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Correct placement for radiator vent?

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  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
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    @ChrisJ, I saw this for example:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0797JWQ1R

  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
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    @ https://forum.heatinghelp.com/profile/mattmia2

    I only have a metabo triple-hammer impact driver. Proly no good for this use case eh

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,639
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    A manual impact driver like this:
    https://www.harborfreight.com/6-bit-impact-screwdriver-set-with-case-64812.html

    When you hit it with the hammer it helps drive the pit in to keep it from camming out.

  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
    edited March 2023
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    @ https://forum.heatinghelp.com/profile/mattmia2 I've been meaning to get a set like this for my stupid honda brake rotor screws.

    To be sure, I can still get the 3/16 allen socket in there, and it does bite, even though the hole is a bit rounded out.. I wouldn't crank on it anymore though.

    So you're saying this hand impact kit, along with the 3/16 allen socket I've been using yeah? (Oof. It's ½" drive so I'd have to use two adapters- ⅜ to ¼, on top of ½ to ⅜. Not sure how great that'd be.)

    I wonder if there's any harm in trying my metabo impact driver with the 3/16 socket on the lowest setting. ? Could it crack something.. ?

    Anyway if I should need to try the extractors, these are the two types of extractor sets I have available (Pictured are both "No. 2" size.)

    The left one says on its' case No. 2 is for 1/4" to 5/16" (there's No. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in this set. No name cheapy set in the trapezoidal case. There's no included recc. drill bit size listed for these extractors)

    The right one says on the case No. 2 is for bolt size "No. 12 to 5/16" (there's No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 in this set. K-D Tools 2419. Each extractor in this set has the recc. drill bit size etched into the extractor)

    Only the type on the left side has an even smaller "No. 1" extractor which claims it's for sizes 1/8 to 1/4, but it's real thin, and, idk..

    I'm not clear on what "No." extractor I would use to attempt this; how these extractor sizes and their reccommended "bolt sizes" realte to the szie of the plug that's stuck in the radiator…

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,639
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    Pick the one that is getting close to the id of the plug. the size of the plug is the id of the pipe, the od of it is somewhere closer to 3//8" to 1/2". bolt sizes are the od.

    The impact wrench isn't all tha likely to crack something but it could strip the plug out (or the stripped one more). the hand impact drive still has a little hope of getting the stripped one out.

    on my honda i had removed the rotor screws and left them out, they are really just there to keep it in place if the wheel is off.

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    > on my honda i had removed the rotor screws and left them out, they are really just there to keep it in place if the wheel is off.

    OMG I had to do that, how annoying were those screws!!!
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,134
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    I used to go back and forth with a tap, now I hand start it and use a 1/2" cordless drill speed one, variable speed trigger and just run it in one direction. Works for taps up to 1/8 maybe 1/4 if it fits into the chuck, NPT. Thread cutting oil is better then WD 40, stays on the tap better.

    Taps are brittle so have a good hold and position so you don't break the tap, it is not fun or always easy to remove a broken tap.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,639
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    Cutting oil also has extreme pressure additives that wd40 doesn't.
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
    edited April 2023
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    So I did pick this up (great tool, thx)



    ..and I've been re-visiting this vent plug over the past week on and off, hitting with PB, hitting in both directions.. (warm and cold radiator)

    I tried the impact driver as well on lowest.. nothing


    All I've done is cam'd out the allen key hole a bit to where now I have to use a 5mm in there instead of the 3/16 to get any kind of bite.

    If I start to drill this thing out, if it still wont "come away" cleanly from the threads when it's broken down into to bits, and the threads get munged up, since there's no room to tap a larger hole there and bushing back down to 1/8, is there some way I could seal up the hole with some type of sealer? To sort of "get back where I started"?

    Or is the radiator ruined? (Since this is steam and low pressure I'd assume there is some way? Maybe not perfect but manageable?)

