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Old 07-27-2008, 10:13 AM   #1
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


Dealing with an irrigation only well. Casing is 2.5 inch PVC. While servicing the above ground pump, I lost a 1 inch PVC down pipe down the well. I can see the top of the pipe and measured it down about 15 feet. I don't know the depth of the well or the length of the lost pipe (I would assume not to deep as we have a high water table). I assume there is a foot valve on the end of the down pipe.

Anyone got a trick to get the pipe out? I have several lengths of 1/2 inch PVC coupled together that I can reach the top of the lost pipe but have not found a method to snag it.
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:32 PM   #2
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


Not a plumber but well versed in do it yourself.... when you hit the lost pipe does it stop, or is it floating? If it stops and you can press against it, put a piece of dowel in the end of the pvc you have latched together and screw a toggle bolt to the end of it in the same direction you would if you were going to push it through the drywall. When you push it into the end of the pipe and start to lift, the toggle will expand and grip the inside of the pipe. You can use a file to sharpen it a bit if it doesn't grip....

If it is floating, I have no idea...

Best of luck..
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:37 PM   #3
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


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Not a plumber but well versed in do it yourself.... when you hit the lost pipe does it stop, or is it floating? If it stops and you can press against it, put a piece of dowel in the end of the pvc you have latched together and screw a toggle bolt to the end of it in the same direction you would if you were going to push it through the drywall. When you push it into the end of the pipe and start to lift, the toggle will expand and grip the inside of the pipe. You can use a file to sharpen it a bit if it doesn't grip....

If it is floating, I have no idea...

Best of luck..

Pipe is stopped in well, I assume bottomed out. I will try your idea with the toggle bolt and report back. Thank you.
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:44 PM   #4
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


This is probably a two person job.

You need a 15' long 3/8" OD or so pipe that's rigid.
Inside the pipe you put a thinner flexible tube about 16' long.
A balloon is attached to the end of the flexible tube.

You lower the balloon-ended pipe & tube so that the balloon is a few inches inside the lost pipe. The longer the balloon extends into the lost pipe, the less inflation pressure is needed for the balloon.
If the balloon isn't rigid enough to go into the pipe, put some lead shot or ball bearings inside the balloon that's heavy enough to extend the balloon into the lost pipe.

Someone inflates the balloon when it is safely inside the lost pipe. They clamp off the flexible tube.
You carefully bring up the 15' pipe along with the lost pipe until you can reach the upper end of the lost pipe.

I guess coating the outside of the balloon with some type of very sticky stuff wouldn't hurt, either.

Making a tube of double sided sandpaper so that the balloon is inside the sandpaper tube will give you a lot of friction between the balloon and the inside wall of the lost pipe, but getting the sandpaper to stay around the balloon until the balloon is in the pipe may be a problem.

I give you 3 chances out of 4 that this [or some modification of this] works, but I can't immediately think of any other way to do this.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-27-2008 at 04:06 PM. Reason: substitute lead shot or ball bearings for thin rod
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:38 PM   #5
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


Get a piece of PVC 15ft or so long. Glue a coupling to one end, put glue in the other end of the coupling, get it on the pipe in the well. Let it dry for a few minutes and lift it out. You won't get a water tight joint but it should be good enough to lift the pipe by.
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Old 07-27-2008, 06:17 PM   #6
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


If the pipe has a foot valve it should have two pipes. 15' to the water and then beyond. I don't think a centrifical pump will lift water that high will it. Not sure.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:08 AM   #7
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
This is probably a two person job.

You need a 15' long 3/8" OD or so pipe that's rigid.
Inside the pipe you put a thinner flexible tube about 16' long.
A balloon is attached to the end of the flexible tube.

You lower the balloon-ended pipe & tube so that the balloon is a few inches inside the lost pipe. The longer the balloon extends into the lost pipe, the less inflation pressure is needed for the balloon.
If the balloon isn't rigid enough to go into the pipe, put some lead shot or ball bearings inside the balloon that's heavy enough to extend the balloon into the lost pipe.

Someone inflates the balloon when it is safely inside the lost pipe. They clamp off the flexible tube.
You carefully bring up the 15' pipe along with the lost pipe until you can reach the upper end of the lost pipe.

I guess coating the outside of the balloon with some type of very sticky stuff wouldn't hurt, either.

