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Thread: Threaded male adapters onto new shower diverter..?

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    DIY Senior Member lithnights's Avatar
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    Default Threaded male adapters onto new shower diverter..?

    Next step in my bath remodel... ready to install the new shower diverter.

    The diverter ends are female, so I have male adapters that I am going to screw in and then solder copper to the other end of the male adapters. Then solder 90s to the incoming supply pipes. See picture of the dry fit.

    1) But do I use dope or sealant or what here? I have read a bunch of threads here about dope/no dope but none discuss specifically what to do when dealing with a diverter. Most discuss compression valves. Perhaps it doesn't matter, but I just wanted to check since once I solder on the male adapter, I'm not sure how I would ever turn/tighten that male adapter. See next question..

    2) What if, for some reason, there is a leak where the male adapter goes into the diverter? There's no real way to tighten it since it's soldered to the copper pipe? Is there? If you tightened it, you'd move the whole copper pipe..

    3) The diverter instructions state to put it 30" above the tub bottom and the spout at 22". My old diverter was at 24" and 18". Can't I just install my new diverter at the old heights?? I cut everything according to the old diverter location..

    Thanks,
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    Last edited by lithnights; 03-22-2006 at 01:19 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    THere are basically two types of threaded connections used in plumbing - threads similar to what is on the end of a hose (straight threads similar to those on a machine screw - when you thread on a nut, it will keep going without interference or resistance from one end to the other), and an interference (tapered) thread (this connection gets tighter the further you screw in the male portion).

    When you use a normal, straight thread, you need a washer or gasket of some type to actually make the seal (like on your hose). A tapered thread needs something to seal the threads - pipe dope or teflon tape (or both). The taper just makes the mechanical connection, not a waterproof seal.

    So, for what you are doing, you need dope and or teflon tape.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    You should be OK with the heights as long as the height above the top of the tub meets the code air gap requirements.

    This amatuer will often solder to the male adapter with a length of pipe, and even put on the elbow that you show, with a piece of pipe if approximate length can be determined, and screw them into the valve, before mounting the valve. Then I don't have to worry about messing up either the valve or the thread sealant with heat.

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    DIY Senior Member lithnights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua
    THere are basically two types of threaded connections used in plumbing - threads similar to what is on the end of a hose (straight threads similar to those on a machine screw - when you thread on a nut, it will keep going without interference or resistance from one end to the other), and an interference (tapered) thread (this connection gets tighter the further you screw in the male portion).

    When you use a normal, straight thread, you need a washer or gasket of some type to actually make the seal (like on your hose). A tapered thread needs something to seal the threads - pipe dope or teflon tape (or both). The taper just makes the mechanical connection, not a waterproof seal.

    So, for what you are doing, you need dope and or teflon tape.
    That's good to know. I will go with the dope. I also assumed that if I applied teflon tape and then soldered the other end of the adapter, that the solder would somehow melt/ruin the teflon tape on the male end of the adapter. Would it?

    Also, can you tell by sight whether a thread is tapered or not? I am going to assume all male adapters I use are tapered but how would one know if something else is tapered or not?

    Thanks jadnashua
    Last edited by lithnights; 03-22-2006 at 04:40 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It's possible to mess up the teflon, but it takes a fair amount to do it. If the threaded connection doesn't simply screw in like a nut on a bolt, it is almost certainly a pipe thread. Normally, you can't screw it together more than about 3 turns by hand before it gets tight. If it bottoms out, then it's almost certainly NOT a pipe thread. Plus, if you look carefully, you can see it is tapered. If you look at some threaded black pipe in the store, you'll see that the threads taper out to nothing along the pipe; not the same way as a threaded bolt.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    DIY Senior Member lithnights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob NH
    You should be OK with the heights as long as the height above the top of the tub meets the code air gap requirements.

    This amatuer will often solder to the male adapter with a length of pipe, and even put on the elbow that you show, with a piece of pipe if approximate length can be determined, and screw them into the valve, before mounting the valve. Then I don't have to worry about messing up either the valve or the thread sealant with heat.
    Good idea. I had thought of doing that.

