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Old 07-26-2006, 09:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Sidekick Semi leak

Found a used Sidekick the other day. The problem is it has a leak. I rember there were a couple of comon areas where these leaked but don't rember where or what the fix was. Anyone out there have any ideas?
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Old 07-26-2006, 09:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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They all leak a bit down the barrel
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Old 07-26-2006, 11:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos
They all leak a bit down the barrel
I think that was one of the common problems, but I want to say there was a repair/mod to fix it.
thanks
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Old 05-14-2007, 11:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Leakage

This is probably a graveyard thread now (sorry if this is a pointless ressurrection), but I've been tinkering with a Sidekick Semi for about 3-4 years now. I originally picked it up as a backup for my Spyder TL which I was having some reliability issues with back in 2001 or so. Despite the cheap looking construction and poorly implemented valve, it's actually pretty spectacular for a backup; 7 or 10 rounds depending on the model, surprisingly accurate given the short barrel (and fact that the brass on the regular Semi only goes about 1" into the frame ), a pretty quiet pop for sneakage, and it's ridiculously light even with a full load of paint and spare 12g under the slide (~1 lb).

The best solution to leakage I've managed, aside from mailing it back to the manufacturer under their uberwarranty when they were still in business, is teflon-taping anything threaded on the valve assembly. This seemed to slow the leaking on mine so that it was managable (holsterable for a couple of hours tops before the cartridge drained).

Unfortunately the main source of leaking is the bolt ram, there's really only a friction seal between that part and the tube/cup seal at the end of the valve, so even if the rest of the valve is air-tight, there's a pretty good chance this ineffecient seal is going to leak, since it has to be less than fully sealed in order to allow the ram to push the bolt forward and release the propellant.

The biggest problem I have with mine is that the CO2 freezes the bolt forward if I fire too quickly (say 3bps or so), and since the valve is on/on, it dumps the rest of your 12g down the barrel. If I'm quick, I can open the "slide" and press the bolt back into place by curling my fingertip inside and pressing it back behind the "sear" (assuming I don't cut your finger off on the wickedly machined feed ramp). If I get to that point, it means my main is disabled/out of paint and I'm desperate, so it's time to walk off the field.
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Old 05-15-2007, 09:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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ive got the same problem with my sidekick
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Old 05-15-2007, 09:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think that was one of the reasons they went out of business... Every one of those guns leaked.
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Old 05-15-2007, 12:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I always thought that if someone could make a delrin valve piston for it,it might fix the main cause of the leaks.The brass one drags too much is why they leak
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Old 05-15-2007, 09:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
I always thought that if someone could make a delrin valve piston for it,it might fix the main cause of the leaks.The brass one drags too much is why they leak
I think it's the opposite problem, the valve is basically constantly pressurized from the 12g until firing, the only thing hlding the piston back is the "sear"/bolt release tab. The valve is more or less sealed except for the surface area between the piston/ram and the seal/sleeve. Unfortunately since that part has to move in order to push the bolt into firing position, you end up with several hundred psi of pressure on one side of that small surface, and atmospheric on the other, which don't play well together. You could probably seal that off perfectly by wrapping the entire piston/ram in teflon tape or using a compressible material for the seal/bushing (effectively turning it into a weird flat o-ring) so the piston/ram is basically swaged into place, but then it wouldn't be able to move thus defeating the purpose.

Unfortunately paintballstuff designers went with a really simple valve to save space, cost and weight; how much volume of gas do we need at the pressure of a 12g to push a paintball at ~300fps. The downside is, there's no off switch, and no expansion room to keep from freezing up if you shoot too fast.

I've been trying to think of ways to install a screw-in expansion chamber under the slide, where the storage slot is. Basically a threaded hole into the top of the valve body, and a threaded connecting tube which goes through the frame into the storage area. Add a hollow cylinder (brass for cheapness/consistency or Al for weight) which screws onto the tube, or is welded, and you get some extra expansion space. It might help the shootdown..but then you just have that many more connections to leak. Best solution is probably some sort of dual valve end, with one tube for gas and one tube for the piston (coupled with a synethic piston like you suggested).

Alternately, one could modify the CO2 pierce system so there's a check valve (see Tiberius 8 magazine system), so you can pierce a 12g and then turn it on when you need it and off when you don't. This still gives you one extra operation when you're drawing from holster, but at least it's probably easier than screwing the bottom cap in to pierce the gas and hoping you at least get one full load of paint off before the bolt freezes and dumps your gas down the barrel.

On the other hand, I don't have a machine shop, and it's probably not worth it just to rebuild a $90 pistol I'd only be using for a backup. I really like how the Sidekick handles and I think it had great potential if they could have gotten the valves working and made some generally better design decisions such as a set-screw installed full length brass barrel, moving the feedramp from the body to the slide, adding a ball detent, and making it a "breech loader" instead of a "muzzle loader". Too bad the patent owner hasn't sold it to one of the bigger companies, with some tweaking and better advertising I bet it would be a very viable product.
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