Main CI Sewer stack, small leak

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Keith Long

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Hello, this is my first time posting. Hoping someone can help me out here. I have a very small slight leak on the underside of my cast iron Tee that goes through my concrete wall on my main stack. I've tried multiple repair attempts all to no success. It is a very small corroded pitted area on my cast iron pipe. Some would say the leak isn't even enough to warrant any major repair yet. It doesn't even leave a puddle on the floor. It just scales up on the outside of the pipe and forms a sort of "scolagtite" so to say. I know from past experiences that these things get worse over time. My last repair attempt i used Oakley fix it stick. I prepped the pipe appropriately and everything and it didn't stop the slow seep. I now know that this cast iron pipe will have to be replaced to correctly fix the problem. I only have a total of maybe 6ft of cast iron that comes out of the tee in the wall up to the first floor toilet. The second floor toilet tees in with a 3 inch clean out into the original 4 inch tee cast iron in the wall. It is copper though. There are two other drain lines that tee in on the vertical section of cast iron. They are also copper. I can mock up the whole set up with PVC and fernco fittings to tie in.

Now, the main cast iron 4 inch tee that goes through the wall has 2 couplings. One is the vertical cast iron pipe going to the first floor toilet and the other is coming straight out where there would normally be a cleanout but there is a step down adapter to 3 inch where they put the cleanout fitting for the 3 inch second floor copper pipe. Again, i can recreate all of this with PVC.

My biggest challenge when contemplating this repair was chiseling out the concrete around the original cast iron tee in the wall (house built in 1955) which honestly is in excellent shape except for that one spot that pitted out right in the crease where the coupling flange starts. The other huge challenge was of course digging outside to get to the main line outside the wall. Then it dawned on me to inquire what kind of end was on the cast iron tee inside the cinder block wall. I drilled and chiseled a small section out of the wall around the cast iron tee. It appears that the end of the tee is a male where it mates with a female coupling on the line going out of the house through the cinder block. The connection is just inside the first layer of cinder block. I can see where the lead was put into the joint. Looks like it was all done inside the house.

So to me it appears that i would not have to dig outside or even cut into the main line going out. I could just remove the cast iron tee by drilling out the lead (or maybe heating it out to avoid roughing up the inside flange with a drill bit or just be really careful) in the coupling in the line going out and remove the 6 ft of cast iron up to first floor. Redo everything in plastic and tie into the cast iron going out with a 4 inch fernco compression fitting. I have done all plumbing in my home and all my other home repairs but never a sewer line. I need to get it right first try and wanted to know if anyone has experience with a home this age and typically how they ran this cast iron line going out and if that coupling on the line will indeed accept that 4 inch compression fitting. I'm sorry so long winded here.
 

Keith Long

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here are some pics. the one pic you can see the flange in the block which is easily accessible. The other picture shows my whole stack. I'm honestly thinking it won't be as bad as i thought to pull that whole stack and replace with PVC and be done with the cast iron and no other worries (inside the house anyways). Tie into the 4 inch main with a Fernco donut and PVC and build off from there. Tie off everything else with fernco fittings, PVC and new toilet flange.

main.jpg

stack.jpg
 

wwhitney

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What's the clear plastic tube tapped into the cleanout plug? That's likely in need of reconfiguring.

Cheers, Wayne
 

Reach4

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here are some pics. the one pic you can see the flange in the block which is easily accessible. The other picture shows my whole stack. I'm honestly thinking it won't be as bad as i thought to pull that whole stack and replace with PVC and be done with the cast iron and no other worries (inside the house anyways). Tie into the 4 inch main with a Fernco donut and PVC and build off from there. Tie off everything else with fernco fittings, PVC and new toilet flange.
  1. What is the relationship of these two photos?
  2. Where is the leak-- in the lower part of https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?attachments/main-jpg.70672/ ?
 

Keith Long

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Reach4, First photo is where Tee goes into wall. Second photo is the whole stack. A member requested photo's. The leak is under first flange on Tee going into wall. I can post a pic of it but you can't see the pitted iron anymore because of the Oatey fix it that is over it. You can only see a bit of the rusted color water coming out around the bondo. The clear plastic tube on the 3 inch clean out is the waste line that comes off my water softener. It is where the installer choose to put it. This was here when we bought the house. I will probably move that to drain somewhere else. I never liked the idea that something related to potable water has it's waste drain line connected to the sewer.

The pictures are really just to give one an idea of the job ahead and any advice. My only hesitation about all of it is will the Fernco donut work the way it's supposed to on the 4 inch main in the wall. I will be cutting this pipe apart because it will be faster so there's no going back. Only place i'm drilling out will be at the lead seal on the main.
 

Reach4

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The pictures are really just to give one an idea of the job ahead and any advice. My only hesitation about all of it is will the Fernco donut work the way it's supposed to on the 4 inch main in the wall. I will be cutting this pipe apart because it will be faster so there's no going back. Only place i'm drilling out will be at the lead seal on the main.
Not so fast. Wait. I would try fixing the leak at the lead if that is where the leak is. That is why I had asked where the leak is.

Do not remove the lead. Pound it in better with a caulking iron or equivalent. That will push on the oakum and reseal.

See https://terrylove.com/lead_joint.htm

Start reading at about the word "caulk".

You can use a big blunt flat blade screwdriver instead of caulking irons made for the purpose.

