HELP! Solder nightmare - using wrong solution?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by frodiggs, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. frodiggs

    frodiggs New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NJ
    Hi and thanks.

    Been having a tough time soldering an elbow to a main waste pipe, Newb here, first time with the torch. project is a faucet and pop up drain replacement. A corroded elbow pipe broke fro ma main waste line.

    So i pulled out the corroded pip (bathroom sink), ground out the remnants of the old pipe (thin tinny metal) and roughed up the new cut elbow. I'm using silver solder (BenzOmatic kit from HD) and after using the whole roll i got some to stick but can't get the bottom. i have no room to work as the larger lead type thick pipe in the wall does not stick out. Also there is a tiny gap around the pipe I'm putting in.

    Long story short i wonder if this is the right process for these metals, do i need plumbers putty and another type of solder (old setup had a dark grey welded look to it). I'm stuck as this waste line is connected to the master back so there is a bit of a drip when the master sink empties. Maybe I open the wall up and use a rubber connector here bet. the two pipes. Soldering iron vs torch?

    Help and hope the pics tell a better story.

    WP_20140427_15_53_00_Pro.jpg
    WP_20140427_15_53_32_Pro.jpg
    WP_20140429_02_00_58_Pro.jpg
  2. Sean Beck

    Sean Beck Plumber

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    The most important factor to a successful soldered joint is making sure the surfaces are clean. The drain in the wall is existing and old so you need to spend time cleaning the inside of the pipe. Sometimes I will spend around 10 minutes getting it as shiny as possible with sand cloth and cleaning brushes. You may also need to apply your torch to it to melt any existing solder. You will also have to clean the outside of the chrome p-trap that enters into the copper drain. You will need a torch that will be able to apply sufficient heat. Bottom line; spend time cleaning your pipes for an easier job.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,472
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I hope that is not really "lead type pipe" in the wall because if it is you will probably melt it before you make your solder joint. You have to file, or grind, the chrome plating off the drain tube, because solder will NOT adhere to chrome plating.
  4. frodiggs

    frodiggs New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NJ
    I did get some of the chrome off but not all. I did not do much to the drain in the wall actually. I don't mind starting over but really concerned about the torch as it burns the tile and wall as the pipe in hte wall does not stick out at all. very tough spot here. Are there other options here. What do you think the prior solder was as again it looked like a weld type.

    Thanks for the help.
  5. frodiggs

    frodiggs New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NJ
    Can i use a soldering iron instead here? Really concerned about the working space and my inability to get to the drain in the wall and a fire hazard. i have to keep the flame so low.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,472
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Unless it was a very large "soldering copper", it will not get things hot enough. But, right now, I am not really sure what you are working with. It almost looks like s galvanized nipple with the end 'ground' off.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  7. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    407
    Location:
    California
    This wall stub looks galvanized to me. Break the wall a little more and try to un-do it at the T. If it doesn't budge, install a no hub connector. Then install a new drain set.

    Copper solder won't work here.
  8. frodiggs

    frodiggs New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NJ
    Hi, I was using silver solder.

    I do need to break the wall a bit more as my work last night with the torch was a bit scary. i roughed up the outside of the cheap chrome pipe (read brass with chrome plating) and while i did a fairly decent half moon on the botton it still drips at the bottom. I will ltry to remove the chrome elbow by heating the drain pipe and was told a rubber boot might do well here bet. the two pipes.

    Sorry by T is this a T connect behind the wall?
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,328
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I really believe you have galvanized pipe. You can not solder copper to it...period. Further more, your ideas of using a soldering iron and silver solder indicates to me that you are way over your head on this project. Basic copper pipe sweating is not an over technical skill, but the pipe location and near certainty that there will have to be some pipe replacement combined with your lack of experience leads me to recommend you hire a licensed plumber.
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    Get that stub coming out of the wall nice and shiny, then tell us what color it is. If it is steel (a magnet might tell you immediately), you cannot solder to it. If it is, connections to it are typically done with threaded connections. Not to say someone may have cobbled up something that may have worked, but solder will NOT work with it. If it really is copper, it sounds like you're just not getting things hot enough, or are burning out the flux (you ARE using flux, aren't you?!). Personally, I find the water based fluxes a pain to work with - probably fine if you do it regularly, but my first choice is a tinning flux that has some ground up solder in the paste - it's easy to tell when you got it hot enough (the solder in the paste melts), and then you can add enough more to make a solid connection.

    If it is steel, it almost certainly will screw out of a fitting in the wall. This could be replaced with various bits, but it would depend on the size and location which one would be best. Find out what exactly you have there, or you're just wasting your time.

    FWIW, today's plumbing solder usually has some silver in it - it is no longer allowed to use the lead/tin solder mix that worked for decades.
  11. Kiton

    Kiton Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Quebec
    Frodiggs,

    I believe what you are attempting is silver brazing, not silver soldering. Silver brazing is a very handy option and it can "weld" or bond a lot of materials and cross weld materials that would be able to be welded with any other method than silver brazing. To succeed with such a heavy gauge galvanized pipe and such a thin gauge, almost decorative chrome (by comparison) trap arm is really tricky and you would really need to do it on a half dozen pieces of scrap before trying it out in a real application given it is your first time with a torch.

