How Do I Loosen Galvanized Pipe

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  #1  
Old 04-26-07, 06:35 PM
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How Do I Loosen Galvanized Pipe

I'm updating the kitchen sink in our 40 year old house. Naturally, the drain locations on the new sink will be totally different than the old one. This requires that I undo a portion of the existing wall pipe (which drains into an iron stack within the wall).

Between the wall & sink trap there are 3 pieces of 1 1/2" galvanized pipe and a couple of black (I believe iron) elbows; which were sealed with white (lead?) pipe dope. If I can get one of the galvanized pipes to unscrew from the iron elbow, then connecting the new sink will be fairly easy.

The hard part is how do I break the old, probably frozen, threads loose without breaking some thing else? I have done a bit of this in the past so I'm aware that old pipe can some times be fragile. Are there any good ways to loosen these threads before starting to put a big pipe wrench on them?

Your help here will be very much appreciated.

Richard
 
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Old 04-26-07, 08:12 PM
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pipe wrench's (as in two . working against each other

if its got pipe dope chances are good its not frozen and using two wrench's will get it off in one piece
 
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Old 04-26-07, 09:33 PM
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Sawzalls work well to speed things up - just untwist the last sawn piece, with two wrenches of course. One to twist and the other to secure everything else as it was, just as mango man stated.
 
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Old 04-27-07, 05:56 AM
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Thanks much for replying Mango Man & Who, it's really helpful.

This sounds very encouraging but I don't quite follow the thinking behind using a Sawzall to cut the pipe. In this case, I only need to replace a short (about 12") section of the old drain with a new shorter nipple & an elbow or two. Meybe I'm missing some thing; but I fail to see the point in cutting the pipe first.

Best regards, Richard
 
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Old 04-27-07, 02:01 PM
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Sawzall

When galvanized piping is installed, one generally works in sequence from the supply end out towards the individual fixtures, or perhaps back the other way. [And also when it is used for drain line.] Each piece of pipe of course spins several revolutions to fasten into a pipe fitting or fixture.

When you have to repair [or work on or add to] this type of pipe, it isn't practical to remove every piece of pipe between the leak and one end of the run or the other, in order to remove the piece that needs repair. Instead one uses a tool like a Sawzall [or hacksaw] to make a cut near the leak. The leak is then repaired, and a union and two short nipples replace the piece of pipe that was cut.

That's why Who is suggesting it, in case you have no choice, or can't get it loose and want to go the easy route of just cutting it. But we can't see what you are looking at, and it's possible that's not the problem.

I would soak the joint you are going to tackle with a penetrant like Liquid Wrench, with several applications, prior to trying to loosen it. Be sure you have a couple of hefty pipe wrenches-don't waste your time trying to use ordinary pliers or other light tools. A large set of channel lock pliers is almost as good, and [unlike the pipe wrenches] useful for other jobs too.
 
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Old 04-27-07, 06:20 PM
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Now I understand why Who mentioned the Sawzall cutting. However, in this case, I am not locked in at both ends of the plumbing. Since it's on a kitchen sink, I just remove the J Bend trap - then there's only one end to undo.

In fact, after thinking about sawing the pipe off, I have changed my plan. Now, I'm going to saw the 1 1/2" galvanized wall tube then use a Fernco coupler to connect to a new plastic drain assembly. Unscrewing the galvanized pipe at an iron elbow wouldn't really gain me anything that I can't do with a Fernco & some plastic - both of which are easier to work with as well.

If you've had any experience in cutting 1 1/2" galvanized with a Sawzall, about how many blades does it take to get the job done? I want to have enough on hand before I start to cut.

Best regards, Richard
 
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Old 04-28-07, 10:40 AM
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(aq_guy, thanks - you said it better than i would have)

As for how many blades? You'll just need a spare one because blades only break on you when you don't have a spare one. Murphy's law #116.2 ;-)
 
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Old 04-28-07, 05:10 PM
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Thought I'd add a comment, even though it sounds like you've gotten past your original post. I too have been stuck in a similar situation, and I've found the easiest way to loosen the connection is by using two wrenches and by applying a bit of leverage. I have a 1 1/2" pipe about 3" feet long that I slide over the handle of one of the pipe wrenchs (I then wedge the other wrench against something that won't budge). You'd be amazed at what the longer handle will do. I'm a little 5'2" woman, yet I was able to use the above to remove all the old galv. pipe from a 60+ year old house prior to replumbing...and the sawzall came in quite handy too!
 
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Old 04-28-07, 05:50 PM
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Thanks again to all who replied. It's people like you that make these forums work for everyone.

Best regards
 
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Old 04-29-07, 04:00 PM
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Hi, If it won't come apart, I have cut the pipe about 1 1/2 in away from the last fitting then used a rubber adapter to connect the old pipe to the new one. An example would be 1 1/2 steel pipe to 1 1/2 pvc trap assembly. They make many different sizes. They look like hubbless connectors.
Good Luck Woodbutcher
 
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Old 05-03-07, 10:47 PM
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I'm surprised nobody mentioned this. You are probably already done with your job, but for future reference......removign galvanized pipe is rather easy. Yes, you can use 2 wrenches.....or a larger wrench..all meant to add leverage. but the most important step, and has never failed me personally in 15 years, is to FIRST tighten the galvanized pipe. Yes, turn it just slightly till it moves. Then flip your wrenches around and loosen it right out. Works like a charm. I have never personally broke off the threads in the fitting etc while using this method and usually it doesn't require as much leverage.
 
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Old 05-04-07, 06:14 AM
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Thanks again for the replies. Lots of good, helpful information here.

CSG, that's interesting. Until now, I had never heard of that trick but it makes a great deal of sense.

Woodbutcher, that's what I ended up doing here. To make a long story short, it was the best way to get to a drain assembly that would work with the new sink (deeper & drain moved way back).
 
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Old 05-03-14, 01:13 PM
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old thread, but same problem!

It's the nipple that I need to remove under the kitchen sink going into the wall (the drain), so no problem with other fittings turning, but hard to get leverage in this situation. I'm going to work at some more at it. Tried tightening first, but I can't tell if it actually moved. I can't believe that I got stuck on this. Always something with plumbing! (the nipple is too long for the new disposal. )
 
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Old 05-03-14, 01:33 PM
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I'm posting this in case anyone has this same situation. I used my small floor jack. Worked great! relief.
 
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Old 05-04-14, 08:16 AM
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Pretty clever! Where there's a will there's a way. lol
 
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Old 05-04-14, 11:11 AM
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Closing old thread... Plus new poster to old thread solved his issue..
 
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