Sprinkler Master Technician adjusting a Rainbird 5000 rotor.

Rainbird 5000 rotors are some of the most popular and reliable sprinkler rotors you can get. If you’re a homeowner with a sprinkler system, you know the importance of maintaining it to keep your lawn healthy and beautiful. Knowing how to adjust your Rainbird 5000 rotors can save you time and money in your quest for a perfect lawn.

We’ll go over how you can adjust your Rainbird 5000 rotors step by step below. Keep reading to learn more. 

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1. What Tools will I need?

Before adjusting your Rainbird 5000 rotor, you’ll need to gather the essential tools. If you just need to adjust the spray, all you’ll need is one of the Rainbird adjustment tools. These tools look like small flat-head screwdrivers, except the screwdriver ends in kind of a cross at the end. This tool will allow you to easily pull the head up and then use the flathead to make all of your adjustments.

If you don’t have one of those tools you can also use a flathead screwdriver. It will just be harder to use without the pull-up tool. If you are going to be frequently adjusting sprinklers you’ll probably want to get one of Rainbird’s tools. You can get one of the tools at Sprinkler Warehouse for under $5. Most places that sell Rain Bird products will also sell the tools. 

Rain Bird also makes a tool to hold up the head while you work on it. These can be nice to have but are not strictly necessary for adjusting your system. 

The only other tool you might need is a shovel if your rotor has sunk too low into the ground and is sitting at the wrong angle.

2. Adjusting the Arc of the Rotor

These are the steps to adjust the Arc of the Rotor. The Arc is how far the rotor turns from side to side while operating. Rainbird 5000 rotors can be adjusted anywhere between 40 degrees of rotation and 360 degrees of rotation. 

  1. To adjust the arc of the rotor you’ll first want to go turn on your system. You’re going to adjust the sprinkler while it is on so you may get wet while doing this. 
  2. Check the current arc. Stand behind the water spray and grab the head of the rotor below the spray. The rotor will easily turn from side to side. First, turn the head to the left until it stops easily turning. This spot is the start of the arc. Then turn the spray to the right. Wherever it stops on this side will show you the current end of the arc.
  3. First set the start of the arc in the right spot. To change the starting point of the arc, turn the rotor head to the starting point and then, as gently as possible, force the rotor head to turn to the desired starting point. This will be the new starting point of the rotor. 
  4. Find the arc adjustment screw. The ark adjustment screw is on top of the rotor head, in the back of the head. Most heads will have a plus sign on the left side and a minus sign on the right side. Once you find that you can insert your adjustment tool or flathead screwdriver into the rubber slot there.
  5. Adjust the arc adjustment screw. To narrow the arc of the rotor, turn the screw counterclockwise. To widen the arc of the rotor, turn the screw clockwise. You’ll want to adjust this and then test the arc by turning the head again. Adjust this until the arc ends at the correct stopping point.
Rainbird 5000 rotors

3. Adjusting the Distance of the Spray

The distance of the spray or the radius is how far the rotor can throw the water away from itself. The Rainbird 5000 had an adjustable radius between 25 and 50 feet or 7.5 and 15 meters. The distance depends on the maximum range of the nozzle you have in place. The nozzles are replaceable and come in 5 feet increments.

These are the steps to adjust the distance of the spray. If you already have the correct nozzle skip to step 4. 

Changing the Nozzle

  1. First, choose the correct nozzle. You’ll want to choose the nozzle that is just larger than the distance you want the water to go. If you want the water to spray 32 feet for example you’ll want to choose the 35-foot nozzle. 
  2. Second, remove the current nozzle or space holder from the sprinkler. To do this you’ll want to use your adjustment tool to lift the head of the rotor. You’ll then need to either hold up the head with your hand or use a Hold-Up tool. Unscrew the radius adjustment screw. The radius adjustment screw is located at the front of the top of the rotor. Usually, it is inside an arrow that points in the direction of the spray. You’ll want to unscrew this screw counterclockwise until you can remove the nozzle. 
  1. Now add the new nozzle you’ll be using. You can simply push this nozzle into place and then tighten down the screw by turning it clockwise. You can now let go of the sprinkler head since you’ll need to turn on the system to make the fine adjustments. 

Adjusting the Distance of Spray

  1. Turn on the water. For the fine adjustments, you’ll want to have the water on so that you can see exactly how far the spray is going. If for example you need the spray to go 32 feet and you already put the 35-foot head in we now need to reduce the range. 
  2. Use your screwdriver to adjust the radius adjustment screw. Turn the screw counterclockwise until you see the distance of the spray shortening to the correct distance. Turning the screw counterclockwise will lengthen the distance of the spray.
  3. Make adjustments until the sprinkler hits the right distance. 
Sprinkler Master Technician digging to adjust the height of a Rainbird 5000 sprinkler

4. Adjusting the Height of the Rotor

Sometimes your rotor sinks into the ground over time as the soil settles and you need to raise it back up. To do this you’ll need to dig around your sprinkler head. You’ll want your sprinkler head to sit about even to the ground so that it’s not sunken down, but still low enough that nobody trips over it and the lawn mowers blades won’t catch it 

To dig up your head you can use either a regular shovel or a garden trowel. You’ll then want to use the shovel to cut into the grass around the head. You’ll want to be able to replace the grass afterward so set the chunks of grass carefully to the side. 

Be very careful when digging around sprinkler rotors not to damage the rotor itself or to cut the tubing connecting the rotor to your PVC.

Once you’ve removed some of the grass and dirt you can adjust the sprinkler height if the rotor has sunk a lot you may need to add a bit more dirt to the spot. Sometimes you can raise it just by pulling it up a little bit and letting some of the surrounding soil fall into place beneath the rotor. 

Once you’ve done this carefully replace the soil and the grass. It’s okay if the grass is sitting a little bit higher than the surrounding grass since it will settle over time. 

Hire a Repair Company

If the problem is bigger than you thought or if you just don’t have time to adjust and maintain your whole system yourself it’s time to hire a repair company.

Sprinkler Master has locations all over the country that are ready to help you. We’re experienced with Rain Bird products and can help you fix even the most complex sprinkler system problems. 

Click here to contact your closest Sprinkler Master and give us a call!


“Rain Bird Support: 5000 / 5000+ Series: Rain Bird.” Rain Bird Support: 5000 / 5000+ Series | Rain Bird, Rain Bird Corporation, https://www.rainbird.com/products/5000-series/support.

“Rain Bird Rotor-Adjustment-Tool.” Rain Bird | ROTORTOOL | Rotor-Adjustment-Tool…, Sprinkler Warehouse Inc., https://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/rain-bird-rotor-adjustment-tool.