Broken cast iron toilet flange removal help

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Old 05-18-10, 06:33 PM
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Broken cast iron toilet flange removal help

So I have a rocking toilet. Leftmost bolt was broken. I know my waste line is cast iron by viewing it running the length of the house under the crawl space. House was built in 1968...I'm betting the toilet is original(!).

I have purchased one of those PVC compression toilet flanges with the rubber gasket and three bolts within it as a replacement fix. Tonight I removed the old toilet. Attached is a photo of what I have. From reading an article on Ask This Old House, I'm assuming that the shiny looking metal is molten lead, and that I need to use a cold chisel to slowly and carefully chisel it away. I started to do just that on the right side of this picture. I decided to stop and post this before I went further in case I don't have what I think I have or am doing it incorrectly. Am I on the right track?

If so, how thick is the cast iron pipe that I don't want to break? Is the top of the pipe even with the top of this flange? Hard to tell with all the rust and discoloration. How wide and deep is the band of lead?

And tips, advice on removing this old broken part? It seems like it is going to take a...long...time!

Thanks,

 
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Old 05-18-10, 08:35 PM
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Let me say that removing this flange can be quite a challenge for the homeowner and could, if not careful, lead to further problems. Though I do agree replacement of the flange is the proper way to fix this, I must also tell you there is a simple fix for this, without removing the flange.

I think it has been refereed to as a spanner flange or cas iron flange repair. It is simply a piece or flat steel, with a bolt hole' curved, and after inserting the bolt, it is slid UNDER the existing flange. As long as the rest of the flange is solid. this will work.
 
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Old 05-19-10, 06:24 AM
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I have seen those types of repairs. Understand that they may be the quick fix and work perfectly well, but...even though it is hidden under the toilet, I want a better fix. The PVC compression flange I purchased, and was recommended to me, seems to fit what I'm looking for.

So...assuming I am a quite skilled DIY homeowner (which I can confidently say I am), am I on the right track with this type of fix?

Thanks,

Tom
 
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Old 05-19-10, 02:07 PM
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To get that flange off use a drill and go down thru the lead many times (the lead should be approx. 1in. thick) when you think you have a section of the lead weak take a screwdriver or chisel and start prying it out, if it wont come loose, drill more holes.

Using the expansion type flanges you have to make sure the inside of the pipe is clean and smooth to get a good seal.
 
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Old 05-19-10, 06:39 PM
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Great idea on the drill; was thinking it would be difficult to cold-chisel hammer out all that lead in that small space.
Will let you know how it goes. The interior of the pipe looks pretty good actually...
 
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Old 06-01-10, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by plumbingods View Post
Let me say that removing this flange can be quite a challenge for the homeowner and could, if not careful, lead to further problems. Though I do agree replacement of the flange is the proper way to fix this, I must also tell you there is a simple fix for this, without removing the flange.
Well, I finished the job. I didn't have any trouble at all. shacko had the best tip, use a drill. Once I started drilling, that lead came curling up and within about five minutes I had the entire flange off! I would drill holes as closely as possible together using a regular high speed drill bit and then angle it in left and right to bridge the gap. That would then allow to me to grab big chunks around the edges and pull them out, or give them a few quick taps with a cold chisel to remove it.

When I placed the new PVC compression flange on, I realized the cast iron pipe stuck out of the floor too far. The top of the pipe was level with the old flange, but the new flange sat on top of it. I had to remove about an inch of the pipe to get the flange to sit on the floor. I noticed it looked like the original plumber had nipped away at it, as it was a slightly jagged edge. So I used a big pair of adjustable pliers and easily nipped away the pipe. It looked pretty good with as smooth an edge as could be possible. At first I was a bit reluctant to apply so much pressure but after the firt piece abruptly snapped off, I got the rest off no problem.

The new compression flange slid right in, and I tightened the three hex head bolts snugly and screwed it down to the floor in a couple of places with some stainless steel wood screws. Brand new toilet installed to replace the 40+ year old original and now we're saving a bunch of water...and no more rocking toilet!

Overall, I would say this was a rather easy DIY project...maybe a 2 on a 5 scale, but no more difficult for sure. In total time, I probably had less than two hours invested including install of new toilet.

Thanks for the tips!

Tom
 
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Old 06-02-10, 01:46 PM
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Gunn: Glad everything worked out. Beer 4U2Beer 4U2
 
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