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Thread: Broken Closet Flange

  1. #1

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    I have a broken cast iron flange attached to a lead drain, which then attaches to cast iron.

    I had a plumber come out to give me an estimate on knocking off the flange and leading a new one. He suggested cutting the lead pipe in half, using a Fernco coupling, and finishing off the drain and flange with PVC.

    After reading a bit here, I see that it's not a good idea to attache a Fernco coupling to lead (the lead will compress and the connection will leak).

    I've also read, the lead is acctually attached to a brass ferrule which is inserted into the cast iron hub.

    So, armed with this knowledge, I suppose I have three choices:

    A) have a plumber remove the lead and brass from the hub, and lead on a new cast iron drain and flange (This plumber wanted to use a plastic lead instead of pouring molten lead)

    B) Remove the lead drain, keeping the brass ferrule in the CI hub, and use a Fernco coupling to switch to 3" PVC for the drain and flange. (I guess a 3" Fernco coupling will attach properly to the brass ferrule ??? ) (and what's the best way to remove all of the lead from the brass?)

    C) Remove the lead drain and the brass ferrule; use a 4"->3" donut inside the CI hub to switch to PVC.

    Now, this is in an 80 year old house (although the pipes appear to be in great shape), and the bathroom is on the 2nd floor.

    What would you do if this were your house?
    Last edited by Zach; 12-20-2005 at 07:20 AM.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member finnegan's Avatar
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    My first choice would be to knock off the cast iron flange and just replace with a brass or steel replacment flange that just screws to the subfloor over the 4" pipe. This is pretty easy and inexpensive. You can do this as long as only the flange is broken and not the pipe coming from the stack. If this will not work, then I would take it back to the stack and replce with a pvc closet bend. If you can keep it 4", you should do so, rarther than reducing it to 3". Good luck.

  3. #3

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    I've been told by several people to get rid of the lead drains while I have access to them, and that they'll eventually crack and leak... so I would prefer to do that.

    I guess my question is, should I use a donut, fernco coupling, new CI, or something else?

  4. #4
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking I choose optoin B

    just cut it back to the brass nipple that is comming out of the
    cast, take a propane torch and simply melt the lead off
    the nipple and wou will have to get an old rag and simply
    wipe it off clean.......


    its simply abest not to fool with that old cast if you dont absoltely
    hhave to........and its much much easier....

    lay something on the floor if it is a nice one cause that hot
    lead will melt vinyl, ect..... best to find some old towells
    to catch the lead cause the towells will keep the
    lead from splattering everywehre....


    if the lead hits just right in the towell , they make great x-mas
    ornamints for your tree...


    good luck
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 12-22-2005 at 05:17 AM.

  5. #5
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    just cut it back to the brass nipple that is comming out of the
    cast, take a propane torch and simply melt the lead off
    the nipple


    if the lead hits just right in the towell , they make great x-mas
    ornamints for your tree...


    good luck


  6. #6

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    If I attach to the brass ferrule, would I use a standard 3" Fernco coupling? (I'm just assuming it's a 3" ferrule... ?? )

  7. #7
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Default flange

    It's going to be 4".

    I'm picturing that your either working in a basement or a crawl space.

    Like Mark says, go back to the brass nipple and use a Fernco.

    Or if you can get to that cast iron hub, drill and pick out the lead from that joint and lead in a new c. i. stub and cast iron flange.....

  8. #8

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    Actually, it's a 2nd floor half bath, but I have the floor completely opened up. I have access all the way back to just behind the hub on the cast iron wye.

    (but, I'm also going to be doing the exact same thing on my lav drain. It's also lead. But 2", I'm guessing)

    I've actually had trouble finding someone to lead the CI onto the old hub. Everyone wants to cut off the lead and use a Fernco coupling from the lead out. The one guy that could do CI said he'd use plastic lead instead of poured.

    Yes, obviously I'm talking to the wrong people, but it seems working with cast iron is a dying art.

    Using a Fernco coupling on the brass ferrule and going to PVC seems to be the easiest DIY solution....

  9. #9
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Default ferrol

    That sounds good Zach.

    I guess if your going to do any lead and oakum, you've got to find an old plumber.

    Remember when p v c came out the comment was," anyone can be a plumber. You just need a hack saw and a can of glue."

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member jch's Avatar
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    I'm in a similar boat--broken flange on lead waste pipe connected to CI hub via a brass ferrule. Pictures over in the Toilet Forum here.

    Of the five plumbers that I've called, four have said that they wouldn't touch the leaded ferrule. Instead they'd cut off the CI near the stack and switch to ABS. The other one would melt the lead off. None are available until the end of next week.

    So...I'm leaning towards trying to expose the brass ferrule myself.


    Questions:
    1) My wiped lead joint is vertical (rather than horizontal like Zach's). If I use a regular propane torch, will I run in to problems with the lead running/slumping down all over the CI's bell and possibly disrupting the existing lead caulking on the CI/brass ferrule joint??

    2) In Zach's How-To post, he mentioned using a "fire blanket" to protect the surrounding wood--not sure where I'd find one. Would wet towels work? Many layers of aluminum foil? Last thing I need to do is start a fire (I'll have a hose and ABC extinguisher right there).


    Appreciate the help! This forum has been a *huge* help.

    .../j

  11. #11
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Reread post # 4 from Mark.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member jch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass
    Reread post # 4 from Mark.
    Thanks Zach -- I'd read that but didn't see any specific reference as to what to use to prevent fire.

    Where did you get the "fire blanket" that you mentioned in your how-to?

    .../j

  13. #13
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Is the ferrule up against wood?

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member jch's Avatar
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    No, but the CI bell that it's inserted in to is pressed against the side of a wooden joist. See the pix in the other thread (above).

    Today I picked up two heat shields -- looks like 3/4" insulation matting with an aluminum backing.

    Now just to figure out how to hold them in place...

    .../j

  15. #15
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    You will probably find the fire blankets not necessary but.....you have them so use them.

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