AutoCocker Troubleshooting

Contents:

Good day. This is the last in a series of 4 articles to building, timing, and maintaining your AutoCocker. I will try to assist you with fixing a troublesome AutoCocker and to properly maintain so that you are busy playing instead of sitting out watching the game.


Maintenance

This is a common phrase AutoCocker owners will say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Really, if the marker is timed, and all of the screws are secure, the marker will function time after time. This statement can be tacked on to any marker. A paintball marker, no matter what make or price tag, is an investment. I believe this phrase that fellow AutoCocker uses are referring to the pneumatics. Messing with a timed Cocker will sure mean a misbehaving marker.

I suggest putting a toolbox together with various tools and spare o-rings along with other items. Toolboxes that are not too big can be had anywhere. I use a fishing tackle box to carry everything in. This box should be with you at home and at the field. Think of it as an extension of your marker. Here is a list of what I suggest.

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Allen Wrenches (sizes 3/16, 1/8, and 5/16)
  • Screwdrivers (flat and phillips head)
  • Teflon Tape
  • Rag and/or Paper Towels
  • Valve Tool
  • O-rings
  • Paintball Oil
  • Spring Kit
  • LPR Hosing
  • Macroline or Microline Hose (if you use this)
  • 9v Battery (for agitating hopper and/or e-frame)
  • Printout diagram of the AutoCocker

* Most important! – Please make sure that the marker is completely degased and empty. Some devices like check valves and regulators can keep the marker gased even when the tank is removed. Before working on your marker, make sure there is no tank or hopper on the marker. Cock and pull the trigger, pointing in a safe direction. This will make sure that the marker is degased. Since the Spyder is closed bolt, this may require you to pull back on the bolt and look in the breech to see if a paintball is loaded; Do this after you are positive that the marker is degased.

Taking care of your marker is not hard to do. It will be a time investment to maintain the marker. You at least spent $300 on this item. Why not make it last? I will not go into to much about maintaining. Just the basics.

With any marker, clean off any paint and other dirt after the game day. If it was an especially dirty day, clean the inside as well. As you remove screws, place them into little dixie cups or an empty slot in our tool box so that they do not get lost. If there is paint/dirt in the screw hole, do the best you can cleaning it out.

You can run water through your barrel to wash out the dirt without needing to dirty your squegee. After you run water through it, dry it with paper towels. Especially on the inside. Dried residue inside the barrel can hinder the performance. A nice shiny surface inside the barrel is best for performance.

Remove the bolt and clean that off. Check inside. If the bolt is dirty, most likely the inside is dirty too. Use some paper towels and run it through. Clean the outside of the body. Get in all the little spaces like around the pneumatics. If you suspect paint between the grip and body, you can remove it without fear of needing to retime the marker.

Oiling is easy. For the bolt, add some oil to the o-rings if it has any. Then, add 3-4 drops of air tool oil into the ASA. Air up the marker and shoot it several times with no barrel. This should distribute the oil internally.  Not a bad idea to oil the marker before the game day. Oil the 3-way o-rings. These are one of the most neglected ones.

Only if the marker has not seen a good cleaning for a season of play (about 5 to 6 months of semi-weekly playing in tournies) should you completely dismantle your marker. It may require you to retime your marker. This has turned off several from acquiring the AutoCocker let alone tanking care of it. The fear of retiming for some reason instills fear into some. But would you want to have dirt sieze up your internals in the middle of a game?

Simply remove the bolt, lower internals, and the front block. The front block can be taken off as one unit, keeping the pneumatics intact. Clean the upper and lower tube. Look over the o-rings and replace as needed. Oil the o-rings until just moist before installing the Cocker completely. No need to put gobs of oil. Too much can actually slow the internals. Also, replace any worn air line hoses. There are a number of articles to timing. I offer one here on my site.

I believe that is it to keeping your AutoCocker clean and operating well. It is relatively easy marker to maintain. If time permits in the near future, I may expand to a 4th article showing how to disassemble and AutoCocker.


