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Best tactics for removing 3" cast iron plug?

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delcrossv
delcrossv Member Posts: 748
I'd like to gain access to the mud leg of my MIL's Weil JB-5 (installed in the early 60's). Going through the return side is problematic, so I'd like to remove the 3" cast plug on the opposite side.
Should I even attempt to turn it? Got a 3' spud wrench and a cheater bar.
If not, what's the best plan of attack to removing it without damaging the boiler?

After it's out, should I put in black nipple and a brass cap or go all red brass? I'm planning on making washing out an annual event, so easy future removal is key.
Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.

Comments

  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,352
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    Hi, I think you'll get lots of ideas, from turning it out to cutting it out in pieces. I'd start with your wrench and cheater, but then, while holding firm pressure on the tool, use a small sledge and tap on the cheater. You become a human impact wrench. Might try tightening a bit first, also. I've had good luck with this approach. If it doesn't work, on to the Sawzall!

    Yours, Larry
    delcrossvHVACNUT
  • wmgeorge
    wmgeorge Member Posts: 222
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    Kroil let it soak for a while over night perhaps and then again. Now do what Larry suggested.
    Old retired Commercial HVAC/R guy in Iowa. Master electrician.
    delcrossv
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 748
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    wmgeorge said:

    Kroil let it soak for a while over night perhaps and then again. Now do what Larry suggested.

    Kro9il specifically or any penetrant? I have PB Blaster on hand.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,870
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    Good advice from @Larry Weingarten, but before the Sawzall I would try a torch.
    kcopp
  • Gsmith
    Gsmith Member Posts: 433
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    PB blaster works pretty well too. Give it a try.
  • JimP
    JimP Member Posts: 87
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    I don’t quite understand where this plug is but if possible I’d heat it with a torch. Get it red hot if possible and it might turn after it cools down.
    wmgeorge
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,726
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    Pipe wrench and 10’ pipe, it will pop 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,710
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    Take a sharp hole saw and cut a big hole in the plug. Then use a sawzall to cut out a chunk and chip it out with a cold chisel,

    Black nipple and cap is fine. "Never Seize" and teflon tape on the threads
    pecmsgdelcrossv
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
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    If this the unit your talking about I think
    JUGHE still has the best advice on how to address the situation

    From September



    JUGHNE said:
    <Snip>. Once open you could use the manual water fill valve to flush. On the return drop manifold, there is a drain on the end. That will clear out the sludge out of that manifold. It acts as a collection point for junk from the returns and actually keeps the junk out of the boiler to a point. If you can manually operate the water fill valve with that drain open, it would do the flushing on that section for you. As far as removing the lower drain plug on the opposite, that has been in there from the new install, I would not try it myself. If you had to really get into the bottom, the reducing 90 of the return water to the boiler would be easier to open than that plug, IMO.....and that would take a torch and 4' pipe wrench. And then some replacement piping as there are no friendly located unions. If done, I would replace the 90 with a tee for future cleaning, if you get that far. I would get things flushed out from all ports and see how the water looks in a couple of weeks of running. Remember the operation of the LWCO to stop the burner is imperative. Most apartment rentals..commercial property require a second manual reset LWCO.


    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,726
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    Oh thought this was on the boiler 

    gonna need to back that with another wrench 😀
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 919
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    An IBW horizontal water tube boiler has a plug in the water wall on the outside of the boiler that gives you access to the water tube behind it. After many years of service those 2" plugs were almost impossible to remove so I or someone who was at the site would spray all the plugs several times a day for 2-3 days. After this the plugs were usually easy to remove. This would be my first way.

    Next idea would be to heat the area around the plug, not the plug, if there is access to that area, then use the largest wrench you have available, I could lend you my 36" Ridgid with the 2.5" aluminum pipe as a cheater.

    Last, use a hole saw to cut out the plug's center and then carefully cut the remainder of the plug towards the threads making sure that you do not cut into the threads. Use a hammer and chisel to remove the sections between the cuts. The size of the plug determines how you proceed.
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
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    GW said:
    Oh thought this was on the boiler 

    gonna need to back that with another wrench 😀
    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/185012/sludgy-boiler-opening-bottom-cleanout#latest

    If this thread with pictures of the boiler and plumbing I'm not sure if he's going to get better advice than he got from with the photos posted... Maybe he forgot about the post..
    @JUGHNE or @The Steam Whisperer or @dopey27177 

    Good ideas here... but if you look at it you might have a different opinion on how to approach this job... especially for the MIL 😶
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    delcrossv
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,828
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    I'd just cut it out to begin with. Trying to put enough torque on it to break it free could open up a number of cans of worms. It go with a nipple and cap to replace it, worst case you can cut the cap off later
    EBEBRATT-Eddelcrossv
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,710
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    Agree with @mattmia2 brute force may be quicker but may cause leaks elsewhere. Once you learn how to use a sawzall and a chisel it's not bad. But a CI plug is more difficult to deal with as CI chips away and doesn't peal like steel
    delcrossv
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 748
    edited March 2022
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    GW said:
    Oh thought this was on the boiler 

    gonna need to back that with another wrench 😀
    It's on the boiler. Cracking a section s the worry. Holesaw and sawzall seems safer.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,085
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    In another posting, didn't we discuss removing the 90 ell on the other side and replacing it with a tee for clean out?

    Or is this a different boiler?
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,726
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    Gotta do what you gotta. If it’s been in water all these years, I’m voting that the added torque would free it 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    delcrossv
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
    edited March 2022
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    Is this what you want to remove now ? 
    The more specific you are the more accurately your question could be assessed and evaluated for response.
    The is your Mother in Laws boiler for a multi unit building she owns.
    The boiler is 60+/- years old and is operating normally..
    You want remove this? Plug so you can clean the waterside better ?
    You want to minimize the odds of damaging that section of the boiler whilst achieved your objective...

