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Thread: How do I loosen (but not lose) the well seal?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member wbnethery3's Avatar
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    Question How do I loosen (but not lose) the well seal?

    Thanks in advance for answering a newbie's question...I did a search but didn't find an answer to this exact question.

    I recently rearranged the plumbing around my well, and want to pivot the well seal about 90 degrees in order to accommodate the changed location of the tank. The piping rotates in the hole on the seal, but interferes with the electrical conduit. I need to move the seal in order to fix that.

    When looking at some other posts, I saw mention made of loosening the bolts that compress the rubber seal, but not going too far. I am wondering whether the bottom half can come loose and fall into the well, or are there stops that keep that from happening? Mine is a 4" split seal with four hex bolts on top.

    Prior to finding this very helpful forum, I had tried loosening the bolts and rotating the seal by hand. This was futile, and I suspect it is just due to the friction (rather than compression). It is hard to get a grip on the flange of the seal, and I don't want to torque the piping for fear of doing some damage.

    Thanks for any advice!

    Bryan

  2. #2
    Porky Cutter,MGWC Porky's Avatar
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    Not over 5 turns. Use chain vise grips on the flange. The rubber is sticking to the casing and the weight of the drop pipe. Just be careful!
    Porky Cutter, MGWC
    (Master Ground Water Consultant)

  3. #3
    In the Trades Texas Wellman's Avatar
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    You most likely have a Simmons type well seal. There is a lip on the seal that sits on top of the casing with a rubber type seal underneath that. Pipe etc. won't hardly fall in but as I haven't seen it you should exercise caution.

    It should be no problem to loosen the 4 bolts some and turn the seal, I do it all the time. Is yours a split type seal or a solid top piece? Use a 24" or bigger pipe wrench to grab ahold of the seal and turn it slowly. Sometimes these can be stuck very badly and not want to budge. How long has it been seated? I always put a little pipe dope/lubricant on them to keep them from freezing up. Any type of spray lube etc. can get down in your well and that would not be good so keep that in mind. Might try a food grade grease.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member wbnethery3's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips. As I posted, it is a split type body with the rubber seal. I believe it is a Simmons.

    I am not equipped with a 24" pipe wrench, but I have access to one and also a chain wrench. Will try to use a small amount of lube to see if it will break loose. Just worried about torquing the top half and bending bolts or worse, shearing them. The well is 3 years old, so I have hopes that the rubber isn't too hard yet (although that might actually work in my favor).

    In looking at the pictures I've found online, it looks like if I just loosen the bolts enough to be hand-tight, I am okay. It appears that the bottom half of the seal is a casting with threaded holes. Even if I completely disengage the bolt from the threads on one of the holes, I should still retain the bottom half of the body with the other bolt. Just don't like tempting Murphy - he's got my number, knows where I live and I've gotten to know him on a first-name basis....

    Can anyone confirm my understanding of the way the seals are constructed?

  5. #5
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I don't think the bottom half is threaded. One bolt will keep the bottom half of the pitless from falling but, the bolts themsleves can fall out the bottom. So don't loosen the nut all the way off of any bolt.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member wbnethery3's Avatar
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    Success!

    I spoke to the well company that drilled it, and they said I should be able to put a pipe wrench on one of the bolt heads and use the center down-pipe as a fulcrum (my word, theirs wasn't as elegant) to rotate the seal under the head fitting where the pressure valve is. Last night, I sprayed a little WD-40 on the top lip of the rubber (which was showing when I started this). Today, I broke the tension on the 4 bolts, but did not even back off more than a half-turn. I opened the jaws of a 14" pipe wrench so they spanned the gap between bolt heads on each half of the split and applied a little bit of pressure. The seal seemed to be bound a little, but once I overcame some initial resistance, it spun quite easily and dropped down so that the top flange is resting flush on the well pipe. Tightened the compression bolts back to where they were and we're good to go!

    I appreciate the feedback from this forum. It's nice having several different opinions, I was able to make it all match and work for me. Information is power... Go DIY!!!

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