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,639
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    if you're careful to not crank on it too much you can tap a bushing in beyond the boss. you could drill at a random spot in the side and tap it for the vent, it is just stronger at the boss.
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 593
    edited April 2023
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    Moot point now, but is it wrong advice to just torch the plug? I remove these plugs frequently for customers, on the same radiators and also the 1/8 plugs on gas meter bar test plugs. I'd understand if it was a heat-sensitive object..

    These plugs come out smooth as butter after applying a bit of flame. I'd wager it'd have come out with ease even after being stripped like that with anything that could remotely apply friction.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,672
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    The plug is on the wrong side of the radiator isn't 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
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    ChrisJ said:
    The plug is on the wrong side of the radiator isn't it?


    No, the supply valve is. At this point I’d try to drill and tap the side where the existing vent is
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
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    The instant that plug cam’d out that solution should have been abandoned, obviously the factory is installing them way too tight.

    Even if you get that plug out, you then have to pull the other much bigger plug, probably installed way too tight as well.  Then you have to pull the spud for the valve that is installed how tight?  And spuds are notorious for being impossible to take out In one piece.

    Buy a drill and tap, that method has always been the easiest.  You’ll be done in 10-15 minutes tops.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
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    Sorry for some confusion here guys:

    As far as the plug being on the wrong side, yes, on the radiator in my OP the plug *is* on the wrong side, BUT

    I have been working NOT on THAT radiator, but on a second radiator where the plug IS on the correct side (opposite of intake). I think I may have mentioned it way earlier in the thread.

    I should have been more clear as the thread progressed, sorry abt that.

    @dko mentioned using flame. I have a propane torch. Never used that before. I wonder if that could work.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
    edited April 2023
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    As far as the plug being on the wrong side, yes, on the radiator in my OP the plug *is* on the wrong side, BUT


    Just to be real clear here, the plug is on the side it is on. What happened with your radiator is that the installer put the steam supply valve on the same side as that plug, and used the wrong tapping for the vent, that was the error.

    Doesn't really change what you have to do, and good fortune to you, I'll pray to the cast iron gods to let you solve this
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,639
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    If you can get it hot enough the heat will drive the hydrate out of the oxides and change them from a hard crystal to a soft powder.
    dko
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
    edited April 2023
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    ..What happened with your radiator is that the installer put the steam supply valve on the same side as that plug, and used the wrong tapping for the vent, that was the error.

    Doesn't really change what you have to do, and good fortune to you, I'll pray to the cast iron gods to let you solve this

    Yes. One of radiators was installed backwards at the time (5 years ago), and BOTH had the vents installed in the wrong place. I've been working with the one that is NOT installed backwards thinking that would be simpler, lol.

    As to my other question, IF I drill (or torch, etc) out the stuck plug, and the threads of the hole get munged up (badly where I can't even install a leak-free vent with tape on it), is there something I can use to "patch" or "seal" the hole back up and be back where I started on this radiator? (I wouldn't want to have to buy a whole new radiator is what I'm saying)
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,672
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    Tuggy said:

    ..What happened with your radiator is that the installer put the steam supply valve on the same side as that plug, and used the wrong tapping for the vent, that was the error.

    Doesn't really change what you have to do, and good fortune to you, I'll pray to the cast iron gods to let you solve this

    Yes. One of radiators was installed backwards at the time (5 years ago), and BOTH had the vents installed in the wrong place. I've been working with the one that is NOT installed backwards thinking that would be simpler, lol.

    As to my other question, IF I drill (or torch, etc) out the stuck plug, and the threads of the hole get munged up (badly where I can't even install a leak-free vent with tape on it), is there something I can use to "patch" or "seal" the hole back up and be back where I started on this radiator? (I wouldn't want to have to buy a whole new radiator is what I'm saying)
    Drill it out for 1/4" NPT and install a 1/4" to 1/8" bushing.
    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
    mattmia2
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
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    ChrisJ said:


    Drill it out for 1/4" NPT and install a 1/4" to 1/8" bushing.

    Is there enough width to do it right over the orig boss?

