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#1
Old 03-03-2012, 01:22 PM
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Plumbing Q: Is a basin wrench just prank on the DIY impaired?

I thought today would be a good day to replace the sprayer and hose attachment on my kitchen sink, so I bought the kit and a basin wrench, which the directions said I would need.

I read the instructions, and even watched a video on YouTube to see how a basin wrench works, but I will be damned if I can get it to loosen the nut holding the nipple on the sprayer hose that is under the sink. I have the jaws positioned correctly, but it won't grip the nut tight enough to loosen it; it breaks traction every time, grinding off just a little more of the corners of the nut each time. Of course, the area under my kitchen sink is exceedingly cramped, and getting a conventional adjustable wrench on the nut is impossible also.

So is a basin wrench just a prank plumbers play (like a left-handed pipe stretcher) on those of us who dare to attempt to perform minor plumbing repairs? Or is there a plumbing god that must be supplicated for a basin wrench to actually works as it is described?
#2
Old 03-03-2012, 01:48 PM
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I've been a plumber since 1979 and whenever I change out a faucet, the basin wrench is the only way to go. Maybe the spring in yours is too weak or the part you're trying to undo is rusted in place.
#3
Old 03-03-2012, 02:01 PM
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I have never used one. Looking at them, that is exactly what I would expect to happen when you try to use one on an old, corroded nut. If plumbers manage to make one work, likely it is a higher quality one they bought at a plumbing supply house, not Lowes.

When I start such a project, my wife is usually careful to remove her self and in the past, the kids from the house. Vile language, penetrating oil, Vice-Grips, Channellocks, hammer and chisel, hacksaw, torch, etc., and eventually it yields.
#4
Old 03-03-2012, 02:54 PM
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A necessity

As the directions said and you are finding out, it is a needed tool for this work. Yours is not working. Either the tool is bad or your nut is very shallow and worn. You might be able to increase the grip by skillfully inserting some sandpaper to help. You could form the sandpaper in a column like a toilet paper insert and place it over the nut. Or you could bend the sandpaper so it is rough on both sides and put that inside the tool. Looks like you will have to improvise.

If you had long nosed vise grips that opened far enough, that might get the nut moving. Even if you can only grab it and not turn it, perhaps you could rotate the fitting above the sink and nudge it started. Try different things and you will succeed.
#5
Old 03-03-2012, 04:27 PM
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I've used a basin wrench to remove the nut separating a toilet tank from the bowl. Perhaps a little penetrating oil may help.
#6
Old 03-03-2012, 08:34 PM
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Maybe its just the auto mechanic in me but for the particular job the OP is tackling I would use a crowfoot wrench...

http://diseno-art.com/images_3/crowfoot_wrench.jpg

...the shortest extension I can use and the longest ratchet I have.
#7
Old 03-03-2012, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by automagic View Post
Maybe its just the auto mechanic in me but for the particular job the OP is tackling I would use a crowfoot wrench...

http://diseno-art.com/images_3/crowfoot_wrench.jpg

...the shortest extension I can use and the longest ratchet I have.
I like that; can I get one at Home Depot?
#8
Old 03-03-2012, 09:36 PM
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Yeah, a clawfoot. If HD doesn't have them try an autoparts store. Must remember to try one the next tight fix I get into.
#9
Old 03-03-2012, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelabdude View Post
Yeah, a clawfoot.
No, a clawfoot is a furniture or bathtub leg. the wrench style is called crowsfoot (or crows foot or crowfoot).
#10
Old 03-03-2012, 11:04 PM
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I currently have this problem and I've been putting it off. In my case, the nut is very shallow and has been fused to the pipe at what I suspect is the atomic level.

Using a wrench is a good idea but the nut is an odd size. Calipers say 1-1/16" IIRC. I did finally break down and get a couple of 1" + sized wrenches though. I've needed them for other jobs in the past and I don't like using vise grips on nuts if I can avoid it. Plus in this situation, it would have been extremely awkward anyway.

Last edited by dzero; 03-03-2012 at 11:05 PM.
#11
Old 03-04-2012, 02:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
I like that; can I get one at Home Depot?
If you're going that rout then get the flare nut version.

before you do that, I've seen sprayer hose attachments that snapped on with a C clip and a hand tightened slide nut so a wrench would be useless.

