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Thread: Cast Iron Radiator Nipple Is Ovel/Damaged. What To Do?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member CORVAIRWILD's Avatar
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    Default Cast Iron Radiator Nipple Is Ovel/Damaged. What To Do?

    I'm helping a friend/neighbor remodel an early 20th century Victorian, and we removed the 3 cast iron radiators, refinished the floors, and when I went to replace them this eve, I noticed one of the nipples is oval. Yup. somewhere along the line it was overtightened, so nevertheless I went ahead and titened things up, and even before the water came up, I could hear it hissing...

    We're not sure how the nipple is removed. There appears to be a couple of "teeth" to allow use of a special interior wrench or tool, and I tried to remove the large external nut with a 38" pipe wrench, but it wouldn't budge. I could try a cheater pipe tmmw, or what should I do? I will go to the local plumbing supply and see what they think... Pipe ID is 1"

    I also made a video... it's long, so bear with me, or FF to near the end
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  2. #2
    DIY Junior Member Ivanator's Avatar
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    I'm rehabbing an 1888 Victorian that had freeze damage. I've had to acquire radiators from craigslist, salvage places, and repair a couple as well. I've run all the piping. My experience has been those "teeth" will snap using a spud wrench more often than not. I've had to remove the fitting the union is threaded in.

    To remove the fitting, we (my wife and I) lay the radiators down and use a very large pipe wrench and an 8 foot long piece of old radiator supply pipe. The 8 foot pipe goes over the pipe wrench handle and we use all that leverage to turn the fitting and unscrew it. One of the salvage yards hammers on the fitting and that works. But they also end up cracking some of the radiators. I've found it's easiest to remove that fitting, get a new one, and coat it with blue pipe dope. I've never had any leaks. I've cleaned up and installed seven radiators so far and haven't found an easier way.
    Last edited by Ivanator; 02-22-2013 at 05:40 PM.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member CORVAIRWILD's Avatar
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    Well Lady Luck was shining upon me. My friend/house owner bought a SPUD wrench for $12.50, and a 1" close nipple and valve, all made in Taiwan for $42 w nipple. It unscrewed easily, I replaced the valve as well as the new nipple had a slightly larger sealing/mating surface, and I also noticed the valve was mal-formed, just like the nipple, weird.

    Anyways it went perfectly smoothly, and even tho only 2 of the boilers 4 heating elements are working, the house is back up to a comfy temp! No leaks at all!

    Here's the videos...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FgwqOejliM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjaYiXbxQQo

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I just cut the union nut off and use the wrench on the nipple.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  5. #5
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    I cut the union and nipple off and then cut the bushing out of the radiator. I've done hundreds and hundreds of them.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member CORVAIRWILD's Avatar
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    Mine came out like butter, I guess it'll never happen so easily again!

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