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Everyone --

First I want to apologize if this has been addressed before or if I use the wrong terminology. Plumbing is not my strongest point.

It seems that whenever I need to clean out a drain, or otherwise need to replace the drain clean-out cover, I have all sorts of problems. Even when I am extra careful taking the cover off, it often is virtually impossible to get back on.

First is the issue that I am talking about cast-iron clean-outs that are often all rusty. Even the brass caps are hard to get started some times. Secondly is the fact that the edges of the cast iron pipe seems to get damaged, which makes it even harder to get the cap started correctly. Third is the fact that these caps are often located in almost inaccessible locations and are oriented in odd angles, so the exact angle to attempt to restore the cap is not always obvious to me. Lastly, the cleanouts seem to use a rather fine thread, which makes it harder to get it started right and which I have not even seen a tap for and probably could not afford anyway.

More modern systems with PVC do not present these problems, only the older, cast-iron based drains.

Does anyone have any suggestions that might help and make the re-installation of the caps easier of someone who only opens a drain once every year or two?

Thank you all!
 

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Only thing I can suggest is try using a lubricant like wd40 or better yet pb blaster aimed right into the threads, give it a few taps, let it sit for awhile before trying to open it.

As far as the threads rusting out, yes that's what cast iron does over the years. Again the lubricant may help it thread on easier as well.

Others will be along with more suggestions.
 

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It's rather difficult for me to explain so I took a pic for show and tell, but I ain't in Kinney Garden class. OK, maybe I am, IDK. Naw, it hadn't been invented in my time.

Anyway, I intentionally set this milk container cap on crooked for demonstration purposes. You try this, and with some downward pressure rotate the cap counter clock. You should hear 2 or 3 pop/click sounds while rotating. After those 2 or 3 audible sounds you will notice the cap has squared itself and can be tightened every time without failure. The reason you heard 2 or 3 sounds, the container and cap have a triple lead thread but this had nothing to do with the cap squaring itself.

As always in most classes there is a test. Look at the threads on a milk container closely and determine if you can see any difference between those threads and other threads on your sewer cap or a common cap screw/bolt. A clue: the bolt threads and your sewer cap have single lead threads ie 1 starting point and the milk container has 3. That's not the answer. There is another very important difference that causes the container cap to start correctly every time.
 

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Senior has the right idea,

Turn the plug backward a bit until you feel it click and align itself.

Then gently turn it clockwise to test it's alignment, if it still binds, reverse and try again.

It's a matter of feeling it, you will get better with practice.

Try to start a few bolts in the dark, or with your eyes closed, and get the way of the trick as practice.

And Kiddie Garden, that was after my time too.

Actually I started first grade already reading, I sat with my grandmother and Mc Guffy readers at 5 years old, learning to read.

ED
 

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A lot of responses here but I'll just say that my success rate with truly old cast cleanouts is dismal. A lot of times they literally break into pieces on the removal.

My advice is forget the cleanouts and just pull the toilet for the $3 wax ring you'll have perfect access at floor level :p
 

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I'm sure most all have at sometime seen thread relief which makes it nearly impossible to cross thread a machine screw thread. Being my retirement motto is " just do whatever is fun and irresponsible " I relieved a few threads for an example. Thread relief even makes those pesky square nuts nearly impossible to screw up. Only if manufacturers would do this to make our lives less frustrating.

So what does this have to do with the milk container? If we look closely those three threads are relieved also being they don't end at the edge of the container neck/pour spout but all three are set back about 3/32" / 2.381 mm. This is not much but enough to make life easier. Even little kids can do it.
 

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