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Thread: Leaky drain in an awkward place. Lead bend

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bobparks's Avatar
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    Default Leaky drain in an awkward place. Lead bend

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    This is a leak in an old joint between a copper sink drain and lead toilet soil pipe. The connection was done by soldering the copper sink drain into the side of the lead pipe. It's a terrible connection that I've managed to limp along using some quick-drying material from the hardware store. I know, I know, the best thing to do would be to replace the flange at the toilet, cut back the cast iron pipe a few feet back and replace everything with PVC. But that's going to be expensive and take a long time (I'll have to remove a new toilet from the bathroom above to put in a new flange.) So . . . any materials I could use to plug the leak good enough? I tried re-soldering it, but it was too dirty to take. It's in an accessible enough place to fix if it every happens to leak again. Many thanks. Bob

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You probably do not have anything hot enough to solder to the lead, without melting it. That connection would be almost impossible to make using any "conventional" method.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member bobparks's Avatar
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    That makes sense. I tried to melt it back together with mapp gas, but it was a total failure. I will redo the whole system.

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    DIY Member ImOld's Avatar
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    Kids of today! Here's what real plumbers used back in the day with a bar of solder. No problem with that lead pipe. One practical item of note when putting a refrigerator in a confined space.
    The side, center area of the refrigerator sometimes has a bulge to it. I would not purchase one with a quarter inch tolerance.
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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    This looks to me like a bigger project than you are equipped for. It is in an awkward location to work on with heat, and the material you have to work with require know how and the proper tools. Might be best to call for professional help on this one.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You would have to be VERY proficient to solder a lead pipe with a torch. There is a very small heat range between melting the solder and melting the lead pipe. You need a big "soldering iron", actually a "soldering copper", to do it. The "attachment" on top of that blow torch is to hold the soldering iron in the flame until it gets hot.
    Last edited by hj; 10-03-2013 at 06:37 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Member ImOld's Avatar
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    I guess I was VERY proficient hj!

    Actually all I ever remember doing is removing old lead pipe with a blow torch.

    Here's a few items from my day including the soldering iron mounted.
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    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    I would love to see someone use one of those torches

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Here is some more lead piping. The lead bend on the toilet above goes to a cast iron stack outside the home, installed in 1910, Seattle.
    The smaller lead lines are the tub on the left and the lav on the right.
    There appears to be a leak at the wye.

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