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Thread: Replacing a Lead Closet Bend

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bet3zzz's Avatar
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    Default Replacing a Lead Closet Bend

    My bathroom remodel was gaining momentum, and I ran into another snag. I was thinking about how to best get my new subfloor around the existing toilet flange when I noticed a couple problems with the closet bend.

    The bend appears to be lead, and it looks like the flange is brass. The flange seems to be soldered to the bend. The first issue is that a large crack has developed in the lead directly beneath the flange. It goes about a quarter of the way around the circumference of the pipe. The second issue is that there is a bit of rust where the bend meets the hub of the cast iron stack, and there are water stains on the wood beneath it.

    Considering both issues, I figured my best bet in tackling this myself would be to follow Terry's suggestion in the following thread - securing a new bend and flange in the old hub using a rubber donut:

    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...-flange-thread

    However, I'm wondering if there's anything special I need to do to deal with the corrosion on the hub. It doesn't appear to be extensive, but I think I need to do something about it.

    Any suggestions on dealing with it, or perhaps other approaches I could take in perhaps repairing what I have in place now?

    Thanks.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The metal is not deteriorated by the "rust", but you WILL have to remove all the rust from the inside of the hub to allow the gasket to make a good seal. Terry chides me for not wanting to go to the trouble of using a gasket, because I prefer to install a new cast iron bend using a lead/oakum joint.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I'm not chiding you, I just don't like lead.
    If the homeowner has the option to have his plumber replace with a cast iron closet bend, then that would be a good way to go. I don't see many homeoweners doing it though. This may be a task that is well worth hiring out.

    Anyone see the new EPA requirement for lead lately?
    Jamie and I took an eight hour class on Friday for certification as RRP's. The EPA has classified lead to be as dangerous as asbestos.
    The new requirements require containment and reports to the EPA when it's encountered in paint. The class didn't go into pouring lead, but you're not allowed to use an open flame on lead paint for removal.

    http://www.epa.gov/lead/

    Contractors Must Be
    Lead-Safe Certified

    Last edited by Terry; 08-29-2010 at 10:40 AM.

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    DIY Junior Member bet3zzz's Avatar
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    If I had the proper tools for the lead/oakum joint, I might try it (the current one's lasted 60 years, so that's saying something), but since I don't I think I'll give the gasket a try. I will have to find a plumbing supply house nearby, because I am perpetually frustrated with the selection at the big-box stores. Not just for this. There's a bunch of stuff I've needed throughout this project that they didn't have. They had a clay pipe donut, but not one for a cast iron hub. The clay pipe one isn't the right size, is it?

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    DIY Junior Member bet3zzz's Avatar
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    Also... Is there any advantage to going down to a 3" (like the bushing giving extra support or something)? I already cut a 4" hole in the plywood for my subfloor, so I thought I'd just go with the donut and 4" PVC.

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    DIY Senior Member Andrew21's Avatar
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    Wow, someone linked my thread!

    Anyway, it took me and my friend a while to get that lead bend out. We used a sawzall (not really necessary) to cut the lead piece out. Then we drilled into the oakum (make sure you have lots of bits!) and kept drilling in and around. We then used the sawzall to cut a bit closer to the end. We left about a 1.5 of an inch out just in case to grab something. We then took a small flat screwdriver and pryed the oakum out. Once that was out, we were able to bend the lead into pieces. That moved the entire lead piece. Took all the oakum out and bent the living hell out of the lead..crushing it like a can. After struggling with the piece, we couldn't figure out why it was moving but not coming out. There is a brass or something at the end that keeps the piece from falling out. We smashed the living hell out of the lead and that ring went with it. Wish I had pics for you.

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    DIY Senior Member Andrew21's Avatar
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    As Terry said in my thread..

    "The trapway on a toilet is 2"
    Nothing ever clogs in a 3" pipe unless the tile guy used your toilet drain for a garbage can, seen that done."

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    The metal is not deteriorated by the "rust", but you WILL have to remove all the rust from the inside of the hub to allow the gasket to make a good seal. Terry chides me for not wanting to go to the trouble of using a gasket, because I prefer to install a new cast iron bend using a lead/oakum joint.
    A little bit stuck in the past, are we?

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    But it is old school craftsmanship. Not too many of the new guys would know what to do.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    I'll be sure to use my asbestos heat blanket next time I need to do any soldering...

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    DIY Junior Member bet3zzz's Avatar
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    I got the donut and bushing in, but it seems a bit problematic. The goofy donut I got doesn't fill the entire depth of the hub; there's an inch gap between where the donut ends and where the hub ends. It seems like water would pool in this gap, which would eventually cause a leak. The donut Terry posted looks much deeper. I'll go try to find one. The 4x3 might be my only option, unless I want to delay the project while I try to find the 4x4. I'll post on my progress...

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The "old way" worked for the Romans, and was the standard until the 70's, so it must have something going for it. As someone once said, "Don't be the first to embrace the new things, nor the last to discard the old". I can pour a lead joint in a few minutes. Trying to beat an closet bend elbow into a Ty-Seal gasket could take a lot longer, and might require mechanical assistance.

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