When this particular valve (Champion Classic 3/4" As Max PSI 150 466 Max Temp 110o) turns on, a lot of water starts coming out of the the bottom part of the valve which I've highlighted in the image. I can see the sprinkler heads get a little wet, but they don't "pop". Can somebody tell me what that spot on the valve is for and what I could do fix the problem?

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The longer version in case it's helpful: A short while ago, my wife flipped out because the sprinkler made a sound of being on, but water wasn't coming out of the sprinkler heads. I turned off the controller (which is located in an inconvenient spot) that night, so I could revisit it the following weekend. When I looked at it, I saw the main sprinkler valve was mostly shut (my three year old at work, no doubt). So I turned it back on, and the following sprinkler schedule had the same problem. I turned the controller off again. The following weekend, I experimented with the system and the first zone was the only one with the problem outlined above. I can't find anything similar on the internet, and hoping somebody has some guidance.


1 Answer 1


First we need a Manufacturer and possibly if you can find it, a model number. Irrigation control valves like this have two parts, a diaphragm operated water control valve and a vacuum breaker. Typical Rainbird system shown here.

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The control valve uses an electrically controlled needle valve that operates the main diaphram valve through servo action (small force controls large force). Cross section to give an idea how this works. When the needle is seated, full water pressure operates on the upper side of the diaphragm, shutting water flow off. When the needle opens, the pinhole in the diaphragm is smaller than the needle opening, pressure dumps and the diaphragm opens.

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Where your leak is occurring is in the vacuum breaker (right hand side below). This device operates to prevent water siphoning back into the water line through the control valve if water pressure drops. It is essentially a check valve with one side open to the atmosphere that closes under pressure and if the parts are damaged through wear, foreign object stuck in the seat, corroded in place, etc. becomes as you've found, a large volume leak under pressure.

This is where having all that manufacturing information is important as most of these can be repaired if you can find the repair kits. Otherwise, it's complete replacement time.

Exploded diagram of the above example Rainbird unit less the solenoid control.

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Champion Classic Brass 3/4" Automatic Actuator and Anti-Siphon with Union

Manufacturer is Arrowhead-Champion http://www.championirrigation.com

I've used Irrigation Direct for other product, their replacement parts page. There are other businesses listed. If you have a large irrigation supply anywhere near, they probably carry the product. Arrowhead is a well known manufacturer of brass plumbing fittings.

The Champion product has been around in manual systems since the 1930's. To get the Vacuum Breaker loose, you might need gentle heat on the body. Keep it on the breaker side.

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Breakdown of the original Manual Valve and Anti-Siphon with Union

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And the bits in the Anti-Siphon Valve that are giving you grief

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  • What a fantastic post, I tried to take apart the Vacuum Breaker, but it was holding on tight, and I didn't want to risk breaking it when I wasn't sure it was something else that was wrong. The writing on the valve is: Champion Classic (on the very top) -- Champion 3/4" As Max PSI 150 / 466 Max Temp 110o the next lines down, and MADE IN THE USA on the last line on the Vacuum Breaker.
    – Frugalmail
    May 28, 2013 at 3:14
  • And still "Made in the USA". The design looked familiar. The original design was manual, and easily adapted early on for electric control. May 28, 2013 at 5:52

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