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Irrigation/Toro Irrigation System Partial Failure


Irrigation box
Irrigation box  

control box
control box  

I have a Toro six zone irrigation system that feeds off a small lake.  After the system was de-winterized, I immediately had a problem with 3 zones.  Two won't activate (zones 3 and 4...which are a pair in the control box) but they will operate if I manually open the valve located in an irrigation box in my backyard and then turn the system to RUN at the control box.

I also have a 3rd zone (zone 5) which initially did not work automatically but did work if I manually opened the valve, now it won't work at all (even if I open the valve and then run the zone via the control box).  

The wires in the irrigation box were connected via DryConn wire connectors which is not as good as a grease cap which I purchased to put on after I fix this thing. The irrigation box is in the ground and will flood in a strong storm.

What I have done and discovered:
1. I clipped all the wires, stripped a new 1/2 inch of exposed wire and re-connected.  That did not help.

2. I swapped the zone 5 and zone 6 wires on the control box then ran the system.  When the former zone 5 wire was plugged into the zone 6 slot, it did not work.  However, in that same setup, zone 6 turned on when it was plugged into the zone 5 so I guess it is not a problem at the box (?)

3. When zones 1 and 2 are turned on, there is no solenoid buzz in the irrigation box; when zone 3 turns on there is a strong buzzing, zone 4 a faint buzzing from the same solenoid as #3, zone 5 a very strong buzzing (different solenoid) and zone 6 no buzzing

4. One solenoid (the one for zone 5) can be unscrewed and replaced (I apparently bought the wrong one or else that would be done already as a test).  The solenoid for zones 3 and 4 appear to be part of the valve casing.  The solenoid for zones 1 and 2 can't be seen but I think it is going to be part of the valve but at the moment those zones operate fine.

I was going to try to go through this using the tester in the second link but have not done this yet:

Fyi, the system is 10+ years old.  It came with the house I purchased in August.  Also, after de-winterizing the valves in the irrigation box were in the closed position.  To manually operate the system I opened the valves and left them open for a week.  Don't know if that was a no-no but I only did that AFTER having the problem with the zones.  Lastly, the pump is working fine in all cases.  

Thanks for any ideas you can provide to fix these 3 zones.  And, curious, can a solenoid be bad for just one of the two zones it controls?  Zone 5 won't operate but zone six runs fine off the same solenoid.


I really appreciate all of your effort before posing a question.  I would be happy to help but I am leaving for vacation and will not return until after May 18th.  If the issue is still unresolved at that time please reach out again and I will be happy to help you sort through everything as my schedule permits.



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Robert Diersing


I am able to answer any questions related to lawn irrigation systems and backflow devices. But pumps are not my speciality since they are not common in my area. Most of my product experience is in Hunter, Rainbird and Irritrol components.


I have been in the Irrigation Industry since 1998 with experience in everything from residential to athletic fields, commercial, industrial to complete Hospital campuses

Irrigation Association

I have been quoted in trade magazine articles.

Kent State University 12 CEU's per a year in Industry related classes

Awards and Honors
Irrigation Association Certifications: Certified Irrigation Contractor State of Florida Licensed Irrigation Contractor State of Florida Certified Backflow Tester State of Ohio Certified Backflow Tester EPA WaterSense Partner

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Hospitals, School Districts, National Franchises, Government Agencies

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