Boiler questions and help

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Old 02-28-07, 09:08 AM
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Boiler questions and help

I have a Columbia, boiler which has started making alot of noise when the circ pump runs. Its like poping noise going through the baseboard radiators (copper with aluminum fins). I have also noticed that when the unit shuts off there is a sound that seems to be an air bubble rising in the boiler. The link is pics of the system. Any help on resolving or fine tunning my system would be great.

http://s162.photobucket.com/albums/t257/john2050_photo/
 

Last edited by johny2050; 03-02-07 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 02-28-07, 02:48 PM
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Air

Not seeing any way to purge the system at the boiler, I have to presume there are bleeder valves on the baseboard. Remove the baseboard ends & look for small valves, usually with a little spout on them. These valves are usually operated either by a screwdriver or radiator key. Open the valve & allow water to flow until there is no spitting just a steady flow of water.
 
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Old 02-28-07, 03:58 PM
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I don't see any way to drain the expansion tank either... it looks like there's a gate valve in the line, but shouldn't there be a drain at the tank ? Looks like just an elbow coming off there, is it ?
 
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Old 02-28-07, 04:02 PM
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Nice pictures to look at.

No that long ago (a few months), I heard the godawfulest racket radiating all over the house, and found that one of the motor to circulator pump coupler springs broke. I removed the motor and made my own spring for like 15 cents and got er installed and have been back in business ever since. Runs quieter than a church mouse.
 
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Old 02-28-07, 04:18 PM
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Thanks for the replys. I have bled the basboard rads till its a steady flow of water. I have approx. 4 bleeder valves and no air from any. Did you notice the pressure. When the pump turns on it doesn't drop below 26psi (split level house Boiler is in the basment). However, I don't know if thats the pressure for the boiler or for the domestic hot water? Could my expansion tank be full? I think there is a drain for the boiler? If you look at the boiler pic, you will see spigot with a red handle. I assume thats the drain.

The expansion tank on the right side has a plug, should I put in a drain there? Anything about the sound of air when the boiler kicks off? Its makes a blup blup sound. Wish I could explain it better. Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 02-28-07, 06:29 PM
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John, I think a first step would be to verify if that pressure gauge is actually functioning properly. (it is the boiler pressure by the way). You can get a pressure gauge that screws onto a hose fitting at HD or L*%3s for a few bucks. May not be the most accurate, but adequate for the purpose.

You _could_ put a drain valve in that tapping, and even though it's not the lowest point of the tank, you would get enough water out to do the job. Be advised though, once you pull that plug (IF you can get it loose!) there's no going back. You've got nasty dirty red/brown/black water coming at you. So, if you decide to go that route, be prepared to catch that water that's gonna drain (quickly! at first).

You don't want to drain the expansion tank through the boiler drain, if that's what yer driving at ... won't work.

The "blup blup" you hear could be bubbles of air finding the high spots after being circulated in the system. If yer lucky, they are going into the expansion tank, where they belong.
 
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Old 03-01-07, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
John, I think a first step would be to verify if that pressure gauge is actually functioning properly. (it is the boiler pressure by the way). You can get a pressure gauge that screws onto a hose fitting at HD or L*%3s for a few bucks. May not be the most accurate, but adequate for the purpose.

You _could_ put a drain valve in that tapping, and even though it's not the lowest point of the tank, you would get enough water out to do the job. Be advised though, once you pull that plug (IF you can get it loose!) there's no going back. You've got nasty dirty red/brown/black water coming at you. So, if you decide to go that route, be prepared to catch that water that's gonna drain (quickly! at first).
If you decide to remove that plug, instead of re-installing it, I suggest going to a plumbing supply house (not a home center) & getting an expansion tank drain valve to put in place of the plug. This valve will have a stem on it aprox. 12" long which goes up into the tank. The valve will also have a screw or plug on the side which when removed allows air to enter the tank via the stem thus making draining much easier. These valves are usually 1/2" & the tapping on the tank looks like 3/4" so get a 3/4 x 1/2 reducing bushing also.
 
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Old 03-02-07, 05:30 AM
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Thanks guys. I'll pick up a guage since I need to get alot of things for an upcomming bathroom project. The drain valve will have to wait for the day I don't need to worry about heating the house. I'll post back once I check the pressure.

