Need assistance with stuck fill valve on polybutylene piping - possible solutions?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Lucille S., Dec 7, 2016.

  1. Lucille S.

    Lucille S. New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2016
    Occupation:
    Graphic Designer
    Location:
    Washington
    Greetings.

    I have a Western Pottery (1995 - the year this condo building was built) toilet. Polybutylene has been piped throughout the entire unit. Couple weeks ago there appeared to be the sound of running water coming from the toilet, although it could be an internal leak and not from the toilet itself. I wanted to change the flapper and fill valve. I watched plenty of Youtube videos on how to change a fill valve. Unfortunately in my building, the shut off valve is at the central manifold; there is no shut off valve or stainless steel braided supply line going from the wall to the toilet.
    IMG_0271.JPG
    After purchasing toilet flapper and Fluidmaster Fill Valve (400CARS - concerned about whether it would fit toilet tank so I got the specialty valve kit), I installed the toilet flapper just fine, but after spending 2+ hours with a pair of pliers and an Allied handy wrench (maximum 1"), I was not able to get the grey supply line (polybutylene) off from the white lock nut that was holding the fill valve. See pictures. After reading and discussing with family across the country, I'm guessing that I should have purchased a couple of channel lock pliers - one for inside the tank to hold the fill valve into place and the other to use for the turning of the grey supply valve (which now has plenty of shavings as I tried my hardest to turn counterclockwise). It will not budge. I don't have a problem with purchasing a pair of channel locks. Any suggestions on which channel locks? I kept thinking while I was trying to turn the grey supply line at the top that what I really needed was a hacksaw to saw off the current fill valve pipe which has a thin thread between the grey supply valve which I can't twist off and the white lock nut. Any suggestions on hacksaws that will cut plastic fill valve (I'm assuming that it's plastic) piping? Which one should I get? My concern is that because of the polybutylene piping, I am unsure of whether it is a male thread or female thread that is up at top. I wouldn't want to cut off polybutylene (it is in the white fill valve piping?) as I do not have the expertise on how to put it back together again. I've been reading about SharkBite -- PB to PEX -- but it is all very fuzzy to me. I still think that I can do the fill valve replacement on my own and not have to call a plumber. Any ideas on how to take the top grey hexagonal piece off without completely breaking it? Thank you in advance for any ideas or suggestions.

    IMG_0272.JPG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2016
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. Lucille S.

    Lucille S. New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2016
    Occupation:
    Graphic Designer
    Location:
    Washington
    Terry, thanks for the response.

    I am concerned about not having the muscle to twist the adapter off of the fill valve connection even with a pair of channel locks. Thanks for the suggestion, BTW. I've been reading that a heat gun (many say that a hair dryer will work, but I do not have one of those) might assist -- so long as not used too long as the plastic/polybutylene adapter will likely melt -- in twisting off the connection. Is this a sound idea? Or will it just melt plastic?

    If I can't get the adapter off the fill valve connection with a pair of channel locks, what do I do then? How about this: Purchase heat gun, plus Sharkbite 1/2 polybutylene to 1/2 brass (see: http://www.homedepot.com/p/SharkBit...tylene-Conversion-Coupling-U4008LFA/202270632), pex pipe (http://www.homedepot.com/p/SharkBite-1-2-in-x-2-ft-White-PEX-Pipe-U860W2/205047980), plus threaded reducer bushing (1/2 to 1inch) to go onto the 7/8" threads at end of fill valve (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Charlott...-x-S-Reducer-Bushing-PVC021070700HD/203811447), plus pipe cutter and pipe cement. So Plan B: use heat gun to melt plastic and get stuck fill valve off. Using pipe cutter that can cut PEX and polybutylene, cut polybutylene off at edge before grey fitting connection. Connect to one end of Sharkbite. Use another 3 inches of white PEX tubing cut to size and stick it on other end of Sharkbite. Then use threaded reducer bushing to go onto one end of PEX and the other end onto fill valve. Pipe cement is only needed at the PEX and reducer bushing juncture -- not at the fill valve juncture. Would you say that this Plan B would work? I've probably spent too much time thinking about it. I should just buy the 2 channel lock pliers and see what happens.

    Thank you in advance for any comments/suggestions.
     
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Please stop. Nothing you are trying to do has anything to do with what you have.
     
  6. hj

    hj Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    You are going to turn a simple job into a major project. Unscrew the "flare/compression" nut from the PB tubing then unscrew the fitting from the fill valve. The fill valve does NOT have a standard pipe thread, and should not be overly tight.
     
Similar Threads: Need assistance
Forum Title Date
Toilet Forum discussions Need assistance with flush water reload in the back tank Feb 19, 2020
Toilet Forum discussions Need toilet recommendation Apr 30, 2021
Toilet Forum discussions Yorkville, Need to Replace Back Outlet Toilet Seal Mar 23, 2021
Toilet Forum discussions Replacing toilet need advice Feb 21, 2021
Toilet Forum discussions Bathroom Remodel - Toilet Flange is Gone - FIX HELP NEEDED Jan 30, 2021

Share This Page