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Splitting a Rad

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kcopp
kcopp Member Posts: 4,432
Has anyone taken a cast iron radiator and split it down to make a smaller rad? So, removing 2-4-6 sections from a big unit to make a smaller one... reassembling it and be leak free?
What are the helpful hints? TY, kevin
Mad Dog_2

Comments

  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,785
    edited March 2023
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    You would first have to find a supply house that still have a stock of push nipples because the odds are you will need them . The end sections are the most important I am sure you know.

    Cut the pinch rods and use wedges to separate the sections . The colder the sections the easier the sections peel off . The work and care is in removing the misplaced or damaged push nipples . We used Permatex just incase to seat connections .

    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    Mad Dog_2kcoppflat_twinGrallert
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,838
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    If you can tell a good radiator joke you may get them to have a side splitting response.

    Did you hear the one about the radiator that made a great house warming gift?
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    kcoppPC7060Long Beach Ed
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,929
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    I'm with Ed.  My first year in the Business full time was 1986.  I took a second job at Christ Supply (est. 1810) on Saturday and sundees splitting old rads, testing them loading in HO's trunks..Definitely be liberal with the Permatex.   Use on push nipples AND female socket joint..wipe off excess.  Sometimes ya get lucky and can reuse them.  New threaded rod you can get at ACE hardware.  Leaks were rare....I have 150 yr old radiators still heating my house...no leekees....thats Chris Smith the owner and close personal friend...expert on hard to find faucet stems, boiler parts, odd fittings  ....
    Mad Dog
    Intplm.ethicalpaul
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,929
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    Having a great relationship with your neighborhood Mom & Pop Shop is PRICELESS. ..Contractors and Homeowners come for 100 miles some times to pick his brain, get odd faucet stems,  and pick thru his 213 year old shop on Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park, Long Island,  NY  Mad Dog
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,785
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    Is that you in the photo ? We have meet :)
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,929
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    No Big Ed  that's Chris Smith owner of Christ Plumbing Supply in New Hyde Park Long Island    est. 1810.  I've been going to Chris since my first week in the biz and did all his work in his home...Buderus radiant  panel rads  luxury baths.. He wants THE BEST AND PAYS U FOR IT!  Mad Dog
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,929
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    Me and the Original Huntington Beach Bad Boy Tank Abbott UFC & MMA Bar Brawler.
    Two Irishman with heads like Pitbulls
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,929
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    Me and A NYG buddy (Former Marine).  And Me and Chuck Zito Hells Angels NYC President and Well Known Actor (OZ & Hells Angels Documentaries, Jean Claude Van Damme's Personal Bodyguard.  
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,929
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    Chuck looks alot like Stallone from  distance but bigger.  I thought I was wading thru the crowd to meet Sly and when I got up close, I said "Yo Chuck...I thought u were Rocky!!! He laughed and said he gets that alot.  Very cool 😎 Guy . Gentleman.  Mad Dog 
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,929
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    Today enjoying a Winston Churchill (One of my Heroes) cee-gar...Life is Good!  Mad Dog
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,838
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    @Mad Dog_2 ... How is all of this helping @kcopp get his radiator apart? I was hoping for some real side splitter radiator jokes..... Can't we all try to help him out?
    I used to be in a band called the Radiators...
    We were a warm up act.
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    Mad Dog_2kcopp
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,432
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    Is it that imperative to replace the push nipples? If they are cleaned up and you use permatex? The chances of me finding a place that has new push nipples is slim....
    Mad Dog_2
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 905
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    I split many radiators and put them back together without replacing the push nipples unless they were deteriorated, then you must replace them. Instead of permatex, I used RTV silicone. Worked for me.
    kcoppMad Dog_2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,653
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    Permatex bonds in to the surface a little better than regular rtv silicone.
    kcoppMad Dog_2
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,144
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    You can buy plastic wedges for felling trees, that might work.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    kcoppMad Dog_2
  • flat_twin
    flat_twin Member Posts: 350
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    I successfully shortened one of our radiators for a remodeling project. I pretty much did what Big Ed described above. I cleaned the mating surfaces and old nipples with steel wool. Maybe Permatex would have been a better choice but I used plain old pipe dope on the nipples and it worked fine. I read not to over tension the threaded rods.

    Are the nipples considered to be a "one use" item like crush washers or stretch bolts?
    Mad Dog_2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,653
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    It would probably be better to use some big pipe clamps and blocks of wood to pull it together than the tension rods. They are really just to hold it together, not to pull it together.
    kcoppMad Dog_2Grallert
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,838
    edited March 2023
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    This my last attempet at a side splitting radiator Joke:

    My wife came home yesterday...

    and said, "Honey, the car won't start, but I know what the problem is."

    I asked her what it was and she told me it had water in the carburettor. I though for a moment, then said, "You know I don't mean this badly, but you're not mechanically inclined. You don't know the carburettor from the radiator."

    "No, there's definitely water in the carburettor," she insisted.

    "Ok, honey, that's fine, I'll just go take a look. Where is it?

