How To Adjust Rainbird 5000 Sprinkler Heads (Do This!)

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone
Rain Bird 5000 sprinkler heads are known for their reliability and superior ground coverage, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t require an adjustment. It is often necessary to adjust sprinkler heads if they miss a spot, and the best way to do it is to create overlap between each head. Whether it be gathering tools or adjusting arcs, let’s take a look at how you can adjust your Rain Bird 5000 sprinkler heads.

Your home irrigation system consists of a controller which waters your lawn in cycles and sprinklers with adjustable heads. Rain Bird is one of the most trusted and reliable underground sprinkler system brands on the market. More specifically, the Rain Bird 5000 series are rotary sprinkler heads that are ideal for both residential and commercial applications.

The 5000 series combines Rain Bird’s Triple-Blade Wiper Seal and Rain Curtain nozzles to deliver even coverage and lasting reliability. These sprinkler heads spray from a fixed left stop that is set by the user and also features adjustable radius and arc settings. The proper way to adjust Rain Bird 5000 sprinkler heads involves a slight overlap from one sprinkler head to the next. This will help you achieve uniform watering to grow a lush, healthy, and green lawn.

We’ve outlined all the necessary tools and steps to make adjusting your Rain Bird 5000 sprinkler heads a breeze.

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About Rain Bird 5000 Series Sprinklers

The Rain Bird 5000 series rotor sprinkler heads advertise themselves as the “industry’s most reliable and best-performing rotor.” These sprinklers can distribute water from 25 feet to 50 feet, making them the ideal choice for both residential and commercial uses. The Rain Curtain Nozzle technology comes standard on all 5000 series sprinklers and boasts greater wind resistance, effective close-in watering, and even dispersal across the entire radius.

With their slip clutch mechanism and self-cleaning adjustment screw, these sprinkler heads are easy to install, adjust, and maintain. The arc can be easily adjusted by using a flat head screwdriver and the radius adjustment screw allows users to reduce the radius by up to 25% without needing to switch out nozzles.

The Rain Bird 5000 sprinklers are also incredibly durable, due to their heavy-duty cover assembly. Their durable retract spring also assures positive pop-down after each cycle and additional seals protect against “gritty” water. Not to mention, these sprinklers come with a five-year warranty.

How to Adjust Rain Bird 5000 Sprinkler Heads

With the Rain Bird 5000 series, you have the ability to adjust the fixed left stop, arc, and radius to attain ample coverage. Before you begin, you want to ensure that your sprinkler head can be turned or rotated. Unfortunately, if it cannot turn, simply adjusting it will not do the trick. The only thing that can be done in this case is to replace the entire sprinkler head.

If your Rain Bird 5000 sprinkler head will not turn, adjusting it may rotate the head for a cycle or two but eventually, it will stop rotating in the same spot. Once your sprinkler heads are in the proper condition for an adjustment, you can proceed with the steps.

Step One: Gather Necessary Tools

To adjust Rain Bird 5000 sprinkler heads, you only need two tools. However, you may be able to get away with just one in a pinch.

  • Pliers: For this, we recommend acquiring a Channellock 12-inch tongue and groove plier. These will be used to grip the sprinkler head at the base and turn it into position. In some cases, you can rotate the sprinkler by the neck, but it is not recommended.
  • Adjustment Key or Flat Head Screwdriver: When adjusting a Rain Bird 5000 sprinkler head, it is not imperative to have a Rain Bird rotor/adjustment tool. If you do not have one on hand, you can substitute it for a flat head screwdriver. Although, having the key will make it much easier to pull the sprinkler head out of its case, or out of the ground.

Step Two: Locate the Left Stop of the Rain Bird 5000 Sprinkler Head

The first step in adjusting a Rain Bird 5000 sprinkler head is to locate the left stop, or hard stop setting. To do this, simply rotate the top of the sprinkler head, or turret, as far as it will go to the right. Then, turn the turret back to the left. Once the turret of the sprinkler head stops on the left side, you have found the hard stop.

When you purchase Rain Bird 5000 series sprinklers, the left stop comes fixed. The sprinkler head will always stop in the same position on the left side. If you want to adjust the left stop, the adjustment key will not work, as it needs to be adjusted physically.

