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Old 06-19-2009, 03:50 PM   #1
pac317
 
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It seemed so simple when I started....


I have a double kitchen sink with a disposer. It was installed by licensed plumber during a kitchen remodel about six years ago. About a week ago, I noticed some dampness under the sink with the disposer. Checking further, I saw that there was a drip coming from the slip nut on the side of the trap leading to the drain line (the other slip nut which is connected to the disposer is working fine). I tried hand tightening the slip nut only to have it pop completely off the end of the trap! (this is one of those generic sink traps with a captured slip nut). I popped it back on the trap and tried a new polywasher and fresh teflon tape, but it kept popping off just when I thought it was about to seal tight. I went to Lowe's and bought a new pvc sink trap (which is identical to the old trap that the plumber originally installed) figuring that the slip nut attached to the old one was just worn out. Well, the slip nut is not popping off of this new trap; NOW it pops off the threads of the drain pipe! Needless to say, there is still a leak. During this "little job from !@#$", I noticed several things: (1) The J-trap and the drain pipe sit at a slight angle to each other. As a result, (2) the slip nut does not fit straight on the drain pipe and (3) the slip nut is pliable enough to squeeze out of round while it is supposed to be tight on the threads of the drain pipe. Is it possible that the pvc threads on the pipe that the slip nut is screwing onto are worn? I am so frustrated with this so-called SIMPLE plumbing repair that I - could - scream!!!

I took a break from working on the sink to write this post, so I don't have any photos of it right now. Let me know if you want me to post some.

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Old 06-19-2009, 06:46 PM   #2
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It seemed so simple when I started....


Sounds like you just got some cheap plumbing fixtures.

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Old 06-19-2009, 08:08 PM   #3
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It seemed so simple when I started....


Quote:
Originally Posted by PAC317 View Post
(1) The J-trap and the drain pipe sit at a slight angle to each other. As a result,
There's always some play in those connections, but too much of an angle and you will never get a [permanently] tight seal. Whatever you can do in the way of fittings or rotation of the garbage disposal to make the 2 sides of the connection fit flush, the better.

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Originally Posted by PAC317 View Post
(2) the slip nut does not fit straight on the drain pipe and (3) the slip nut is pliable enough to squeeze out of round while it is supposed to be tight on the threads of the drain pipe.
Those things could cause the threads to strip on either fitting as you try to tighten the nut down. Also if it's out of round, it's not getting a good grip on the threads.

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Originally Posted by PAC317 View Post
Is it possible that the pvc threads on the pipe that the slip nut is screwing onto are worn?
Entirely so.. Are you able to get a look at them? Grab a small mirror if you need to and inspect the threads all the way around..

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Originally Posted by PAC317 View Post
I am so frustrated with this so-called SIMPLE plumbing repair that I - could - scream!!!
We've all been there.. There's a member on here that started out with a bad smell coming from inside their wall and ended up being a complete demo and re-work of 2 bathrooms. Electrical turned out to have issues too.. (I'm paraphrasing, but something like that). So you haven't got it too bad.

If the threads on the PVC fitting are worn, you might be in for replacing it, which complicates things further. If it's OK, then next time you go to the home center pick up some metal drain components, or heavier plastic ones (I can't believe how cheap and thin-walled some of the plastic ones are).
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:12 PM   #4
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It seemed so simple when I started....


Thanks, ScottR, for your suggestions! They motivated me to keep working on the problem - at least a little while longer.

I looked at the drainpipe threads, then ran my fingers around them and they seemed to be alright. I even took the slip nut that caused the problem off of the trap and screwed it onto the drainpipe by itself. It went on just fine. I think your idea that the ends of the drainpipe and sink trap are too far out of alignment to be watertight is right. The edges are about 1/8" apart on one side and flush on the other. Asking a plastic slip nut to straighten those ends up and pull them together is more than it can do. (I also tried moving the disposer, but I couldn't budge it). I have two ideas:

1. What if I get rid of the sink trap kit that I have now and buy a pvc p-trap (with a cleanout?), some pvc pipe and metal slip nuts and put together a custom made little trap that I can adjust to fit? It shouldn't be too expensive and if it doesn't work, I'll call a plumber...again.

2. The current sink trap is dripping from the slip nut just a little. What if I packed some type of sealant around the slip nut? If it has to be cut-off in the future to repair a clog, so what?

Thanks again, ScottR. As a retired woman on a budget living in a fixer-upper, I think this site is heaven-sent!
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:36 AM   #5
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It seemed so simple when I started....


Being that is lasted 6 years, shouldn't be too bad. If there is too much pressure on the connections its going to leak. You should be able to tighten the connections by hand and not have it leak. It can be challenging trying to line up all the peices . If you are starting with all new stuff be carefull measuring if you need to cut any. I loosen up all the connectors and fit the pipes together. And yes, if you want to buy some time, that connector that is leaking some, fill it with plumber's putty and screw it on, its not pretty but you can do it. You dont' really need the extra expense of a cleanout on the trap, if fitted right, you can take the trap off by hand any time you want to clean it out.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:29 AM   #6
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It seemed so simple when I started....


do not put any teflon tape on the threads that the slipnut screws on to. You want that nut to compress as freely as possible - the teflon will prevent the nut from easily screwing on and thus not compress the slip joint washer. Also - yes - make sure the pipes line up straight. If they go in on an angle they will leak! If you still get a small leak you could - shouldn't have to but could - put a little pipe joint compound on the base of the slip joint washer - beveled side - (which by the way should be the side going into the pipe coming out of the wall - or into the top of the trap - flat side against the slip nut). Hope that helps some..good luck!!!

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