    But I guess I'm still not sure what someone would do if they screwed on the adapter and then soldered everything, and the discovered there was some kind of leak. I don't see how you could tighten up the threaded adapter without moving the whole contraption out of place.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Do it right the first time, or tear it apart and try again...
    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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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default leak

    If you have a leak, you get out the hacksaw and cut it apart and start over. but if you screw the adapter into the valve and then solder the tubing into it you will probably have a leak, because the heated adapter will expand the valve body, but it won't "shrink" back to its original size when it cools. The adapter will, but the valve body probably will not because it was stretched by the adapter, not just expanded from the heat.

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Personaly I never solder male adap. when screwed into a valve. I solder the nipple on the adap. Screw the adap. in the valve then solder the 90 or
    what ever on other the end of the nip.. Male adap. take more heat to solder due to the added copper drawing the heat away. I also don't take chances with the valve even though I remove all parts first. Just my way.
    Last edited by Cass; 03-23-2006 at 05:54 AM.

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    DIY Senior Member lithnights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass
    Personaly I never solder male adap. when screwed into a valve. I solder the nipple on the adap. Screw the adap. in the valve then solder the 90 or
    what ever on other the end of the nip.. Male adap. take more heat to solder due to the added copper drawing the heat away. I also don't take chances with the valve even though I remove all parts first. Just my way.
    That makes perfect sense. I will give it a shot.

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    DIY Senior Member lithnights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua
    It's possible to mess up the teflon, but it takes a fair amount to do it. If the threaded connection doesn't simply screw in like a nut on a bolt, it is almost certainly a pipe thread. Normally, you can't screw it together more than about 3 turns by hand before it gets tight. If it bottoms out, then it's almost certainly NOT a pipe thread. Plus, if you look carefully, you can see it is tapered. If you look at some threaded black pipe in the store, you'll see that the threads taper out to nothing along the pipe; not the same way as a threaded bolt.
    Uh oh, I think I'm confused on this now. When I screw a male adapter into the diverter female threads, I can turn and turn and turn and turn with equal resistance until it fully tightens.

    Based on your description, that does NOT sound like a pipe thread. Thus, would dope still be needed here, or something else?

    Thanks,

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If it bottoms out without previously geting tighter, then is should have come with a fitting, typically with a washer of some sort on it. If that is the case, you normally wouldn't use pipe dope or teflon tape on it. In fact, it is unlikely to seal properly at all without the washer. One possibility is if you used a 1/2" adapter and it is a 5/8" thread....it would be loose and not tighten up.

    Double-check the instructions or check their website for a parts blowup/instructions. Any spare parts in the box?

    then again, I could be all wet.
    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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    DIY Senior Member lithnights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua
    If it bottoms out without previously geting tighter, then is should have come with a fitting, typically with a washer of some sort on it. If that is the case, you normally wouldn't use pipe dope or teflon tape on it. In fact, it is unlikely to seal properly at all without the washer. One possibility is if you used a 1/2" adapter and it is a 5/8" thread....it would be loose and not tighten up.

    Double-check the instructions or check their website for a parts blowup/instructions. Any spare parts in the box?

    then again, I could be all wet.
    What I'm talking about is a standard copper piece with a male adapter on one end and an area to sweat 1/2" copper into on the other end. Typical piece that I get for $1 at HD. No washers at all. This screws into the shower diverter. I don't think the shower kit came with any such parts but I'll check later today.

    I should have attached a pic. they speak a thousand words.

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Default It should be tight well before bottoming

    I've had some fittings bottom before being tight, but they've all been foreign-made steel pipe adapters (e.g., 1/2" to 1/4" reducing bushing). And, they never sealed, even with copious Teflon tape and gobs of dope. Only solution was to find a higher-quality, 'Murrican-made fitting. Never had this problem with copper-to-copper or bronze, since they've all been decent-quality stuff. If you take the diverter and the fittings to a reputable plumbing supplier they might be able to offer some first-hand advice along with the higher-quality goods. Or call the diverter's 800-number for support (Moen is especially good, IMHO) and see what they have to say.

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    DIY Senior Member lithnights's Avatar
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    I called the manufacturer. They suggested just using male adapters and lining them with teflon tape (no dope) before screwing the threads into the diverter.

    They said to just use standard male adapters so I am going to use the ones I got from HD. See picture.

    I guess we'll see what happens. I have an access panel for this shower so no worries right?
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