Water softener brine tank overflowing

My Autotrol 268/460i  is about 10yrs old. Brine tank is overflowing; drained it. cleaned it;  I was watching the brine tank after that; for about 2 weeks no overflowing. Seems it happened again last nite; took off the cover of the control box and timer —and the rod that pushes the pins was out of its harness;
Tom in AZ

Answer: Possibly two independent problems here.  Depending on the specific date of manufacture, your control may have a yellow camshaft clip that secures the cam (you refer to it as a rod) to the mounting location on the rear of the valve body. Look on page 7 of the manual at  http://www.caitechnologies.com/images/PDFs/Autotrol_Performa_FA_Filter.pdf – this is not a manual for your specific valve – but it is for a Performa series, and the picture shows this clip clearly.  If your valve is configured as shown in the picture, look around on the floor for the clip – if it is not in place, the cam will come off its mount frequently.

However, the brine tank overflowing is another issue.  If the cam was not in its harness, then the valves would all close, and refill of the brine tank would not be possible.  The exception to this would be a leaky flapper valve (referred to as a “valve disc” on page 11 of the manual). It is possible that the refill valve leaks water constantly to drain, but this is not a common problem.  Easy to check, just reassemble the unit, and see if water flows through the disconnected brine line when the control is in “Conditioned Water/Service” position.

If no water flows to drain, and with the cam now reattached in the correct position, initiate a manual regeneration to see if the water level in the brine tank slowly recedes when the control reaches the “brine draw/slow rinse” position.  This is a 60 minute position.  In the first part of this stage, brine solution is drawn into the water softener resin bed, and in the balance of the stage, water slowly washes through the bed to complete the ion-exchange process, and send any excess sodium to drain.  If the brine solution is not drawn into the unit, the refill process may still place additional water back into the brine tank.  If this happens, the water level will get higher with each subsequent regeneration, eventually causing an overflow condition.

There are a number of potential reasons for this problem to occur; plugged injector, air-leak in the brine line, fouled resin bed, obstruction in the drain line – it will take some investigation.  The first step will be to reattach the cam correctly, and see if water is drawn into the softener during regeneration.

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