    Cleanliness is one of the keys to success with silver brazing. You would need to put a flapper wheel on a dremel type tool and clean the last inch of that pipe, inside and out and the cut edge so no dirt can enter the weld zone, as well as put the flapper wheel to the chrome trap arm. Porosity is a joint killer.

    Looking at the pictures, I fear you have gone past the point of attempting to braze that joint again. As some of the others have mentioned, I would try to remove the galvanized from its elbow if possible and go from there.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,472
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; I believe what you are attempting is silver brazing, not silver soldering.

    He isn't doing either. He is using "silver bearing" solder which is NOT silver solder or silver brazing. His torch would NEVER heat the joint enough for either one.
  13. Kiton

    Kiton Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Quebec
    HJ,

    Thank you for pointing out my poorly worded post. Writing is NOT my forte.
    How about, I believe what you should be attempting....
    But the window for that has passed (I believe).

    I have never silver soldered plumbing, but I have silver brazed a great deal.
    Brazing is a very handy option when faced with limited/difficult/mixed material welding options and most rental shops carry acetylene torches, but cleanliness and practice is a must and silver rods are not cheap.

    So at this stage, as a master plumber, what SHOULD he do?
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,472
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; but cleanliness and practice is a must and silver rods are not cheap.

    A customer once worked at the Cadillac assembly plant in MI. They needed some silver solder so he went to the purchasing agent and asked for a submittal for a pound of silver solder. The PA said, "this is Cadillac, we don't mess with a pound of this or a pound of that, and wrote the requisition for 50 pounds. When the worker gave the form to the supply house they called for a confirmation, and when the PA found out what it would cost he told them "Give him a pound of it". What he HAS to do is find out what kind of pipe he is working with. If it is steel it has to be removed and the piece replaced. What I would do, and what he CAN do, may be two entirely different things.
  15. frodiggs

    frodiggs New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NJ
    Hi,

    Well the job is done but just have one nagging super slow leak which I think I know what it is.

    Went with 1 1/4 rubber trap connector as the soldering was too much for me. This added length so the flex tube came in handy here.

    I think the drip is perhaps due to the putty in the flange as the mfg asks for silicone caulk. Maybe water is seeping through the putty down the flange? I did a long water test and no drips but up top there is seeping.

    under sink leak.jpg
    WP_20140501_12_09_19_Pro.jpg
  16. frodiggs

    frodiggs New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NJ
    On a positive note.

    WP_20140501_12_38_02_Pro.jpg WP_20140501_12_38_35_Pro.jpg
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    What you have is not code compliant! You cannot use the fitting you have at the wall except underground...it needs to be a banded coupling. And, no self-respecting plumber would ever use that flexible drain kit. It will trap all sorts of soap scum, and crud, and will start to smell pretty nasty in fairly short order. Did you know, that the trap itself can be almost folded back on itself ( it doesn't have to be nice and square to the inlet/outlet)? That by itself can give you a fair amount of adjustment to get things to line up, and there are other ways to make things fit using 'proper' pieces.

    If they say to use silicon and you used plumber's putty, that may be the reason why things are leaking. THat, plus, there's more than one type of plumber's putty...many of them have some oil in them, and with the material your sink is made out of, that oil may permanently stain the sink after awhile and it gets into the pores. Those would typically work great on a porcelain sink, but not a composite one.
  18. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,328
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    That flex tube is a piece of crap. Absolutely no need for it whatsoever. Get rid of it and plumb it correctly. And as long as I've already insulted your work, might as well add one more. That neoprene connector is illegal as you are using it. This connector is OK for underground applications. What you should use here is somewhat similar but is called a banded coupler. It has a clamp that covers the entire piece and keeps the joint ridged.
  19. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,472
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Congratulations. You managed to combine two of the 'worst' drain items, the rubber coupling and the accordion extension, into a single installation. The putty on the top has NOTHING to do with drip on the bottom, but it WILL tarnish the brass drain ring.
  20. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,052
    Location:
    IL
    Something like the right size of this would have been the right thing: [​IMG]

    With the pipe from the tee being in line with, and close to, your tailpiece, I seems that it would be tough to use the regular non flex P-trap. It would be nice to have such a coupler that would have a 45 degree angle, but I don't think that is going to happen.

    What would be the proper thing after the right coupler?
Similar Threads: HELP Solder
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Soldering brass to copper help....PLease! Nov 25, 2010
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & HELP... DIY solder copper with water in them Apr 26, 2009
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Help - Mounting a hose bib on outside - no solder.... Apr 30, 2008
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Help!! Soldering problem May 4, 2007
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Need help with adding tub drain and vent Aug 10, 2014

Share This Page