Solving a Leak Problem

An AutoCocker that is misbehaving can easily be traced back to mis-timed pneumatics. Either that, or you installed a new part incorrectly. Adding a new piece of equipment is not exactly plug-and-play. Usually, with Spyders, adding a part is as simple as switching the item out and reassembly. Adding a new part for an AutoCocker may need to be timed. Time your marker. If your marker is still not fixed, then look for a possible solution below.

Another point to consider is simply if the marker is functioning well, do not mess with it. Playing around when there is no trouble is really asking for trouble.

The list below I have attempted to break them down into specific categories. From there, I list solutions that I believe you need to do to solve the problem.

  • Air Leaks

Leaks heard from the barrel/feed

Low pressure in the tank: Even though there is a valve spring, it may not be enough to push the cup seal to seal the valve. Refill the tank.

Cup seal is not sealing the valve: The hammer may be exerting force on the valve pin, keeping it open. Cock the marker first, then add air. Also, if it is a new cup seal, it may need a short break in period. Fire the marker 50 times or so.

Check the inline regulator: A regulator that doesn’t produce enough air pressure will not be able to exert enough force to press the cup seal. The cup seal will not be able to close the valve.

Lack of oil: Only you will know if you have oiled your marker or not. Oil does assist in rejuvinating and sealing some air leaks from o-rings and cup seals. Add 3-4 drops of oil to the ASA and dry fire the marker to disribute oil internally. I suggest that you do this after every game day.

Weakened Valve Spring: A weak spring will not be able to push the cup seal against the valve face and assist in sealing.

Poor Cup Seal Contact: The cup seal may have unscrewed from the valve pin. Or, has been damaged somehow. Another possibility is some kind of debris is keeping a seal from happening. Remove and check cup seal. Replace as needed. Could add a very small drop of blue loc tite to secure cup seal to valve pin

Bad O-Ring on Valve Body: There is an o-ring between the body and the valve. Replace and lightly oil upon reassembly.

Valve Damaged: The valve body is damaged. This is unusual for this to happen. Use 800 grit or higher sandpaper. Stretch sandpaper over a flat surface (like a tabletop). Carefully sand the face, keeping the valve face flat. Move in one direction and rotating the valve after every push. Or, replace with new valve.

Valve installed incorrectly: The valve may be loose, installed incorrectly, or installed backwards. Remove bottom set screw and check if the valve is loose. If loose, tighten valve jam nut. Make sure the larger hole is facing towards the front of the marker.

Valve pin is bent: This is very unusual for this to happen. But it can happen. Replace with new pin.


Leak heard from the 3-way

Retime the 3-way: Air rushing out of the front or rear of the 3-way will need adjustment. Refer to 3-way timing. Simply put, air escaping in the front, adjust the rod forward. If leak from the rear, move the rod back.

LPR is too Low: The LPR doesn’t have enough output to seal the o-rings inside of 3-Way. Either by design or wear-and-tear. Increase the output pressure of the LPR.

Worn or damaged o-rings: Oil the o-rings. Examine the o-rings and replace as needed. Also, check for possible debris inside of the barrel of the 3-way that could wear out the o-rings prematurely.

Dry internals: Make sure the o-rings are not dry. Add 3-4 drops of oil in ASA and dry fire about 15-20 times. Or, add a drop of oil to 3-way while marker is degased and work oil through by pulling the trigger a few times.

Bent 3-Way assembly: Check for bends on the 3-way rod and timing rod attached to the trigger seperately by rolling on a flat surface. Replace as needed. Also, make sure there is not rubbing on the trigger frame or ASA by the timing rod.

Trigger return: Either the trigger return spring is to soft or the trigger itself is binding and preventing the full return of the trigger. This can result in a 3-way not going in it’s full motion and let you manually push the trigger forward. Use a stiffer trigger spring.

Pneumatic Hose Damaged: Check pneumatic hose. Add some water to see tiny air bubbles. Replace as needed.

Pneumatic Hose Barb Damaged: Replace as needed adding very little blue loc tite to the threads, being careful not to cover air passage.