I assume I'm checking the boiler pressure at the drain valve at the boiler, correct? If its the same as the pressure gauge, is that too high?

I have only owned this house for a little over 2yrs and have had a service contract and its been cleaned each year and the pressure has always been the same, between 25-30psi.



Off topic for a second, how do I turn on [img] code? If I can at all.
Posting rules shows its off.
 

Last edited by johny2050; 03-02-07 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 03-02-07, 02:48 PM
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I gotta get my butt in gear on a bathroom project too! Startin' to take some flak from SWMBO.

Yeah, screw that gauge on to any drain that's at system pressure.

If there's a difference in height, you can compensate for that easily. 2.31 lbs/foot . If the gauge is a foot lower, it will read 2.31 higher. At this point, you just want to know if there's a gross error in the gauge. I should think that you would rather be running between 15 and 20 though...

If yer pushing 30 PSI, I'm surprised you aren't telling us that your pressure relief valve is opening. There _is_ a 30 PSI relief valve on your system, right ? (I think there is, on top of the boiler...)

Can't turn on IMG code, so you need to post links like yer doing.
 
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Old 03-02-07, 02:58 PM
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What is that whitish deposit to the right of the pressure gauge ?

If the gasket around the tankless heater coil is leaking, you want to have that looked at and repaired.

See that plug in the bottom of the air scoop ? Removing that will allow you to hang a modern diaphragm type tank right there (if you didn't wanna mess with the old tank).

It's hard to tell from the pics: Is there room above the scoop to add an automatic air vent ?
 
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Old 03-02-07, 04:29 PM
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"If the gauge is a foot lower, it will read 2.31 higher. "

Sorry, but that is the wrong figure. One foot of water pressure is equal to approximately 0.433 pounds per square inch. If the gauge is one foot lower it will read about 1/2 psi higher. Due to inaccuracies in gauges it will probably not even be noticible.


One psi is equal to about 2.31 feet of water column.

One foot of water column is equal to about 0.433 psi.

The 12 psi "standard" cold pressure precharge will send the water to about 27 feet, nine inches high.
 
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Old 03-02-07, 05:07 PM
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Thanks furd! I often get my inversions inverted! You are right, I did of course mean (1 / 2.31 )
 
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Old 03-07-07, 12:58 PM
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Ok so I put a gauge on the drain and got around 20psi. So the gauge is bad and the pressure is ok. I guess all the pinging noise through the baseboards is expansion? Boy is it annoying, especially at 4-5 in the morning. Any way to curb it?

As for the white deposits, it must have leaked at one point. It was like that when we bought the house 2yrs ago and it has been fine. There is some room above the air scoop. How big is an automatic air vent. Would that help any? I thought the air scoop is to pull air and in my situation pass it to the expansion tank?
 
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Old 03-07-07, 01:43 PM
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An outdoor reset controller will/should eliminate the pinging. So will/should "not" using any setback on your t-stat(s).
 
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Old 03-07-07, 07:01 PM
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John, the automatic air vents are probably around the size (or smaller) of a can of Red Bull ... You could probably remove that small chrome manual bleeder on top of the air scoop and install the auto-vent right there. If you did that, you could just leave the old tank and piping alone.

When you measured the 20 PSI, was that with the boiler hot ? Keep an eye on the gauge and see if you can get an idea of how much the pressure swings.

Yes, the air scoop catches the air and is supposed to pass it to the expansion tank, where if this were a perfect world, it would stay. Problem is, it doesn't stay. The air is constantly moving in and out of the water with pressure and temperature changes of the water.

If you were to install a modern diaphragm exp tank on the bottom of that scoop, and the auto vent on top, the air would be vented out and not be in contact with the water in the tank.
 
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Old 03-07-07, 07:07 PM
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Auto Vent

That manual air vent is there for a reason. Do not install an auto vent with a conventional expansion tank. Doing so will cause the tank to become flooded over time. I agree with Trooper on his suggestion of replacing the conventional tank with a bladder type & adding the auto vent.
 
