Connecting brass closet flange to mangled lead soil pipe? Help!

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by jch, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. jch

    jch Member

    I pulled our toilet today in preparation for installing a new one (Toto Ultramax!).

    Found that the old flange was brass, "screwed" to the floor with screws whose heads were smaller than the screw holes (!), and simply set *inside* the lead soil pipe with lots of wax smeared underneath the flange. (Note: the lead pipe is a *larger* Inner Diameter than the brass flange's, so cannot be folded over the flange)

    Because the brass flange was not truly attached to the floor (just too-small screws and a whole lot of wax underneath), it could wobble around. The previous home owner had "solved" this by caulking the toilet to the floor.

    The lead is mangled and does not completely come up above floor level all around. In spots, the edge of the lead pipe is below floor level and so waste water was bypassing it and going into the edge of the wood cutout in the floor.

    The 12" lead soil pipe goes straight down to a cast iron horn.

    How would I go about re-constructing this flange/soil pipe connection so I can attach the new toilet and avoid further waste water leaks??

    Appreciate any help.

    Thanks!
    .../j
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    flange

    You probably no longer have a DIY repair. If the lead does not go through the flange so it can be flared over, there is no way you will ever keep it from leaking. You need to replace the lead bend, and the flange.
  3. jch

    jch Member

    Thanks--that's what I figured. I'll go get a permit and then start calling around for plumbers. Obviously, whoever did this before didn't have a permit--no wonder I was having sewer gas smells...

    Over the next year, I am going to pull up the vinyl flooring in this bathroom and put down a ceramic/porcelain tile floor (i.e. raising the floor by 3/8"?).

    Is there something I should be doing *now* to make it easier to raise the replacement flange to account for the new floor's height a year from now?

    Thanks!
    .../j
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    You won't be able to make a toilet sit on the thing if the flange is set high now to account for tile later. Assuming you have access from underneath, and you have 2', it won't be a problem to cut off a piece and put a new pvc flange and pipe on your current fix. The flange should sit flat on the top of the finished floor. Now, many people just tile up to the flange rather than put a new one down on top of it, but that is not the preferred/correct way to do it. It will work if you use a double wax ring or a flange extender when the time comes. Or, you could do the floor now! :)
  5. jch

    jch Member

    Thanks for all your help so far! Here is some more info.

    The city building department was reluctant to issue a permit, even though the previous job was done wrong. "Any plumber will do it right. You don't need an inspection." Unbelievable...


    The underside of the floor is exposed (unfinished basement) so I have good access.

    Here are some pix.
    1) Here is the brass flange, and the hole in the floor. Notice that the three screw heads are *smaller* than the holes in the flange.
    [​IMG]

    2) Here is a closer look at the lead pipe coming through the floor. Notice that the lead pipe is flared against the wood cutout, but is not proud of the surface all the way around -> leakage.
    [​IMG]

    3) Here is the underside (view from the basement). Notice the white residue all over the joist from long-term water exposure.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    So here's what I'm thinking...

    I should be able to rent a chain cutter for the 4" cast iron horizontal waste pipe (just to the left of the hanger).

    I would then use a Fernco (or equivalent) to join 4" ABS onto the resultant cast iron pipe.

    ABS 90 up through the floor.

    Flange on the floor. Everything cemented together.

    Questions:
    1) Am I asking for trouble by cutting the cast iron pipe myself?

    2) Does the new horizontal ABS need much of a slope? (It'll be only 11" long) Or can I run it horizontally into a 90 elbow? There's not enough vertical room to run it at 45 unless I modify the stack itself.

    3) How do make a leak-proof connection with the Fernco? Do I use ABS Cement on the ABS side? Do I need to use any sealant on the Cast Iron side?

    Thanks! Really appreciate the help.
    .../j
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    I'm not a pro, but if I was going to do this, I'd leave the 90 degree there, take the lead out of the vertical, get an approriately sized dougnut to attach the pvc there, and glue on the flange to it. It is possible that there is a brass sleeve in the cast iron, and then you could use a coupler to attach to it, rather than the doughnut.
  7. jch

    jch Member

    How would I tell if this is the case. When I look down the inside (pic #1), it looks really lumpy (like lead).

    Would I be able to see the brass there?

