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Thread: Vintage plumbing puzzler

  1. #1
    DIY Member zimmee66's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Des Moines, Iowa

    Default Vintage plumbing puzzler

    OK--my first post (though Ive been reading for years!)

    Badly rotted subfloor, tipping toilet leaks

    Fun, but I've done this task once or twice, so I feel OK (but not excited) dealing with it.

    Until now, I've been lucky enough to only have to deal with modern PVC waste piping until now. But my lucks run out...

    The set-up:
    1915 house, the leaking first floor toilet from was replaced in the late 90s but waste piping is OLD and I dont think they noticed/cared about what must have already been suspciously rotted floor even then.

    Closet Bend (Cast Iron) is 8 inches below floor, easily accessible from below. The existing soil pipe from closet bend hub to toilet flange seems to be a lead pipe of some sort...*this* is what Ive never seen before!

    As the toilet tilted the lead pipe has buckled, tilting flange and causing leak around toilet horn/wax ring.

    The goal is fix leak, ficx subfloor, and simple vinyl tile job.

    1) Is the sleeve salvageable? Ive never seen this lead sleeve type before, but I imagine it could *maybe* be beaten back into shape, but then I dont know about attaching a new flange to it-sounds difficult.

    2) If lead pipe should come out, whats the best way to remove it? gentle sawzall and screwdriver, etc. to pick lead and oakum out of the cast iron bell?

    3) If I replace the soil pipe with PVC--what is the best way to meet a Cast Iron closet bend *hub* (bell?) with PVC?

    Ive seen a PVC soil pipe with some sort of integral gasket, but I'm not sure if that would work and I cant find one in my rural area (Actually, I live in such boonies that its tough to even get a plumber--hence my tackling this mess!)

    thanks for any help!


  2. #2
    DIY Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Default Recent experience

    I am not a plumber, but recently I had to run some new waste pipe to the cat iron stack. I used PVC for the whole run and then cut out a the hub in the cast iron with a rented cast iron cutter ( home depot ) then used no hub couplings with neoprene sleces to join the PVC to the cast iron.

    You have to make sure that if you have cast iron above where you are cutting that it is well supported.

    You say your's is all accessible, so I would use PVC from the stack to the toilet and get rid of the rest of the old piping.


  3. #3
    DIY Member zimmee66's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Des Moines, Iowa

    Default Thanks but that wont do it

    Raekin said:
    >I used PVC for the whole run and then cut out a the hub in the cast iron with a rented cast iron >cutter ( home depot ) then used no hub couplings with neoprene sleces to join the PVC to the cast >iron

    Hi, thanks for the reply!

    Unfortunately that won't really work here because there is no straight run from the closet bend to the main Tee. There would be no good place to cut it. The next stop would be cutting into the the main DWV and that would really make for a complicated job.

    Besides, the closet benf is in great shape and I do believe cast iron is superior, so I'd like to keep as much as possible.

    All I need to do is figure how to join a short section of PVC soil pipe to the hub (bell?) of the closet bend...there must be a way!

  4. #4
    Plumbing Contractor srdenny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    SF Peninsula

    Default Vintage plumbing puzzler

    The lead riser needs to be removed and replaced with a caulked and poured cast iron riser and leaded or compression ring. Sounds like a job for a plumber, preferrably an older one familiar with lead and oakum.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Blog Entries

    Talking lead flange

    the best way to tackle this is to look at where the lead is actually inserted into the cast iron, it was probably a lead wiped joint,,,,

    they used to acutally use an asbestos "glove" and wipe molten lead around
    the brass and the lead pipe, you got it hot enough and used flux and when the lead was the exact right consistency, you wiped it around and around the two fittings untill you made a weld or joint....

    those were the days when men were truely men...and came home really dirty.

    I actually attempted to wipe a joint once for fun, but it wasnt fun...

    its now a lost art.

    pouring a lead joint is almost becomming a lost art too, no one under 40 probably has a clue how to do it


    anyway,,, the easy way to do this is their should be a 3 or 4 inch brass nipple that was leaded into the cast iron pipe years ago.

    then this brass nipple sticking out of the cast abouit 4 inches was connected to the lead line that is now going to your present toilet flange....

    you should be able to actually see the lead joint "bulge" where the brass and lead were tied together....

    all you really got to do if you got the room is take a hack saw and cut the lead off flush to where the brass nipple is wiped and connected to it., This should leave you at least a 4 inch brass nipple still sticking ouit of the cast pipe.

    If you want a longer nipple to work with, take a propane torch and melt the lead totally off the joint (not fun)

    Then you go out and buy a FERNCO rubber clamp fitting and attach this to the brass nipple , tighten it down and swich to sch 40 pvc.....

    the rest is just installing a new flange out of pvc and you are done.

    that is the easy way to do this, and its a good pernament fix.

    good luck
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 03-04-2005 at 04:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Plumber Plumber2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Eugene, Oregon


    Thats exactly how we do it here as Mark said.
    Plumber for 20+years


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