Making a tube of double sided sandpaper so that the balloon is inside the sandpaper tube will give you a lot of friction between the balloon and the inside wall of the lost pipe, but getting the sandpaper to stay around the balloon until the balloon is in the pipe may be a problem.

I give you 3 chances out of 4 that this [or some modification of this] works, but I can't immediately think of any other way to do this.
this is a great idea!

Or you could go buy some of billy mays' super putty and just stick it to the end of your pvc that you have coupled together already.
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:16 PM   #8
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


"this is a great idea!"

Thanks, Alan.
I tried to get on that show, Mission Impossible, but they never returned my calls.
They must have lost my number.


I hope we all hear how this turned out.

I'm thinking now that a 15' small-OD rigid tube could have been used to force open the toggle bolt inside the lost pipe, with a wire attached to the toggle bolt running inside the rigid tube, so a toggle bolt substitutes for the balloon.
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:18 PM   #9
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


Bad news to report. Tried the toggle bolt (sharpened the points of the toggle). Got it into the top of the pipe but would not get a good enough grip to pull the pipe. Slipped out numerous times.

Thied using a one inch coupling with PVC cement. Now it gets bad! While trying to work the coupling onto the pipe, the pipe went further down the well --ugh! I now have about 35 feet of pipe (all I had) on the probe and can't reach the top of the pipe. Also my 35 feet of pipe comes out dry, so I am not down to the water level. Will buy some more pipe to add to my down rod. Any more ideas?

I wonder if the make anything like the Chinese finger cuffs ( mesh tube you stick your 2 index fingers into.) The harder you pull the tighter it gets.
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:04 PM   #10
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


Secure tie wire on the end of your down rod... make loop... get it over pipe....twist..spin..down rod till noose is tight on the pipe... pull up and pray...

( to aid tight twist.. drill hole in your down rod once noose is on the pipe...use that old trashy Phillips head screwdriver for leverage in the hole you just drilled)

try this out: Learning experience ( lasso pipe twist etc. with small set-up outside the well.) Get the noose right then pvc glue the head unit on your down rod.

lots of ways to attach wire drill hole in cap... screw in end of down rod...etc

Be-sure your down rod connections are tight... you think you got a problem now!!!!!!!

good luck with this....and I thought I had problems...
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:16 PM   #11
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


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Bad news to report. Tried the toggle bolt (sharpened the points of the toggle). Got it into the top of the pipe but would not get a good enough grip to pull the pipe. Slipped out numerous times.

Thied using a one inch coupling with PVC cement. Now it gets bad! While trying to work the coupling onto the pipe, the pipe went further down the well --ugh! I now have about 35 feet of pipe (all I had) on the probe and can't reach the top of the pipe. Also my 35 feet of pipe comes out dry, so I am not down to the water level. Will buy some more pipe to add to my down rod. Any more ideas?

I wonder if the make anything like the Chinese finger cuffs ( mesh tube you stick your 2 index fingers into.) The harder you pull the tighter it gets.
Isn't that finger puzzle thing on the end of thick power cables, to hold the end of the cable while spreading the holding force over several inches of cable so the insulation is not damaged?

How much time do you want to put into this?

I looked it up and found out that PVC is denser than water, so it does not float. Not good. I'd say drain the well. . .?

Here's a long shot; put a long skinny wire into the well and chuck the end of it in an electric drill motor. Spin the wire slowly and hope it whips around under the water and somehow snags the lost pipe with enough turns to pull out the pipe.
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:54 PM   #12
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


You could try the toggle bolt idea again. Shorten the toggle bolt so it barely fits inside the pipe. That should give you a better grip. Try it in a piece outside the well first.
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:56 PM   #13
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


How long is the lost pipe [so I can figure out how much it weighs]?
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:44 AM   #14
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


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How long is the lost pipe [so I can figure out how much it weighs]?

I have no idea how long, never pulled it before.
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:10 AM   #15
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Pipe fell down well-- Help me get it out?


Idea, for what it's worth: use lengths of 1/2 PVC glued long enough to reach the bottom of the lost pipe. Slip them over some heavy wire, like fence wire. Bend a "V" in the end of the wire and use the 1/2" to force it down the inside of the lost pipe. When it springs open at the bottom of the lost pipe, use the wire to retrieve all of it.
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