    Click on Spoiler for answer
    "In the lake."
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    Mad Dog_2CLambLong Beach Ed
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,432
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    :|
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,653
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    oh, also, permatex cleans up with paint thinner. silicone you will be picking off your hands for the next day if you don't wear gloves
    Mad Dog_2
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,432
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    mattmia2 said:

    oh, also, permatex cleans up with paint thinner. silicone you will be picking off your hands for the next day if you don't wear gloves

    I always wear gloves....
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,929
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    Permatex is awesome...99% of Plumbers I know HATE it...."It makes a mess and gets on everything!   It gets hard after a few years and yiu can't take the gas piping apart anymore! "   I say.....1) Go slow, wear gloves and a throwaway dress shirt 👔 (a Smock as my beloved little Yiddish Kindergarten teacher Mrs Kamen from PS 207 in How'beach would call them.).  Permatex is very very gooey and runny so don't dip too deep in to can.   2) What do you care if u can't get Gas pipe apart?  Its meant to NOT LEAK...If yiu gotta cut in a tee and a left and right nipple and coupling you breakout the Good Ol Sawzall and Ridgid 24s  mad Dog
    kcoppLong Beach Ed
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,432
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    I suppose if I was REALLY concerned I could use Expando... then it would never come apart. I still have a can of it on the truck from when I put a 5" coupling together on a steam system.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,785
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    It was taught to me when I was a kid assembling with push nipples . With the tapered connection the Permatex acted like a lubricant and also fills in any surface imperfections .Its a job you want to get it right the first time. I hated using the stuff ,it was before we used disposable gloves . I always felt better using the soft set just incase . I would use it today because I know it works .

    The larger boilers and were sold in sections and assembled on site . The bigger the better back then .. The pinch rods are used to pull it all together . You tighten up and pulled in evenly Some of the boiler pinch rods came with break away nuts . Anyone knows the reason ? I was told for freeze ups . Not sure if it was true .Which never made sense to me . Maybe torque nuts ?

    I wouldn't start the job without access to push nipples , sometimes you have to cut them out . Cutting them out , take care not to cut into the cast section . With a non thread tapered nipple most times one cut is all that is needed.

    With the internet or knowledge of an older supply house I am sure you can find them .We still use them today .Maybe with any luck , all the set nipples will mate up.




    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    kcoppMad Dog_2
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,144
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    I think there use to be a #1 and #2. One was a hard set, the other stayed fairly soft. Messy and smelly!
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Mad Dog_2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,653
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    I meant the rtv kind of permatex, not the thread seal type of permatex but that is an option too.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,785
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    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    hot_rod
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,929
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    I Loved the smell...gas and pvc glue too!
    Mad 🐕 dog
    delcrossv
  • JoeEngineer
    JoeEngineer Member Posts: 16
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    I have (2) 12 section American Radiator Co radiators with pinch rods and a 15 section with no pinch rods; wanted to throw a couple of questions out there for whoever might know:
    The house was built in the late 1800's, not sure but I have no reason to believe these are not the original radiators.
    I pretty easily removed the rods from the 12 section radiators and they came apart pretty easily as well; I calculated the design heat loss to be less than 1/6 of the output of the connected radiators so I decided to make them into 4 section; though I cleaned them pretty well they will not go 100% back together, leaving a 1/4" gap of exposed nipple. Is there anything wrong with using anti-seize to help them slip together?
    On the 15 section radiator (no pinch rods.) Are the sections threaded? how would it be taken apart?
    Thanks for any comments
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,653
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    The radiator without rods has left-right threaded nipples between the sections that are turned with a spanner inserted though the radiator connections. They likely won't come apart without destroying the nipples.

    Why don't you just limit the amount of heat you are putting in to the radiator. If it is 1 pipe steam with a slower vent. If it is 2 pipe steam with an orifice plate on the inlet. If it is hot water either by lowering the supply water temp or by limiting the flow through it.
    JoeEngineerkcopp
  • MarkZeh
    MarkZeh Member Posts: 43
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    Dear HeatingHelp folks. Can't thank all enough for their kind words of wisdom. Needed to install a CI Rad in a downstairs BR - no heat Brrrrr. Had an old, 1906?, CI rad National Art 5 tube 8 section 25" high would be perfect for BR. Got smart and pressure tested it prior to actual install and sadly she failed miserably. Thorough review showed that one of the sections had an ugly crack. Most likely it was left in the house with water in it and when water froze, she popped a section side wall. Pic attached. Followed advice from all the Rad Gurus on HH.com. Slit the rad with oak and metal wedges. She came aprat just fine. Removed the single bad section. Push nipples were in good condition. Cleaned push nipple and section faces with fine wire wheel brush and steel wool. Used Rectorseal 5 to reassemble. Tightened entire Rad well with shortened rods. Re-pressure test and she held just fine. However, not just fine but bc my pressure testor guage was damaged and not reading well I had to check with a regular tire pressure guage. Rad was holding 55 psi for hours without fail. Deemed her 'Good to Go' at that point for very good reasons. Cleaned her, re-spray her like new and installed. Now only 7 sections but she gives off awesome heat and works like a charm. Again, thank you to every guy on HH.com that chimes in with their expert advise. Best web site anywhere. Other pics attached.





    delcrossvkcoppCLamb