Broken Lead Pipe


Old 06-30-03, 02:34 PM
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Broken Lead Pipe

I have a 2nd floor toilet in a house built in the eary 30's that has a lead pipe going from the toilet flange to the side connection on a 4" cast iron T. The lead pipe to the toilet it cracked just where it enters the T and of course it leaks from the crack. The crack appears to have been repaired in the past with some sort of clay or putty that is hard as a rock now, but that too has cracked. I believe the lead pipe was used because standard parts couldn't be used to make the connection to the toilet because it was a) too close to the standing pipe, and b) it is half sitting on a joist.

I know I can cut off the 4" cast iron pipe that stands just below the T and replace everything above the cut with PVC using one of the Fernco couplers to join the PVC to the cast iron but I would rather avoid cutting the 4" cast iron pipe off as well as replacing the cast iron T and the vent pipe to the roof.

Is there coupler that can be used for the cast iron T to couple PVC to it if I cut off or otherwise remove the lead pipe coming out of it? Or maybe I should grind the "bead" off of the side T and try a standard Fernco coupler?

--John B.
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Old 07-08-03, 09:37 AM
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I have almost the exact same set-up in my house on the 2nd floor. I recently dealt with a leaky wax ring and replaced that. I think in the not too distant future I'll replace the entire cast iron run with PVC. If you have access, you might as well consider that option, too. Fernco coupling might not be a bad idea, either. You can get blades to cut that cast iron pipe for a sawzall or snap it with a rented cutter.

Good luck.
Old 07-08-03, 09:49 AM
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Here is what I ended up doing. After removing the old lead pipe that went from the vertical cast iron T to the toilet flange, I found that there was a 4" brass or copper (couldn't really tell, but it is probably brass with a high copper content) stub coming from the joint in the cast iron T that was still in good shape. Wow, that changed everything. I used a rubber coupling to join the brass stub to 3" PVC and plumbed it up to a new PVC toilet flange. The alignment angle from the brass stub to the hole for toilet flange was off by maybe 10 degrees and there wasn't enough room (horizontally or vertically) between the toilet flange and the cast iron pipe to fix the alignment with an offset toilet flange but the rubber coupling was able to flex enough to compensate.

Because of the toilet flange partly sitting on a joist, a 3" street elbow coming down from the toilet flange gave sufficient room for the new PVC.

Leaving the hole in the ceiling open for a few days so I can monitor it but so far everything looks good.

And I did contemplate just tearing all the old plumbing out of this house and replace everything with PVC and copper but my wife doesn't tolerate those large projects and resulting home upheavals well. In fact, last big project I started, without telling me, while I was at work, she called in some 10 workmen to come in, but not to finish the project, just to reverse it and put everything back the way it was cause she couldn't stand the mess!

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