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Thread: Stuck tub trap

  1. #1

    Default Stuck tub trap

    The cap for my tub trap is stuck. I expect the plumbing is 1940's. As you can see from the picture the cap for the trap is about 3 inches across with a hex head that is about 7/8 inch. The cap is screwed into the threaded sleeve that rises from the trap.

    The cap is stuck. My room for manoeuver is small. The photo is shot from a service door about 1.5 feet wide. I have tried a breaker bar with a proper socket but so far I have not been able to budge the cap.

    Can you advise me on a smart way to remove the cap? I think the cap is brass. I was thinking about heating the sleeve with a torch hoping that the expansion of the sleeve will loosen up the joint. But I am a bit apprehensive in using a torch in such tight quarters.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer
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  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    First, buy a replacement cap.

    Second, make sure the drum is supported underneath. Use shims if necessary.

    Third, whack the raised center of the plug with a hammer (3-5 lb mallet is better) a few times. It should then unscrew more readily.

    If not, brass can be readily cut with a cold chisel, dremel, drill, or combination of them.

  3. #3

    Default replacement cap

    Are these caps standard? Besides the diameter, what other spec do I need to specify one.

    P

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    If it's a standard 3 inch brass cleanout plug, you can get it at any hardware store with a decent plumbing section, or a big box home center. Looks like it, but hard to tell for sure from here. Most will have a square raised or recessed, or long oval recess, for turning. Drum traps often have a cover, rather than a plug, though.

    Check this:
    http://plumbing.hardwarestore.com/52...out-plugs.aspx

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    That looks like someone may have put a rgular cleanout plug on a drum trap...
    Usually a miss match of threads...

  6. #6

    Default thanks for the observation but how to proceed?

    I put some penetrating oil on the top to help loosen the threads. That is the wet stuff you see in the picture. Also a guy at Home Depot suggested heating the trap cover with a torch and then dowsing with cold water to free up the threads.

    But your observation suggests a bigger problem.

    How can I tell if the threads are mismatched?

    If they are how could I clean out the trap?

    Thanks

    Phil

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    You have to remove the cover to clean out the trap. It may invove cutting/breaking the current plug. Get the replacement cover/plug first.

    If the trap is cast iron/steel, it should have won any thread mismatch battle with a brass plug. The brass should have yielded. A cover, like in the link above, would be the correct replacement. If the threads on the drum are rust damaged, that could be why someone used a plug, but most likely thay just used what was easier to find.

    You're not going to know 'til you get that one off.

    You're working in a confined, limited access area. You've sprayed a flammable liquid. Now, you seem prepared to put a torch to it. Rather than a hammer. Is there something wrong with this picture?

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default trap

    It is a brass trap. Either manufactured that way or assembled from pieces. The plug should be a standard raised head brass plug. It looks like 2" but without a way to compare it, it could be larger. Unless you get rid of the liquid completely, DO NOT use a torch to heat it or you will have a fire on your hands. An extension to the breaker bar should extract it, assuming you have the correct sized socket, or an impact wrench if there is enough space to get it into the opening.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philliplederer View Post
    As you can see from the picture the cap for the trap is about 3 inches across with a hex head that is about 7/8 inch. The cap is screwed into the threaded sleeve that rises from the trap.
    That sounds like a 3" nominal size plug. I just measured one in my basement, with the size stamped into it, and it's appx. 3 1/4.

  10. #10

    Default Stuck tub trap

    I measured the plug this am. It is actually 2.5 inches.

    Of course, I would completely remove the penetrating oil from the cap using detergent before putting a torch on such a thing, (Plus have a fire extinguisher right beside me!).




    d

  11. #11
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Heating it will not help!

    Don't do it!

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default plug

    That would make it about a 2" plug because 2 1/2" would be closer to 3". A 2" plug should never be able to defeat a full grown person. Get tough with it.

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    A hex head will take a standard (automotive) socket (1/2 inch drive preferred). With a cheater bar (a length of pipe slipped over the ratchet handle), a kid should be able to break it loose.

  14. #14

    Default Thanks for your ideas

    The job is not quite so easy because I have very little room to maneuver--the trap is about 20 inches in the access door which is only about 10 inches wide. The hex nut on the trap is only about 1/4 inch high and my hex wrench flexes and slips off the nut as I cannot put any weight down to keep the socket in place

    What I am going to do is to get the pipe you suggest to fit over my 1/2 inch drive handle to act as a lever. Also I will mount a board cross wise from the 2x4 you see in the picture to the remains of a plank floor you see on the left hand side of the picture. I will drill a hole in the board right above the trap to accept a drive extension so I can hold the socket perfectly perpendicular to the nut, so it won't slip. This seems necessary since I need to manage the lever (the pipe) at the same time as I must keep the socket from falling off.

    By the way, what you see in this crawl space is the debris of a former bedroom converted to a bath in a house build in 1835. Needless to say I am not the one who put in the bathroom which I guess hails from about 1940.

    Any advice or alternative recommendations would be valued.

    Thanks again,

    Phil

  15. #15
    Master plumber Jay Mpls's Avatar
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    Default

    Have you considered opening the wall a bit more and cutting out the drum trap and putting in a regular P trap.

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