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Weil-McLain manifold valves need replacing

Bucky
Bucky Member Posts: 33
Hi gang! I'm 11 years into my radiant floor now, with much thanks due to Dan & The Wall!

One problem I'm having now is that the "integral valves" in my Weil-McLain brass manifold are crapping out one by one. And it seems like WM is now out of the radiant business (which is probably a blessing- their pre-assembled "Injection Pump Panel" that I have has a slew of issues related to build quality). But, now I'm trying to replace these valves so I don't have to replace the manifold pair. (I may do that anyway after heating season to add a couple more zones, but for now I want to make sure I have a fix if another valve goes in the meantime).

Serendipitously, when I ordered my original parts I inadvertently ordered two supply manifolds, so I was able to remove the valves from the spare to replace the failed valves in the manifold in use. But now my spare supply is exhausted.

So, does anyone know if the WM were actually a part from another vendor? They sorta look like the Wirsbo Upnor TruFLOW, but I can't really tell from the pics I see online. I did find one pic from an old ebay auction for a replace valve for a 1 1/4" inch wirsbo manifold, but it doesn't quite match the ones I have ( http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mXei-xkMaKnLVsPJr3Fj0fA.jpg ).

Alternatively, I wonder if there's any way to rebuild these things? It seems like they're developing a small leak and rusting the "inside", whereby the top "push button" is no longer connected to the bottom stem. I guess I could always soak one and see if I can get it apart? (the snap ring at the top isn't coming out in this current state). But I don't know what I'll find (what makes it spring back up to the open position?) and whether what's broken is replaceable anyway...

thanks!

Comments

  • Bucky
    Bucky Member Posts: 33
    Whelp, the other 3 remaining valves froze up, so it seems like the best course of action (now that the non-heating season is upon us) would be to replace the manifolds completely (or at least the supply manifolds with the "integrated valves".

    Anybody have any suggestions? 4 port manifolds are all I need. Although I would consider replacing with a 6 to add zones at some point in time, but I don't think I have the room to do that without major surgery. Can I post pics here??
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    edited June 2016
    Bucky said:

    Whelp, the other 3 remaining valves froze up, so it seems like the best course of action (now that the non-heating season is upon us) would be to replace the manifolds completely (or at least the supply manifolds with the "integrated valves".

    Anybody have any suggestions? 4 port manifolds are all I need. Although I would consider replacing with a 6 to add zones at some point in time, but I don't think I have the room to do that without major surgery. Can I post pics here??

    Froze up indicates a water quality issue. There are only a couple of manufacturers of the motors for telestats. The trick is finding the adapter ring to transition between W/M's manifold and the operator of your choice.

    I'd look very closely at your water conditions. Those things are supposed to last a long time.

    Got pictures of YOUR systems valves/manifolds?

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Bucky
    Bucky Member Posts: 33



    Well, here it is in all its glory! The "Integrated valves" themselves in the manifold are the parts that are rusting and "freezing up". As you can see, I went through a few different variations of actuators before realizing it was the valve itself that was the problem. The original Weil ("Unicam") kept popping off, so I figured it was a case of that plastic pressure connection that was the problem. And here it just was it couldn't withstand the pressure of trying to depress the rusted valve. Then I went to the Honeywell, figuring the brass nut would hold tight on the manifold. It did, but it turns out they're just a little too wide for the manifold. Then I finally tried the Uponor, which seem to be OK, but then all the valves rusted.

    And you're correct about water quality. Hard water, and the heating loop had a slow leak in one of the radiator leads-in the basement right above a spot where rainwater gets in, so I didn't notice it until it really started to run- I just got used to bleeding every year, cursing the sprirovent I put in to prevent that very issue. So it probably got a lot of air and fresh water to contribute to the rusting. There's not a water softener in my near future, so I'm trying to figure out the best manifold to use in this scenario.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Looks like a Tour and Anderson, who I believe also supplies Uponors bronze manifolds. Regardless, you need to get your water quality control issues under control before you throw much more money at the manifolds. Check out Rhomar.com You MIGHT be able to clean them up with a mild acid, but be careful that the acid you use doesn't take any parent material with it.

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,064
    You have isolation valves, so replacing the manifolds might be the best plan, if you cannot run down parts. Newer manifold versions have added features like low current draw actuators, twist open valve functions, etc.

    Assure the system is leak free. I would certainly run a cleaner like Rhomar after the repair or replacement, then fill with DI water AND add a conditioner.

    Every time you add water you add minerals to the system and make the water quality that much worse. After the updates seal off the system and it should be fine for 20 years or more.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Bucky
    Bucky Member Posts: 33
    thanks for the replies! Not sure why I wasn't getting notified of them at the time. I have about 4-6 weeks before I need to get this done now :smile: I'm hopefully leak-free now, but with an old house that situation is usually temporary. With full-sized rads in my heating loop, unfortunately I think DI water is not practical, unless I can get it cheaper in bulk somehow. Then I would just have to figure out how to fill my system! Same goes for a conditioner, but I imagine that would be easier to accomplish via a bleeder valve or something like that...

    Any particular manifolds that anyone could recommend?? I wouldn't be opposed to replacing both, because these WM flow meters / adjusters never seemed to work, and I'd really like to use that function to better tune my different staple-up & slab loops...

    thanks!
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,064
    Looks like they are close to the floor, so you do not have a lot of tube to play with.

    Plenty of good manifolds around. Stainless, brass, or composite are the main choices if you want actuators and flowmeters on them.
    Basic copper tube manifolds can have isolation valves, add your own flow setters, etc.

    I work for Caleffi, so I'm partial to that brand :) We have a universal pex fitting so you are sure to get a good connection regardless of the brand or type of tube in there.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Bucky
    Bucky Member Posts: 33
    Thanks Hot Rod! I just checked out the Caleffi! looks pretty nice! I did just realize one oddity I'll need to overcome- WM required the flowmeters on the RETURN side and the valves on the SUPPLY side. So this is piped with supply on the bottom and return on top. Is there any issue with swapping the supply & return on the Caleffi, along with turning the supply side around so the inlet is on the right??

    Thanks again!
  • Bucky
    Bucky Member Posts: 33
    p.s. I do have decent slack. This is in the basement and the RH is on the first floor. They loop up and then thru a wall hole into a crawlspace. You can see the beginning of one of the loops on the bottom right of the pic...
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,064
    Bucky said:

    Thanks Hot Rod! I just checked out the Caleffi! looks pretty nice! I did just realize one oddity I'll need to overcome- WM required the flowmeters on the RETURN side and the valves on the SUPPLY side. So this is piped with supply on the bottom and return on top. Is there any issue with swapping the supply & return on the Caleffi, along with turning the supply side around so the inlet is on the right??

    Thanks again!

    Yes you can move the top manifold down and the lower one up.

    You can also flip the supply to the other end, just rotate the ball valve in the union nut.

    The handle will be down, if you remove the gauge well it can be switched to the opposite side of the ball valves.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream