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Desert Fox Troubleshooting headline
Links to Another Page on this Site 98 Desert Fox: Main Page
Links to Another Page on this Site Getting Started: Tips for a New Owner
  Links to Another Page on this Site 98 Fox Exploded View and Schematic
  Links to Another Page on this Site Classic Fox Exploded View and Schematic
Inside this Page Fox Troubleshooting
  Inside this Page Troubleshooting: Air Leaks
  Inside this Page Troubleshooting: Cycling Problems
  Inside this Page Troubleshooting: Ball Breaks
Links to Another Page on this Site Tweaks: Things you can do for your Fox
  Links to Another Page on this Site Regulator Theory and Tuning
  Links to Another Page on this Site Trigger Work and Bolt Polishing
  Links to Another Page on this Site DIY Dial Velocity Adjustor
Links to Another Page on this Site Accessories: Aftermarket Parts for the Desert Fox
This is an attempt to boil down the other 'Fox FAQs and ICD's troubleshooting and build a guide for what can really happen to the Desert Fox. I've quoted Tom at LSU's extensive FAQ on the Classic Desert Fox, and added comments from my own experiences.
The ICD site is still the best resource for general information on the 'Fox:
Links to a Page elsewhere on the Web ICD Online Manual: the Desert Fox
Links to a Page elsewhere on the Web ICD Online Manual: Intro and Field Stripping
Links to a Page elsewhere on the Web ICD Online Manual: Desert Fox Fine Tuning Guide
Links to a Page elsewhere on the Web ICD Online Manual: Troubleshooting the Desert Fox
Here are links to Thomas Smailus's Classic Fox FAQ:
Links to a Page elsewhere on the Web Desert Fox FAQ: Main Page
Links to a Page elsewhere on the Web Desert Fox FAQ: Problems
Links to a Page elsewhere on the Web Desert Fox FAQ: Disassembly

 Troubleshooting: Air Leaks
Gas Leak down the Barrel or Powerfeed
If a hiss is coming from your gun after firing it, or when it is first powered up, you probably have a leaking Piston O-ring. Listen at the powerfeed to confirm; DON'T look down the barrel!
Tom at LSU's Classic Desert Fox FAQ suggests:
'The main cause of this is liquid CO2 getting into the gun; for example, by firing the gun while pointing it down at the ground. Even an antisiphon tank cannot help you here (that's why I went with an expansion chamber and remote) - don't fire the gun where the front of the tank is below the back end of the tank. You can clear this up in the field usually. Turn the powerfeed off to stop ball flow and fire the chambered ball into the ground. (Make sure people around you know what you are doing and are wearing masks). Now you should have no balls feeding. Point the gun up into the air and fire off a couple of shots of gas; this should clear out the liquid and solve the problem.'

Another likely cause of this is that the Valve Tip has loosened. If the tip unscrews, (and it can since the bolt is turning slightly each time the marker fires...) then the Piston O-ring is also loose and air will escape through the bolt. De-gas and field strip the gun, and pull off the Bolt to see the brass Valve Tip. It should be seated tightly against the front of the Air Chamber with no gaps. If it is loose, go ahead and unscrew it to check the white urethane Piston O-ring for damage. If possible, use a fresh piece of plumbers tape on the threads of the Valve Tip before you screw it back in. Don't use Loktite, this can damage the O-ring seal. Reassemble the marker and test it on the range.
If the Valve Tip is tight, or the fix above doesn't work, then you may have a worn Piston O-ring that must be replaced. De-gas and field strip the 'Fox and pull off the Bolt from the front of the Regulator. Use a pair of padded Channellocks to unscrew the brass Valve Tip and fish out the white urethane O-ring, and check it for grit or wear. Replace it to be safe, wiping a thin coating of silicone grease on the new O-ring before placing into the front of the Air Chamber. If you don't have a spare ask around the group for an Automag owner, their Piston O-ring looks to be the same, and Automags are notorious for eating them. Someone will probably have a spare. As above, use a fresh piece of plumbers tape on the threads of the Valve Tip before you screw it back in to keep it from coming loose.
These O-rings are under a lot of stress with the bolt moving in and out at a good clip, and they do wear out. A failure can also be caused by using unfiltered 'field air' or CO2, introducing debris into the regulator.

