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Thread: What's the secret to no leak the first time?

  1. #1
    DIY Member TSPORT's Avatar
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    Default What's the secret to no leak the first time?

    Hi all. I have been doing my own plumbing repairs for decades but to this day I have not figured out a way to install a water supply line (generally 3/8ths chromed copper)with a brass compression sleeve that does not leak. Further tightening of the nut does not seem to help. Years ago I even snapped a line off due to overtightening. I usually end up having to take it all apart and making a new tube/sleeve assy. and trying again. Sometime I just wait until the fitting crusts up. Gotta be a better way.
    I make sure there are no burrs on the tube. Should I be coating the sleeve & tube w/ joint compound before I install? What's the secret y'all? Thanks.........................TSPORT
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    DIY Senior Member Marlin336's Avatar
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    I brush pipe dope over everything but it really is not necessary. Do you have the line as far into the valve as it can go? Do you have the line straight up (if it's angled inside the valve it will leak)? That's about all I can think of.

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    Engineer Furd's Avatar
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    Make sure the tubing is perfectly round and clean where the ferrule will seat.

    Make sure the nut is clean inside and slip the nut onto the tubing.

    Make sure both the internal and external portions of the ferrule are clean and not damaged, then slip it on the tubing.

    Make sure the "socket" on the receiving fitting (shut-off valve) is clean and not damaged.

    Bottom out the tube in the receiving fitting and while holding the tube bottomed tighten the nut hand tight. Continue holding the tube and tighten the nut one complete turn with a wrench then check for leaks. If it leaks, continue tightening to a maximum of one and one-half turns beyond hand tight.

    Over tightening is as bad as under tightening.

    Pipe dope or teflon tape is NOT necessary and more often than not will interfere with a good seal. At most you may want to use a tiny drop of light oil on the threaded portion to reduce friction.

  4. #4

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    Why not use the flexible supply lines? Even a plumbing hack like myself has never had one leak.

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    DIY Member TSPORT's Avatar
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    I don't like the flexible lines for toilets because they are visible. The chrome tube looks much neater & nicer. Also, it always seems whenever I try the flexible lines, the length is either just a bit too short or long to make a nice flowing bend or circle. I will give it a few more snugs w/ the wrench. If no good, looks like it's time for another compression sleeve & piece of tube. I will try bottoming out the tube in the valve next time. Don't think I've been doing that. Didn't think it mattered, thought the compression sleeve was doing the sealing. Appreciate the input!.................TSPORT

  6. #6
    Engineer Furd's Avatar
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    The ferrule does do the sealing but you must have the proper length of tubing past the end of the ferrule for it (the ferrule) to properly crimp to the tubing.

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    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    I like Furd's suggestions.

    Like he says, I've started using a drop of oil on the threads (something I learned on this site, from Terry) and it seems to help.

    One other thing to add - try to make sure the tubing enters the fitting as centered as possible, and with (ideally) no lateral tension - I think it helps keep the ferrule properly aligned on the tubing, not cocked a little to one side. (Oops - I see Marlin already said this)

  8. #8
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Default This is a so 80's thread

    Years ago this is what we always used. There wasn't anything other than pex risers and that was becoming common as time moved on.

    I've never been able to bend a closet or faucet supply perfect enough to go in without having to do some major bending/prying of either the angle or straight stop to force it into position. More than likely this is where the distortion starts.


    Also,

    Those chrome copper risers always look horrible over time. Urine splatter will have those green and corroded in no time flat....along with the constant sweating of the supply line in those transition months.

    Been using flex supply lines now for 10 years and have no intention of going back. If I base how many I've bought/used in those 10 years.....not one has blown.

    I've had a couple/few leak......but that was either high pressure or the 400A had a sharp edge on the shank causing it to leak.

    The only time I'll use chrome risers is for those extensions in rare cases. Most if not all chrome/copper risers have shown leaking at some point in time.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  9. #9
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking flexible lines are best

    I had to go to the SS flexible lines back in
    the early 90s because of the labor involved
    trying to make the chrome ones lok good and the time it took to do this....


    I actually had apprentices that could not make one
    look good or spent the day trying to hook up a toilet

    I have never had one burst......
    and the customer could honestly care
    less what they look like


    and they look
    great from my house......

  10. #10
    Consultant cwhyu2's Avatar
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    I was trained to use c/p copper risers and after about 300 of them you get
    feal on how to bend them to fit.Then Ibought a tubing bender.

  11. #11
    In the Trades kordts's Avatar
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    Check out the Brasscraft Innoflex. I actually came up with a similar idea, and posted about it, but didn't think anymore of it. I am glad to see someone was able to bring it to market.

  12. #12
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    I use chrome risers on Pedastils & toilets when the customer requests them, but advise them on the corrosive tendencies as someone stated above.
    They almost always give me a hard time at the angle stop if I don't wrap the ferrule in teflon 3-4 times, then crank them on, just be sure NOT to over tighten.
    That can break the compression nut, usually you want to see at least one thread left below the nut.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  13. #13
    DIY Member TSPORT's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for all the useful info. Never could get the miniscule leak to stop this time so I just started over with a new piece of tube and ferrule, smeared the tube w/ some pipe dope before I put the ferrule on and then a little more over the top, put the nut on and gave it about one turn after finger tight and voila!, no leak. (I still like the chrome tube for short runs when visible. Since I am not doing this for a living, I can afford to spend the extra time screwing around).............................TSPORT

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    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Grumpy, you surprise me. I'm no plumber, so I've only done maybe half-a-dozen; but they give me no trouble at all (knock on wood!). Guy who showed me, stressed that most people crank them too hard. Sounds like that might be you? I'm always surprised how little it takes.

    My trick: finger tight + 1/4 turn, then open the valve just a little; wait for water to start dripping, tighten untill it stops + snug it a bit. Test under full flow.

    No oil, no dope; perfect alignement's the crucial thing, I was told.

    My problem is cutting the tubing to just the right length: I tend to be just a wee bit over, and how do you trim 1/8" without distorting the tube? So always get a spare one; and I usually end up using it.
    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
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    DIY Senior Member thezster's Avatar
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    I believe Frenchie hit it on the head. Compression fittings are often overtightened to begin with, resulting in leakage. I always put a compression fitting together just a tad more than finger tight - turn on the water and slowly, slowly, tighten until the leaks disappear. Works every time for me.
    It's 9a.m. Let's have a beer!

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