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Old 03-08-07, 06:36 AM
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I do set the temp back from 68 to 64 at night and when we are not home. However, I do get that noise at times when the temp is set to 68. How does an outdoor reset work and how would it help stop the expansion noises?


If the link below is a conventional tank with a bladder and an auto vent then there is no way that will fit without moving the piping. That room is just too, small and and I would smack my head on that who knows how many times?

The pressure swings about 3-4 psi from off to on.

So what is the purpose of the manual vent on top of the scoop? When would I have to use that to bleed air out if the scoop is functional?

http://s162.photobucket.com/albums/t257/john2050_photo/?action=view&current=Exptank_autovent.jpg
 
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Old 03-08-07, 03:43 PM
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Yeah, that pic is pretty much what we're talking about. You don't however have to put the tank directly underneath the scoop, it can be attached at that point with some piping, as your conventional tank already is, or could be piped elsewhere on the system.

But, if you can't/don't change-over, you should go back to thinking about draining your existing tank.

That manual vent is probably used as a 'purge' station when filling the system with water. If you had to drain it to service a pump or valve or something, it could be used to vent air as the boiler is filling.

If you keep the conventional tank you don't want/need an auto-vent.
 
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Old 03-09-07, 06:10 AM
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Cool. That tank and vent will just have to wait. I have too, many other projects that need to be attended to first. I will drain that tank and add a drain to it over the summer and replace that faulty gauge. Thanks and I'm sure I'll be back with questions when the time comes to drain and fill the boiler. Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 03-09-07, 08:02 AM
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Want a simple solution?

Shutoff the boiler and close the feed.
Cut the pipe between the expansion tank and the closed shutoff.
Carefully remove that tank.

Solder on a 3/4" *brass* female fitting to the cut end of the copper.

Add a 3/4" iron nipple of an appropriate length (tape the threads and use pipe dope)
Then add a 1/2" x 1/2" x 3/4" bull tee that goes up and down.

Support the end of that nipple near the end of the tee.
Put a 1/8" (or whatever size you need for the AAV) bushing on the top.

Put your autovent on top of that.
The hang a moern tank on the bottom.

Voilą and you're done!
 
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Old 03-13-07, 06:10 PM
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Talking So you want a chuckle

So I picked up the drain valve Grady, suggested (see link below) and started on the job once I got home from work. So I'm up on a stool with a bucket in one hand and a wrench in the other and a spare 5 gal. bucket on the floor. You know where this is heading. So I start to unscrew the plug and water starts squirting out. So I keep saying to myself a little more a little more, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking about what Trooper, said about it coming out fast. So I say a little more, then PUFF, the plug hits the bottom of the bucket and it flys out of my hand and on the floor. So now I'm standing on this stool watching this smelly water gushing out of the tank all over me and the floor. I pick up the 5 gal bucket and that starts to fill real quick so I yell to my wife to come down to hand me another bucket. Well after I catch the remaining water I looked at myself and just shook my head as I stood there all wet and stinky and the this black stuff all over my face arms and cloths. A 10 min job took an hour because I had to clean up. I dumped about 6 gal of water down the drain and vacuumed up about 6-7 gal. I hope you got a chuckle out of this story because as I sit here I can't stop laughing about it.

So I used Teflon and leak lock (blue) for the drain valve. Do you see anything wrong with using these?

http://www.bellgossett.com/ProductPages/Parts-DT-2-Drain-O-Tank-Air-Charger.asp


http://www.highsidechem.com/leaklck.html

I also picked up a Westwood H25-15 press/temp gauge that I hope to install this weekend. I take it I need to drain the boiler and remove the front cover to replace it, correct? Is it ok to use Teflon and leak lock?

Again thanks for the help.

Oh and here is a pic of it installed

http://s162.photobucket.com/albums/t257/john2050_photo/?action=view&current=IMG_0114Medium.jpg
 
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Old 03-13-07, 06:38 PM
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Glad you didn't take an unfortunate tumble off the stool.

Looked at your pic. Looks nice.

You mean that water gushed out of there, with the valve on the left of the tank shut down? From my experiences, the water keeps just going glub, glub, glub out the drain hole, as it needs air recovery to actually come back in the drain under the expansion tank, so you can get another glub out of it.
 
