Servicing my Zeagles - my adventure

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snowdog61

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After having some issues with both of my reg sets (FH XP and T50D with ZX adjustable 2nds and Octo-Zs) immediately after their last LDS servicing (during a SB trip of course), I decided I was likely better off doing the servicing myself at the next go-round. I picked up a 3rd set (FH 6) recently to support a pony I was planning on using for solo - but one that supposedly was "serviced regularly and recently" which of course leaked badly out of the 2nd as soon as the tank valve was cracked. I didn't bother trying to adjust the seat but also didn't have an IP gage at that point so was basically clueless as to what might actually be happening. I had purchased 2nd stage rebuild kits to have on hand when I travel so this seemed like the time to jump especially since my other two sets were more than 2 years from their ill fated last service. I figured to do all 3 2nds for starters and ordered up a cheap IP gage, cristolube, and kits for the 1sts and other 2nds. Rebuilding the ZX 2nds was fairly straight forward but I was a bit disappointed in the amount of green shmoo I was seeing. The dip in a borrowed L&R ultrasonic cleaner helped but they were far from pristine. I stuck with warm water and dish soap then hit the metal parts with brass and SS toothbrushes to remove the flaky bits and remaining corrosion. The regs were all purchased used and I'll assume I wasn't very diligent about giving them nice long soaks in fresh water and pressurized drying afterwards. Guess I know better. IP gage showed up after I had setup the three 2nds - I left the orifices off the seats until I was more comfortable with knowing what was happening with the 1sts. Anyways, as I expected, the 2+ yr old sets had a creep but mostly stayed below 140. My 'new' FH6 locked up at 135 and was rock solid so at least I could dive the next weekend. I set its 2nd to just dribble then gave it a tiny turn on the hex to get it to stop. I figured after the dive it would cycled enough to have taken a set and I'd re-tune it. I've got the FH XP cleaned and re-assembled and the T50-D apart ready for cleaning. The FH-XP isn't a sealed design and was pretty crusty, the 50D looks really good with only a little corrosion. Pin spanner should be delivered today so will get both together and set their IPs. Haven't done anything with the Octo-Zs yet but can't imagine it will be much different than the other 2nds.

So what have I learned here.....( Capt Obvious)
1) Don't go on a big trip immediately after having your gear serviced without thoroughly testing it.
2) Having an IP gage gives you great insight into what is going on with your 1st stage and will tell you when you should start to think about servicing your reg set.
3) Servicing your own regs isn't very hard if you're some what mechanically inclined. Sourcing parts is probably the hardest part - manuals and tools are available on-line.
4) if you dive saltwater - rinse them while they are still wet (if possible) then let them soak. All the corrosion i found was in the threads or otherwise in all those tiny interfaces where the salt gets into but where a dunk and run wont get close to flushing out.
 
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The Chairman

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The 'green shmoo' has a name: verdigris. Diluted vinegar (25%-50%) works great on it. Use that in the ultrasonic and it'll shine those parts right up! Rinse thoroughly!
as I expected, the 2+ yr old sets had a creep but mostly stayed below 140.
A 'creep' continues to rise. It won't stay below any pressure until the second stage starts to purge.
I figured after the dive it would cycled enough to have taken a set and I'd re-tune it.
Smart!
So what have I learned here.....( Capt Obvious)
1) Don't go on a big trip immediately after having your gear serviced without thoroughly testing it.
2) Having an IP gage gives you great insight into what is going on with your 1st stage and will tell you when you should start to think about servicing your reg set.
3) Servicing your own regs isn't very hard if you're some what mechanically inclined. Sourcing parts is probably the hardest part - manuals and tools are available on-line.
4) if you dive saltwater - rinse them while they are still wet (if possible) then let them soak. All the corrosion i found was in the threads or otherwise in all those tiny interfaces where the salt gets into but where a dunk and run wont get close to flushing out.
I agree with all of that!
What effect did the brass and SS brushes have?
They were hand held brushes so I doubt they affected it much at all.
 

