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How do you get this cap off?

PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
edited April 25 in Plumbing
This is a 2" cap on the end of the wet return. It's so close to the ground, a piece of cardboard won't slide under it. The rear wall is 12" behind it; the floor beam is only 6" away. There's plenty of room to thread it on, but not enough room to even get the wrench teeth on the cap to remove it.

It needs to come off to flush the return. How do you do it?



1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
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Comments

  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,418
    It looks like a plug. It should turn out. Try a little penetrating oil.
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    edited April 25
    It's a cap on a nipple. This this is what it looks like w/o the wrench. I've been soaking it in penetrating oil all day, the but there's no way to grab onto it.


    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,418
    You may have to cut a small wedge out of the cap to relieve the pressure on the threads. Then it will unscrew and you can put a new cap on. Be careful not to cut into the threads of the nipple. Use some never-seize on the threads when you replace it.
    PrecaudSTEAM DOCTOR
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,703
    Another approach. Is there any give at all? You might try undoing that union just above the T and seeing if you can move the offending pipe sideways and then up enough to get a wrench on it. But that won't work, of course, if the union won't come apart...
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    HVACNUTPrecaud
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,418
    Also, try a smaller pipe wrench. One that you can lay flat enough that you can stand on the handle and push down.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,269
    edited April 25
    If you can do what Jamie said, then try to pry up the horizontal run and squeeze a 1x or something underneath.

    Any way you look at it, you don't have much leverage.
    Try to raise that cap high enough to get the wrench jaws at 6 and 9 o'clock. Use another wrench (probably stand on it) to hold back.

    My back hurts just looking at it.
    Precaud
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    OK, thanks @Fred , that makes sense. Is the right tool for that a reciprocal saw, or an angle grinder? If the former, any special blade needed?

    @Jamie Hall, thanks, I should try your idea first. That union must come off to flip that pipe anyway.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,418
    Precaud said:

    OK, thanks @Fred , that makes sense. Is the right tool for that a reciprocal saw, or an angle grinder? If the former, any special blade needed?

    @Jamie Hall, thanks, I should try your idea first. That union must come off to flip that pipe anyway.

    If you have to cut, I would use an angle grinder.
    PrecaudSuperTech
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    OK, thanks. I have that and the metal-cutting discs here. Trashing that cap is no big deal, it isn't going to be reused anyway. It will be replaced with a reducer and hose fitting for future flushing.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,935
    @Larry Weingarten has it right an offset wrench. Maybe you can borrow or rent one. Or just slice the cap with an angle grinder and get it off
  • ch4manch4man Member Posts: 218
    10" wrench with a 24" sideways on the handle???
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Member Posts: 1,774
    edited April 26
    Hi, I'd want to get a bigger wrench to put that cheater on. (If I'm reading your question correctly) I think a 14" or 18" with a cheater would do it without risking breaking the wrench. Do you have something big, like a 36" wrench to back this up with? ;)

    Yours, Larry
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    I removed an identical 2" cap from a tee on the equalizer today, it took a 24" wrench with 15" cheater to budge it after soaking it overnight. I doubt a 14" would do.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,142
    Cut two cuts with grinder or reciprocating saw. Use hammer and chisel. Shouldn't take more then 10-20 minutes.
    Precaud
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,186
    Where was that post with the wrench that clamped on to the pipe and had a gear drive...
  • rick in Alaskarick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,073
    I would try tightening it down to see if you can get it to move. If you can, then I would lay the wrench with the handle to the right, and jaws at 9 and 3 o'clock. It will be coming onto the fitting at an angle, but should still grip. You might be able to get it that way.
    Rick
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    mattmia2 said:

    Where was that post with the wrench that clamped on to the pipe and had a gear drive...

    Or how about a large socket set shaped for end caps, with 36" ratchet?
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
    mattmia2
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,142
    Don't think there are sockets that will fit. There is no guarantee that any wrench will get that cap off. Cut and chisel. Tried and proven.
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,142
    You will need two wrenches, if you go the wrench route. You don't want to crack anything else.
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307

    Don't think there are sockets that will fit. There is no guarantee that any wrench will get that cap off. Cut and chisel. Tried and proven.

    The socket thing was a joke... wishful thinking. Most likely it will get cut off.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    edited April 26
    I'd say the original installers did not intend to have this cap so close to the floor, there's a 1.5" gap under the other end of the wet return. It looks to me like they cut the return drip pipe or the nipple below the union (which connects to the tee) too long but just used it anyway.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,142
    Go on YouTube. Put in Gordon Schweizer He has video or two about removing old fittings. And there are rumors that he knows a bit about steam systems in general.
    PrecaudGordo
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    @Gordo 's a gem, no doubt about it...
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
    Gordo
  • jumperjumper Member Posts: 1,430
    Hire a gorilla with a strap wrench?
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,186
    chain wrench?

    Was the concrete floor there when it was installed?
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,142
    Wrench was turning in the other direction. Not hitting wall. They might have installed with a channellock.
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    edited April 27
    I needed a day off, will have at it tomorrow, after preparing to catch the water that will flow out once the cap wall is cut through... could be dangerous while holding the angle grinder... maybe I'll break that union and suck most of the water out first.
    mattmia2 said:

    Was the concrete floor there when it was installed?

    I'd say yes. There's a patched area nearby where the old wood-fired boiler used to be.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,186
    Looking at it again, that wall is sitting on the concrete and it has wood lath so it is maybe 1930's at the latest so it looks like the floor was there in the 50's
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    Yep, you nailed it. The house was built in 1930.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,790
    If you drilled a 3/8" or so in the end of the cap you could then suck the water out with wet vac.........expect black sludge also.
    Precaudmattmia2
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    Thanks for the suggestion, @JUGHNE . That sounds like a less messy, more controllable way to do it.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,186
    Or drill and tap it for a 1/2" or 3/4" npt fitting
    PrecaudBillyO
  • HomerJSmithHomerJSmith Member Posts: 885
    Been there done that. Try your torch, heat the cap and use the wrench.
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    edited April 27
    @JUGHNE 's idea worked great. I forgot how easy cast iron drills. Now to get the cap off.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • Alan WelchAlan Welch Member Posts: 207
    if you seperate the union, you might be able to offset the 2 parts, which might allow you to raise the cap off the floor.
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    mattmia2 said:

    Or drill and tap it for a 1/2" or 3/4" npt fitting

    If your "pipe flip" idea works, that would be a very reasonable alternative, just leave it there...

    if you seperate the union, you might be able to offset the 2 parts, which might allow you to raise the cap off the floor.

    I haven't had success separating the union yet... I need a cheater for my 24" wrench.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307
    OK, I go the union apart. Two inch iron pipe is interesting - there's no flex, no give!
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
    mattmia2
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 307

    Been there done that. Try your torch, heat the cap and use the wrench.

    I guess I need to get a torch, my hot air gun isn't doing the job. We have a Harbor Freight here, is one of theirs good enuf for this?
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
    HVACNUT
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,790
    If you lift that pipe were you going to add a tee for the header drip?

    Looking back at your previous pictures. You have a cast iron 45 in that header drip.
    You could "crack" that by holding a 10 lb sledge against one side and wack the opposite side with a 2 lb sledge. That will crack the fitting for removal.

    You could remove that union.
    A cap on the threads where the 45 went into the main drip.
    Then 45 down to your new tee from the drip.
    You need a union in the vertical drop.

    If that drip is only a drip and not the equalizer, you could reduce to even 1" IMO. easier replacement and less costs.
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