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Old 03-13-07, 06:43 PM
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Talking John the Wethead

Now you know at least part of why they call us boiler guys wetheads.
I'm glad you took it all in stride & can appreciate what you went thru 'cause as they say "Been there, done that". Welcome to the world of wetheads.
At least now, the next time the tank needs draining, it will be a simple matter of hose, bucket, & tool to remove the small plug in the side of the valve.
 
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Old 03-13-07, 07:08 PM
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DaVeBoy, it just poured out. No Glub glub and I did close the gate valve to the tank.

Oh well Sh!t happens. Live and learn, right?

Grady, I hear you. It never fails something always goes wrong.

I did notice and I don't know if its the bad gauge put as the boiler turns I have noticed the pressure increase. I adjusted the auto fill valve till the gauge read approx 18psi and it has creeped up to around 25psi. Bad gauge and/or auto fill valve?
 
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Old 03-13-07, 07:59 PM
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"I adjusted the auto fill valve till the gauge read approx 18psi and it has creeped up to around 25psi. Bad gauge and/or auto fill valve?"

John, I did get a chuckle outta yer "episode" ... and like Dave sed, glad you didn't get hurt!

Your auto-fill valve has a "fast fill" valve bypassing it, make sure that valve above your auto valve is tightly shut...

Adjust that auto fill valve slowly, and give the pressure more time than you think is necessary to equalize.

Did it stop creeping up when it hit 25 ?

Don't forget that your pressure will normally increase several psi from a cold boiler to a hot boiler, is that maybe what you are seeing ?
 
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Old 03-14-07, 10:38 AM
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NJ Trooper, you are correct, the top gate valve is closed and the bottom one is open. As of this morning it creeped up to around 30psi. No woory since the gauge is about 10psi off. I might go home and change that gauge and go from there.
 
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Old 03-14-07, 04:12 PM
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Locate the shutoff valve that feeds the boiler.

Set the system pressure to some reference value (drain a little pressure).

Close the feed valve.

Does the pressure still creep up ?

If so, locate and turn off the valve that feeds hot water to the tankless coil.

Does the pressure still creep up ?
 
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Old 05-23-07, 01:19 PM
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Ok I know its been a while but tomorrow I plan on changing out that Temp/Pressure gauge and I also bought a coil gasket so I might as well tackle that, too.

So my plan is to label the wiring to and from the aquastat so I can remove the wiring so I can remove the cover (of course after draining the system). I plan on cutting the horizontal copper to the coil so I can pull the coil plate (which I have been spraying with liquid wrench to help loosen up all the bolts) off. Once that is off I plan on cleaning the the coil housing with steel wool and replace the new gasket and gauge.

Once completed I plan on adding a union so if I have to change the gasket again it will be as simple as unscrewing the two unions and wala.

Any tips and/or advice to help out will be appreciated. Thank you!!

http://s162.photobucket.com/albums/t257/john2050_photo/?action=view&current=boiler.jpg

http://s162.photobucket.com/albums/t257/john2050_photo/?action=view&current=psi_temp.jpg
 
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Old 05-23-07, 05:23 PM
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Coil Gasket

Suggestion: Install valves in both domestic pipes & the unions between the valves & the boiler.
 
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Old 05-24-07, 07:43 AM
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Any Suggestions?

Ok So I gave up trying to remove the nuts. They just wouldn't budge and I really didn't want to see those bolts break away from the housing. So I stopped and will continue to spray those nuts and bolts with liquid wrench and try next week. Any recommendations on a good penatrator that I could try? And that coil plate is at 180 should I shut the boiler off the night before so the temp isn't so high?

Oh and when I drained the boiler it filled about 1/2" of a 5 gal bucket. I think I should have had a lot more water than that?

Thanks.
 
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Old 05-24-07, 09:18 AM
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For penetrating oil I use a product called Part-Ease. Others on this forum recommend a product called PB Blaster. I have never had much success with Liquid Wrench.

Absolutely shut down the boiler the night before to allow it to cool.

You got so little water out when you tried to drain the boiler because it went into a vacuum. You need to open a vent somewhere to allow air into the system and break the vacuum to let the water out.

You may end up having to split the nuts to remove and then "chase" the threads on the studs. You may purchase a nut splitter and the thread chasing die at an automotive parts store. The automotive parts store is also a good place to look for Part Ease.
 
