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Thread: new cut-off / shut-off valve leaks

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member sti1es's Avatar
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    Default new cut-off / shut-off valve leaks

    I have never had problem installing cut-off valves before, but can't seem to get some new ones on either brass or steel without leaks.

    These valves seem to get more cheaply constructed by the year. Bought a set from Lowes, and a set from Home Depot, and have tried using teflon, dope, and nothing on brass and steel threads, with snug and tighter torque, and they've leaked in each combo. Arg!

    So I am wondering what's going on here? And what's the best way to install them? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    DIY Member u.s.coins's Avatar
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    perhaps i've only been lucky but the way i have installed them is with 3 or 4 wraps of tape AND pipe dope brushed over the tape. never had a problem.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    Stop buying the chinese crap they sell at the big box stores.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Unless you have a really long wrench, it's hard to overtighten a pipe fitting...all you may need is to make another turn. Pipe dope and tape together are sort of like belt and suspender...doesn't hurt, but if your technique isn't good, still may not help...doesn't hurt, though.
    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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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sti1es View Post
    I have never had problem installing cut-off valves before, but can't seem to get some new ones on either brass or steel without leaks.

    These valves seem to get more cheaply constructed by the year. Bought a set from Lowes, and a set from Home Depot, and have tried using teflon, dope, and nothing on brass and steel threads, with snug and tighter torque, and they've leaked in each combo. Arg!

    So I am wondering what's going on here? And what's the best way to install them? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Although you have to have a "feel" for the threads....remember that pipe threads, "by the book", require hand tight + 3 to 4 turns.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Unless you have a really long wrench, it's hard to overtighten a pipe fitting.
    I'm not so sure about that. Are you?

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member bluebinky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hackney plumbing View Post
    I'm not so sure about that. Are you?
    The female threaded brass valves can and will split if over tightened... Also, look very carefully at the threads when you buy fittings at the big box stores.
    Last edited by bluebinky; 04-01-2012 at 07:24 PM.

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Unless you're a bear, use something like a 4-5" adjustable wrench, and it's hard to overtighten a threaded connection...Now, use one alot bigger, or if you lift weights all the time, yes. The average person with a typical wrench will stop long before they've overtightened a new valve. Is it possible, certainly.

    If it leaks, tighten it a bit more. Do NOT loosen it once tightened, or it will likely leak...take it back off, reapply the stuff you used to try to seal things and try again. If it doesn't stop where you want it to, you might find another wrap of tape will make it tight, leakfree, and where you want it, but you usually have enough leaway to get it tight where you want it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I prefer old fashioned pipe dope, but tape alone will do it, and using both, while IMHO is total overkill, will work fine too. I never learned to count the turns, I just tighten until it doesn't want to turn anymore. I can be a bit tricky when dealing with a valve or elbow that has to end up exactly in the right plane, but I've never encountered a joint that couldn't stay just another 1/2 turn or so.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; use something like a 4-5" adjustable wrench

    I don't even own one of those, and if I did, I would only use it to tighten 7/16" nuts on closet bolts, never any pipe fitting. I use pipe dope ONLY, and tighten till its tight, regardless of how many turns past hand tight it is.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sti1es View Post
    I have never had problem installing cut-off valves before, but can't seem to get some new ones on either brass or steel without leaks.

    These valves seem to get more cheaply constructed by the year. Bought a set from Lowes, and a set from Home Depot, and have tried using teflon, dope, and nothing on brass and steel threads, with snug and tighter torque, and they've leaked in each combo. Arg!

    So I am wondering what's going on here? And what's the best way to install them? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
    I haven't had problems with the stop valves from the big box stores, but I have had lots of woes with the brass pipe nipples I've bought there with shit treads. I returned them and bought new ones at the local plumbing supply. 2 1/2 brass X 4-1/2 inch long and one 2 1/2 inch long one. When the guy showed me the bill and asked me my method of payment I said "mortgage" the 3 little nipples came to 27 bucks, but I installed them, and no leaks. the good ones were red brass and the crap ones from the box store was yellow brass. The brass compounding was not the problem, as I've used lots of yellow brass stuff (American made) for pneumatics over 40 years with no problems or leaks, it was just the poor threading done in China that did not make up tight. Even Chinese Galvanized nipples I've bought had the same problems. I guess I've been lucky with the BrassCraft and Keeney angle stops from big orange and blue's?
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

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