Cast iron radiator?


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Old 10-02-13, 02:47 PM
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Cast iron radiator?

I got an awesome deal for a bunch of cast iron radiators. The price of them was simply me getting them out of the house. They were in use until a little over a year ago in a hot water system. They are all Gurney brand, all but 1 are piped only on the bottom, and all the fitting came out except for 1. My question is about the cast bosses in the top of them where they could have been drilled and tapped for 1/2npt like they are in the bottom. What is the chance the raised area is thick enough to drill and tap so I could run the supply in the bottom, and return from the opposite side on the top? There is a hole on top of each drilled and tapped for 1/8npt for air vents. I had to take 2 of them apart to get them out of the house, they were just to damn big to safely get down from the 3rd floor without damaging my help and the house. How important is it to get them together the exact way they came apart? The nipples are all in great shape, do i need to apply any kind of sealant to them upon reassembly, or is the taper fit enough? They all have so many layers of paint on them I was considering taking all the units apart to blast them clean and clear coat them. My wife and I rented a house years ago that had them in and she loves the older look, and she wants that in our house too. I'm not complaining, gets me out of constantly cleaning dog hair from the baseboard heat we have now, and the fact that our house is small, so not blocking the baseboard is rather difficult at best.
 
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Old 10-02-13, 05:51 PM
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What is the chance the raised area is thick enough to drill and tap so I could run the supply in the bottom, and return from the opposite side on the top?
I would GUESS pretty good. Are your plans to use ALL of the rads? If not, use one as a guinea pig.

How important is it to get them together the exact way they came apart? The nipples are all in great shape, do i need to apply any kind of sealant to them upon reassembly, or is the taper fit enough?
Not sure what you mean by "...the exact way they came apart..." Do you mean half of one of the two and the other half of the other of the two?

I THINK, (as good as a GUESS) that the push nipples are intended for ONE TIME use. Once installed, they should probably not be re-used. I don't know what sealant might be a good choice... just imagine getting it all installed and fired up, and finding that it leaks... ARRGGGHHHH!

considering taking all the units apart to blast them clean and clear coat them
I wouldn't take them apart to do so. Look into SODA BLASTING contractors in your area...
 
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Old 10-02-13, 06:16 PM
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Thanks. I kind of do and don't have a spare to sacrifice. I told a co-worker he could have the ones I don't use, and he is also my union rep trying to get me back to work instead of being laid off.

What I mean't by about getting them back together in the was if I had marked the ones I took apart in number order so I could make sure the sections went back together the exact way they came apart. I'm not going to be making any Frankenradiators. I found a place to get the new tapered nipples for them.

I have all winter to get these thing figured out. I won't be taking any others apart to clean and repaint them, I'll just clean up what I can and do the best I can painting them with a cast color paint.
 
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Old 10-02-13, 07:27 PM
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Geez...I just would like to know how you got them apart???

It takes a lot of chiseling to even get them separated....Usually with damage... We cut them with a sawzall was the only way...

Just askin' is all...
 
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Old 10-02-13, 07:51 PM
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First few sections I used a 4ft pry bar a little at a time on each end, then I got the brainy idea of using a few wedges. I had some hard plastic bricks that I cut into 2 wedges, and tapped them in from the ends a little at a time until pop, apart they came. It took me the same amount of time with the wedges to disassemble 21 sections as it did the first 4 with the pry bar.

I did run across some more information about the push nipple types while doing a little searching the web tonight. I did find a good bit of information from quite a few sites. As for the reuse of the nipples, it's about 50/50. The one common thing I did find out is the use of a sealant isn't really used as a sealant during assembly as much as it serves as a lubricant to aid in the seating of the nipples in the sections.

I've got all winter to mess with these to find out what is and isn't going to work. Maybe longer!
 
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Old 10-02-13, 08:40 PM
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I guess these must be really huge rads!

I will be interested to see how you do getting them back together... did the sites you looked at have any tips for that? I'm envisioning a REALLY REALLY BIG C-CLAMP! I'm sure it's going to take some serious push to get them all tight.

I'm going to say that if the rads have a 'place' cast into them for where a tapping might exist, then there's a better than middlin' chance that it will be thick enough. Any way you can get a caliper in there to measure?
 
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Old 10-02-13, 09:09 PM
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Yeah... You gonna have lots of leaks...IMO...
 
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Old 10-02-13, 09:15 PM
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I do have a 50 ton shop press that has the ability to accept some pretty long stuff, it's a matter of me manipulating the rads into the press in order to use it. I think what I am going to do is move the press near my chain hoist to get the rads in place to press together a little at a time on each end as I tighten the rod a little at a time each end.

I actually just came back in from my garage messing around with a few sections of one. I can tell you a pipe clamp will not work. I bent a 3/4" pipe before even getting all the section close to being seated. I did take a rag with some WD-40 on it and cleaned up all the sealing surfaces, they actually are ice and shiny now. There is evidence of some sort of sealer around the nipples on the sections though. It almost looks like a brown epoxy.

From the information I could find on the BTU ratings of the sizes of section and style I have, I don't need anything more than 9 sections for the taller units. The shorter unit I only need 10 out of the 16 sections in it. I really only need to remove some sections of the short unit, and it's already apart. The other unit I took apart is going to my co-worker, so I want to get it back together and leak test it for him. He doesn't care about the sizes as he is using it in his shop.

I will keep you posted on how everything works out and what I actually end up doing.
 
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Old 10-02-13, 09:31 PM
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When I said REALLY REALLY BIG C-Clamp, I meant as big as my TRUCK! I would think a 50 ton press would do it... and yeah, little by little, tightening the draw rods as you go.

Me myself would probably think about using that black tar pipe dope.

15520 - Hercules 15520 - Grrip Thread Sealant - 1 pt.

The brown stuff is probably like the Permatex sealers and gasket goo.
 
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Old 10-02-13, 09:33 PM
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Yeah... You gonna have lots of leaks...IMO..
If I do end up with leaks in the one that I need to remove some sections from, it's not a big deal if I can't use it where I plan on putting it. I will just keep what I have in that room until I come across one that is the right size. The rest I am using are not getting touched other than clean up and paint. I know there is a chance I will have leaks, but there is also a chance I won't.

As for the drilling and tapping for a fitting in the top of the rads, from what I read, the way they are will still work with hot water, it will just take I little bit longer for the entire rad to heat up. They worked good for many years in the house they came out of running water in and out the bottom. Also form the information I found, since they all have air vent locations at the top, they are for use with hot water. I'm going to use them the way they are, I don't want to needlessly ruin the virgin units.

The other sad thing is, the town I live in just demolished some houses that got condemned after the September 2011 flooding in my area. Three houses in a row all had a bunch of cast rads in them. I think only 3 or 4 went into the scrap truck in one piece. The rest got ruined as the excavator operator picked them out of the pile of debris. Some that I saw looked like fancy decorative units.
 
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Old 10-02-13, 09:39 PM
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My first thought was the Indian Head gasket sealer. That stuff dries kind of hard. The brown permatex stuff I know of has somewhat of a rubbery consistency. Over time I'm sure it would harden up. The stuff on these is almost like plastic. Thanks for the link on the thread sealer, I will need to place an order from them anyway when I am ready to install these things.
 
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Old 10-03-13, 07:15 AM
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My brother had cast iron rads dip-stripped and powder coated. They looked amazing and don't need to be pulled apart. Why don't you look into that service?
 
 

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