Repairing a sewer pipe, hard to get rubber rings on

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    • #279529

      After a year of he-double-L and going through a bevy of the most incompetent, expensive plumbers on earth (I live near Washington, DC where good help is nearly impossible to find, unless you throw thousand-dollar bills at people), my sewer backed up into my basement for the umpteenth time and this time it didn’t gradually subside, it just stayed there. No plumbers could come for three weeks, and so I decided I had to do the repair myself, one that was complicated by the fact that that the break was probably under the back patio adjacent to my house.

      I got a concrete cutter and jackhammer and cut through the back patio, but I was restricted because of a set of stairs. I was a couple feet off, so the pipe is at the edge of the pit (still, I did far better than the professional plumbers, one of which was off by 45 feet and another of which was off by 20 feet, charged me big bucks to dig a useless hole, and never came back to solve the problem).

      My goal is to put in an effective temporary repair, which will hold until spring when I get the paito re-done. The pipe is about 24-30″ down, and I plan to leave it exposed (with the pit covered) until the patio is replaced.

      The 4″ iron pipe had subsided and the outside part was about 3″ below the nub that came out of the foundation. No wonder I had problems, it was effectively shut off. The nub was slightly damaged, but aside from a couple of chips it looks like it has about 3″ of good pipe to access. I cut off about 18″ of the outside portion with a cutoff saw and sawzall. Because the outside portion was not inline with the nub, I had to cut the replacement section of 4″ PVC a little short to accommodate the angle (it was a straight section, just temporary so we could do laundry that night).

      My big problem is that the iron pipe is corroded, and it is extremely hard to get the rubber joint rings on. It took almost an hour of pounding to get them from the PVC to the iron last night. I cleaned the iron pipe as best as I could, but that wasn’t very well. It’s leaking a little, but not too bad, maybe a half-gallon a day. Because of the subsidence the outside joint may be the low spot in that section of pipe, which adds to the problem.

      If I can I want to put in a clean-out. I got some more supplies today, including two 45 degree bends and a cleanout joint made entirely of rubber, which might save me enough inches to put in the bends and get the pipes to line up. The main problem is still the corroded iron pipe, which is keeping me from getting the rubber ring on well enough– I can’t slide it far enough up the pipe and the un-evenness of the surface is keeping the hose clamp from generating a water-tight seal. I chipped it off as best I could, but access is tough.

      I bought some wire brushes that fit on my drills, and I plan to try those tomorrow, but does anybody have any other suggestions, like other ways to clean the corrosion off those pipes or other types of repair joints besides those rubber rings?

      Many thanks for all help. -Bill C

    • #301125
      Retired plbg1

      You need to clean that off with a hammer and chisel, also get a rubber fernco coupling that goes fro pvc to cast iron, if you only have 3′ difference then you might need a st 45 and a regular 45. Let me know.

      Art retired plbg

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