Gas Leak at the Back Seams
This is usually caused when the frame screw behind the grip is loose. Try tightening it first to see if the leak goes away. If not, the small O-ring at the back of the Trigger Frame where gas is passed into the Regulator could be damaged. It's really easy to replace. De-gas and field strip the marker, then remove the small O-ring beside the hole where the knurled frame screw comes up. Use a light coat of silicone grease to help seal the new O-ring. Again, if you don't have the part look to the Automag owners and ask for an On/off valve O-ring, they look to be the same part.
Thomas Smailus at LSU reports another problem on his page that could give the same symptom; a damaged Pressure Gauge.
'I discovered this problem after a mishap happened at our local indoor field. The guy filling the tanks droped my 12oz and bent the threads on it. He gave me a new tank, which didn't have an antisiphon on it (I was running bottles right through the back CA adapter then). I went out and my guess is a lot of liquid got into the regulator or some debris. I think the regulator overpressurized and blew a small leak into the place where the pressure gauge screws into the regulator block (mine was near the top). I found this leak because I noticed a hissing sound coming from the gun as I had stripped and cleaned and oiled it at home. I covered the back end with soapy water and saw the bubbles forming at the guilty location. The regulator was replaced by Indian Springs, possibly the pressure gauge too. The problem is now solved; the Desert Fox is a tight ship.'
If your 'Fox has been dropped on the Gauge, check it for leaks. They are amazingly tough but bad things can happen. Try not to use the gauge for leverage when you are working on the gun, use a clamp or adjustable wrench instead.

 Troubleshooting: Cycling Problems
Double Firing
If the gun seems to 'take off on it's own' every once in a while and fire more than once when you pull the trigger, then the Sear is not latching up reliably on the bolt. This can be caused by too much pressure in the regulator (re-adjust it down), or a tired mainspring, or even a worn Sear or Bolt flange. If you're taking anti-liquid CO2 precautions (using an expansion chamber), or using a compressed air system, check these parts and replace the bolt or mainspring if needed.
Bolt Polishing Notes
The Sear itself is pretty hard and would take an awful lot of cycling to cause the problem unless you've done radical tuning to the part. Check to make sure the Sear is moving properly up and down, forward and back, against the Sear Spring pressure. If there's a problem with sear movement it's likely gooped up or has grit jamming it, or else the Sear Spring is broken.
"Congrats on your Fox! the bolt should be lubed where it sets on the reg and where the bolt spring rides. also, put a few drops in the ca adaptor to run through the reg itself. ICD recommends changing out your bolt spring every few cases, however I replace mine about two or three times a year, and I put quite a few cases through it during the tourney season. good luck :) Spring" in the ICD Discussion List

Thomas Smailus at LSU reports:
'The symptoms of this are an full-auto type of effect when shooting - 2 or more rounds are fired in rapid succession after a single trigger pull. This problem can be caused by liquid CO2 entering the gun (this liquid problem is usually the cause of many of the gun's malfunctions) but can also be caused by a problem with the regulator.
I had a slight regulator leak and the constant escape of gas was rapidly cooling the back of my gun. If I fired a rapid barrage, my regulator would cool down so much I might start sucking liquid and that caused a bolt jam usually. This happened in a speedball game and was bad. I was able to fire shots at a slow rate, popping a couple off and waiting a couple of seconds, then firing again - thus allowing the back to warm up a bit. This allowed me to cover the back of a building and prevent a run on that wire but prevented me from moving up in support.
If you have liquid entering the gun, you need to prevent this, antisiphon works somewhat but I prefer an expansion chamber. I had the verticle bottle adapter attached by Indian Creek for that purpose and put a Bob Long Expansion Chamber on it with a bottom line.'


