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Undoing steam pipes?

J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
You're spot on ! There isn't any pipe I haven't been able to get out with your method..and the 3' Rigid aluminum "savior" I possess.

Filleting the fitting....What a truly nice way of putting it. I still prefer the "hammer method", in most situations.

Live and learn, Chris


  • Jim Franklin
    Jim Franklin Member Posts: 170
    Superhuman strength

    I'm sure this will elicit a few chuckles from the seasoned pipefitters. I'm trying to rearrange some piping in my steam system. Looks clean, and may have been installed as recently as 2001. At one point I had a 36" wrench on it and thought I was going to lift the corner of the house. And this was the 1 1/4" return! Haven't even tried the header yet. How the %#@$%## do I get this stuff undone? It's my own house so I'm not on the clock but I also don't want to grow old from one project.

  • Ken_40
    Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320
    The difficulty in unscrewing pipe...

    Is directly related to the pipe dope used in original assembly.

    The second is the natural tendency for wrench jaws to "egg" the nipple near the fitting it is screwed into - exponentially adding to friction that must be overcome.

    Use two 24" pipe wrneches instead, the handles 90 degrees apart and the jaws as close as possible.

    If done "properly," the fittings will be cast iron and breaking the relatively unexpensive fittings apart by placing a large headed sledge on the opposite face of the fitting whilst beating the opposte side with a medium sized hand sledge or mason's hammer will pop those puppies like glass. WEAR GLOVES AND EYE PROTECTION!!!!

    Heating the fitting with a torch for 10 seconds may "encourage" the release you need as well.

    As a last resort, cutting the nipple 1/2" from the fitting and filetting it from the fitting with a Sawzall or sabre saw via a two-channel "nick" - may be required.

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  • Steve Garson_2
    Steve Garson_2 Member Posts: 712

    I find cutting the fitting with a sawzall best. Just don't cut so far to nick the threads. Then when you use your pipe wrench, the fitting will just break open.
    Steve from Denver, CO
  • andy_21
    andy_21 Member Posts: 42
    undoing steam pipes

    got this from an old timer...Heat the offending pipe fitting & apply a regular household candle to it allow the wax to work into the threads, will work every time! I'm sure this will get a few laughs, but give it a try
  • bob_50
    bob_50 Member Posts: 306
    Unless your knuckles

    drag on the floor I would set the wrenches about 10 degrees apart, not 90. If you adjust the wrench properly (three pointed) it won't distort the pipe or the fitting.
  • Rich L.
    Rich L. Member Posts: 414
    Beat it!

    I haven't had much luck breaking the fittings by beating on them, always seems like somethings in the way of getting a good swing, but by banging on them with a good size hand maul while holding another behind the fitting has worked every time for me. Makes all the difference in the world. Also the 3 point suggestion for the pipe wrench mentioned above is key to not egg shaping the pipe as well.

    Good luck!
  • Jim Franklin
    Jim Franklin Member Posts: 170

    The problem I had with 3 pointing was the 36 incher's jaws weren't close enough to the throat of the wrench so the pipe would spin in the wrench. This is 1 1/4" pipe. One of our own stopped by Sunday and showed me how it's done. :-)

This discussion has been closed.