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Does anyone sell a snake that can actually grasp the head of a stuck snake? I need it to be 5-15 feet long and it has to fit in a 3" cast iron pipe (or smaller, depending on what's under the house). I'd like to put it down my new cleanout and grab the snake from the front end.

I have about 25ft (half) of a 50ft snake stuck in a cast iron washing machine drain pipe somewhere in the concrete slab under my newly tiled kitchen floor, right around the point where it joins up with the the bath and kitchen drains and exits the house. I have a new PVC cleanout just outside, maybe 5-15 feet from the head of the snake (exact model here: http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-Products-50500-2-Inch-50-Foot/dp/B000VL7EVQ).

The snake can't be pulled out the way it went in because everything was tried: three guys pulling on it, ratcheting it out, etc., and all that did was begin to pull the cast iron pipe (via the laundry wall cleanout) through my brick wall. Plumbers used a locator to tell me that it was, yep, right where we had guessed, and I cut the snake and closed the cleanout. Their suggestion was to leave it until I ever have a problem with the washing machine drain (no problems the last two weeks, since this happened, but I'd hate to leave it in the drain nonetheless). Cutting the slab up isn't an option, although I do plan on replacing the cast iron tub in the next year and the snake is probably within 5ft of that drain (small single story house in Texas, built in 1963).

Any suggestions are appreciated. I spent $330 on plumbers to clear the blockage and install an cleanout, and I'm guessing it's cheaper to buy my own camera and snake w/ claws at this point.
 

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Does anyone sell a snake that can actually grasp the head of a stuck snake? I need it to be 5-15 feet long and it has to fit in a 3" cast iron pipe (or smaller, depending on what's under the house). I'd like to put it down my new cleanout and grab the snake from the front end.

I have about 25ft (half) of a 50ft snake stuck in a cast iron washing machine drain pipe somewhere in the concrete slab under my newly tiled kitchen floor, right around the point where it joins up with the the bath and kitchen drains and exits the house. I have a new PVC cleanout just outside, maybe 5-15 feet from the head of the snake (exact model here: http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-Products-50500-2-Inch-50-Foot/dp/B000VL7EVQ).

The snake can't be pulled out the way it went in because everything was tried: three guys pulling on it, ratcheting it out, etc., and all that did was begin to pull the cast iron pipe (via the laundry wall cleanout) through my brick wall. Plumbers used a locator to tell me that it was, yep, right where we had guessed, and I cut the snake and closed the cleanout. Their suggestion was to leave it until I ever have a problem with the washing machine drain (no problems the last two weeks, since this happened, but I'd hate to leave it in the drain nonetheless). Cutting the slab up isn't an option, although I do plan on replacing the cast iron tub in the next year and the snake is probably within 5ft of that drain (small single story house in Texas, built in 1963).

Any suggestions are appreciated. I spent $330 on plumbers to clear the blockage and install an cleanout, and I'm guessing it's cheaper to buy my own camera and snake w/ claws at this point.
considering a used camera in not very good shape will cost about 3 to 5,000 dollars and a used snake about 1000 to 1500 dollars I would call a plumber.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have called the plumbers. They said to bust up the concrete or leave it. I know I can get a basic 50ft snake like the one I got stuck for $8 w/ free shipping and a camera for around $100 (less if I get a used one). If nobody sells a small snake or wire or cable with a grasping claw on it, I'll probably just end up building one.
 

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I have called the plumbers. They said to bust up the concrete or leave it. I know I can get a basic 50ft snake like the one I got stuck for $8 w/ free shipping and a camera for around $100 (less if I get a used one). If nobody sells a small snake or wire or cable with a grasping claw on it, I'll probably just end up building one.
I'd like to see what an $8 snake and a $100 sewer camera looks like. Do you have a link? The ones I use are a couple grand.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There's a link in my first post to the snake that got stuck. And I'm talking about miniature IR bullet cameras here, which range from $20 on up, depending. There are also 100 ft sewer cameras selling for $295 on ebay, which would be overkill for my needs.

I'm just looking for something to grab the little round thing on the front of the snake, which is probably about six feet from my cleanout, and pull it out. Someone, somewhere, has to make something for this, even if it costs a billion dollars.
 

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There's a link in my first post to the snake that got stuck. And I'm talking about miniature IR bullet cameras here, which range from $20 on up, depending. There are also 100 ft sewer cameras selling for $295 on ebay, which would be overkill for my needs.

