how to unthread black iron fitting

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by ctreefer, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. ctreefer

    ctreefer New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    CT
    Hi, what is the typical method for unscrewing a black iron pipe from a fitting? the pipe is 1" threaded coming out of a 1.5"-1" reducer hung from the ceiling in my basement. Will just two pipe wrenches and some heat work or do I need a special tool?

    thanks
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,005
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Two pipe wrenches should be fine. If that's not enough, sometimes heating the female fitting helps.
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    A couple of other things you might try if two pipe wrenches won't crack it loose are some PB Blaster on the fitting, and/or cheater handles on the wrenches. FWIW, PB Blaster is an excellent penetrating oil. Many folks try WD-40, but that is not a penetrating oil. It has its place, that this isn't one of them. I'd be careful with heat if the fitting is close to the ceiling.
  4. ctreefer

    ctreefer New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    CT
    thanks!

    Is liquid wrench similar to PB? I've already got some lying around if so. The fitting is probably about6-8" below the open floor joist.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    22,013
    Location:
    New England
    Go ahead and try the Liquid Wrench. Just be very careful if you then try to heat it, as the oil will smoke and burn. Often, all you need is a bigger wrench.
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Yes, I think Liquid Wrench is a comparable product, PB Blaster may be a tad better, but I've never seen result of a test between the two.
  7. ctreefer

    ctreefer New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    CT
    If I were to tackle this job this weekend would heating it up tonight and then after it cools down apply the LW work out? Wondering the time needed to penetrate the joint. Is there any value in heating it up days before I try and unscrew it?

    On a side note, I am getting ready to reroute some baseboard and notice the original copper fittings have some nice long bends in the 90's. Is it still possible to locate this type of fitting? I'm big into aquariums and we always try and design systems with minimal bends that limit flow. I'm assuming the same applies to heating systems. I contemplated going pex, but from some things I've read the ID isn't 3/4 and that seams to bother me if I'm creating restrictions within my loop.

    Oh, sorry, one last thing. Does it make a difference what copper tube I use for hydronic system? red or blue? It seems the walls of the slantfin tube are so thin that the red would be enough but maybe I'm missing something.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Unless you heat it when you want to remove the pipe, so it is still hot and expanded, it will do little if anything to make it easier to take apart. Long radius elbows are something an air conditioning supply company would have. "Red" type M copper was developed for heating systems. Any other grade is "overkill".
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,005
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Heat only works if you quickly heat the female portion to expand it. Once the inner portion or pipe reaches the same temperature and expands; you're right where you started.

    You can also use bigger wrenches. It's why plumbers have big arms.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  10. bluebinky

    bluebinky Member

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    Location:
    Santa Clara, CA
    Us engineers have big muscles too -- inside our heads :cool:
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,005
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Yes.......................What do you mean by that?
  12. ctreefer

    ctreefer New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    CT
    ummmm.....yeah. What he said.

    Thanks guys, the combo of liquid wrench and cheater bars worked great.
  13. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Isn't leverage a wonderful thing! As a kid on the farm, I always knew when a couple of 1-12" x 6' galvanized pipes were. This was way before PVC, so we used lots of 2" galvanized pipes in our irrigation system. Even smaller pipes could be difficult. 'Course in those days I weighed in at 130 lbs, so I didn't have a lot of beef to back me up and I needed all the help I could get sometimes. Glad we could help and that it worked out well for you.
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Us engineers have big muscles too -- inside our heads

    The problem is that they seldom get used or excercised.
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