some dealers that are not culligan that might have a culligan that was taken in on trade that pull good parts for use later, much like an auto salvage yard does with used car and truck parts.

Most people can rebuild the valve with the right parts and some simple tools and some time..

There might even be a market for some dealer to rebuild a culligan and offer it for sale with a core charge, but have not seen that yet... but maybe in time.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:14 AM   #21
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


I'll give Culligan a call and see whether they would sell seals, and also what the repair bill might be if they do it.

If I can get the bits from them, and since I don't mind taking the softener out of service for a few days (it isn't working anyway, and I can bypass it), I may take it apart and see what I can see - time isn't my issue, money is. Perhaps I will start with the brine piston as it looks easier to handle, but I may have to move on to the bigger one if nothing seems out of line there.

Any particular pointers on the disassembly/repair/re-assembly process that I should watch out for, or is it straightforward and obvious?

Thanks.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:53 AM   #22
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


Well the repair guy was here this morning... apparently it was the "main seal pack" which he showed to me after he pulled it out of the softener. Unfortunately this pack is $105.

I asked the guy if I could keep the old item and replace the o-rings inside that appeared damaged. The guy said it's not repairable and is a "throwaway" item. Why they make that big metal valve assembly non-serviceable is a total mystery to me. Essentially two O-rings worth about a nickel of material caused him to throw away a big metal assembly that looks like it could last 100 years otherwise.

Anyway, a little disappointed that part cost me so much, but otherwise seems like something I could easily order myself next time I think. Probably just call Culligan and ask for a main seal pack, and then just figure out how to drop the thing in myself.

$105 for the part + $119 for the service call.

It was two white o-rings on the INSIDE of the below assembly that were torn up. The guy said increased chlorine in Indianapolis' water system was the cause.

I found another image on this site (via Google) that appears to be similar to the one the guy replaced for me. For what it's worth, the one in my softener looked much cleaner and in much better shape than this random pic I found, but it will give other people the idea:


Last edited by Perm; 09-06-2011 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:29 AM   #23
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


I know that photo.....

The 105 was cheaper than the 175 that I have heard from others on the replacement of the piston by culligan.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:36 AM   #24
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


Ah was that your photo or something? I literally just googled "culligan main seal pack" and that was the first image that came up.

Still amazes me they wouldn't make that part serviceable.. unless it's solely used to make money and meant to wear out quickly.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:29 PM   #25
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


I know that on the fleck units that I sell and service the piston and seal pack are separate part numbers, and that there are times that I will replace all of them and then times that I will replace the piston and one or two of the seals or rubber o rings... but that is just me and I can not speak of the rest.
There are part replacers and then there are service people that work with what is there to get working again.

And yes that is a photo that I took awhile back , the piston was still good and there where a few of the seals that where good and the spacers where recoverable.... so some of that pack is saved for the need ....
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:28 PM   #26
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


Hey, Perm,
Did you get to keep the old seal pack? - if there is a next time you might be able to use some of the seals that were undamaged this time . . . . Or, better still, I might buy some from you, if yours are still in reasonable condition.
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:31 PM   #27
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


Nah the guy said it wasn't serviceable, so he just threw it out. I assumed he was telling me the truth.
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:30 PM   #28
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


Akpsdvan,

How can I tell by looking at the seal pack whether it is good or not? I have got it out, and here are my observations:
- black O rings on the outside look OK
- Piston inside the pack very difficult to move - needs a good grip with pliers then it 'jumps' one step at a time. Can't move by hand.
- whole thing covered with fine black silt. This is the insoluble sulfur residue that the preceding 'Iron-Clear' system is supposed to filter out (another, different problem?). White seals on the inside look black because of this.

Thanks.
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:37 PM   #29
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


@macman - Just to be clear, the two white o-rings inside of my seal pack were the ones that were rotted/ripped up, etc.

The "behavior" that the softener exhibited was water going TO the salt tank when a regen started... apparently water is supposed to get sucked up from the salt tank to the media tank immediately on regen start.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:08 PM   #30
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Culligan water softener not working (pics)


Perm,

Yes, your symptom is the same as mine - water never gets sucked from the salt tank, and is sent TO it instead.

I can't even see the (white?) internal O rings because the piston is so difficult to move and because the internal O rings are covered with black gunk.

Do you know whether the piston can be removed from the back of the seal pack (did Mr. Culligan do it?), which might allow me to see the internal rings better.

I am planning on taking the whole seal pack in to Culligan tomorrow, and try to speak to a tech to see if I can get an opinion.

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