Gate Valve Repair

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Ravz, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. Ravz

    Ravz New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Hi All,

    I have been a long time lurker, but have not asked too many questions. I have an urgent issue that i could use a hand with. I have done all types of plumbing but i find myself currently stuck.

    I have what i have identitifed as a gate valve, that after turning off for a week, now when i turn it back on, sprays water from the stem. I did some googling and it seems like i have to repair or replace the "packing". what is packing? is it like a rubber washer? I would like to repair this with one trip to the store, so are there any reccomendations on what to purchase? normally i wouldnt be in such a rush, but to do this repair means to shut off water to 3 other apartments...

    does anybody have any guidance or assistance on this type of repair? right now, the leak stops when the valve is completely closed, what i need to avoid is to mess up this valve completley, since this would be an even bigger headache! .

    help!
    cannot have is to
  2. Open the valve, use a wrench and tighten that nut directly under the handle till it quits leaking. Do not overtighten or that nut could crack. If this doesn't work then you'll need to replace the packing or add to it underneath that nut.
  3. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Right below the handle there is a nut. Get a wrench and turn the nut counter clock wize 1/4 turn then clock wize 1/2 turn. Test and see if you still have the leak. If yes try tightning a little more. You may not need to replace any packing material.
  4. Ravz

    Ravz New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thanks guys!! one thing i should ask,

    I was soldering about 6 inches away from this valve, could i have melted something? i was not there when the water was turned off two weeks ago, so this problem coudld have been pre-existing. There was all sorts of water marks on the drywall around this area.

    I was going to wrap the valves in a damp cloth to keep them cool, but directly after the valve is a 90 pointng up, and there were a few inches of standing water between where i was soldering and the valve, so i figued that water would keep the valve cool.. did i assume incorrectly? :)

    thanks again!
  5. No, no melting from that distance. I would say that just using the valve after it hasn't been used in some time caused it. Packing holds a memory to the stem. When you move it after being in a open or closed position for a significant period of time it can leak. Tightening the nut resets/repacks the gland and the majority of time, fixes the problem. Just remember that if you happen to use that valve in the future and is quite hard to turn, do yourself a favor and loosen that packing nut; it will allow a free movement of stem travel. You are already treading on thin ice just having a gate valve to begin with. Most times the stem snaps where it threads into the gate because the channel is calcified. "Dropped a gate valve" is common language used with plumbers when they go to shut a main down and the unreliable gate valve decides to fail.
  6. Ravz

    Ravz New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thanks again Rugged!!

    I am actually moving an exisint sink over a few feet, so i soldered on new ball valves, so i will not be fooling with these valve much more!

    Thanks again!
    Rav
  7. Ravz

    Ravz New Member

    Messages:
    6
    BAD NEWS :( there is no packing nut. the stem just comes out of a hole without a surrounding packing nut. Just to be sure i went to a hardware store, and all the darn valves they have have these packing nuts.

    I'm guessing there is no way to repair this valve right? just cut it out and replace? arrgh!! I'm great with soldering but i hate doing it in tight quarters surrounded by flammable materials!!
  8. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Just keep a spray bottle full of water with you.
  9. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    I have to tell you that there is an o-ring stem seal on that gate.

    But if you can be a little inventive you may be able to lift that retaining nut , I know it's shallow, but you can get a strand of graphite packing or tare a small piece of thin Teflon tape and twist it into a strand and force it into the retainer nut and seal that stem.

    But you should replace the valve at some point.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,226
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    valve

    That valve has an "O" ring packing inside the valve. You have to remove the top part from the valve, then remove the handle, finally push the stem out of the top part of the valve. Remove the "O" ring from its recess, and install a new "O" ring then put everything back together.
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