Bolt Jams, Doesn't Recock, Gun Doesn't Shoot
This can be related to the issue above; or for some reason (low air, trigger travel adjustments are too tight, regulator adjusted too low) the bolt just didn't catch properly and it is an isolated problem.
To fix an occaisional bolt latching problem, flip the gun over and shake the chambered paintball back into the hopper. If you have a VL Revolution and you are on the field you may want to turn it off first to keep it from making that whirring noise. Be careful to not shake a broken ball back into the hopper, then you've got a real mess. Holding the gun upside-down, remove the barrel and poke your squeegee into the chamber to push on the bolt (I've used my finger for this as well. Please keep well away from the trigger doing this). If it moves back slightly and you hear a 'click' you're back in business. Re-attach the barrel and go forth to deal death!
Or, it could be more serious, like a piece of paintball shell from a broken ball jammed between the bolt and receiver wall. Urk. Time to de-gas and field strip the marker to get at the bolt. Look for the usual suspects, clean and reassemble.
Thomas Smailus again:
'There can be several causes for this problem. The symptom is that the bolt doesn't cycle completely, coming to rest beyond the sear and partially obstructing the powerfeed. I've had balls even partly pinched between the feed intake and the bolt putting a dent in them. If this happens you are really PUCKED if the game is on - FIND A SAFE SPOT TO HIDE to work on the gun. You may have gunk in the gun obstructing the bolt travel or you could have insufficient pressure when firing which doesn't compress the main spring enough allow the reset of the bolt. You may even have a small double fire where the bolt fires, cycles and an automatic second pop pushes the bolt forward past the sear again - but not cycling completely.
First, clearing the gun. You probably have a ball chambered and may have a pinched ball, plus the barrel is preventing further feed. With all of those balls in the way, it can be difficult. You need to push the bolt back behind the sear with your finger or squeegie or some other long object. Remove the barrel and get any ball that is chambered out, push the bolt back and clear any pinched balls. If you have a pinched ball, you probably cannot turn the powerfeed off, so it is probably best to remove the hopper by turning the gun upside-down and shaking the balls down the elbow into the hopper - pull it off and set it aside (upside down- so the balls don't roll out). Once all the balls are out, see if you can see paint or other crud in the upper receiver. If it is there clean it out - if you have a squeegee and some alcohol in the field - super for you. Point the gun in a safe direction and pop off a single shot. Does the gun cycle properly? If it double fires and this is leaving the bolt forward see that section of this document. If its still sticking, strip and clean and oil the entire upper internals.. if that doesn't do it, call Indian Creek.'


Regulator Output Rises, Shooting Hot
Gunk or debris in the Regulator Valve cup seal can cause an internal leak. Since the input pressure is 800 psi or so, even a slow leak can cause real problems. Unfortunately, this is the hardest thing to get to on the entire marker. Follow the Regulator Teardown description here to disassemble the reg. Fish out the clear silicone washer thing at the very bottom of the front regulator chamber and check everything for grit or goo.
Valve Parts Labeled
Also check the edge of the Valve Poppet cup that seals against the washer for nicks; it must make a continuous seal. If the silicone washer is worn you can flip it over once. After there is a depression on both sides it should be replaced. Sorry, no handy Automag spares for this one. You can order another from ICD or Paintball CyberMall. A slow leak around the rear plunger can also cause this (see Tom's comments below), so check the O-ring around the rear adjustment plunger under the rear adjustment screw and spring; replace if needed.
Since you've opened the Regulator anyway, go ahead and clean everything while you're in there. Check all the O-rings carefully, then re-lube the seals with silicone grease. Re-assemble and test the marker. Using a filter on the incoming air and capping your open air inlets when the marker is not in use will prevent dirt from from fouling this seal.
Tom Smailus: 'I had this happen while playing and after cleaning the gun. This can be caused by the regulator 0-rings being damaged or by debris or dirt being on the regulator o-rings as well as a leak in the regulator, for example out through the pressure gauge threading. The leak of air prevents the regulator from properly shutting off the intake and the pressure just builds up: you fire a shot with much more than the 400-420psi of CO2. You can notice this buildup on the pressure gauge. I sat and watched how after a test shot the gauge went from 400-430-450-500-520.... Another cause if this is dirt on the regulator internals from dirty CO2 - especially if you have the old, double ball-bearing regulator.
This type of problem must be corrected. First check the o-rings on the regulator to insure they are not damaged (Dissassembly of Fox) and that there is no dirt from the gas supply inside the regulator or on the o-rings. Obviously, replace any worn or broken o-rings. Clean out the regulator with a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol; lightly oil the o-rings to remove dirt from them. If the problem persists, assemble the gun, pressurize it and cover the back end of it, paying attention to get all seams, with soapy water (cold water and some liquid dish washing detergent works well). Bubbles will form where ever there is a leak. If you see a leak - check the o-rings and tightness of the connection at those places. If you cannot fix it - give Indian Creek a call.
If you have the old regulator design without the cup seal which has the ball bearing in the regulator valve instead, you will be prone to have this problem from dirt collecting on this ball-bearing. Call Indian Creek Design and send the gun in to have the new internals installed with the cup seal.'


