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love4god 05-17-2007 11:43 AM

Fixing a threaded leak without disassembly
I have a leak in my shower valve assembly. The supply line (1/2" copper) is sweated onto an elbow and then the other end of the elbow is female threaded. The assembly is also female threaded. So there is a male-male connector between them.

I have a drop coming out of that screwed connection about once every minute and a half to two minutes. I can see there is dope on the connection and I'm not sure why it's leaking. I tried tightening it in place but it wont budge.

I REALLY don't want to disassemble it. I would have to unsweat a bunch of joints and pull a bunch of my wall out to twist the elbow to tighten it.

Is there anything I can put on it? Would plumber's putty or something else be good enough to stop this or is it something that will get worse and worse. It's such a ridiculously slow leak but it's going to be sealed up behind a wall and I don't want a gush of water to pour through my downstairs ceiling sometime next year.

Any suggestions (that don't include taking the entire thing apart)?

KUIPORNG 05-17-2007 12:52 PM

I think if you can arrange somewhere you can cut the pipe. then put back a coupler after fixing... it is better than unsweat everywhere... but still a headache... been there before... don't know how you can avoid it... threaded join is very problematic if not done properly/correctly at the first shot... if you haven't know... for a threaded join not to leak: you need to wait before the metal cool down before turning as often the other end is by sweating causing the threaded end being very hot... if turn when it is hot... will leak for sure...

send_it_all 05-17-2007 01:31 PM

I dont know how much room you have, but you could hacksaw through the first straight section of copper after the threaded fitting. Then, take the threaded fitting off and either replace it with a male thread/sweat fitting, or take off the one that's there now, re-dope it then re-tighten the fitting and sweat a copper coupling in where you cut through. I would suggest investing a little time and wall patching, (access from back side?), rather than trying to band aid it.

love4god 05-17-2007 01:57 PM

Well my choices are limited. I have a female threaded cast metal assembly connected to a two sided male adapter, connected to the feamle threaded elbow. So there isn't any room between the two male threads except for the 1/4" wide nut used to tighten.

There really isn't any option for re-doing the joint except to unsweat everything, pull the entire shower assembly out, re-tighten the joint with some new teflon tape, and then sweat everything else back together.

It's such a ridiculously slow leak I almost didn't notice it. There isn't any kind of wet pipe patch or epoxy or anything I can stick on there to seal that pipe? If any replacement needs to be made in the future those pipes need to be cut off anyway, there's no way to swap it out.

I just hate having to pull out more wall, solder a bunch of joints, hoping they hold (I'm no professional), and re-assemble this entire thing for a drip that is so darn slow. I wouldnt' be surprised if a mineral buildup stopped it in time.

There has to be something I can put on there to seal it.

KUIPORNG 05-17-2007 02:27 PM

I understand your frustration.... unfortunately... even there is a quick patch fix... you don't want that..... you have to crystal clear confident there is no leak now and in the future.... and unfortunately... when threaded join are leaking... they are like that... they won't leak like crazy.... I am a bit fortunate then you is when I do my connection... I let it stand for many days before start drywalling... and only after the first day after installation overnight... I discover there are wet spot on the floor below the threaded join... I manage able to find somewhere to cut and replace rather than disassemble everything...

in your case, even you need to break walls somewhere... you need to do it... the key now is for you to think carefully which way is the minimum breaking/cutting/unswaping... there are usually different options how you want to cut and replace... you need to pick the best option... right now...

send_it_all 05-17-2007 04:39 PM

If you insist on patching.....You could try a two part epoxy type material such as JB Weld....I hate to even mention it because it isn't the way to fix it.....but, shut the water off so the drip stops...clean the area with a wire brush, mix equal parts epoxy and hardener, and apply with a popsicle stick or maybe an acid brush (same brush plumbers use for flux to make a correct repair)....then let it harden for a while...maybe an hour or 2....maybe a day.....pray a little, turn water back on.

Ishmael 05-21-2007 07:57 PM

Take it apart and "re-do" the threaded connections. Any other kind of "fix" is just a temporary band-aid.

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