The softener drain may be able to be moved to your laundry standpipe, and share the hole with an air gap made for the purpose. You could also run it to your kitchen sink drain via an air gap. There are air gaps made to serve a dishwasher and something else. A 10 inch softener only backwashes at 2.4 gpm.
 
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Jeff H Young

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Keith, You should be able to use the fernco donut , reach 4 mentioned repair which I think likely doable as well. but if you have time and money I cant argue with replacing to have all new.​
 

Keith Long

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I know JB weld makes a two part epoxy that dries to almost like a fiberglass type of finish. In this pic you can see where i put the Oatey fix it stick. The leak is in a small divot that goes into the iron about half of its thickness and it's right in the crevice where the pipe meets the flange right where the seam goes together. I do think the Oatey slowed it but as you can see from the rust colored seepage the leak still exists but it's not like it's leaving puddles on the floor. It just bothers me knowing its there. Its not something that needs immediate attention but i know it will be waiting for me. I may try the JB weld epoxy and just go over top and see what happens. Nothing to lose.

leak.jpg
 

Jeff H Young

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my buddy froze his 350 chevy cracked across freeze plugs cleaned it real good and got it to hold with jb weld don't know how long it lasted
 

Keith Long

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So yet something else to deter me. I'm learning there are different size 4 inch donuts. It may not be as easy as just grabbing the one you see at Lowes and expecting it to fit. From what i can see on the hub at the tee that goes to the street that i want to tap into, is says SW 4 Med 47/lbs. This could be a bit off but this is what i can see. Cant really get in there to measure real good while the tee is still in place either. At first i thought this hub looked slightly larger in diameter than the hub at the end of the tee. I put adjustable clamp on the flanges and they are both the same. Just an illusion i guess. I'd hate to cut this pipe and dig out the lead and find out the donut i got at lowes doesn't fit. I got the 4x4. When i start this i've got to get it done. I have 2 girls plus my wife and not water or toilets will be the end!
 

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Im not aware of diferances in the ID of the hub. probebly need to google or contact fernco 4 inch cast hub x 4 in plastic hopefully they are all the same on the hub end
 

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So yet something else to deter me. I'm learning there are different size 4 inch donuts. It may not be as easy as just grabbing the one you see at Lowes and expecting it to fit. From what i can see on the hub at the tee that goes to the street that i want to tap into, is says SW 4 Med 47/lbs. This could be a bit off but this is what i can see. Cant really get in there to measure real good while the tee is still in place either. At first i thought this hub looked slightly larger in diameter than the hub at the end of the tee. I put adjustable clamp on the flanges and they are both the same. Just an illusion i guess. I'd hate to cut this pipe and dig out the lead and find out the donut i got at lowes doesn't fit. I got the 4x4. When i start this i've got to get it done. I have 2 girls plus my wife and not water or toilets will be the end!
How about a photo of what it is that you would like to measure?
 

Reach4

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Its the ID of the 4inch castiron thats still leaded in inside the block basement wall
You said that the hub appeared to be the same as a different hub. Presumably the one that you tried the donut on, and found it was too tight for you to get in, is accessible.

Many digital calipers have protrusions (don't know the right word) to inside diameters.
 

Keith Long

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I'm assuming that the hub inside the basement wall is the same as the hub on the end of the tee. It's the hub inside the wall that i will put the donut in. At first glance the hub in the wall appeared to be slightly larger than the hub at the end of the tee. I cant get into the hub in the wall to get any kind of good measurement since the pipe is in the way.

I have some ratcheting C clamps and was able to get that around the pipe on the ends of the hub in the wall. I then compared that to the other end of hub that is inside the house. They are both the same. So, it is obviously the same diameter. I think the depth perception along with the whole pipe being slightly on an angle coming into the house threw off my line of sight. When you step back and line them up they appear to be the same. I just wanted to know if any plumbers on here actually found a different diameter inside the wall.

All the videos i've watched shows these guys using donuts they got at their regular box store. The only problem i've heard them talk about is trouble getting the pvc into the donut which plenty of grease should fix. I don't like suprises especially on a time frame! I have all the PVC and made a mock up without gluing anything and it looks really good. I just have butterflies because there are spots that i have to cut the CI to get out. Can't get a drill to the lead.

So once i start its all or nothing and if i can't get the main pvc to mate into that hub in the wall there's no running water or toilets in this house. It's all about that donut. I guess in a pinch and temporary i could pack the PVC in the hub and then plumbers putty in the joint till i have the right donut but i'm hoping and praying the 4x4 donut from lowes will work. Fernco only lists one other 4x4 and it's for thicker CI. I have the standard.
 

Reach4

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So it is the casting that leaks, and not the lead+oakum seal that leaks.

It is possible that Fernco could tell by your pipe markings which size you would need. https://www.fernco.com/plumbing/donuts-o-rings/donuts

Otherwise, I would get a long reach digital caliper, and a 6-inch stainless steel caliper than can measure ID. I will message you with a suggestion.
 

Keith Long

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Reach 4 that is a great idea! Got your message. I did call Fernco and talked to really nice woman. From the best i could measure (not so sure how accurate it was) we came up with ID of 5.25 inches. So the one i got at lowes she said is NOT the right one and would not fit tight. She gave me part number of the one i need. Home depot has to special order it. Supply house is out of stock. I need by this weekend so we'll see. I'm going to get the digital caliper.
 
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