Trying to remove bathtub drain from lead pipe

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by hercules2424, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. hercules2424

    hercules2424 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Coppell, TX
    I am remodeling a bathroom and trying to put in my new tub. However, the brass tub drain seems to be about 3" higher than the concrete foundation. Therefore I can not put my tub in because the drain is too high. The drain is brass and is sweated onto a lead pipe. I am not sure how to fix this. Do I just saw off the lead pipe and put a coupling on and then attach a new drain?

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  2. hercules2424

    hercules2424 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Coppell, TX
    It might be a cast iron pipe, do not know for sure which one it is. The pipe does bend very easily.
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,130
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    That looks to be lead. Perhaps hj has some comments.

    Unless you can find something other than lead below there, you may need to find someone old-school that can work with that.
    You can't use clamping type couplings on lead.
  4. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    What you have is a lead trap. Before the trap there should be cast iron that you can connect to. Cut the cast iron hub off and use a banded coupling to adapt to PVC.

    John
  5. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,231
    Location:
    Maine
    Terry, you know what's interesting there is the 3" PVC that drops into the slab a couple of feet from the tub drain so someone must have had the floor opened up not all that long ago. Tub drain does look like lead though and my advice would be to tear it back to the cast iron or Plastic that it connects to. Working lead is not a particularly viable option for the Diy'er
  6. hercules2424

    hercules2424 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Coppell, TX
    I agree, we think it is lead too. Why can you not connect a clamping type coupling to lead? My guess is the lead will bend when you tighten the clamp on it.

    We were able to get the brass drain out by heating it with a blow torch, it seems the previous owner had sautered it together. Then we cut the opening of the lead pipe off to lower the pipe and it was bent all out of shape. We were thinking to go buy a coupling to put on there to connect the brass drain to the lead pipe.
  7. SacCity

    SacCity In the Trades

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Lead is a great materal, the Roman aquiducts were lined with lead and two thousand years later some of them are still in use.
    Lead works great, however no fittings are available for it, you can not clamp onto it as it will just crush.
    In my home I had an original lead closet flange for the toilet. Worked great for almost 100 years..

    When I had to work on it the solution was to dig and cut back until I could tie into the cast iron pipe.
    Use a band clamp to join the cut cast iron to ABS or PVC
    Michael
  8. hercules2424

    hercules2424 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Coppell, TX
    Here is one option.

    Spread the opening of the lead pipe to fit around the brass drain and then use a clamp around the lead pipe. Just a metal clamp ring, not a coupling with a clamp on it. Then sauter it together. Will this work? 006.jpg
  9. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    Your looking for trouble. Once you set the tub there will be no way to make a repair on your patch job. You will never get closer to making a proper repair then you are right know.

    John
  10. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    I would suggest you don't "sauter" anything together...

    Your little hose clamp is a poor choice too.
  11. hercules2424

    hercules2424 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Coppell, TX
    Yes, now is the closest I will get to making a proper repair.

    We may try digging in the concrete with the tar and find the p trap. See how much of it is lead. The thing is, the house was built in 1983, so not sure why there is lead in there. The toilet pipe is lead as well. Trying to figure out why the last time the drain was worked on, the person just shoved the brass drain in the lead pipe and sautered it together, and there was no leak. Not sure that I want to replicate the same idea. But it worked.

    I appreciate everyones suggestions. Please keep them coming.
  12. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,231
    Location:
    Maine
    My guess is the house was built in 83 on an existing slab that goes back to the 30's Do yourself a favor and go the extra mile. Break up the slab and replace all that lead. It's a leak waiting to happen
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,835
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    There is absolutely NO WAY you will ever squeeze a lead pipe with a hose clamp and not have it leak.
  14. hercules2424

    hercules2424 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Coppell, TX
    Tom Sawyer, you are right. What a great guess. The house was built in 1983!!

    So far, I have dug out the tar and trying to dig out the pipe. It is taking a while. We are not going to use the clamp. After I dig up the pipe, I will have to see what the next step is. Hoping it is cast iron and not more lead pipe. The lead pipe is crushed when I looked down the pipe. Maybe that is why it was having trouble draining.
  15. hercules2424

    hercules2424 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Coppell, TX
    I know I am way ahead, but after you replace the lead pipe. what do you put back in the hole? There was tar there before, should I put more tar back in there?
    Gravel?
  16. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    The tar was used to keep termites out. Today they allow you to use cement.

    John
  17. hercules2424

    hercules2424 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Coppell, TX
    The tar makes since.

    It looks like there is more concrete under the tar, rocks, and dirt. 023.jpg
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