Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Opening tapped vent in brand new radiator

So I just bought a brand new 4x19x8 slenderized cast iron floor from my local plumbing supply shop. I'm trying to install it, and I can't figure out how to get the plug out of the vent hole. The guy at the shop told me that you just put an allen key in there and screw it out, but every allen key in my set just spins in the hole (after some initial resistance). Have I stripped it? Or do I actually need to drill and tap the hole myself? I feel silly for not being able to figure this out. Has anyone had any experience installing these new radiators?

Comments

  • No doubt it needs a metric sized key.--NBC
  • Sailah
    Sailah Member Posts: 826
    edited December 2015
    That looks pretty wallered out, not sure an allen will do it at this point. But I would try metric as mentioned, auto parts stores carry them in large sizes for brakes and they are reasonably priced. You can try tapping in a Torx bit of appropriate size. Or a large EZ out. BUT, if you break either of those tools, you now have a major problem because they are hardened steel and require cobalt or carbide drills to excavate.

    Assuming you don't want repaint that radiator, I would gently heat the area surrounding the plug with a heat gun and get it too hot to touch. Apply an ice cube to the plug to cool and shrink it and hopefully gain a differential enough to help extract the plug. Without seeing it in person and knowing how much depth you have, I personally would smack in the largest EZ out I could fit in there after the heat treatment and lean on a wrench to remove it.

    If you promise to return in like condition I can send you some medium sized EZ outs to try as I know they are expensive to buy new.

    photo 20151222_075012_zpshsavzit0.jpg
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
    SWEI
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    That is a very generous offer

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Yes-extremely generous.
    I would still drill it out, to avoid any chance of having the ez-out break off.--NBC
  • Sethamin
    Sethamin Member Posts: 46
    Thank you for the offer, Sailah, but I will decline for now. I'd rather try getting it out without risking someone else's tools.

    How exactly would I drill it out? I'm sure I could put a hole in it, but that still wouldn't help me get any torque on it to extract it. Should I try an 11/32 bit and then use a chisel to extract the edges of the plug from the threads?

    Or maybe I should just forget about this whole thing, and drill and tap the vent hole on the other side (which I'm pretty sure does not have a plug in it)?
  • Sailah
    Sailah Member Posts: 826
    edited December 2015
    Sethamin said:

    Thank you for the offer, Sailah, but I will decline for now. I'd rather try getting it out without risking someone else's tools.

    How exactly would I drill it out? I'm sure I could put a hole in it, but that still wouldn't help me get any torque on it to extract it. Should I try an 11/32 bit and then use a chisel to extract the edges of the plug from the threads?

    Or maybe I should just forget about this whole thing, and drill and tap the vent hole on the other side (which I'm pretty sure does not have a plug in it)?

    Well, I wouldn't have offered if I wasn't willing to see a broken tool. I bought that whole bin (plus about 75# of REALLY big ones) for $10 at auction and I have multiple of each size. I brought them in because we needed to remove the pipe from some radiators that were snapped off. I was jumping on a 24" pipe wrench and they didn't break so I doubt you would run the risk of snapping one.

    Regarding drilling, I always start with a center punch so the drill doesn't wander. Give it a light first tap and then look at the location of the dimple. You can massage the punch mark to center with increasingly harder taps. Once it's dead nuts center, rap it hard and there's your starter hole. Drill out in steps starting with something thin but stout maybe 1/4". Heavy pressure is needed to keep the bit cutting and not work hardening the material. On something that small I wouldn't bother with cutting fluid or if it's cast iron. You can tell from the chips. Cast iron is grey and dusty, the chips are fine. Steel with a sharp bit will get you nice curls.

    Keep drilling until you can fit an EZ out in there. I'd go for the largest size because it's the strongest. Nothing makes your heart sink faster than a snapped EZ out they are harder than Chinese algebra. How much torque to apply is a feel thing. Keep torquing until it snaps, then back off slightly lol.

    Heat is your friend for a job like this.

    Seriously, my offer stands, it's not like I'm lending out my Starrett 15" super precision machinist level or something delicate. If you can manage to break one of these EZ outs I commend you. It's the tiny baby ones that you can risk breaking just like taps. I've broken a few 1/4"-20 taps but I've never broken a 1/2"-13 tap.
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • Sethamin
    Sethamin Member Posts: 46
    edited December 2015
    Sorry if this wasn't clear, but the problem is with the opening for the vent, not one of the supply or return holes. It should only be 1/8"-27. So it's really not that large, and an extractor of that size is not terribly expensive.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,812
    edited December 2015
    Yeah, try to get the plug out and worse case if threads get damaged drill it out and tap it 1/4" and then use a plated 1/4" to 1/8" bushing.

    I need to get some EZ outs and more taps and dies my self. I have 1/8" NPT and 1/4" NPT taps, but absolutely nothing else.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • LarryK
    LarryK Member Posts: 46
    Harbor Freight has a 1/4" 3/8" and 1/2" NPT tap and die set for ludicrously cheap. Not the best alloy probably but good enough to work a few times and save your butt. The are OK for cleaning threads, too.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,812
    LarryK said:

    Harbor Freight has a 1/4" 3/8" and 1/2" NPT tap and die set for ludicrously cheap. Not the best alloy probably but good enough to work a few times and save your butt. The are OK for cleaning threads, too.

