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Thread: Broken threaded end of pipe

  1. #1

    Default Broken threaded end of pipe

    Help.
    Tried to replace the pipe that feeds a shower head with a longer one. When unscrewing, the threaded end furthest from the shower head broke off (about 1/2 way down the threads). I'm at a loss as to ideas to get the remainder out. Any recommendations? Picture 1 is the pipe that broke at the end so you can see what I'm talking about. Picture 2 is the feed pipe with the brass inner circle being the portion of the extension that broke off.
    I'd appreciate any recommendations.
    Al
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  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    There's a tool made for this - it's called a nipple extractor. You insert it into the broken part, and use a wrench to unscrew things. It has a cam that expands to hold and turn the fitting from the inside.

    Sometimes you can take something small and pry the thing out of there - it is usually easier if you can take a hacksaw blade and cut through it from the inside. If you try that, make sure you don't go deep enough to mess up the threads of the fitting.


    This extractor has had the end sawed off so that it won't bottom out in the fitting.
    Last edited by Terry; 06-29-2009 at 01:04 AM.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

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    I've also heard that tool called an "inside pipe wrench". Had the same problem recently on a shower. The tool worked on it. Same problem on a commercial water valve at the meter required the cutting of the pipe on the inside then digging it out in pieces.

  4. #4
    DIY Member BS's Avatar
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    I've had that problem a couple times with our shower for some unknown reason. I didn't buy any special tools (I'm a DIY'er) -- just used my long-nosed pliers. This might work for you: Pry up the broken end of the spiraling thread. Then grip it with the long-nosed pliers and twist the pliers to wrap the thread around the nose. This will peel the thread away from the inside of the fitting.

    Let us know what works.

    - Bernie

  5. #5
    In the Trades kordts's Avatar
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    You can chisel that out, or use an easy out. A nipple extractor, or internal wrench won't work here.

  6. #6

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    If the dog eared shower ell is not anchored you will pinch the pooch if you try to chisel it out... you don't want to knock that bad boy back in the wall then have to tear out the wall to find it.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member harleysilo's Avatar
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    Update?

    If the method you chose to use to attempt to extract the remaining piece fails, can you access the backside of that shower? Is there a closet or other type of internal wall you could open up to cut and replace the ell?

  8. #8
    Plumbing Instructor Plumb or Die's Avatar
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    The hacksaw ways the way to go. Cut through the broken piece in two places, about a 1/4" apart. Don't cut 100% of the way through and screw up the internal threads. 99%'s good. Use a 1/4" wide flat crewdriver to pry out the little piece between the two cuts.
    Once that piece is out, the remaining bit of broken pipe can be gently pried out. I've done this many times, works like a charm. One cut won't do, you have to do two to weaken the rest of the pipe so you can pry it towards the inside of the fitting, and out.
    Good Luck!
    I like plumbing. Plumbing's my favorite.

  9. #9
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    If the shower arm threads are disintegrated enough a nipple extractor will ruin the female threads of the fitting.

  10. #10
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Teflon tape would have let the shower arm come out much easier.

    I go with the hacksaw way and pick it out. Extractors don't normally work.

    Put the teflon tape on when installing.

  11. #11

    Default Problem resolved

    Wow...this website is great. Terriffic advice. I headed to the local Lowe's looking for a 'nipple extractor'...as embarassing as that may be to ask for. Found the internal wrench (cheap, just a couple of bucks). I also had a hacksaw blade just in case.

    The wrench worked like a charm. Took a little muscle to get it going, then no problem. I made sure to use the teflon tape when putting in the new extension.

    Thanks again for all the help. I'm just shocked at all the great advice so quickly.
    Al

  12. #12
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PA_AL
    ...looking for a 'nipple extractor'...as embarassing as that may be to ask for...
    When I was about 13 and I had just asked a plumber in my dad's RV factory to tell me how to tell the difference between male threads and female threads, he was too embarrassed (maybe for me?) to answer!

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PA_AL
    Wow...this website is great. Terriffic advice. I headed to the local Lowe's looking for a 'nipple extractor'...as embarassing as that may be to ask for. Found the internal wrench (cheap, just a couple of bucks). I also had a hacksaw blade just in case.

    The wrench worked like a charm. Took a little muscle to get it going, then no problem. I made sure to use the teflon tape when putting in the new extension.

    Thanks again for all the help. I'm just shocked at all the great advice so quickly.
    Al
    Always good to have a happy ending!

    If you are like me, you'll keep coming and checking out the "new posts" (see that heading above) every day just to learn something, or see what the latest plumbing or electrical controversy is...

    It is a great site, with wonderful folks chiming in on all manner of topics.

  14. #14

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    PA AL... glad it worked. I've done it several times with the extractor and am still spinning from the guys saying it won't work... I think it depends on how you hold your mouth when turning the wrench.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member gitngoin's Avatar
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    I have used a Dremal with a ball end bit and CAREFULLY cut two opposing grooves then colapse the piece to remove. Works real well.
    Michael

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