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Thread: Help!! Soldering problem

  1. #1

    Default Help!! Soldering problem

    I am an amature but have a lot of good results in soldering copper to copper. My problem is a, I am trying to solder 1/2" copper to a 1/2" F SWT x 1/2" PEX adapter cplg. This will ollow me to crimp pex to copper. Problem is, I have tried several solder joints and dont feel that I am getting real good capillary action into the adapter fitting. There appears to be a gap left after solder dries. Tried 3 times with same results. Am sanding pipe, adapter, then fluxing then solder with heat to adapter (brass) I just noticed though that when I started to try my fourh attempt that I can wiggle the adapter when it is on the copper pipe. It is not a tight fit. Am I doing something wrong? Is there a different solder for the joints with gaps? Can the copper or the adapters (4 of them) be sized wrong? Is there a trick to this? I am on my last joint and really need to get beyond this one.


  2. #2


    The pipe and the adapter should fit snugly. It cld be hard to make up the gap with gobs of solder as it might just keep flowing down and around the joint and dripping out b4 achieving a seal.

    Are you using enough solder?
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

  3. #3


    Oh yea, I have used lots but it appears to flow out rather than suck in. There is a noticable wiggle to the joint on the pipe

  4. #4
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Have you pulled the coupling off and looked at the pipe and coupling .... I bet it is fine.

  5. #5


    I will heat the fitting and watch the flux burn away; touch then with solder and it will not burn and may stick to the copper...wait a second or two and the joint will vacuum the solder in. Once I see that I have a good vacuum I tend to move the heat further away from joint to avoid overheating. I run the solder around the pipe once or twice. When you see the solder making a drip at the bottom of the pipe your joint is good.

    I prefer to remove the drip with the solder lead.

    Until recently I was in the frame of mind that it was ok to feed the solder in at the top of the joint and let the vacuum do the rest of the work resulting in a few poor joints. Having better results by feeding the solder around entire joint.

    The fit should be not be too loose. Sometimes we have to use a small 2x4 to convince a fitting to move onto the pipe.
    Last edited by enriquehobart; 05-05-2007 at 07:17 AM.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default joint

    To get proper capillary attraction, not vacuum, in the joint, the two pieces have to fit very tightly. If the connection is loose, there will be too much space for the solder to flow correctly, and if you do get a joint that does not leak, it will probably only be holding by the solder at the entrance to the joint, not along the surface inside the fitting. At one time Nibco made a go/no go gauge to determine whether the joint was tight enough for a good solder connection.

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area


    Quote Originally Posted by hj
    At one time Nibco made a go/no go gauge to determine whether the joint was tight enough for a good solder connection.

    Brass solder fittings with a hole drilled in the middle of the socket to let you know the solder made it in and would fill the hole, most times.

    I bet that is what you're speaking of. I run into those fittings in perfect condition to this day where they could be cleaned and reused, with another 50 years of life or more.

    How many products can you say you can throw in your back yard, bury it, dig it up 30 years later and clean it up........put it back to use? Brass is just that product. There's a reason why you don't see it as much in plumbing these days as it holds up indefinitely......unless it's tied to Kitech PEX which shows the product and its design was cheap, thin, almost guaranteed to fail. JUNK!!!

    There is no question that materials and workmanship of products regarding plumbing were built with confidence of quality, not the effin crap of plastic and speed and it works now until something cheaper comes along.

    People/plumbers knock cast iron DWV systems, that stuff is in some buildings reaching 100 years, especially that heavy spec'd stuff in schools. That's pretty impressive when you think of the reliability it's offered without error.

    Remember that cast iron came in different grades......you find them when you see some cast that is paper thin.....and you know it was somewhat thin to begin with.

    Cast Iron ignores any temperature issues like PVC that over time makes it brittle. People stress that pipe into position all the time because it will go there like a rope, it's years later that pipe stiffens up and stresses the tee, causing the tee to snap back in the wall and the homeowner has not a clue why it happened.
    Last edited by Dunbar Plumbing; 05-05-2007 at 08:51 AM.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.


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