Seal inside of the RAM is poor: When the RAM is activated, the deactivated side of the 3-way will vent some air in a small puff. However, if the seal inside of the RAM is bad, air will go in the 3-way, out the activated side of the 3-way into the RAM, through the RAM and escape out the deactivated 3-way air line in a continuous stream. You can either pull the trigger and see if the venting switches to the other side or pull the 3-way air line that is leaking on the 3-way and place the end into some water. Replace RAM. Some RAM’s are rebuildable.

Liquid CO2 entered the 3-way: Liquid CO2 entered into the 3-way. May burst the o-rings. Check and oil o-rings.


Leak heard from the RAM

LPR Air Line cracked: LPR hose are fragile. Especially from a direct impact from a paintball. Replace air line if crack is found.

Damaged barb: Like air lines, a paintball is able to damage the barb from a direct impact. Replace barb, adding very small amount of blue lock tite.

Leak exiting around the shaft: If your RAM is easily rebuildable, replace o-ring seal. Else, replace with new RAM.


Leak heard elsewhere

LPR hosing leaks: If you are able to verify that the LPR hosing is leaking on the ends, it may be time to replace them. They can and will wear out. Also, liquid CO2 can damage hoses. An anti-siphon tube installed in the CO2 tank will help greatly to keep liquid CO2 out of the marker.

LPR hoses poping off: Either the LPR hosing is old and needs replaced. Or the LPR pressure is too high. Reduce the LPR pressure. If continual LPR hoses are blown off, you may need to rebuild or replace the LPR.

Leak from an microline/macroline: Confirm no cracks are present. Replace as needed. If air is coming from the connection point, add a little oil. May need to replace o-ring inside air fitting.

Leak coming from the front block: There is an o-ring under the front block screw and on the otherside of the front block. Replace o-ring.

Leak from ASA: Check the o-ring on the inline regulator. Check o-ring between the ASA and body. Oil and replace as needed. Check o-ring on air tank.

Leak from threaded fitting: Air exiting the fitting where threads are pressent. If o-ring is present, replace and oil o-ring. If no o-ring is present, wrap about 2 or 3 layers of teflon tape to seal.

Burst of air from ASA: When taking the tank off, a burst of air exits the ASA. Empty the marker of paint and insert barrel safety device. Unscrew the air tank 1 full turn. Dryfire 3-4 times. If marker is still pressurized, unscrew the tank a half turn and repeat dryfire. Repeat as needed until marker is depressurized. This will keep the burst of air rushing out of the ASA and damaging the o-ring.


  • Velocity Problems

Velocity is Low

Velocity adjustor (IVG): Screw in (clockwise) the velocity adjustor to increase spring tension. This will force the hammer to hit the valve harder.

Inline reg is too low: There is not enough air pressure to fire the ball down range. Increase pressure. But not too much. See the next fix if increasing the pressure doesn’t help.

Inline reg. is too high: Yes, you read it right. The reg may have an output that is too high. Stock AutoCockers are around 400psi out of the box. Too much pressure may keep the valve from opening long enough.

Main spring is worn: The main spring may be too weak and not able to exert enough force on the hammer to open the valve. Replace main spring.

Valve spring is strong: The valve spring is exerting too much pressure on the valve pin, closing it to soon. Replace valve spring with a weaker one.

Jam nut became loose: The jam nut secures the valve in place inside of the body along with a set screw on the bottom. If the jam nut becomes loose, the hammer will not be able to hit the valve open correctly. Worse yet, the continuous hammer movement against the nut can damage the body internally. Remove the set screw hidden by the trigger frame and try to move the valve. If it moves, tighten the jam nut.

Valve installed incorrectly: If you just installed a new valve, the valve body may be backwords. the larger hole should be facing forward.


Velocity is high

Velocity adjustor (IVG): Screw out (counter-clockwise) the velocity adjustor to reduce the velocity. Do not allow the face of the adjustor to pass the face of the body. The back block will make contact.

Reg set to high: Reduce the regulator output. Less pressure means less velocity.

Strong main spring: The main spring is exerting too much force on the hammer, slamming it into the valve. Install a weaker one.

Weak valve spring: The valve spring is too weak to close the valve properly. Install a stronger valve spring.


Velocity not stable

Marker not firing: Bolt may be upside down. Rotate bolt and secure with bolt pin.

