Sprinkler valve problems

Spent most of Saturday messing around with my sprinklers, still aren't working quite right.
First noticed that one of the circuits in the back yard wasn't popping up when it turned on. Went and looked at the valve, noticed that the solenoid was all cracked, split, and otherwise didn't look very good. Replaced the solenoid - same thing.
Then I noticed that the other circuit had the same problem. It's solenoid looked OK so I didn't replace it.
Both circuits will turn on fully if I open the bleed screw. There is no manual flow control on the valve, so no need to check that.
Put an AC voltmeter across the terminals in the controller - 28VAC when the circuit was on. Checked the voltage at the valves - still 28 volts.
Thinking maybe the common wire had gone bad, ran a new cable from the controller to that set of valves, rewired all the solenoids. No joy.
The set of valves that control the front yard circuits, on the other hand, work just fine, so I don't think it's anything common in the controller. Different cable running to the valve manifold for the front yard, so the only differences are the valves or the wiring.
Can't think of anything else electrically-related that could be causing my problem. I have changed all the wiring from the controller to the valve manifold, and verified 28VAC across the solenoid wires.
Any sprinkler gurus out there got any suggestions? Can those valves get messed up inside? Both at once? Hmm, city changed our water meter about a month ago - could the valves be clogged inside? Why only the back yard valves and not the front? The valves have something like 8 or 9 screws on the top, should I open them up, is there anything user- servicable in there?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions, Jerry
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wrote:

A weak diaphragm might act like this. Debris from the meter work might be clogging the diaphragm, also.
Remove the screws and clean well. You may need to locate a repair kit (s) at the local hardware/landscape center and install them.
Visit the web site for the model you have.
-- Oren
"If things get any worse, I'll have to ask you to stop helping me."
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Maybe, but only the back yard valves seem to be having a problem. Seems kinda strange. But then, they are a different model than the front yard valves.

Thanks, I'll give that a try.
Heh, the city replaced the meter because it stopped registering usage. They called to let me know about my "problem". I dug out my last 3 or 4 bills from the city, and sure enough, there were only charges for garbage pickup, sewer, and the base charge for water, no water usage at all. I informed them that it wasn't an inconvenience for me at all, but they insisted that I needed a new meter. Well, at least they didn't invent a usage for the months that the meter wasn't registering.
Jerry
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wrote:

The two circuits in my back yard (original) used to get full desert sun, because they were above ground. I cut the lines back and put in a landscape box for the valves.
The diaphragm just gets weak, so the failure. The solenoid can be fine, but the diaphragm is to weak.

I called the water company some months back. Water leaking from the street side of the meter. The came out in short order for the fix. Turns out it was the meter for next door. :))
-- Oren
"If things get any worse, I'll have to ask you to stop helping me."
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