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kevp 12-16-2008 11:28 AM

Need your help installing a shutoff valve! HELP! HELP!
I'm trying to solder a shutoff valve on a very old toilet. I have installed three shutoff valves in this house, but I am stuck with this one. It looks like I have a corroded copper coupling. Where would I cut this copper pipe? The pipe is on a very tight corner that is very hard to reach, so I am planning to use a valve with a compression nut. I am trying to avoid much water down time as possible. Four hours without the water supply becomes a nightmare in this household. I took two photos of the pipe with a camera phone. The quality isn't great, but you can see where I am having an issue. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

biggles 12-16-2008 12:42 PM

don't cut anything....clean(steel wool and sand cloth) up that coupling where it is still soldered on the right going into the wall...put some solder flux on it and heat it up.slip it off with a niddle nose pliers....quickly and still hot wipe the exsisting pipe with some steel wool/flux it/wipe to clean it for the you have a clean and PICKLED pipe coming out of the wall :thumbsup:.that looks like the water to the tank is solid copper piped in?:huh: are you looking to put a silver valve shutoff on that pipe out of the wall,and then flex hose it up into the tank.....all compression?i would clear all the copper out to the left in your pix..if yor goin to install a shut off on that pipe out of the wall you need an swet adapter ....1/2" FMP X 1/2" FMST then teflon the shut off into the adapter and compression up to the tank....get back on whats up i'll be on the site to respond.

plumcass 12-16-2008 01:14 PM

cut the horizontal copper just before the ell to get any water out of the pipe . then unsolder the coupling and wipe the solder at the end of the pipe . buy a 5/8" by 3/8" compression angle stop with or without the wall flange also a 3/8" no burst tank supply at home depot. if room allows put the flange on first then slide on the angle stop 5/8" nut and ferrule put a little pipe dope on the ferrule and then tight to the valve, use two adjustible wrenches then remove the nut from the tank valve and install the tank supply. Tank supplies come in different lenghts.

Nestor_Kelebay 12-16-2008 06:53 PM


Please don't install a compression fitting shut off valve on that copper line. If you do, you'll be crimping a brass ferrule onto that pipe, and you won't be able to remove it.

If I were you, I would start by removing the toilet tank only. Shut off the water to the tank and use a mirror and flashlight to check the condition of the tank-to-bowl bolts holding the tank to the bowl. It's very possible that some monkey used steel bolts or steel nuts here, and the nuts are rusted on so badly that you simply can't remove the tank-to-bowl bolts. In that case, you'll have to remove the plastic bolts that hold the toilet seat on and spend an evening cutting through the tank-to-bowl bolts with a hack saw blade slipped between tank and bowl. Maybe flush the toilet to drain most of the water out of the tank, and dip or sponge out the rest.

Once you cut through the tank-to-bowl bolts (or unscrew them normally), then it's just a matter of cutting that copper pipe with a pipe cutter to remove the tank. I'd cut it fairly low, close to the elbow, and then just use a short piece of small diameter tubing to siphon the water out of that copper piping (or cut the pipe gain on the horizontal side of the elbow to allow the water to drain out of the piping. If you're cutting with a hack saw, cut from the bottom as you only need a hole for the water to drain out.

Then, fold up a small piece of cloth or paper towel until it's only about an inch wide, soak it in water, squeeze it out a bit so it's wet, but not dripping and wrap it around that pipe just between the escutcheon plate and the copper coupling. That will keep the pipe cool so that you don't inadvertantly unsolder the short pipe from a tee inside the wall.

With the wet towel in place keeping the pipe cool, put a leather glove on and heat that coupling. Apply a twisting force to the end of the pipe and you'll probably see the solder melt on that coupling. Soon afterwards the pipe will come loose from the coupling or the coupling will come loose from the short pipe. If the coupling doesn't come off, grab it with a pair of pliers and pull it off too. Then, as everyone else mentioned, wipe the molten solder off the end of that short pipe. You want to do this quickly before the solder re-solidifies.

Then, I'd solder a Brass Craft compression stop on. The advantage of a standard Brasscraft stop is that you can remove the spindle from it to allow water to drain out of the pipe in future. You can't do that with the new quarter turn style ball valve stops. With the tank off, you should have reasonably good access to that piping with a soldering torch.

Then, I'd probably replace any old brass you have in your toilet tank with a Fluidmaster A400 ballcock and a Crane-style flush valve. Use a new tank-to-bowl washer and a Fluidmaster braided stainless steel flexitube to connect the A400 ballcock to the Brasscraft stop.

Also, check any toilet tank-to-bowl bolts with a magnet. Brass is non-magnetic, so don't use any bolts that exhibit any magnetism. Check that the nuts and washers you use on those bolts are non-magnetic too.

PS: What kind of torch are you using. Since you're starting to do DIY work, you should have a proper torch. You want a torch that mixes the propane and air in a short mixing tube before it ignites that mixture. This is the basic principle of the Bunsen burner. The fact that the fuel and air are pre mixed means the flame can burn much more rapidly and therefore much hotter than a cheap torch that doesn't premix the fuel and air. You want that hotter flame because it allows you to concentrate the heat where you want it. With a cheap torch that doesn't premix the fuel and air, the flame temperature is lower and so the heat spreads through the piping more before you can get any soldering or unsoldering done.

plumcass 12-17-2008 11:14 AM

Compression is what is used in mass. there is no need to remove the crimped ferrule once it is in place. if you have a problem with the valve, like a union just loosen the 5/8 nut and replace the valve with a new one using the same nut and ferrule thats there. you might have to back up the nut with a little teflon tape.
As far as removing the tank and replacing the internal parts , unless you have a lot of time and energy, i would replace the toilet with a new inexpensive toto water closet before doing that.
be very carefull when soldering, Nester, brings out a good point you don't want to disturb the soldered joint inside the wall and most of all don't want to burn down the house. have a fire extinquisher or garden hose near-by.

Nestor_Kelebay 12-17-2008 09:11 PM


I know that you can keep replacing compression valves with new ones using the same ferrule and nut. The problem is that you're stuck using compression valves on that pipe or cut that pipe even shorter than it is.

In my view, if the guy unsolders the old coupling, he's far better off soldering an MIP fitting onto that pipe, and then installing a threaded valve. At least that way, he always has the option of getting back to the original situation by unscrewing the threaded valve and unsoldering the MIP fitting and then doing whatever he wants differently.

But, once he crimps a brass ferrule onto that pipe, he can't go back to the original situation. Suppose he gets the bright idea to collect the rain water from his gutters in a big 400 gallon galvanized drum (like my mom did when we were kids) and connect that barrel to the basement toilet ballcock to use that rain water to reduce his water bill. If he has a copper pipe to work with, he can extend it with a coupling and add a three way ball valve or whatever he wants.

But, I'd be concerned that he'd be unnecessarily limiting his options in future as soon as he crimps a brass ferrule onto that pipe.

kevp 12-20-2008 11:36 PM

Thank you all for your inputs. This project is on the back burner now. I got another home repair crisis to take care. This might take a while, so I will wait this one out.

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