Finishing Basement, Easy Fix for Leaky copper to cast iron joint?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by PMGunz, Mar 28, 2020.

  1. PMGunz

    PMGunz New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2020
    Location:
    New Jersey
    My basement is being finished in a couple weeks and the drain lines will be hidden behind a wall. There is what appears to be a leaky joint on a drain line where a copper pipe goes into a cast iron fitting. The flash on my phone made it look like the cooper pipe is cracked, but it's just a shadow from some material that's pulled away from the pipe.

    My questions are:
    Should I attempt to repair this joint before it becomes inaccessible?
    Is there an easy, recommended fix that a DIYer could do?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You may be able to fix that by spreading the lead seal to tapping with a flat bladed screw driver in the center of the lead pathway, around the fitting.
    Forcing the lead to better seal to the copper in one direction and the cast iron hub in the other.

    Another solution would be a Fernco donut as a replacement for the lead, and one more would be to pour a new lead joint there.
     
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  4. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    I would not close of this section of wall but install an access panel. They come in many sizes, sit almost flush to the wall and can be painted over. Obviously it will allow you to check it every once in a while. If you do want the connection repaired use a Fernco donut.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  5. wwhitney

    wwhitney Well-Known Member

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    Mar 17, 2019
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Given the orientation, is simply remelting the lead in place an option, or would that overheat the other components (copper/cast iron/oakum)?

    Cheers, Wayne
     
  6. PMGunz

    PMGunz New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2020
    Location:
    New Jersey
    If a donut is used, I would assume it would electrically insultate the drains leading to it. Would I need to do anything to ensure the pipes remained grounded?
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    PMGunz: Study the suggestion by Terry. That is called "caulking". Search for "caulking iron" for discussions of this process.
     
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  8. wwhitney

    wwhitney Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2019
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Short answer: no.

    Grounded is a term with multiple meanings, relevant here is that it can mean "earthed" (attached to the earth) or "bonded" (attached to an intentional bonding conductor going back to the electric service grounding system). Your cast iron is earthed but does not appear to be bonded. Earthing is not important, so you don't need to provide an "earthing jumper" across the rubber donut.

    Now if the cast iron were bonded, then someone did that for a reason, and you'd want to maintain the bonding connection across the rubber donut with a bonding jumper.

    Cheers, Wayne
     
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  9. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2019
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    You could try to caulk the joint with Black Swan Soil-O. Some people even use roofing cement or other tar like products for this purpose. De-leading the joint for a donut doesn't sounds like fun, but if possible I'd leave a large access panel in case you need to do that or work the lead.

    Working on lead is one thing I really want to avoid as a DIYer. For some of the real old school guys, I'm sure they're like, "Yeah for my Master Plumber test I had to calculate the right ratio of lead to oakum, and it's no big deal." They're probably right, but why screw around with lead fumes, or chips. Usually there's another way to replumb the joint. Although I do have some leaded cast iron I need to deal with soon. A section is cracked, and I'll have to decide if I'm going to replace it, or patch it for now.
     
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