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Cast Iron Radiator Connector Fitting

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Eric Johnson, May 27, 2012.

  1. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I totally agree on the works of art opinion, coaly. And yep, some of those bushings are pretty elaborate. Pretty outrageous designs cast into some of those old rads and you're right, having a complete set in any house is worth a lot.

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  2. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Here's a few of the adjustible type with shutters inside to balance flow; They come in straight and Tee too. To give you an idea of size, they are sitting on a 10 inch stove lid.

    The one on the right has a drain petcock with mount ears.

    I have buckets of these things, including brass railing parts. Too cool to scrap ! I bought the lot for Lunkenheimer parts, steam relief valves, whistles, and oilers. It came with a bench type threader, portable pipe vice on a long pipe with adjustable top to take into a basement and tighten against a floor joist llike a post, pipe vices that have a strap affair to prevent marring chrome and brass pipe, and large pipe cutters like a chain wrench with cutter wheels all the way around that cuts well casing and larger pipe very easily. $200 for the entire garage full in the 80's. Most of the stuff was from the 1920's and 30's. I bought it for the stuff from the 1800's ;

    . Brass Adjustable ELs.JPG
  3. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah, old fittings have captured my attention for quite some time.
    I call this stuff my "dead men collection" since most people that used them when new are dead.
    Could there be anyone else with a ornate bushing collection?
    Bushing Variations.JPG

    Or these early type brass fittings with holes to melt lead or solder into a groove inside the fitting? I don't collect used ones taken from homes, only unused new old stock.

    Antique Solder - Lead Fittings.JPG

    With the lot I bought was a bunch of these plugs on the bottom shelf, made with a large wing nut to bulge the rubber plug open for possibly pressure testing or draining large lines ?? I know what the pump parts are on the right, but these things are a mystery.

    Bottom Shelf.JPG
  4. guy

    guy New Member

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    just logged on ,did you ever get those radiators converted?You need to cut and break the old fitting out.
  5. Mark Holden

    Mark Holden New Member

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    Regarding corrosion; I studied it a little in the past.
    Dissimilar metals will cause a galvanic cell to form and cause corrosion, but remember that corrosion is almost entirely oxidization; when the oxygen runs out [in a sealed system] the corrosion stops.
    There are exceptions; stainless steels will corrode without oxygen, but are happy in the presence of oxygen. aluminum will combine with anything.
    I've seen the same thing with ball valves; it could be crevice corrosion on the stainless balls due to the lack of oxygen. When fully open, the ball surfaces are protected, you'll never notice a bit of loss in the bore.
    Or it could be turbulence [or erosion] corrosion, caused by high water velocity. I believe this is caused by electrical current being generated by the swirling water in the fitting. It's noisy too.

    Coaly, good info on old pipe fittings! It's a constant learning process for me. Valve compound... how come I didn't know that? Good tip.
    Here in Europe they've moved to straight threads [terrible to seal] but old fittings and some imported stuff has taper threads. BSP, NPT... it's a mess.
    I've managed to collect pipe taps from 1/8" to 1", very handy.
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I was able to back the original 1 1/4-inch brass fittings out without too much trouble, and I replaced them with 1 1/4 to 3/4-inch reducers and piped it through the floor with black iron going into copper down below. Carried the thing from NY out to Wisconsin in the truck of the family Jetta. It looks really nice in the kitchen--a lot nicer than that old, crummy hydronic baseboard. I assume once winter rolls around, it will heat the space a lot better, too. I'm color blind, so I bought dark brown spray paint instead of black, and didn't notice until it was dry, but Mom says she likes it better anyway.
  7. Rob186

    Rob186 New Member

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    Wow a spud wrench you dont see them to often i am a pipe fitter and have changed thousands of steam rads to hot water and the best advise on removing spuds is lots of PB blaster a d a prayer to the pipe gods lol most of the time they are so frozen that the nubs break off so I tap the spud wrench in and put a pipe wrench on it the spud wrench keeps the fitting from egging
  8. Rob186

    Rob186 New Member

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    Oh forgot to add never throdel with a gate valve you will we're out the seats a d it wolnt be a positive shut off when you need it
  9. wardk

    wardk Member

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    I have one of the shutter valves I would like to reuse if I can seal it, the packing seal was almost gone do you think an O ring would work?
  10. Nicholas Geti