    And when the cheap tap breaks off you'll wish you were dead. :o
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 541
    The correct tapping size drill for a 1/8-27 NPT tapped hole is 11/32", so start out with a 1/8" drill or so, and work your way up. You may find that as you get close to full tapping size, you will be able to pick out what's left of the old plug with a needle point scriber or similar tool.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,812
    Pumpguy said:

    The correct tapping size drill for a 1/8-27 NPT tapped hole is 11/32", so start out with a 1/8" drill or so, and work your way up. You may find that as you get close to full tapping size, you will be able to pick out what's left of the old plug with a needle point scriber or similar tool.

    Why do some 1/8" NPT taps call for 11/32 and others call for size Q?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    ChrisJ said:

    Pumpguy said:

    The correct tapping size drill for a 1/8-27 NPT tapped hole is 11/32", so start out with a 1/8" drill or so, and work your way up. You may find that as you get close to full tapping size, you will be able to pick out what's left of the old plug with a needle point scriber or similar tool.

    Why do some 1/8" NPT taps call for 11/32 and others call for size Q?
    An 11/32" drill is more readily available than trying to track down a Q. You are only talking about something like 1/100" difference

  • Matt_67
    Matt_67 Member Posts: 219
    With something that small a left hand drill bit sometimes just spins it out while drilling
  • LarryK
    LarryK Member Posts: 46
    The left hand drills are hard to find, you have to go to a machine tooling supplier like MSC. Hanson makes a set of easy-outs with LH drills that's pretty neat. They work wonderfully on motorcycle case screws but that's OT. I wonder if they would make much difference on a jammed taper plug. mcmaster.com/#2729a46/=10cuyab
  • Sethamin
    Sethamin Member Posts: 46
    Thanks for all your help everyone. I elected to just drill and tap the vent hole on the opposite of the radiator rather than try to extract this plug. I just foresaw that it could take a lot more time if things went wrong, versus drilling a tapping a new hole which was comparatively easy.
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Sethamin said:

    Thanks for all your help everyone. I elected to just drill and tap the vent hole on the opposite of the radiator rather than try to extract this plug. I just foresaw that it could take a lot more time if things went wrong, versus drilling a tapping a new hole which was comparatively easy.

    What do you mean "opposite"? The vent needs to be on the far side of the steam connection. Not the same side.
  • Sethamin
    Sethamin Member Posts: 46
    Yes, I'm aware of that. This is a brand new radiator, so it comes without any plugs in the supply or return holes (i.e. on each end of the radiator, there's a 1" hole on top and 1-1/4" hole on the bottom). Presumably they do this so that you can set up the radiator for different configurations (e.g. 1-pipe steam versus 2-pipe hot water). So putting the vent on the other side just means that I swap where the bushing and plug were going to go on the lower holes.
  • Sailah
    Sailah Member Posts: 826



    What do you mean "opposite"? The vent needs to be on the far side of the steam connection. Not the same side.

    I'm wondering why this is true. all my experience with steam leads me to believe it would work fine as the steam will always go from high to low.

    I would personally do exactly as you said, put the vent opposite the supply. Just wondering if there would really be any true loss in performance

    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • The thought is that with steam being lighter than air, it will rise up on the supply side, and close a vent located there before the rest of the radiator is full. This would certainly happen if the radiator were steam only, with no connections across the top.
    The test would be to put a vent on each end, and see which closed first.--NBC
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Sailah said:



    What do you mean "opposite"? The vent needs to be on the far side of the steam connection. Not the same side.

    I'm wondering why this is true. all my experience with steam leads me to believe it would work fine as the steam will always go from high to low.

    I would personally do exactly as you said, put the vent opposite the supply. Just wondering if there would really be any true loss in performance

    If the vent is on the same side as the supply you will only vent steam in the first section of the radiator. Steam won't reach the far side.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,812
    Sailah said:



    What do you mean "opposite"? The vent needs to be on the far side of the steam connection. Not the same side.

    I'm wondering why this is true. all my experience with steam leads me to believe it would work fine as the steam will always go from high to low.

    I would personally do exactly as you said, put the vent opposite the supply. Just wondering if there would really be any true loss in performance

    I have 10 single pipe radiators in my house and every one of them has the steam go to the top of the first section (pipe side) before anywhere else. If you had a vent in that section it would close after only a tiny portion of the first section heated.

    I don't know why it's true, but it is true without a doubt. What I can also add is if I vent a radiator too fast, the steam will take a short cut across the bottom and hit the vent from that direction. Not sure if it matters but it always seemed like any radiator that bottom heated first didn't work as well so I avoid it.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Sailah
    Sailah Member Posts: 826
    Interesting, did not know that. We only do 2 pipe steam here and run always 5 PSIG or higher. So it fills (and heats) anything instantly.
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,776
    Yes, critical that the vent be on opposite side as the inlet. Also, NOT at the top. Should be located somewhere around 1/3. to 1/2 way up from the bottom. I don't think I would have spent more than a moment tryining to extract with a wrench. I'd get a 1/8" pipe tap and appropriate bit. You already have the Allen socket in the middle that will guide the bit. Drill the hole and use the tap to clean it Out. A 5 minute task.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    I think you were better off leaving that plug alone. I don't like the way it looks. It has what looks like fiberglass around it. Like they drilled a bad casting, then tried to hide where it blew out. Maybe I'm not seeing it correctly, though.