Last edited by Magiver; 03-04-2012 at 02:19 AM.
#12
Old 03-04-2012, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
If you're going that rout then get the flare nut version.
This. The open ended version probably won't work if the joint is corroded.
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#13
Old 03-04-2012, 12:42 PM
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I had a similar problem when I decided to replace the faucet on our kitchen sink a few years back.

I ended up completely removing the sink from the countertop, taking it outside, and cutting the faucet nut apart with a Dremel Tool. Not even vice-grips would get that thing off, the nut was fused in place permanently.
#14
Old 03-06-2012, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzero View Post
I've needed them for other jobs in the past and I don't like using vise grips on nuts if I can avoid it. Plus in this situation, it would have been extremely awkward anyway.
Are you that creepy girl I met in that bar in 2004? If so, can we try again without the hardware?

#15
Old 03-06-2012, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewL View Post
I ended up completely removing the sink from the countertop, taking it outside, and cutting the faucet nut apart with a Dremel Tool. Not even vice-grips would get that thing off, the nut was fused in place permanently.
I came close to doing this replacing my mother's. I tried heating it, greasing it with penetrating oil, basin wrench, vice grips, putting a pipe on the basin wrench for leverage and it would not budge. I'd have dremeled it if I could have fit it under the sink but ended up using a small hacksaw and cut it off piece by piece. THAT was a chore and not the wrench's fault.
#16
Old 03-06-2012, 02:10 PM
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Well I'll be damned, there's a tool for that! I've up a couple of sinks and hardware in our old house and those nuts were a real bitch. I wish I had known there was a tool. I'm going to Lowes this weekend.
#17
Old 03-06-2012, 02:16 PM
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You'll need to make a weapon. Look around you– can you construct some sort of rudimentary lathe?
#18
Old 03-06-2012, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shiftless View Post
Well I'll be damned, there's a tool for that! I've up a couple of sinks and hardware in our old house and those nuts were a real bitch. I wish I had known there was a tool. I'm going to Lowes this weekend.
I imagine it works pretty good to tighten a new nut on a new sink. It is when breaking loose an old, corroded nut that it is less than satisfactory.
#19
Old 03-06-2012, 03:29 PM
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Have you considered using a Dremel tool with a cut-off wheel? Cut a slot in the nut and pry it off with a screwdriver. This assumes you don't intend to re-use the old piece of plumbing you're taking off. Also assuming you've got enough space to use it. WEAR EYE PROTECTION!

Several months ago I was trying to take apart the down tube and trap under our bathroom sink. One of the metal compression nuts just wouldn't budge with a pipe wrench. I went out and bought a Dremel and cut-off wheel specifically for this job. The nut nearly fell apart by itself once I cut a slot in it. Afterwards I've found lots of other uses for this. I should have bought one years ago.
#20
Old 03-06-2012, 03:41 PM
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Yes, the Dremmel can be amazing. It isn't a heavy duty tool and doesn't work quickly, but great at times.
#21
Old 03-06-2012, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LateComer View Post
I came close to doing this replacing my mother's. I tried heating it, greasing it with penetrating oil, basin wrench, vice grips, putting a pipe on the basin wrench for leverage and it would not budge. I'd have dremeled it if I could have fit it under the sink but ended up using a small hacksaw and cut it off piece by piece. THAT was a chore and not the wrench's fault.
This happened to me as well. I tried the hacksaw and then remembered that I had a reciprocating saw with a metal blade. It worked like a charm.
#22
Old 03-06-2012, 09:32 PM
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Recip saws are the heavy artillery if you can get into the place with one.
#23
Old 03-06-2012, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantRat View Post
Are you that creepy girl I met in that bar in 2004? If so, can we try again without the hardware?

OMG. How did you know? BTW, the hardware wasn't the problem. I just knew I'd be walking funny the next day. (j/k in case that was too convincing )
Quote:
Originally Posted by LateComer View Post
I came close to doing this replacing my mother's. I tried heating it, greasing it with penetrating oil, basin wrench, vice grips, putting a pipe on the basin wrench for leverage and it would not budge. I'd have dremeled it if I could have fit it under the sink but ended up using a small hacksaw and cut it off piece by piece. THAT was a chore and not the wrench's fault.
Do you think that an oscillating tool could have worked?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ducati View Post
You'll need to make a weapon. Look around you can you construct some sort of rudimentary lathe?
paper clip, rubber band, toilet paper roller thingie.

Yeah, no problemo.
#24
Old 03-07-2012, 12:11 PM
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Are you sure you have it flipped the right way? Flip the head one way to tighten nuts, flip the other way to loosen.
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