Shower drain help needed

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by psal2, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    My first post here. Folks at www.johnbridge.com speak well of you here, so I thought I would ask a question on an old shower drain.

    I am in the process of redoing my shower, (you can see what was done so far here http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=26575) but the shower drain won't (by hand) turn so I am having trouble taking off the actually drain. I might possibly be able to get a wrench in here.

    I am not sure I want to replace the trap here or not. Some opinions and options would be welcomed. I have a new Oatey 3 piece to be used with PVC and liner and will be building the preslope, curb and pan with the help of the folks at johnbridge.com. Here is a pix of the drain, there is a threaded area that I can see on the drain.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Am I correct that the drain line is copper and then converts to plastic with a threaded adapter just ahead of the trap? That's what it looks like.

    In this case, most likely the drain fitting is glued to the pipe. The drain fitting may have a large nut on the bottom of that remnant of the fibrglas base, but removing that will not help. You will have to remove all the ABS (plastic) all the way back to the transition to copper, and rebuild from there. It will not be difficult.

    If I am wrong about the pipe, post back and we will go from there.
  3. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    When I first started, I thought it was galvanized pipe but after I opened it up more, I saw that it was copper.

    How do I get the plastic off it. Sawzall below the coupling, cut through it, what method?

    Appreciate the help.

    Thanks,
    Pete
  4. thezster

    thezster New Member

    Messages:
    251
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    I dunno... kind of looks like copper all the way to the drain to me... I could be wrong, of course.

    I would open up the area enough to get a pipe cutter in there (should be room, it appears) and make a clean cut on the copper. Then you can either move the trap as needed, or if not needing to move it.... adapt pvc to the new drain.
  5. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Doesn't need to be moved. It is in the center of the shower.

    Someone suggested just sweating it off but they also recommended replacing it with copper. I have read somewhere that PVC on the drain is better and copper on the supply is better. Therefore, I am thinking PVC pipe here.

    Where do you recommend the cut, by the first joint after the far left elbow?
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Again if I see it correctly, the last piece of copper is a female adapter. If you saw thru the ABS anywhere, you can unscrew the plastic male adapter from the copper. You will rebuild it basically just as it is now, fitting as appropriate for the drain you use, which if it is for tile will be different than the one you have now. SInce you have (black) ABS, that is probably what is used in your area. (white) PVC or the ABS is OK, but possibly only ABS will be available.
  7. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    The last piece before the drain appears to be a male threaded coupling (on the drain side) and female on the other side. Not being a plumber, I assume everything to the drain is copper, correct?

    If I look at the pix, which area is better to cut, I have numbered the areas 1 and 2 to help (at least I think I helped...)

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2005
  8. thezster

    thezster New Member

    Messages:
    251
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    If you cut at (1), you'll have to rebuild the entire trap. If you cut "exactly" at (1), you'll not have a good stub to build off of... move your arrow to the right.

    If you cut at (2), you'll have less to rebuild.... Again, leave yourself a nice stub of pipe to work off of...

    On the other hand, if you've got a threaded fitting on the end, do all you can to unscrew it first.. though copper might tend to twist and bend with enough force...
  9. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    It's the bending thet I am worried about. Someone told me that too much twisting near the trap could cause a leak elsewhere. I was also told to try and cut the drain (make some slots in it) and that might loosen it up.

    If I don't have to replace anything, am I better off?
  10. thezster

    thezster New Member

    Messages:
    251
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Naturally, if you don't have to replace things, you're "better off" - as far a work goes... However, as Jimbo mentioned, what you're doing is relatively simple.

    Can you sweat copper?

    Long story short, it appears to me the "easiest" approach is, Cut an inch to the right of (1), sweat a threaded adapter on to convert to PVC. Build a new trap of pvc (so easy to work with) and finish out with a new drain.

    Keep in mind.. I'm not a pro - just a busy DIYer trying to help.
  11. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Appreciate the response. This is pretty much a weekend project, so I probably won't get to it until Saturday (if we don't have plans for the weekend), but any advice is always welcomed. I like to research before I do something too stupid...
  12. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    If I decide to cut just right of #1 and leave a good stub to work with, what method is the easiest to connect PVC to the copper, without sweating the joint? I am not comfortable around real hot metal...I see it done but don't really want to do it myself.
  13. thezster

    thezster New Member

    Messages:
    251
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    I suppose you could use a flexible fitting (essentially a hose with two hose clamps) - but I wouldn't recommend it. Sweating a new fitting (female) for a male PVC fitting to screw into it is the best way under the circumstances.

    Hang loose - I would imagine someone with more experience than me will chime in soon with a better solution to your problem.
  14. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    If I sweat it where arrow 1 is pointing, then I would need a male peice clean on one end and threaded on the other. Then I could connect the PVC, is that correct? And do HD or Lowes carry 2" copper?????

    This piece goes into that piece into this piece...

    I wasn't good at legos either... :)
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2005
  15. thezster

    thezster New Member

    Messages:
    251
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    I sense a minor disaster here... Can you get help?

    one inch to the right of the arrow, leaving you a nice healthy stub of good pipe. You need a fitting that will sweat onto the 1 1/2 (that is 1 1/2, right)... with a female thread on the other end to screw a PVC fitting into. You also need to have a clean cut - obtainable with a copper pipe cutter (cheap).

    Assuming you're going to a box store (big orange box)... show them what you're attempting. They should have someone with enough knowledge to help you. Not sure if "pre-soldered" fittings are available where you are - but it would be easier for you.

    Make sure you clean the old pipe thoroughly with emery cloth - a nice shiny finish... don't touch it - oils from your fingers will screw up the process.

    If you're unsure of your skills - get help! I don't want a leaking joint messing up your floor!!!!!!! As you can't put pressure on the joint (drains have no pressure) - you want to be sure it's good.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2005
  16. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    You could be right about the disaster.

    I have always said the difference between a Southern boy and me is that a Southern boy says "hey, y'all, watch this" before he does something stupid. Me, I just do the stupid thing. That is why I started asking questions.

    I am going to try like all get out to get the drain off using pipe wrenches first.

    I understand that the pre-sweated couplings at HD are good if you don't under/over heat the joint. As I don't know which end is over or under, that would be a mistake.

    And I hate to bring a plumber in for a few minutes of work (kind of takes the DIY savings out of the equation). I would also hate to see a leak too (same reason as getting a plumber).

    I will ask around to see if anyone I know is adept to doing this.
  17. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Hope no Southerner took offense. I lived in VA for 6 years and really love the South...

    By the way, pipe's outside diameter looks like it is a little over 2".

    Will a plumbers torch kit from HD or Lowes work on something that big? I mean heat it evenly?
  18. thezster

    thezster New Member

    Messages:
    251
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    yep - should be no problem
  19. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,146
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I would cut out the p-trap starting with the first 90 bend.

    I would use a mission coupling with a stainless cover over it, 2" plastic x 2" copper.

    I would then 45 over to the drain with plastic pipe and use a new p-trap.
    I don't like the look of any of what you have.
    If you plan to use a new plastic shower pan, then it will come with the drain fitting.

    If you are doing a mud set pan, then you will need to pick up a drain for it anyway. You can't use what's there.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2009
  20. psal2

    psal2 New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Thanks Terry and thezster,

    I am building a new mud shower pan and have a 3 piece Oatey drain that is used with a liner. Folks over at johnbridge.com are helping me out with the pan and tiling.

    You said "I would cut out the p-trap starting with the 90 bend." I hate being an idiot but which 90? I see at least 2 of them.

    Pick a number for me.

    [​IMG]
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