    A. Q: Have you any experience doing this type work? I would heed the words of those who do..
    B: Q: Have you discussed this Building Owners (Your MIL) and explained the reason you want to do this, the potential damage risk , and the benefits rewards vs failure..?
    I already see some good answers ( IMHO ) 
    What's t your thoughts )
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    Larry Weingarten
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 748
    edited March 2022
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    JUGHNE said:

    In another posting, didn't we discuss removing the 90 ell on the other side and replacing it with a tee for clean out?

    Or is this a different boiler?


    Same one, but there are additional access problems on that side. I'll take another look, but at first glance it looks like a lot more work. Worth some passes with PB Blaster in any event.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • wmgeorge
    wmgeorge Member Posts: 222
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    If its really not an emergency I would wait until heating season is over. I know I have loosened in the past rusted fittings and bolts, penetrating oil over days and then heated like suggested and a large pipe wrench.
    Old retired Commercial HVAC/R guy in Iowa. Master electrician.
    reggidelcrossv
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 748
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    reggi said:

    Is this what you want to remove now ? 
    The more specific you are the more accurately your question could be assessed and evaluated for response.
    The is your Mother in Laws boiler for a multi unit building she owns.
    The boiler is 60+/- years old and is operating normally..
    You want remove this? Plug so you can clean the waterside better ?
    You want to minimize the odds of damaging that section of the boiler whilst achieved your objective...

    A. Q: Have you any experience doing this type work? I would heed the words of those who do..
    B: Q: Have you discussed this Building Owners (Your MIL) and explained the reason you want to do this, the potential damage risk , and the benefits rewards vs failure..?
    I already see some good answers ( IMHO ) 
    What's t your thoughts )

    Well, the boiler is back to cloudy rusty water at this point so there's crud in there, despite last year's flush and clean. Yes, so it's for waterside flushing.
    Yes, I've done a good deal of removing frozen plugs from CI drains. Those I've always chipped out.
    Seems the risk is fairly low if I just cut it out, rather than torquing it.

    Nothing is going to happen until the season is over in any event. :)

    Thoughts?
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    wmgeorge
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,085
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    Look for a Utube about "wand washing boilers".

    A floor drain is nice to have for this.
    reggidelcrossv
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 748
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    JUGHNE said:

    Look for a Utube about "wand washing boilers".

    A floor drain is nice to have for this.

    That's what brought this up. Making the wand is straightforward. Just need access to the mud leg.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,085
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    how big is the elbow on the other side? is that 3" is it st. el or on a nipple. would be a hell of a lot easier to cut that off with a grinder. i'd cut the whole elbow around the face of the nipple and then make 1 or two cuts perpendicular to the threading that you can maybe finish breakings without cutting too far into nipple threads (on smaller stuff i use a really healthy screwdriver with a wrench or vice grips on the shaft and one the thing pops it's not too hard to drive off. but maybe you don't have access to do this? . obviously if you getting the whole three inch plug out by hole saw and sawzal would give you most more access but the other thing i've done use a hole saw bigger than the square wrench boss (you are going to need a deep hole saw i can see) and choose a diameter that is nearthe tap drill size for 1.5 or 2" pipe, i.m guess looking at the square, can't gauge quite how big it is and then tap the plug to make it into a bushing.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,828
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    I think you just need a hole saw big enough to get a sawzall blade in then you can cut 3 slices like pieces of pie almost to the threads and use a hammer and chisel to pop that section out. Might be easier if you can remove the jacket. Once you do that it should unscrew.
    wmgeorgereggidelcrossv
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
    Options
    delcrossv said:
    Is this what you want to remove now ? 
    The more specific you are the more accurately your question could be assessed and evaluated for response.
    The is your Mother in Laws boiler for a multi unit building she owns.
    The boiler is 60+/- years old and is operating normally..
    You want remove this? Plug so you can clean the waterside better ?
    You want to minimize the odds of damaging that section of the boiler whilst achieved your objective...

    A. Q: Have you any experience doing this type work? I would heed the words of those who do..
    B: Q: Have you discussed this Building Owners (Your MIL) and explained the reason you want to do this, the potential damage risk , and the benefits rewards vs failure..?
    I already see some good answers ( IMHO ) 
    What's t your thoughts )
    Well, the boiler is back to cloudy rusty water at this point so there's crud in there, despite last year's flush and clean. Yes, so it's for waterside flushing. Yes, I've done a good deal of removing frozen plugs from CI drains. Those I've always chipped out. Seems the risk is fairly low if I just cut it out, rather than torquing it. Nothing is going to happen until the season is over in any event. :) Thoughts?
    Sure it's dirty , you put cleaners in and let it run but you didn't think about the stuff that would still be worked loose in the piping and working it's way back to the boiler did you ? 
    You have 60 years + in your system..
    If you skimmed it once I'd do it again and see what the water floating around the top looks like after the first pail or two..
    I like get a visual by using a clean mason jar and taking a jar of water out of the second pail once it filled and let it settle a bit on a surface.. I'll get a tight bean Coast inspection flashlight and put it right on the glass and slowly go up and down the jar looking for whatever is there..any oil would be at the top and light rust and contaminates anywhere in the middle and bottom.. let it cool down more and check it again as it settles and cools it gets clearer...
    When it looks good flush out the drains
    And plan on doing it again ..
    You'll wand once.. maybe twice.. but you'll skin and flush much more.. might as well get good at it..
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    wmgeorgedelcrossv