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#1
Old 09-19-2012, 12:30 AM
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Gate Valve From Hell - Repaiable?

My house was built in 1979 (yeah, a great bubble that was). The service ("shut-off") valve is a 1 1/4" soldered copper item which is some3what unusual in that you can turn the know either way for as long as you want - just don't expect any change in flow rate - it simply cannot be closed.
It wasn't 'until about 2 years ago that water meters were installed, so it was impossible to turn off the water to the place. Yes, every faucet DOES leak.

So - I have never encountered a valve with a shaft which will not stop - is this even worth considering repairing, or should I just plan on replacing it from the start and not waste time opening it?

The fact that service is steel and the valve is attached directly to the conversion fitting does not thrill me.

Any poor souls been there/done that/lived to tell?
#2
Old 09-19-2012, 12:42 AM
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do you know the stem is turning with the handle?
#3
Old 09-19-2012, 12:59 AM
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Location: Leominster MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
My house was built in 1979 (yeah, a great bubble that was). The service ("shut-off") valve is a 1 1/4" soldered copper item which is some3what unusual in that you can turn the know either way for as long as you want - just don't expect any change in flow rate - it simply cannot be closed.
It wasn't 'until about 2 years ago that water meters were installed, so it was impossible to turn off the water to the place. Yes, every faucet DOES leak.

So - I have never encountered a valve with a shaft which will not stop - is this even worth considering repairing, or should I just plan on replacing it from the start and not waste time opening it?

The fact that service is steel and the valve is attached directly to the conversion fitting does not thrill me.

Any poor souls been there/done that/lived to tell?
Well if the gate valve broke in the open position you're in better shape then their normal failure mode. Usually they break in the closed position. One of the things you learn in my business is never close a gate valve unless you have no other options.

You don't fix gate valves you replace them with ball valves.
#4
Old 09-19-2012, 01:27 AM
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Have no idea if the stem is or isn't broken, if that is what you're after - the knob is turning something - it is not that the knurling is stripped and the handle is just spinning on the stem.

If ball valves are so superior (the guy at the hardware (yes, a real one) also suggested one), why do gate valves survive - esp. in a critical application as service?

So - new steel/copper transition + ball valve + 1 1/4" no-stop coupling + 10' of 1 1/4 to get the 3" I'll need.

Can 1 1/4 be sweated with the same propane torch and techniques as used on 1/2"? Aside from learning you really CAN'T sweat a pipe with water in it, I learned little new when doing 1" (same stuff; takes longer)

Last edited by usedtobe; 09-19-2012 at 01:29 AM.
#5
Old 09-19-2012, 01:40 AM
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Location: Leominster MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
If ball valves are so superior (the guy at the hardware (yes, a real one) also suggested one), why do gate valves survive - esp. in a critical application as service?
Cost. Gate valves are often a fraction of the cost of ball valves. Plumbers working off bids will still use them because they still meet the code requirements, it allows them to maximize profit.

Quote:
So - new steel/copper transition + ball valve + 1 1/4" no-stop coupling + 10' of 1 1/4 to get the 3" I'll need.
Yes. If you have enough flex you wouldn't need a coupling. Ball valves are usually longer so they can be changed out just by cutting out copper.

Quote:
Can 1 1/4 be sweated with the same propane torch and techniques as used on 1/2"? Aside from learning you really CAN'T sweat a pipe with water in it, I learned little new when doing 1" (same stuff; takes longer)
Yes with your standard home owner torch tips it just takes a really long time. Can't have water in it. You need an opening somewhere so the pipe can't build up steam.

Last edited by boytyperanma; 09-19-2012 at 01:41 AM.
#6
Old 09-19-2012, 01:44 AM
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Location: San Jose, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
Have no idea if the stem is or isn't broken, if that is what you're after - the knob is turning something - it is not that the knurling is stripped and the handle is just spinning on the stem.

If ball valves are so superior (the guy at the hardware (yes, a real one) also suggested one), why do gate valves survive - esp. in a critical application as service?

So - new steel/copper transition + ball valve + 1 1/4" no-stop coupling + 10' of 1 1/4 to get the 3" I'll need.

Can 1 1/4 be sweated with the same propane torch and techniques as used on 1/2"? Aside from learning you really CAN'T sweat a pipe with water in it, I learned little new when doing 1" (same stuff; takes longer)

My experience with San Jose water is gate valves do not survive.
I do not sweat in new valves, makes it harder to replace the next time. I use threaded valves. Sweat to thrread adaptors and a union.

A propane tourch will not have enough heat for a 1 1/4" pipe. Get a Mapp Gas tourch.
#7
Old 09-19-2012, 01:54 AM
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Location: Leominster MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
My experience with San Jose water is gate valves do not survive.
I do not sweat in new valves, makes it harder to replace the next time. I use threaded valves. Sweat to thrread adaptors and a union.

A propane tourch will not have enough heat for a 1 1/4" pipe. Get a Mapp Gas tourch.
Realistically a new ball valve wouldn't need to be replaced again in his lifetime.

I do up to 3 inch with propane. Granted I have a selection or torch heads for it.

Mapp would be faster but it's also hot enough to do real damage to the valve and pipe so I generally don't recommend home owners get into it.
#8
Old 09-19-2012, 03:50 AM
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I've never heard of Mapp - will google

Would butane on a propane torch head be usable/advisable (I still have a bottle - I think it's butane - the bottle is black, so whatever that is.

You have no idea how close you are to a ball valve outlasting my life expectancy. A kinked hose might not make it, but pretty much anything metal will work

Last edited by usedtobe; 09-19-2012 at 03:54 AM.
#9
Old 09-19-2012, 09:05 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: San Jose, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
Realistically a new ball valve wouldn't need to be replaced again in his lifetime.

I do up to 3 inch with propane. Granted I have a selection or torch heads for it.

Mapp would be faster but it's also hot enough to do real damage to the valve and pipe so I generally don't recommend home owners get into it.
Sorry but I have ball valves that leak through when they are closed. These are valves that are only open or closed and never throttled. I do not know what is in our domestic water but it eats up valves in just a few years.
#10
Old 09-20-2012, 11:29 AM
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It might be possible to leave the valve body attached to the plumbing and simply replace the innards. You might try taking some careful measurements and visiting a good hardware store to try to find a valve whose guts you can transplant into the old valve.
#11
Old 09-21-2012, 01:35 AM
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The black gas bottles are propylene - usable as a direct replacement with a residential-grade "propane" torch?

The hardware store I visited (where the plumbing guy said to scrap the gate, replace with ball) had an impressive array of replacement stems, but my quick scan indicated they were all for washer-type valves.
Are replacement parts even available for 30-yr old cheapest-crap-we-could-find gate valves?

(this house even uses 24" spacing for roof joists in the last 10' of the garage. Pushing code to save $20/house.
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