Paint to bore match: Read my Barrels – F.A.Q. article. If the paint is too big or small for the barrel you are using, velocity and possible paint breakage will exist.

Timing issue: The hammer release point and recocking point are too close, the marker will not fire correctly. Seperate these two points. Releasing the hammer should be about 2/5ths of a trigger pull. Recocking should start at 4/5ths of the trigger pull.

Dry internals: Have you kept up with maintenance? If not, oil your internals. 3-4 drops of oil into the ASA, gas up the marker, and shoot about 15-20 times.

Velocity slowly decreases: This can be a number of items. Microline is restrictive. Switch to macroline or stainless steel braid. Make sure there are no kinks in the air line. Different regulator? May be either dry internally, or just not a fast recharge during fast firing strings. Tank full? Fill tank. Is the IVG secure? Replace o-ring if worn. Clean internals (including the inline regulator).

Velocity starts low, then climbs: The reg is not doing it’s job well. Make sure the internals are lubed. Replace the valve seat. Replace any worn o-rings.

Velocity jumps around: This can be a number of items. Are the internals dry? Add 4-5 drops of oil into ASA and dryfire 15-20 times with no barrel. It may specifically be the inline regulator. Is the IVG secure? Replace o-ring if worn. Secure any loose screws.


  • Trigger is sluggish/sticks

Visable dragging of trigger shoe: The trigger shoe catches in frame or screw.

Timing issue: Marker fails to fire or recock. Retime marker.

CO2 entered into the 3-way: Liquid CO2 entered the 3-way and expanded the o-rings. Should clear up on it’s own.

LPR reg is too high: There is is too much pressure in the 3-way and is causing friction. Reduce the LPR as far as it can go down. Then increase the pressure until the marker stops leaking from the 3-way and recocks. Add just a little more pressure after this point.

Poor condition of 3-way: Check inside of barrel of the 3-way. Examine the o-rings. Replace o-rings and add oil if neede.

Weak or damaged trigger return spring: Damaged or weak spring can prevent a snappy trigger return. Replace as needed.


  • Recocking issues

Main spring to strong: The main spring is exerting too much pressure on the hammer, keeping it from going all the way back. Screw out (counter-clockwise) the velocity adjustor and adjust the inline regulator.

LPR not high enough: The LPR gives “power” to the RAM to move the back block back. Increase the LPR a little at a time.

Timing issue: The hammer lug has either retracted into the hammer, or is damaged. Adjust as needed. Also, inspect the sear. Replace as needed.

Timing issue #2: The cocking rod is too long and will not pull the hammer all the way back. Either the rod unscrewed from the hammer, or the knob on the rod has unscrewed. Adjust as needed. Secure with blue loc tite or teflon tape.

Sear spring damaged: The sear spring is damaged or off track keeping the sear from catching the hammer. It may be too soft. Replace as needed.

The pneumatics are damaged: Some portion of the pneumatics are damaged. Either the LPR is not supplying air, RAM is not moving, or a damaged 3-way. Examine all carefully.


  • Ball chopping

Loader not feeding: If you do not have an agitating hopper, invest in one. Either a Revolution, Egg, or Richete are all good at a fair price. These will keep up with fast firing strings. Also, make sure the batteries are in good condition.

Short stroking: You are not pulling the trigger all the way back or all the way forward. This will not let the RAM push the back block back fully to recock the marker or will release the hammer at the same time the block is moving back. Slow down on the trigger pull. You can adjust the releasing of the hammer and recocking to your style.

Timing issue: Releasing of the hammer and recocking are too close.

Timing issue #2: The bolt is not clearing the feed and hindering the feeding of paintballs. Adjust the back block and cocking rod accordingly.


  • Electronic Grip

Battery low: Misfiring can be cause from a low battery. Recharge or replace.

Marker immediately cocks: The trigger is contacting. You may have adjusted the trigger to much. It is constantly contacting and ‘firing’ the marker.

Out of fireing mode: Confirm you are in the correct firemode.

Air is leaking from the solenoid: Not much you can do with that. Replace with new one from manufacturer.

Other malfunctions: Consult manufacturer troubleshooting guide.


Related posts: