Eight years ago we purchased our home in Pflugerville (North of Austin TX) and it had this ancient-looking Rainsoft water softener installed and working fine. It always provided satisfactory service until a year or so ago when it started using less and less salt, and finally my wife is complaining about the taste of the water and the softener seems to use no salt. I went to poke at it and found that Rube Goldberg apparently started as a Rainsoft engineer and this thing has no manual and I'm no water softener guru.

The problem that really brought me here is the yellow transparent cylinder with a ball floating inside it. This looks like a check valve to me. It was covered with crazing and it started spraying like mad through all the cracks when I switched the valve to and from bypass. Broken, anonymous part, strike one.

It always screamed pretty loud during a regeneration cycle, and when I left it running a cycle the other day it stayed stuck screaming in the Brine 3 position for several hours before I left it in Bypass and went to bed. At one point as I was twiddling the dial it started letting water into the line to the salt tank, but I didn't dig out 3 feet of salt to see if it took the brine up again (yet). The thing sounds like a clock and does advance, but it doesn't advance all the way around the dial. Sticking mechanism, strike 2

I'm pretty sure the resin is at least 20 years old, and needs replacement - strike 3

It looks like a solenoid coil in there is corroding - strike 4, Something Must Be Done! The resin and salt tanks and plumbing seems like I should be able to re-use, and I'm not a fan of paying the same number of dollars for some chinese pile of junk from Sears, so here is where I think I stand:
  • I'd like to repair this dinosaur if possible
  • Couple hundred bucks for a new head made in this century
  • Hundred or two for a fresh load of resin


Questions:
  • Can anyone tell me how this "Rainsoft Electronic Brain" is supposed to work, including what I should be able to see happening at what point in the cycle?
  • Will a leaking check valve make it stop advancing on the cycle timer wheel programming whaziz?
  • Is it rebuildable or is it too old? I have more time than money available - is there something likely wrong with this that I could fix?
  • What is this leaking plastic cylinder thingy and where can I get another one?
  • Will I need a new bypass valve assembly if I replace the timer/valve bits?
  • Is there any place anyone can recommend for buying parts/supplies?


In all its glory:




Looks old, looks like a manual probably came with it.




Can I buy a vowel? Skip wheel knobs set like they mean it, time of day setting seems to set, big program knob rotates/clicks, switches all seem to "do something", regen time thing just spins with no resistance




Silicone & packing tape stopped the gross leaks, still drips pretty fast out from under the tape