Vintage plumbing

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Drivesme, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. Drivesme

    Drivesme New Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Washington state
    OK, I've got vintage 1924 plumbing and it turns out that stuff is just to be looked at and not touched!
    I did some re-routing of my kitchen and washing machine drain as they did not go into the sewer lines but out to a leach field, I think that where they went anyway.(who knows) All that went well but in the process my tub/shower drain decided to start leaking at the old lead P trap that looked like a coffee can. (you should see this thing!) so I replaced the line and the P trap with ABS, all should have been good, but no! It is now leaking at what I think is called a 'wipe joint' on the lead pipe the goes into the cast iron waste stack! Looks like it has done this before, I'm guessing that sometime in the Kennedy/Johnson administration someone has put some white stuff (white lead?) on that joint to seal it up.
    I really do not what to get into that lead/okum connection, no, I REALLY don't want to get in to that. So I was wondering if I could maybe solder that joint???
    Any ideas or suggestions?
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    Here's my non-professional opinion. I would suspect that your entire drain system and supply system are in need of total replacement. You can probably do some temporary bandaid first aid to gain some time to prepare, but temporary patching will not cure the problem. Undoubtly your supply system is galvanized pipe which is most certainly corroded to half or less of its original size. As you have recoginzed, the drain system has been patched up before. To deal with the immediate problem, you can try some caulking and see if that will stop the leak. Since drains are not under pressure, sometimes you can get by with something like that. Again, that is the long term answer. One thing about bandaid repairs, if they don't work, you're not out much and you can try something else.
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    The problem with trying to solder it is that it was done with a lower melting point solder than you will have. Therefore before your solder starts to melt the wiped joint will be dissolving before your eyes. And then you will have to consider lead/oakum caulking.
  5. Drivesme

    Drivesme New Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Washington state
    OK, thanks guys!
    I did do the baid-aid route, used some stuff called 'propoxy' which is working pretty far.
    I have opened up my supply lines in the past and they are galv. but they are really good shape, must have been replaced at some point.
    The drain that I replaced was bad, and I mean really bad, but it's 80 years old and god only knows where it drained to.
    Hopefully the band aid will work because I really do not want to get into the lead and oakum Dept. at the hardware store.
    Is there some kind of rubber doughnut that can fit inside of the cast to replace the lead/oakum, just in case this doesn't work??
    Thanks again!
  6. Zach

    Zach New Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Okay, so I haven't actually done this, but have researched quite a bit since I've recently purchased a 1929 house with old lead drains...

    But evidently, if you just want to seal the lead connection back up, you can do so with a hammer and cold chissel. Basically what you do is use them to force the lead back down into the joint. You may also be able to find lead rope which you can use to further pack the joint. Place the chissel in the lead joint area, and hit the other end of the chissel with a hammer. The lead is soft and will be forced down into the joint, sealing up the void where the leak is..

    good luck!
  7. Drivesme

    Drivesme New Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Washington state
    I thought about that myself, but I scared to do that!
    These turned out to be holes, about the size of a pea. How they got there is something that I would love to know!
    So far the propoxy is doing the job, that is some amazing stuff!
    I'm really lucky to live close to a real hardware store that carrys all the stuff that you need when you own an old house, plus the guys and gals that work there know what they are talking about!! Imagine that!
    I told them what was going on with my drains and they had three different options for me. I chose the cheapest because if that doesn't work I can try something else.
    Thanks for the input Zach, I sent you a PM.
  8. Drivesme

    Drivesme New Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Washington state
    OK, vintage plumbing part 2.
    In the process of re-routing my kitchen drain I removed the cabinet that was built around my soil stack, it rained yesterday, after many weeks of no rain, I noticed that water was seeping in from outside where the sewer line goes through the concrete wall!!
    I'm guessing that this has been going on for a long time and I just never knew it due to the cabinet.
    If I dig down to the pipe on the outside what are my options to seal this up?
    Will fresh concrete around the pipe help or do I need to get some tar like stuff??
    Or both?
    There is a large fern right there, could that be part of the problem?
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