The Chairman

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The biggest issue with rebuilding your own regs is learning to identify static vs dynamic o-rings. The #010 o-rings between your first stage and the hoses are static and require very little lube. Those #004 o-rings in your pressure gauge are dynamic and I am pretty liberal with those. the dynamic o-rings on the hose going to your reg don't need near as much lube. No, you won't damage a static o-ring by using some lube on it, but you'll shorten the life of a dynamic o-ring if you don't. When in doubt, lightly lube the o-ring.
 

snowdog61

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Yeah I wasn't too sure about doing the vinegar douche on these though I'm sure it would have sped the process up immeasurably. I was in no rush. The verdigris 'shmoo' was pretty bad on the valve tube of one of the 2nds to the point where it was down into the brass (or at least into the copper plating). Yes I was leery of taking a stainless tooth brush to it but since the plating was already compromised, it seemed better to get the corrosion off and coat it with lube rather than let it progress. I tried to work circumferentially on the sealing surfaces to at least give the o-rings a chance to seal if it did induced some scratches and then gave all the interior surfaces a thin film of lube to help protect it. I suspect that the verdigris will return regardless of my efforts wherever the plating was compromised, but again, these were used (abused) regs when I got them and I wasn't too anal about soaking these post dive. The worst set is being relegated to my pony setup and I converted the other T50D to DIN to join the FH6 since I picked up an older 3500 PST 100 which is DIN only. GF has a pair of ScubaPro regs (MK20 and G500?) that I may do next but not sure about what special tools I'll be needing. IP was creeping on her main set so it is ready is all I can say.

yeah Pete, the creep I let go for a few minutes and it continued to climb. I'm sure it would have self-purged if I let it go longer. My thought was if you're breathing off it, you won't likely notice anything until the IP set point goes over the cracking pressure on your 2nd. If it is slow enough - no biggie. It keeps resetting every time you breath - not the optimal situation but not disconcerting IMHO. On my pony, it was a bigger concern - dribbling gas the entire dive isn't any where near a desire - I want to have it available AND preferably full. AFA the lube - yeah I do a thin continuous film - it's lube not a sealer.
 

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I'm sure it would have self-purged if I let it go longer.
Don't fool yourself. I've only seen this progress one way: total freeflow. Once a creep starts, it needs to be resolved. It has to be the main seat or any o-rings between high pressure and regulated pressure. I was flummoxed by a #010 o-ring Hog had added behind their main seat.
 

snowdog61

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So my pin spanner came in yesterday and I was able to torque the diaphragm rings down and complete the assembly. IPs are set and steady and re-adjusted the 2nds. Wish I had spent a bit more time looking into the tooling. The adjustable Williams 471 spanner fit but on the FH-XP the diameter of the diaphragm clamp ring is reduced from the main body size so it's not so great a fit. I see a Peterbuilt has a multi-tool that is flat bar stock radiused with a roll pin (along with other functions) that likely would have worked and given me some things needed for the GFs ScubaPro. Guess the question is whether to dig into her ScubaPros and learn how to do pistons.
 
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KDAD

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The worst set is being relegated to my pony setup
On my pony, it was a bigger concern - dribbling gas the entire dive isn't any where near a desire.

Sounds like you will be getting them all rebuilt and adjusted once you have all the tools but I wonder about relegating the worst set to the pony. Presumably when you are going to that reg you really need it and need it to work. I almost think I would want my best reg there. If your primary reg craps out you have the pony as redundancy. No redundancy after that so you want that one to be solid.
 

snowdog61

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Sounds like you will be getting them all rebuilt and adjusted once you have all the tools but I wonder about relegating the worst set to the pony. Presumably when you are going to that reg you really need it and need it to work. I almost think I would want my best reg there. If your primary reg craps out you have the pony as redundancy. No redundancy after that so you want that one to be solid.

yeah you make a good point. The pony will only be used on the rare occasions I go solo and spear (the soon-to-be wife hates it so likely only a few times a year). I know better not to have redundancy but I've got no qualms about the condition of the set. yes, the 2nd had a good bit of plating missing from the valve tube but I know where the areas of concern are and can keep an eye on things. It's lubed but I don't have any expectations of that eliminating verdigris but again, I looking at using it only a few times a year. I'll put an IP gage on it prior to diving it as a check.
 
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