Step Three: Adjust the Left Stop on Rain Bird 5000 Sprinkler Head

The left stop indicates the point where irrigation will start. To adjust the fixed left stop on a Rain Bird 5000 sprinkler head, grip the turret with either your hand or a pair of pliers. To align the sprinkler with the irrigation starting point, pull the turret upwards and rotate the nozzle that releases water to the left.

Quick Tip: The arrow on the top of the sprinkler head represents the direction that the water sprays out.

For best results, position the nozzle parallel to hard surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, and buildings. These are the ideal places to begin irrigation and achieve even coverage on your lawn. Once you’ve found the appropriate position for the left stop, release the turret and let it lower by itself back into the canister.

Step Four: Adjust the Arc on Rain Bird 5000 Sprinkler Head

The arc adjustment on a Rain Bird 5000 series sprinkler head is located on the top of the head and is displayed as a plus/minus sign. By placing an arc adjustment tool or appropriately sized flat head screwdriver into this slot, you can adjust how far of a turn your sprinkler makes. The degree at which your sprinkler head turns refers to its ‘arc’.

  • First, turn the edge of the sprinkler head to the left until it won’t turn anymore (the left stop).
  • Insert the adjustment tool or flat head screwdriver into the +/- adjustment slot.
  • Turn the tool in the plus direction (clockwise) to increase the arc, or the degree at which your sprinkler turns.
  • Turn the tool in the minus direction (counterclockwise) to decrease the arc, or the degree at which your sprinkler turns.

Step Five: Adjust the Radius on Rain Bird 500 Sprinkler Head

Now that you’ve adjusted the left stop and arc on your sprinkler head, all that’s left is to fine-tune the radius. The radius of your sprinkler refers to the distance that the water will spray. Adjusting both the radius and the arc will help you to avoid spraying water out into the street, into your home, or anywhere it’s not supposed to go.

  • Locate the radius adjustment slot on the top of the sprinkler head. It can be found right above the nozzle, where the arrow is showing the direction of flow.
  • Insert an adjustment tool or small flathead screwdriver into the radius adjustment slot.
  • Turn the tool counterclockwise to increase the radius, or distance that the water will spray from the nozzle.
  • Turn the tool clockwise to decrease the radius, or distance that the water will spray from the nozzle.

Step Six: Adjust the Spray Pattern (Optional)

If your particular Rain Bird Sprinkler model has an adjustable head, manually twist the collar with your fingers. For adjustable sprinkler heads, turning the collar left and right will alter the spray pattern. These heads can be adjusted from 0 to 360 degrees.

  • To increase your Rain Bird sprinkler head’s spray pattern, twist the threaded collar to the left.
  • To decrease your Rain Bird sprinkler head’s spray pattern, twist the threaded collar to the right.

Perform this adjustment while the sprinkler is on. That way, you’ll be able to easily determine how much increase or decrease of the spray pattern you want. Knowing how to adjust the spray pattern can be incredibly useful, especially if you want to spray only a certain sport in your yard or water a particular area of your lawn.

Some models have an adjustable tab on the top of the head, in place of manual operation, for adjusting the spray pattern. This tab will have a plus and minus symbol, indicating the way that you need to turn the screw to increase or decrease the spray pattern.

Step Seven: Verify Your Adjustments

After you’ve completed making all of the necessary adjustments to your Rain Bird 5000 series sprinkler heads, you want to verify your work. Run an entire watering cycle and allow the head to rotate its full range of motion. This will let you verify that the sprinkler heads are starting and stopping in the correct positions. Also, check that the arc and radius were appropriately adjusted to avoid spraying water into any areas of your property that do not need it.

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Related Questions

How long do Rain Bird sprinkler systems last?

On average, you can expect your sprinkler system to last up to 20 years. However, it is very likely for you to experience minor breakdowns every three to ten years, depending on the quality of your irrigation system. To get the most out of your sprinkler system and avoid frequent maintenance issues, you should have it inspected by a professional at least once a year.

How do you maintain sprinkler heads?

Aside from having your sprinklers inspected once a year, you want to check that the zones are overlapping properly to give you consistent coverage. Adjust as needed and look out for any clogs or blockages caused by debris. Also, when you notice broken sprinkler heads, repair or replace them as soon as possible.

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Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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