    Thanks for your help!
    .../j
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    If there is any brass there, it would be a short sleeve coming out of the 90 that the lead is attached to at the end opposite where the toilet was attached. Again, I'm not a pro, but if I was going to tackle this, I'd take a hack saw, cut the lead off maybe 3-4 inches above the bell of the 90, take a look and see if there is a sleeve, if not, pry, cut, hack the rest of the lead out of there so I could put in the appropriate doughnut connector and put in some pvc.
  9. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    lead Ferrell

    There is probably a thin cast iron sleeve, inside the lead, inside the 90.

    If you are patient you will be able to dig all of that out of the fitting.

    It will help if you can crack the thin cast iron Ferrell inside the hub.
  10. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

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    New Hampshire
  11. BowlBreaker

    BowlBreaker New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Stop Everything! I wouldn't do any thing that was described above!!! Dont Touch the CI soil pipe at all!!! Right where the 4" lead is wiped to the brass Ferrule cut off lead with a sawzall, leaving existing brass ferrule caulked into soil pipe. Then go out and buy what I call a "lead stub" which is a straight lead bend with plain edge on brass ferrule and a 4" no hub clamp. clamp ferrule to old ferrule and everything as good as new!
    as far as compensating for a new floor that you will be installing in the future, they sell here something called a marble slab, which is made to be put down on wood fllooring underneath a toilet. it is nothing more than a peice of cultured marble approx 8" wide and about 18" long and 3/4" high with a 4-1/2" hole in it to let the lead pass thru. get your hands on one of these and put on floor before you solder your floor flange to the lead. When you tile your floor later on you can either remove bowl and slab and tile everything up and re-do floor flange or leave everything in place and tile up to the slab, leaving it there as a sturdy base for your toilet.
    Another thing I have done many times in the past and it will/should last anyones lifetime as a repair to your problem is. Remove the existing floor flange, take a wire brush and clean the inside of the lead till it looks all shinny and new, then take a hammer and beat the lead outwards sweadging it so that it is now a little bigger that the outside diameter of the lead. Now go out to local plumbing supply and buy say 6" of 4" extruded lead pipe, a bar of torch solder, and some flux. Clean up the outside of the extruded lead pipe, flux up inside of existing and outside of extruded pipe and then tap the pipe into the bend aprox 2 or so inches. Now the fun begins grab yourself a piece of newspaper fold it up till its about a 2-1/2" square and rub one face of it insome dirt or coat with flux and use that as a wipping cloth. heat up your bar of torch solder till it starts to melt then heat the joint and start wipping! When your done your work should look look like the joint thats right above the cast iron pipe.
    Again DO NOT touch any of the cast iron! The piece that is caulked into the cast iron is brass. and just join new lead stub which comes with brass "ferrule" already wiped on with a 4" nohub clamp, if there is a little flange at the end of the ferrule cut that off. go upstairs and mount your floor flange and enjoy a six pack!
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2006
  12. BowlBreaker

    BowlBreaker New Member

    Messages:
    15
    JCH looking closer at your pictures it looks to me that whoever did the repair on this before used what is called a "tophat" which is nothing more than a 3-1/2" dia. piece of lead with a 2" wide brim stamped on top. kinda like what Abe Lincolns top hat looked like upside down! These are used by shoe makers to fix lead bends. You remove old flange drop this in flush with the floor and then mount your flange to floor using a couple of wood screws uses a deep wax gasket the kind with a plastic horn and remounts the toilet.
    Also, its hard to tell from your 4th pic because of the angle it is shot at. But there looks to me as there is a wiped joint above the CI hub of the 90. If so that means that the piece which is caulked into this joint is a Brass Ferrule, you cannot wipe extruded lead pipe to a CI ferrule. If so just do as I said in my last post and cut off lead at this juncture and use a regular nohub clamp to join new lead stub.

    enjoy

    also I don't know what the plumbing laws are there in BC but the guy at building dept was absolutely right! Why would you need a permit to fix such a little repair?
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2006
  13. jch

    jch Member

    Actually the lead pipe (what was left of it) was flared against the wood cutout itself. No brim. Problem was that the lead pipe wasn't long enough the come all the way through the floor. It resulted in 10 years of water seeping into the unprotected wood. Ugh.
    You're right. When I torched off the lead, the ferrule was brass. I used ABS rather than a lead stub to go up to a new flange though.
    To make sure I wouldn't end up with the same type of mess that the last person left?? ;)

    Thanks for your help!
    .../j
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