Regulator Recharges Slowly, Shooting Low
First, check your air. Do you have enough pressure to play?
This can be caused by lack of lubrication in the Regulator Valve. Follow the Regulator Teardown description here to disassemble the reg, then lube all the O-rings with silicone grease and re-assemble everything.
A quick 'field fix' for this is to squirt a little silicone lube into your air inlet and pop off a few shots to see if it gets better. You'll still need to properly lube the seals in the regulator when you get home, but this could keep you playing.

 Troubleshooting: Ball Breaks
Loose Barrel
The number one cause of breaking paint on all paintguns is a loose barrel. Get in the habit of checking the barrel before each game. Some barrels fit better than others, but a couple of wraps of plumbers tape around the threads will tighten loose ones. The ICD foam barrel grip also helps, if you push it down to cover both the barrel and part of the barrel mount tube.
Tom Smailus: 'This was a symptom I was having when I initially got my Desert Fox. I would go out and play and suddenly start breaking balls left and right. It took me a while until I realized that my grabbing the barrel, or just the vibration of firing and/or running was loosening up the barrel from the upper receiver. Once this happens, there is a small gap where the paintball can catch on the inside of the ball travel from receiver to barrel. I verified this at the test stand by shooting a couple, loosening the barrel a very small amount and shooting again - shred.
Initially, I tried all sorts of normal remedies: thightening it very tight by hand, teflon plumbers tape, electrical tape on the outside; basically everything short of putting Loctite on the threads (DON'T DO THAT!). I called up Indian Creek and they had me send the gun in. I got it back with a new upper receiver - the barrel now tightened down much better by hand than before. Apparently there was some machining problem in the manufacture of the upper and/or barrel and upper matching. It took very little force to start unscrewing the old barrel/upper combo - now it is MUCH better.
If you are breaking balls while playing, as soon as you notice this, give the barrel a tightening twist. If it moves when you tighten it - then it is loose. The barrel needs to stay in the fully screwed on position when in use; try the plumbers tape or give Indian Creek a call about it if the problem persists.'


Bad Paint to Barrel Match
Number two reason for breaking paint is a poor match with the paint (or old skanky paint, but you know who to blame then). The ICD OEM barrels have changed over the years; the older stepped muzzle models are .689 diameter, the new slender ones are .687 inches.
There are several good sites on matching paint to barrel sizes:
Links to a Page elsewhere on the Web Bror Jace' Barrel and Paint Guide On Millinium's Paintball Site
Links to a Page elsewhere on the Web Miscreant's Article on Barrels and Paintball sizing
Basically, the old barrel was Medium Bore, the new one is Small Bore. Or, per Miscreant:
Old ICD Barrel: Powerball, Zap, RPS Premium, RPS Premium Gold, RPS Big-ball
New ICD Barrel: Proball, RPS Marbalizer, RPS Big-ball, RPS All-star
Avoid: Nelson, First Choice, and especially Brass Eagle
A practical way to check paint fit is to try and push it into the back of your (off the gun) barrel with your finger, if it slides too easily you'll use more air and lose some accuracy. If it's tight but still slides that's a good fit. If it won't fit or breaks, well, in the words of ICD ''re going to have a very disappointing day.'