I'm just looking for something to grab the little round thing on the front of the snake, which is probably about six feet from my cleanout, and pull it out. Someone, somewhere, has to make something for this, even if it costs a billion dollars.
Well i don't see you getting it out with a flat snake like you have there. You might get it with a electric snake with a retriever head on the end of it, But more than likely you will end up with 2 snakes in there rather than 1. If you do get it out go and buy a lottery ticket that day cause you are the luckiest man on earth. good luck.
 

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And let me know the numbers you pick

I hate to say it, but I've got to agree with the plumbers you had out there. Its HIGHLY unlikely you're going to be able to get it out from EITHER direction. I'm not saying its impossible because I believe anything is possible. I just dont see it happening.
 

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Its a LONG shot. But I would at least TRY to take a 10 foot piece or two of barbed wire and see if you can push it in from the front. Then twist the living hell out of it till it catches on the head,,,that stuff can wrap up everything else,,,hope it wraps your snake. It all depends on how the head is positioned in the sewer,,,if its someplace centered it MIGHT work,,,if its jammed in a corner,no way. IF that doesnt work you could fashion a hook on that end and try to hook the head. Why on earth did it stick to the point of not being able to pull it out the back as it went in??
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A hook of some kind is a good suggestion, I may try it. As for your last question, we're all stumped. It's gotta be wedged (or something) in a junction...one of the reasons I may buy a camera or have the plumber use theirs, to see exactly how it's stuck. (And no, I don't want two snakes stuck in the pipes.) The plumber used a locator to find the end of the snake, within a few feet anyway. And no, I wasn't going to use the same sort of snake that's stuck, that was just a picture for reference and proof you could buy one for under a thousand dollars.

The good news is that it hasn't affected the drains at all. This isn't an urgent thing, just a don't-want-to-leave-it-forever thing. I was hoping somebody somewhere sold a cable of some sort with a camera and a claw on the end. Seems simple enough, and like I said before I may build one.
 

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Well sure you can get one of THOSE for $8 or under. We dont use THOSE though. Try getting one of THESE for $8. If you can, let us all know and we'll corner the market.
 

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Don't need one of those professional models, just something about ten feet long to pull the stuck snake out. I'm not sure why a homeowner would need to own one of those, unless you had a row of 20 willow trees growing above your sewer line, and had to cut the roots every 3 hours... lol.

Aren't there any plumbers on here who have had to remove a stuck snake? It sounds like a fairly common problem from what I've been hearing. Anyone..? Anyone..? Bueller?
 

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Don't need one of those professional models, just something about ten feet long to pull the stuck snake out. I'm not sure why a homeowner would need to own one of those, unless you had a row of 20 willow trees growing above your sewer line, and had to cut the roots every 3 hours... lol.

Aren't there any plumbers on here who have had to remove a stuck snake? It sounds like a fairly common problem from what I've been hearing. Anyone..? Anyone..? Bueller?
I have been plumbing for 35 yrs. I have come across sewer snakes stuck in lines several times. Only once was I able to retrieve one. So it is possible but not likely. Like I said earlier if you get it out go buy a lottery ticket fot that day. But if you are not ready to bust up the floor to retrieve that snake then I would not even consider putting another snake down into the pipe.
 

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Don't need one of those professional models, just something about ten feet long to pull the stuck snake out. I'm not sure why a homeowner would need to own one of those, unless you had a row of 20 willow trees growing above your sewer line, and had to cut the roots every 3 hours... lol.

Aren't there any plumbers on here who have had to remove a stuck snake? It sounds like a fairly common problem from what I've been hearing. Anyone..? Anyone..? Bueller?
I think the expectation that you have might be a bit too far reaching. It sounds like you're pressing for the solution you want (retrieving the snake via a consumer level retail device without busting up the floor). I've never seen that in an all in one tool, and I'm in the business and a licensed engineer, and I've done some crazy inspections on boilers and chemical process equipment. There are articulating head snakes with cameras on them, there snakes with claws on them, there are parts grabbers with retractable claws.

But an all in one device that will either fit down a residential waste line or be back fed up a branch from a cleanout? I do wish you luck, but I think you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. If it were me, I would be deathly afraid of getting something else stuck in there, or worse, knocking the thing loose and sending it further down the line to clog the whole system up. It would take me one long day to knock the floor up, get my device, and patch the concrete (I think you said you had it located). To me, that is the simplest solution.

Also, if I read it correctly, you want to back feed this device from the cleanout out on the lawn, back up stream the main into your house, into the branch that is trapping your stuck piece, and pull it back out the cleanout. That is risky, if not impossible. You might be lucky if the plumber installed a two way cleanout out on the lawn. That might be worth checking.
 