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,639
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    Oh, i see the issue is that the tube itself is very narrow. Measure it. You can surgically remove the plug by drilling a hole almost the id of the plug then making 2 cuts almost to the threads with a blade like this in a holder:

    https://greatlakespowertools.com/milwaukee-49-00-5324-m12-hackzall-blade-metal-scroll-5pk/

    and a small chisel to pop the wedge out between the cuts
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    I think there is room there for a 1/4" hole and tap. 1/4" is barely larger than 1/8" npt
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
    edited April 2023
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    Re: Drilling/tapping for the boss which ISN'T plugged (I've never attempted tapping before. Looks not too difficult tho)--
    (1) Would *any* of these do the job?
    https://www.amazon.com/Drill-America-POU1-4-20-Length/dp/B071RFR4VB

    https://www.amazon.com/Drill-America-POU1-4NPTW-DRILL/dp/B01MDV3A30

    https://www.amazon.com/Drill-America-POU1-8NPTW-DRILL/dp/B01M4RXY21

    (2) Are these plugs just fine for closing the upper vent holes?
    https://www.amazon.com/Nigo-JNS-Brass-Fitting-Counter/dp/B07439ZFXW


    As far as the radiator with the plug which I've been working on (recently discussing just above):
    I may like to try a Propane torch on it before drilling/cutting (never done any of this stuff before either)
    (1) Would propane be hot enough to be effective?
    (2) I assume I'd heat around the plug? but not the plug directly?
    (3) How long to apply the heat? Does the tube have to change color (red hot) to know when to try my impact screwdriver on it?

    @ethicalpaul (or any1)
    If I should go the "reducer bushing" bushing route:
    (1) Would *any* of these tap/bits do the job?
    https://www.amazon.com/Drill-America-POU1-4-20-Length/dp/B071RFR4VB

    https://www.amazon.com/Drill-America-POU1-4NPTW-DRILL/dp/B01MDV3A30

    (2) And these reducing bushings?
    https://www.amazon.com/Luckyweld-Reducer-Bushing-Fitting-Adapter/dp/B0BB9C4XZV

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
    edited April 2023
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    You need it to be NPT (national pipe taper), it's a special tapered thread used for plumbing pipes, like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/Century-Drill-Tool-93201-Combo/dp/B0797JWQ1R/ref=sr_1_3?crid=28GTG9BVSAEK4&

    Those bushings you linked are fine, they are NPT
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
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  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,672
    edited April 2023
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    Tuggy said:
    $5 for a drill and a tap?

    I don't know.....a decent tap like that usually costs $20-30.

    I don't know how good or bad that one is but I will say if that gets broke off in the radiator you're not going to be happy.


    Drilling it and tapping it is easy.  With good tools.


    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,672
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    This is out of stock but it's an example of what I'd recommend.

    https://www.amazon.com/WIDIA-GTD11800-Maintenance-Standard-Uncoated/dp/B01M5GDQ2T


    Widia makes decent taps.
    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
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
    edited April 2023
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    What is a type "R" HSS bit? size wise? It's the bit in the $5 kit.

    Looking at the reviews for the $5 one, seems many had success with cast iron (one notable failure) vs the one Paul pointed out above (not suggesting he was endorsing that one), very few results searching on "cast", with one failure there as well..

    Also is this the right size tap/bit if I need to tap a 1/4 NPT hole and use a 1/4 to 1/8 reducer bushing in the one radiator with the stuck plug?
    https://www.amazon.com/Drill-America-POU3-8NPTW-DRILL/dp/B01MDV3A30
    It says 7/16 drill bit..
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,639
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    R is a letter sized bit, it is somewhere between 2 fractional inch sizes. Look at a drill bit table if you want to know exactly.
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
    edited April 2023
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    That's what the 1/8 NPT "kit" comes with. I was just curious if it's the same typical 21/64 sized bit recommended for 1/8 NPT taps...
    I just assume it is since it's sold together as a kit.. it should work/be correct..
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    Tuggy said:
    Yes that one is good. Even though it's only $5 I'd try it. It's only cast iron
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
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    They key is to just go nice and slow on the drilling. and nice and slow on the tapping (1/2 turn fwd, 1/4 turn back) yeah?

