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Thread: Broken toilet water supply line

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member linjn's Avatar
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    Exclamation Broken toilet water supply line

    I was trying to change out the flush valve and flooded the house. Now I have a quarter inch of pipe broken off inside of a nut that is level with the floor. is that a compression fitting/ Anyway the threads are broken off even with the washer so there is nothing to get a hold of to get it off. I went to lowes and bought all replacement stuff and since I didn't think I had a compression fitting they gave me tools and advice to try to get the broken off threads out of what I thought was another pile.

    So now I'm in the dilemma of whether to take off the fitting, if I can get it off or to try to get th threads out. I'm concerned about breaking anything more since the fitting or washer is level with the floor. if i take off the fitting the pipe below it will be below the floor level. That pipe does pull up about an inch. However if i were trying to screw somtheing into it I woul'nt be pulling up so it would be out of sight.
    Alternatively, i have to get the broken threads out. They gave me a large drill bit looking thing called a back. you tap it in and then turn counter clockwise and it backs things out of a hole. It fits very tight and is hard to turn. Since the pipe below moves up and down i am concerned about breaking it off. Is that a valid concern since it is a 1/2 inch wide washer or compression fitting?
    I'm gung ho to try some more to fix this myself since it si almost a saturday, but afraid if i break that pipe they'll have to remove my sub floor to get at it to fix it which would cost alot i guess. Any experiences with this and suggestions would be great help. Its late here, so I'll just be up a little while but I'll be right back on in the morning if I miss anything. Thanks so much for any advice at all. Linjn

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A picture would make any advice much more reliable. There are three ways a typical valve could be attached: threaded onto a pipe nipple (tapered threads), soldered on, or a compression fitting. What kind of pipe is it? Copper, galvanized, other?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    If it's compression, you may need a sleeve puller to remove the back nut.
    Is the pipe metal, plastic or copper?
    That makes a big difference. Before you do anything rash, answer that and wait for a response.

    Here is a sleeve puller for compression.



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    DIY Junior Member linjn's Avatar
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    All the piping is copper. The nut is a 6 sided 1/4 inch wide nut. it is not squared off but has a rounded edge at the top. I tried yesterday turning it and it turns slowly to the left but after about one rotation has not loosened any noticable amount. I can thread a 3/8 in nipple about 1 and half turns into the nut and then it gets stuck and further attempts to turn it results in it coming off.
    I have not sprayed any dw-40 on this stuff.
    Thanks so much to the folks who replied. And any further advice would be great. I'm not doing anything more till I hear from somebody.
    Last edited by linjn; 06-05-2010 at 05:44 AM.

  5. #5
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    It sounds to me like you are dealing with a soldered copper female adapter, and your turning it to the left "about one rotation" was actually twisting the copper pipe. I did that once.

    The real plumbers here might have a simpler fix, and there are certainly far more complex ones, but I would try gently threading another copper fitting (such as a male adapter) into what you have and soldering it (if that is even possible), then going from there ... and *maybe* you have not already damaged the copper pipe badly enough to cause it to leak inside the floor.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    A solder connection would NOT have a hexagonal nut. Compression joints are the only ones which have that. How did you break the copper tubing off? That should have required some very exotic skills. This may NOT be a DIY task, because you will have to remove the nut and ring, then solder an extension onto it so a new valve can be installed properly.

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    DIY Junior Member linjn's Avatar
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    This site is amazing!

    Yes I agree. I'm in over my head. Now its just the best way to go about getting it resolved since it is Saturday.

    How did I break it you ask. Hmmm verry carefully i guess. I was loosening the nut that connects the flush valve to the toilet tank, I believe it is called a jam nut. I wanted to replace it due to lazy flush and had read two different instructional guides. I slowly, gently rotated the nut about a turn and a half. Voila! Water everywhere. Maybe I should have held the flush valve stationary while turning the nut?

    Currently I have the toilet completely taken apart and soaking in vinegar. Ive taken it out of the bathroom and removed the old wax seal. The vinyl linoleum was loose due to the soaked floor so i removed the square around the toilet, too. The water is off to the whole house. I'm wondering what to do about the hole in the floor are there dangerous gases in there. Maybe cover it with foil. I'm considering getting the water on to the basement only and just using my second bath till monday.

    My ceiling under the toilet is noticeably darker than the rest of the ceiling. My house is 48 years old and some of my neighbors have had crumbling pipes in there bathroom requiring the ceiling be opened and replaced. I have not had any problems and have been preparing to sell my home.

    I'm considering cutting away the ceiling and then having a plumber replace the pipes he can get to from there.

    But sodering sounds interesting. I have a sodering gun. But you said that isn't a DIY job.

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    DIY Junior Member linjn's Avatar
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    just an update. I found and unfroze the water cutoffs to the second floor bathroom so i now have the water to the kitchen and downstairs bath. I'm hanging up my plumbers hat on this one and calling a plumber. Thanks for all your support. Gobd bless you and this site. linjn

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    A solder connection would NOT have a hexagonal nut.
    The male and female adapters I have seen certainly do have that shape! How else would you hold them while tightening another fitting into/onto them?!

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I was referring to "Solder" fixture valves, NOT IPS valves screwed to adapters, which if this were what he had, he would NOT have had the problem in the first place.

  11. #11
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linjn View Post
    ... a quarter inch of pipe broken off inside of a nut that is level with the floor ... broken off even with the washer ...
    So what do you think he actually has there, hj? I was just trying to help guess!

  12. #12
    Master Plumber-Gas Fitter shacko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    So what do you think he actually has there, hj? I was just trying to help guess!
    Since we are guessing I'll jump in also. Since the house is 48years old the pipe comming thru the floor is probably 3/8 galv. with an adaptor going to 1/4in. id with no valve in the line, the adaptor would give you the hexagonal sides refered to. This was a common way it was done in the old days to save money

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