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I appreciate the depth of your response. I believe the plumbers actually did install a two-way cleanout. As for busting up and patching the concrete slab, I know it's a relatively straightforward job. I could do it tomorrow with a couple rented tools, no problem. It's just that the locator was only "precise" to within about five feet, so in my house finding the end of the snake might entail ripping up two (all) bathroom floors, the newly tiled kitchen floor, and probably removing some kitchen cabinets and the (only) tub as well. The main drain runs under a common wall shared by the bathrooms and kitchen, and the end of the snake (coming from the laundry drain) is right under the point the three rooms meet.
 

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It sounds like you have a tangle as every above says it will be your luckiest day if you get it out but I suppose it worth trying. If you are sure it is only the washing machine drain can you run another and leave that one alone? At some point it will be a problem unless you find a way to filter all the lint out of the washing machine discharge.

Rege
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
The snake is out!
I started this thread with the assumption that the snake stuck in my washing machine drain wouldn’t cause any problems, because it had drained fine for two weeks of normal use and is a 2” cast iron pipe not shared by any other sinks, etc. Last Thursday afternoon, the washing machine drain backed up and caused some minor flooding. I called the plumbers back out Friday with their camera, and (as I suspected because of some slow draining from the shower), the head of the snake was poking out of the washing machine drain into the main 3” drain, catching “debris” and dryer lint.
Three weeks ago, the plumbers had plowed through roots to clear the drain about 75 feet behind my house, and had installed a two-way cleanout two feet behind my house. After spotting the head of the snake poking into the main drain just one foot from the edge of my foundation (probably directly under the common wall between the bath and kitchen), the plumbers used a 3” corkscrew head and pulled the snake out in about ten seconds.
So why didn’t they pull it out before? Well, we’d spent $310 we didn’t have for the other work (I even dug up the drain pipe for the cleanout installation, saving at least $100), and didn’t want to pay another $100 for the camera the same day. Besides, the plumbers assumed the snake wouldn’t cause any problems as long as no one tried to snake that particular drain. DIY projects are great, provided you have the time to do research and get the parts and do the work. I’ve moved sink drains, replaced valves, installed gas shutoff valves, added light fixtures, designed home theaters and computers, and installed garage door openers, etc. And I would have busted up the concrete had it come to it, to save money. (The snake was close enough that the plumbers thought I could have tunneled under the house, rather than breaking up the floor inside.) But when you need something done fast or in an emergency, call a pro.
I didn’t buy any lottery tickets last Friday… I forgot. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions. Btw, the snake removal and camera use cost another $310 or so.

In the diagram below, the main drain runs under the wall between the kitchen and bathrooms, and straight out, more or less.
drains.jpg

2009_0424_131457.jpg
 

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The snake is out!
I started this thread with the assumption that the snake stuck in my washing machine drain wouldn’t cause any problems, because it had drained fine for two weeks of normal use and is a 2” cast iron pipe not shared by any other sinks, etc. Last Thursday afternoon, the washing machine drain backed up and caused some minor flooding. I called the plumbers back out Friday with their camera, and (as I suspected because of some slow draining from the shower), the head of the snake was poking out of the washing machine drain into the main 3” drain, catching “debris” and dryer lint.
Three weeks ago, the plumbers had plowed through roots to clear the drain about 75 feet behind my house, and had installed a two-way cleanout two feet behind my house. After spotting the head of the snake poking into the main drain just one foot from the edge of my foundation (probably directly under the common wall between the bath and kitchen), the plumbers used a 3” corkscrew head and pulled the snake out in about ten seconds.
So why didn’t they pull it out before? Well, we’d spent $310 we didn’t have for the other work (I even dug up the drain pipe for the cleanout installation, saving at least $100), and didn’t want to pay another $100 for the camera the same day. Besides, the plumbers assumed the snake wouldn’t cause any problems as long as no one tried to snake that particular drain. DIY projects are great, provided you have the time to do research and get the parts and do the work. I’ve moved sink drains, replaced valves, installed gas shutoff valves, added light fixtures, designed home theaters and computers, and installed garage door openers, etc. And I would have busted up the concrete had it come to it, to save money. (The snake was close enough that the plumbers thought I could have tunneled under the house, rather than breaking up the floor inside.) But when you need something done fast or in an emergency, call a pro.
I didn’t buy any lottery tickets last Friday… I forgot. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions. Btw, the snake removal and camera use cost another $310 or so.

In the diagram below, the main drain runs under the wall between the kitchen and bathrooms, and straight out, more or less.
View attachment 10340

View attachment 10341
Congragulations. that cork screw head is also known as a retriever head as I mentioned in one of my earlier post. See I do know what I am talking about sometimes.
 
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