    I've got some 3in1 oil to feed onto the bits as I go..
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    You don't have to go that slow on the tapping. Some people don't back it out of cast iron at all, but I probably would do something like a few turns in, then like 1/2 turn out. It probably doesn't matter at all, it's a shallow tapping. Others will state their opinions, average them all together :sweat_smile:
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,639
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    since it is tapered you need to be careful not to go to far and make the threads straight or they won't seal so well.
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
    edited April 2023
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    I completed the one radiator with the non-plugged boss.

    The drilling was more difficult than I anticipated. I tried to use the slow speed of my Metabo with the bit from the kit and for about 10 minutes (with oil), all it seemed to do was barely "dent" the dimple of the boss (while widening it to the size of the bit) and polishing it nice and bright.

    I decided that I'd better switch to the high speed setting and pulse it, lest I be drilling for 24 hours.

    I did so for 5-10 secs. at a time, and even like that, it still took me a solid 15 minutes, while using a lot of pressure (bracing myself with my feet against the couch) to ultimately get through the boss. Thankfully nothing broke/cracked/etc when it finally "punched" through.

    The hole is off center because when I first started the drilling days prior, my though was to make much smaller pilot holes and my 1/8 titanium apparently walked a tiny bit making its' own new dimple (but at low speeds there was practically no progress before I quit that day). This time as I continued I went straight to the large bit from the kit and it followed the very small dimple the tiny bit made and I could not correct it to dead center, but it all seems fine.

    The tapping went fine but I did tap a little to far in and I assume that's why the fitment isn't very snug until the vent is screwed fairly deep in as can be seen but is quite tight as pictured. No problem putting the plug in to the top tapping of course.

    My first foray into this type of work appears successful as heating is working fine without leaks or anything so no harm no foul. Live and learn I suppose.

    I did attempt with propane to heat the other radiator's plug for 2 minutes which is "frozen" for now, and tried to hit it with the impact screwdriver a bit after but it still wont budge. I don't know whether I will revisit it and attempt further as it may be more trouble than it's worth. I did buy the larger drill/tap kit with a reducing bushing as suggested above but I'm not sure I want to try it.

    **I also added a few thin shims under the vent-side legs (photos below are pre-additional shims) because the level on top of the radiator showed the bubble completely centered so now the bubble is ~25% crossed over the right side of the center box.

    Photos of the completed job:





  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,639
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    Try a cobalt bit and use 3 or 4 sizes to get there.
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 912
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    @Tuggy does it heat better?

    Bburd
  • Tuggy
    Tuggy Member Posts: 46
    edited May 2023
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    Yes. More of it is definitely heating up than before but it hasn't gotten roaring hot because it's not freezing out anymore. The heat cycle is not on now for more than 30-45 mins at most (usually the lower end of that).

    I need to likely change the main vent for this "line" at the front of the house from a Gorton No 1 to perhaps a Gorton No 2 (or a Big Mouth) for this side of the house which is the farthest from the boiler. There is a big imbalance; the back half (boiler situated there) of the house (as you traverse one room to the next from the middle) increases from 3° up to 5° warmer than the front-most line (living rooms; 3 floor flat roof house).
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,005
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    I avoid easy-outs primarily because the ones I have had are tapered. As you turn it counter-clockwise ( left hand thread) to remove the remnant, it goes deeper into the remnant increasing the outward force against the threads making it more difficult to remove. Unfortunately, more than once I have broken the easy-out in the item I want to remove, making the task more difficult because of the hardness of the easy-out.

    I now favor, when possible, drilling out the majority of the remnant, then using a Dremel, file or small saw blade to make it easier to split the remnant, collapse it and remove it.

    It's time consuming, but it can work if you are careful enough.

    Bear in mind, the operating pressure of the system should be pretty low, so tape or pipe dope will hopefully seal any defects.