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Old 01-24-2011, 01:22 PM   #1
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


Hello,
I’m new to this site but it looks like I can get some good help here. I’ve always wanted to register and get involved but just never have.

We have a project we are working on in a 47 year-old house. The P trap assembly underneath a bathroom vanity is shot. We are replacing the stopper assembly in the basin along with the P trap. After the P trap, the 1 ¼ metal pipe is “leaded” or wiped into a flange where it meets a 1 ½” lead drain pipe. The lead is in good shape. Then it goes into the plaster wall, make a turn, and eventually into the cast iron stack. The metal pipe leading to the lead pipe was split and I made the mistake of cutting off the flange attached to the lead pipe. This was because everybody I talked to seem to indicate a Fernco boot/coupler was the way to go. I got the Fernco fitting and it fit snugly onto the lead pipe. We then transition to 1 ½” plastic. We tightened the clamp fairly tight without over tightening it and it just won’t seal around the lead. It just seeps a bit. I don’t want to tighten it anymore because the lead is soft and I don’t want to start crushing the pipe. The lead surface isn’t perfect where the fitting goes on and I suspect that is causing it to leak.

So I contacted a couple plumbers. One wanted to bust out the wall and replace all the lead with plastic. Obviously, I’m confident that would fix it correctly. Another guy said he’d have to look at it but without a flange on the lead, he can’t wipe in a new 1 ¼” pipe. There is another sink adjacent to it and that metal pipe is marginal and he did say he could wipe in a new pipe if there is still a flange there.

So my questions are these.

1. Since I cut the flange off the lead pipe, is there any way to install a new flange and wipe in a metal pipe? Like I said, the lead is very thick and in good shape. Why can’t a new flange be installed? The plumber wouldn’t really answer my question and said he’d have to look at it. Like I mentioned, he indicated he couldn’t do much with no flange present.

2. One of the plumbers said it is illegal to use the Fernco fitting on lead and it won’t meet code. I can understand that. So the other option is to break out a small section of the wall and cut the bend out of the lead and get to a straight/smooth section. Then install the Fernco fitting and cover it all back up. My question is what type of “glue” can I use when putting this fitting on to ensure it won’t leak? Is there a 1 1/8” size brass pipe available that I should install inside the lead pipe to prevent it from collapsing?

3. If all else fails, we’ll have to tear the wall out which I really do not want to get into. If we have to do this, how hard is it to remove the lead from the cast iron stack/hub? I do have a torch and have done a lot of sweating of copper pipes. I am just not familiar with how the lead is attached and if we go that far, I want to be able to get the old lead fitting out and replace it with plastic.

I can post a picture of the old flange I cut off if need be.

Thanks for any help. It is much appreciated.

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Old 01-24-2011, 01:35 PM   #2
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


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The lead surface isn’t perfect where the fitting goes on and I suspect that is causing it to leak.
Ayuh,... I'd take it apart, 'n sand it Smooth, so it'll seal....

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Old 01-24-2011, 01:59 PM   #3
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


Well, we did sand it somewhat. There may be some gouges/small depressions in it preventing it from sealing. If there is a decent type glue to use, I can try that. Maybe th eglue used to seal plastic to cast iron or maybe even silicone?
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:16 PM   #4
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


I would love to see a picture of what you are calling a "flange". as well as a picture of the pipe coming out of the wall.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:30 PM   #5
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


i've never had a bit of luck attaching anything to lead pipes. there are still guys out there that worked with lead (old guys ) that might be able to do something with it, but most people now cut it out and replace it with abs/pvc. i would recommend getting into the wall and cut out the cast iron/lead transition joint and repipe it with plastic. thats about the only diy repair you'll be able to do. if you do have a pic it might help us give you some recommendations of something a bit easier
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:31 PM   #6
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


Here are a couple pictures of the flange. I won't be able to get pictures of the pipe coming out of the wall until Wednesday.




Basically the pipe coming out of the wall has enough straight section to install the Fernco all the way to middle of the coupler. It just may be too irregular for it to seal unless I'm not tightening it enough. I'm just hesitant to crank away on it being that it's on a lead pipe. It sealed to the plastic pipe rather easily like it should.

Thanks.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:37 PM   #7
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


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Basically the pipe coming out of the wall has enough straight section to install the Fernco all the way to middle of the coupler. It just may be too irregular for it to seal unless I'm not tightening it enough. I'm just hesitant to crank away on it being that it's on a lead pipe.
Ayuh,... Slather on a tiny bit of Sillyseal, 'n tighten it enough to seal it...

Even being leadpipe, it's stronger than you think, as a hoseclamp is a full circumference clamp...
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:57 PM   #8
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


Cut it back to the stack and replace it with PVC
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by the_man View Post
i've never had a bit of luck attaching anything to lead pipes. there are still guys out there that worked with lead (old guys ) that might be able to do something with it, but most people now cut it out and replace it with abs/pvc. i would recommend getting into the wall and cut out the cast iron/lead transition joint and repipe it with plastic. thats about the only diy repair you'll be able to do. if you do have a pic it might help us give you some recommendations of something a bit easier
Well, that's the last resort I guess. What type of fitting is the lead to cast iron transition and how difficult is it to remove it?
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:39 PM   #10
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


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Well, that's the last resort I guess. What type of fitting is the lead to cast iron transition and how difficult is it to remove it?
Ayuh,... It's probably a Leaded joint...
The lead pipe was set into the fitting, 'n liquid lead was poured around it to seal it...

It can be cut, beat, whatever to get it out/ apart....
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:53 PM   #11
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


Well, I think I found that I would need a Fernco "donut" to transistion from the CI hub to the plastic if we have to rip it all out.

Last edited by Turbo98; 01-24-2011 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:32 PM   #12
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


As Bondo said the fitting at the cast iron will be a poured lead one. If you need to replace the whole line then I would really suggest hiring a plumber.

Most plumbers can/could wipe a new flange onto your pipe but the cost of the time to do this make it less than practical.

If you do the work of opening the wall and making it easy for the pro to replace the lead that would be the best way to insure a good job. The last thing you need would be a slow leak inside the wall.

They do make a flex fitting sort of ribbed O-ring that you can use to couple your new plastic into the cast iron but in fact they are somewhat hard to "get right".

Add that to the techincal aspects of properly removing the lead fitting without burning yourself or your house down when you resort to a torch rather than using the cold method which is labour intensive and it all adds up to getting a plumber.

Yes you could use epoxy to bond to the lead pipe and yes it will eventually leak as will any other sort of sealer. Sigh.
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:37 PM   #13
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


Ok. Thanks. So if the plumber doesn't use that ribbed donut piece that fits into the cast iron hub, what do they use to transition to plastic? Or is that what they use?
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:43 PM   #14
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


I know this is late, but are you sure the pipe coming out of the wall is lead? I hope experienced plumbers will disagree with me on this if I am incorrect, but I can not recall seeing a lead arm in a wall like you describe. All I have seen is cast iron or galv steel. Of course I am in God's country(Tennessee), and those yankees might have done things differently 50 years ago, if you live up north.
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:45 PM   #15
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Lead Drain Pipe Project


I was thinking. I'll say the easiest way really seems to be just wiping on a new flange to the existing lead with a 1 1/4 brass pipe. Bust out a section of plaster wall (not easy in itself), remove a brass ferrule that has been lead-poured in (cut it, chisel it out or torch it out and pray the cast iron doesn't break), clean out the hub, carefully install the ribbed donut, run all new plastic pipe, repair the wall, then paint. Man.. All that vs. wiping on a new flange/pipe. Which seems more labor intensive?

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