    Nicholas Geti New Member

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    The usual packing that one can get locally is some kind of string. It fails totally to stop leaking. I found a Teflon Valve Stem Packing (1/8" dia corded Teflon) that worked well. I had to ask a local plumbing supply to order it for me from http://www.gore.com/en_xx/products/sealants/packing/packing.html
  11. Nicholas Geti

    Nicholas Geti New Member

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  12. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    You measure the "packing space" between shaft and outer bore. This is the packing diameter you need. Each wrap is it's own ring. The correct way is with a wood dowel the same size as shaft to cut it on. Wrap around the dowel one turn, and where it overlaps, cut with a razor knife on a 45* angle. Also hold the blade on a 45* like a compound mitre saw cut. As you 'stack' them on the shaft, keep the cut ends at different positions to overlap the cuts. When they wear, or crush, you simply add another ring. There is a corkscrew type tool used (packing puller) to remove rings down to a good one, so you don't normally replace all at once. The black graphite impregnated provides lubricant, and expands when heated to be steam tight. This is how packing is done on sliding steam valves on engines, as well as rotating valve stems.
    There is also packing material made with a V on the sides. When stacked on each other, the space between them isn't straight to allow steam to leak between them. This is called chevron packing. (stacked up, the joints look like the old Chevron sign)
    raybonz likes this.
  13. Nicholas Geti

    Nicholas Geti New Member

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    I have a cracked brass elbow fitting for a cast iron radiator. It is many years old. I took it to a local supply house to get one like it and found that modern fittings even made by the same mfg have a different flare angle and face-to-face distance. I can either buy a spud wrench and add new fittings or find someone who has the antique style willing to sell me one.

    I have tried to keep my 200 yr old house authentic and am reluctant to replace any more than I have to.
  14. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Practice a bit with a brazing rod and torch on old brass fittings. You'll get good enough to melt it on like solder and repair your old fittings. A little hand machining and you're fittings are usually useable.
  15. wardk

    wardk Member

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    I found graphite packing at the local plumbing wholesaler , couple wraps doesn't leak a drop,they also had a sweet copper air extractor works great.
  16. Nicholas Geti

    Nicholas Geti New Member

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    I visited most of the suppliers between Danbury, CT and Bridgeport, CT. No one had graphite packing which is why I tried the Teflon. Where did you buy yours?
  17. Nicholas Geti

    Nicholas Geti New Member

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    Are you talking about an acetylene type of torch or the plain, propane cylinder that people use for soldering copper pipe? The first one sounds like it would require heavy duty equipment and a skill I don't have.

    Nick Geti
  18. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    In the electrical trade we call rope packing monkey $hit ;)

    Ray
  19. wardk

    wardk Member

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    It was at B.A. Robinson Kamloops B.C. just hanging on the wall with all the tap repair parts Oring , cartridges, washers Etc.If I can find the package I'll let you know the brand and part #.
  20. wardk

    wardk Member

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    IMHO I'd be more worried about water staining a 200 yr old floor than using a modern fitting.
    raybonz likes this.
  21. Nicholas Geti

    Nicholas Geti New Member

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    No problem. The floor is 18" wide poplar planks which I sanded and coated with urethane colored very lightly with several stains to get a uniform color between the boards. It is gorgeous. The finish is very hard and can take any kind of punishment.

    I still want to be consistent between brass fittings. In any case I have Googled and cannot even find a simple, modern valve and elbow. I ordered a spud wrench just in case I need to swap out the tail pieces.
  22. Nicholas Geti

    Nicholas Geti New Member

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    Do you really expect me to say that when I go shopping?
  23. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Yes, tradesmen say this and they will understand it.. Just like peckerhead is a motor J-box or duck $hit is duct seal or channel locks are water pump pliers.. need I go on?

    Ray
  24. Couderay80

    Couderay80 Member

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    Thats fine, when you go from black pipe to copper put a brass fitting in between the two like an union or valve. Brass ball valve is fine for throttling not my first choice but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. That fitting in your rad. was exactly that and old collar for a union.
  25. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Proper valve for flow regulation is a globe valve.
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