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Fitting into old steam pipes

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Barbarossa
Barbarossa Member Posts: 89
Try the Brooklyn method on the CI fittings. Score the outside of the fitting through the boss area. Then hold an 8 lb hammer behind it like an anvil and smack the fitting opposite with a 4 or 5 lb hammer. Done this for years, it saves the pipe but wastes the fitting. To save the fitting at the expense of the pipe you have to cut the pipe slit and peel as they described. It depends on the layout and changes you need to make and the need for unions or flanges.

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  • Noah
    Noah Member Posts: 13
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    Steam

    Anybody have any hints for getting old steam pipes apart? I'm looking to convert a single pipe steam system back to its original configuration. The house originally had one steam system and it was modified to have a boiler for each apartment unit. I want to go back to single family and back to one system. The pipes don't come apart with pipe wrenches. Is there a safe way to crack the fittings with a sledge hammer and not crack the fittings I want to keep? Should I cut the pipe close to the fitting, cut the inside thread portion, and peel out the thread? Any experience in this matter is appreaciated.
  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
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    If

    the fittings are cast iron (as opposed to malleable iron), you can score them with a grinder and whack them with a hand sledge or something larger. They will crack. Scoring helps you control that cracking and may allow you to save the threads remaining on the pipe.

    Cast Iron fittings are different in appearance than malleable in that CI fittings have larger bosses (bands of material) into which the pipe is threaded. CI does not have as much tensile strength as MI so needs more material.

    If you have MI fittings you can beat them with a hammer until the cows come home. You will have sore muscles, scratched pipe and a lot of cows in your house.

    If that is the case, I recommend taking a Sawzall to the piping, then to the cows. Fire up that grille. You will be hungry.
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
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    Put a burger on for me too!

    Yes, if you're very careful about not damaging the threads in the fitting you can cut the pipe off but leave about a 1 1/2" stub to get a wrench on, cut the stub and threads lengthwise just down to touching the fitting threads and the stub should spin out after that. If you nick the fitting too deep, the fitting becomes toast. ;)

    (Suddenly, I'm hungry!)
  • Noah
    Noah Member Posts: 13
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    How'd you know I was having burgers for dinner last night?

    Thanks for the notes..think I'll be using the cutoff procedure..
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
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    If,,,

    it still gives you trouble you can always notch it again in another spot. That usually does the trick.
  • Daniel_3
    Daniel_3 Member Posts: 543
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    It is quite easy actually. I use a roto-zip with the metal cutting wheel for the fittings themsleves by making a parallel slice to face until the inside threads of the pipes are just barely visible. You will see the threads as the metal is zipped away. Then use a cold chisel and tap it in the beginning of the parallel cut and also into the cut to open up the cut so the fitting will twist off with great ease. This of course is for just removing fittings after a pipe is removed. This will work for all sizes fairly easily with the right size chisel and mallet.

    To save the fittings and remove the pipe use your sawzall with a fresh 18 tpi blade and cut through almost flush to the fitting since trying to use a pipe wrench on old cast iron will not work easliy as I have experienced many times. With a 3 foot wrench you may be able to. After the pipe is about 1/4" left flush to the fitting I make two to three small pie cuts inside, carefully avoiding the notching of the threads, and then again with the cold chisel tapping the outside edge of the pipe 45^ toward the fitting to lift it up and crack the rest of it. The rest of it will fall right out if you do this. These methods require little strain on your part as the tools do most of the work.
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