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Electric impact wrench

Steve Minnich
Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,650
Is an electric impact wrench strong enough to bust loose a plug on a cast iron radiator? I've got Tim drilling, cutting, chiseling them out but it's a very slow process. Maybe a large breaker bar and sockets?

Thanks.
Author - Hard Knocks: My Life Inside Boiler Rooms
PHC News Columnist
Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/minnich-hydronic-consulting-and-design

Comments

  • aircooled81
    aircooled81 Member Posts: 197
    I got the Makita 1/2" drive impact gun 18v. It's done very well on old chiller barrel / condenser barrel nuts.
    I tried it out on a hoffman 17c, 1-3/8 socket, back-up wrench on the trap, worked like a charm.
    I bought this plug impact socket set, i'm going to try it out soon on some boiler plugs for the low water cut-out clean-outs on a cast iron boiler. I'll let you know how it worked out.
  • aircooled81
    aircooled81 Member Posts: 197
  • warno
    warno Member Posts: 229
    I've never used it for that task but my 20 volt Dewalt 1/2 impact has a ton of power.
    Steve Minnich
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,215
    Large breaker bar. Put a ton of pressure on it and tap on the hub with a hammer. It has worked for me before.
    Ramer Mechanical
    ramermechanical.com
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Steve Minnich
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,650
    It may be excessive but I brought a 4' pipe wrench and PB blaster to the party and the fittings are coming out in 5-10 minutes, tops.
    I feel bad for not setting Tim up with the right tools.
    Author - Hard Knocks: My Life Inside Boiler Rooms
    PHC News Columnist
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/minnich-hydronic-consulting-and-design
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,265
    Impact will do a lot, but finding the socket to fit correctly could be a hunt. I was so impressed with my 1/2" 18V Milwak that I rounded up all the 8 point sockets, (some impact rated) that were available. Those square headed plugs would want to break off the edges with a pipe wrench, so this has been a blessing.

    This also saves the arm when punching out KO for electric work.

    Even the 1/4" 18 V impact driver has walked out electric water heater elements. Takes some adaptors though.
  • aircooled81
    aircooled81 Member Posts: 197
    It worked like a charm, but the impact plug set I bought only went up to 3/4". So it popped off the 1/2 and 3/4" plugs that were installed with X-pando!
    I put a 18" pipe wrench on the fittings, then pulled the trigger.

    When I got to the 1" plugs, I used 2, 5# sledge hammers, banged the fitting from both sides a few times, then used my 18" crescent wrench with back-up wrench and gave it a quick pop. The slow motion stuff tends to round off the heads IMO.

    I also used the Impact on steam traps, this has worked like a charm. Back-up wrench on the trap body, impact has popped every lid off so far.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,549
    Like I've said before, impact is weird.
    It often removes stuff you'd otherwise break.

    For example, removing the chime rods from a clock that have brass heads will just split if you try to use a screw driver, but a manual impact driver will remove them with zero damage.

    A manual impact driver and hammer will remove screws with totally stripped heads.
    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
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837

    It may be excessive but I brought a 4' pipe wrench and PB blaster to the party and the fittings are coming out in 5-10 minutes, tops.
    I feel bad for not setting Tim up with the right tools.

    It builds character Steve :smiley: We ALL have to start in the bottom of the ditch. He'll remember this moving forward, and I guarantee he will need it someplace in his life. One of life's lessons on how to get the impossible done.

    Back in the day (never thought I'd be saying something like THAT), I'd lay the radiators on their side for stability, then put a 24" wrench on the spud, then add a 36" aluminum cheater pipe to the mix, then place a large foam pad between the cheater handle and the floor (actually laid radiator on large piece of plywood to avoid damage), then JUMP on the cheater bar and break them babies loose with a SNAP. I called it shock and awe snap torque.

    But that was when I was younger and dumber and a whole lot stronger and agile than I am now.

    Now, working smarter and not harder, I think your idea of an impact wrench should work quite well, with a lot less exposure to injury.

    ME

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
    Steve MinnichRich_49
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,564
    Cannot even imagine you with both feet off the floor Mark . Me either for that matter anymore .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Rich said:

    Cannot even imagine you with both feet off the floor Mark . Me either for that matter anymore .

    Not a pretty sight eh... I was svelt, at ONE point in time... Then I built a roof over my tool shed. :smile: Beer built that house.

    ME

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,265
    I have found that for cheater pipes that electrical EMT pipe (thinwall conduit) works good for me. 1 1/4" or 1 1/2"
    A 3' length has not bent yet. It is light and the ends can be egg shaped with sledge. The egg shape is "tuned" to stick about half way on the wrench handle by friction. The cheater stays in place and you can even pick the 3' iron one up by the end of cheater. The cheater stays on the wrench until it goes back into the truck. When done a little hammering gets them unstuck from the pipe wrench. FWIW
    Mark Eatherton
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    This will.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,265
    Got the 1/2" version, challenge is finding sockets to fit a large hex bushing.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,549
    JUGHNE said:

    Got the 1/2" version, challenge is finding sockets to fit a large hex bushing.

    No adapter available to make normal impact sockets work?

    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
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,650
    Started the rad re-pipe this morning. All the bushings and fittings are coming out of the radiators quickly.
    Author - Hard Knocks: My Life Inside Boiler Rooms
    PHC News Columnist
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/minnich-hydronic-consulting-and-design
    SWEI
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,650
    edited June 2016
    So far -13 125 year old plugs and 13 125 year old radiator valves removed in 3 hours. Chased all the threads with an 1 1/2" tap. Radiators definitely need a thorough a flushing and cleaning.
    Author - Hard Knocks: My Life Inside Boiler Rooms
    PHC News Columnist
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/minnich-hydronic-consulting-and-design
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,549
    You have an 1 1/2" tap!?
    There's a sign of a real professional.

    The guy I hired back in 2011 told me he had to replace a radiator because the 1/8" vent tapping was stripped. He couldn't even be bothered to carry an 1/8" or 1/4" tap.

    1 1/2".......... The cost of that hurts just thinking about 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
    Steve Minnich
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,265
    ChrisJ; no problem with the sockets fitting the impact driver.....I mean finding a socket to fix hex head piping bushings. Just measured a 2 X 1 1/4" hex bushing....just over 2.5" across flats on one side....across another set of flats was just 2.5". Often some irregular wrench sized fittings....wrench too small or next size too loose.

    But we can all rejoice for Stephen getting out the plugs (and only the plugs...not part of a section). Good Job!
    Steve Minnich
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,549
    JUGHNE said:

    ChrisJ; no problem with the sockets fitting the impact driver.....I mean finding a socket to fix hex head piping bushings. Just measured a 2 X 1 1/4" hex bushing....just over 2.5" across flats on one side....across another set of flats was just 2.5". Often some irregular wrench sized fittings....wrench too small or next size too loose.

    But we can all rejoice for Stephen getting out the plugs (and only the plugs...not part of a section). Good Job!

    Ahhh I'm sorry I misread that.
    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
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,650
    Correction - the Powers that be just told me the radiators were installed around 1925.
    Author - Hard Knocks: My Life Inside Boiler Rooms
    PHC News Columnist
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/minnich-hydronic-consulting-and-design
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