Ball Feed Problem
First, check the position of the powerfeed knob to make sure the rib is vertical and the inside ramp is opening into the chamber. If this knob is knocked off alignment the balls may feed slower and the bolt can sometimes chop balls.
Another problem could be your rate of fire. If you are regularly hammering you should consider upgrading your paintball hopper to a motorized loader. The Desert Fox can definitely outshoot a gravity loader if you've got a fast trigger finger.

Ball Retention Lever Malfunction
The small lever at the bottom of the loading chamber is the Ball Retention Lever. It stops a second ball from loading when there is already a paintball in the marker by preventing the chambered ball from rolling down the barrel. Take off the barrel and try to push the lever down with your finger (Stay Away from the trigger!), it should easily and smoothly move down flush with the chamber wall. If it binds or has any sharp edges it needs repair. Note that it is easy to gork up the small spring under the lever when you remove and re-attach the Upper Receiver to the Trigger Frame, be careful.
The lever can also be too sloppy and not hold the ball back correctly. If you do get a double feed it will almost always break.
If there is a problem, de-gas and dis-assemble the marker, removing the Upper Receiver to access the lever. Check for debris in the lever slot or a bound or broken spring. If there are any sharp edges on the top of the lever they can be more easily sanded out if you drive out the pivot pin and remove the part. A spare spring is included in the ICD Fox 'minor' rebuild kit.

The Desert Fox is not a difficult marker to work on, but there is some chance that things could go wrong. If you are uncomfortable about working on the regulator or trigger of your marker, Don't Do It! These tips assume some mechanical aptitude and use of the correct tools. If you mess something up, you'll have to replace it.
Indian Creek Designs has an excellent warranty, and they stand behind their guns. If you have a problem and ship it to them, they promise 24 hour turnaround on repairs. There are many testimonials on the web to back this up. They will also do upgrades based on production improvements.
ICD wants me to make it clear that this is not an official ICD site. Any changes you make to a marker under warranty may void that coverage. Don't blame them, don't blame me. There, that should cover it.
Links to a Page elsewhere on the Web the ICD Official Corporate Website
Finally, Don't use an unsafe marker, and Be Careful with CO2 and Paintballs. Paintball markers are not toys, so be an adult and take responsibility for your own actions...
 Links: 'Fox info on this Site

Links to Another Page on this Site 98 Desert Fox: Main Page
Links to Another Page on this Site Getting Started: Tips for a New Owner
  Links to Another Page on this Site 98 Fox Exploded View and Schematic
  Links to Another Page on this Site Classic Fox Exploded View and Schematic
Inside this Page Fox Troubleshooting
  Inside this Page Troubleshooting: Air Leaks
  Inside this Page Troubleshooting: Cycling Problems
  Inside this Page Troubleshooting: Ball Breaks
Links to Another Page on this Site Tweaks: Things you can do for your Fox
  Links to Another Page on this Site Regulator Theory and Tuning
  Links to Another Page on this Site Trigger Work and Bolt Polishing
  Links to Another Page on this Site DIY Dial Velocity Adjustor
Links to Another Page on this Site Accessories: Aftermarket Parts for the Desert Fox
Links to Another Page on this Site ICD 'Cats
Links to Another Page on this Site ICD Barrels: Aftermarket Barrel Review
Links to Another Page on this Site Basic Airsmithing
Links to Another Page on this Site Links to ICD Resources on the Web

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