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Old 05-24-07, 12:10 PM
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furd, thanks. I figured that out right after I hit the submit button. I opened up one of the vents on the baseboard and the water started to flow. I'm going to look for the penetrating oil you mention.

Since I don't need my heat can I leave the boiler drained? There is some plumbing I need to remove like the plumbing that goes through my fireplace then connects to the basboards. I had a very hot fire and I think it created steam and all the copper in the boiler room were violently slaming against the walls. Not a pretty sight. I also need to remove a baseboard in a room that I'm redoing.

Thanks
 
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Old 05-24-07, 12:49 PM
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Rust would be my worry about leaving it drained for any period of time. You want to limit the time it spends empty unless you can absolutely blow out every last trace of moisture in there.
 
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Old 05-24-07, 02:09 PM
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If you want to remove the oil burner and place a light in the firebox (about a 100 or 150 watt) it will keep the boiler relatively dry and rusting will be negligible. A small radiant heater would also work.

Commercial and industrial sized boilers are often left open for months with little or no rust.

BTW, nice looking kitty.
 
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Old 05-24-07, 03:30 PM
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Coil Nuts

I am not familiar with the Part-Ease Furd mentioned but PB Blaster is one of the best I've used. I've never had any luck with Liquid Wrench either. You are going to need a lot of luck getting those nuts off. A very time consuming technique I have used a time or two is to cut the nuts with a moto-tool grinding wheel. I don't think you going to have room to use a nut splitter but it is worth a try. Of course there is always the blue wrench.
 
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Old 05-24-07, 07:42 PM
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Okay, you should probably scratch that suggestion about Part-Ease. It was made by the American Grease Stick Company but upon checking their website it appears that it is no longer made.

I still have a couple of cans of it. I guess I need to look into the PB Blaster.
 
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Old 05-24-07, 10:26 PM
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Part Ease

Furd, I'm glad you said it is no longer made. I was going to hit the various auto parts stores tomorrow (oops, today) to try to find it. Just the luck, you get something which works well & they quit making it.
 
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Old 06-13-07, 04:58 PM
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Ok so what did I get myself into? So I started this afternoon trying to remove those damn nuts and sheared off 6 of the bolts, too. So luckily Columbia Boiler isn't far from me and they sold me some bolts and nuts. So I tapped the new ones but I have a few questions. If you take a look at the pics you can see how corroded the area is where the gasket sits. How would you recommend cleaning it all up? Also when I tapped the threads for the bolts I have 2 that isn't very level and the bottom of the nut touches the coil plate but at the top there is a gap. Will I be ok? Thanks for your help and I'm done for the night and will back at it tomorrow.

http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t257/john2050_photo/IMG_0187Medium.jpg

http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t257/john2050_photo/IMG_0190Medium.jpg

http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t257/john2050_photo/IMG_0191Medium.jpg

http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t257/john2050_photo/IMG_0192Medium.jpg
 
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Old 06-13-07, 05:31 PM
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Bad Luck Johny

First you get drenched in black, stinky water. Now studs snap off. What next?
Sounds like some of the boiler jobs I run into.

Clean the mating surfaces with a wire wheel. Get some high temp silicone & put a bead around the whole perimeter of the boiler opening inside of the studs. The stuff I use is in a gold colored tube & usually comes with replacement coils. Follow the directions on the tube. By using heavy washers, you should be ok with the crooked threads but if you are not, take the coil back out & drill & tap one size larger. Good Luck
 
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Old 06-13-07, 06:43 PM
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Grady, I hear you I have been soaking those nuts and bolts with PB Blaster for about a week. I started to loosen the first nut and it started coming off. I worked it slowly back and forth then I started to just loosen it and it snapped. I was able to save 4 but after looking at them, the base of the bolts were very thin so I cut 2 off and tapped those. What a nightmare. Mental not, when its that bad just ignore it

I guess I can pick up Hi Temp Silicone from a plumbing supply store? Oh and I know that some metal shavings feel inside the boiler. I guess I need to vacuum out the little bit of standing water and also get all the shavings that fell in, correct? Again Thanks.
 
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