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Old 12-31-2010, 12:49 PM   #1
garrison81
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Jeff's Shower Project

I've got my shower stripped out to the studs, but I'm having trouble removing the old drain.

I've got the grill off, but I don't know how to remove the flange.

Furthermore, I believe I have a copper drain instead of PVC. This house was built in 1968. The guy a big orange box looked at me like have leprosy when I told him that I have a metal drain. Is this going to be a huge problem???

Any advice on how to proceed?
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:02 PM   #2
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No, Jeff, it's not a big problem, but you will have to find a plumbing supply house to get a rubber coupling to fit the copper. Ask for a PVC (or nominal pipe size (NPS)) to copper Fernco coupling.

Dig down far enough to expose the trap and a little of the horizontal pipe downstream. Cut the horizontal pipe where convenient and allowing for about 2" for the coupling. Make up your PVC trap and slip on the Fernco over the PVC and copper pipes. Snug it up (tighten the hose clamps) and adjust so the riser is perfectly plumb. Tighten the clamps, then back fill the hole with sand, gravel, or well tamped spoil from the excavation. Leave yourself room at the top to install the drain fitting, but for now, the riser can be left several inches longer than needed.

Alternatively, if the trap is real deep and you have plenty of riser, you can make the cut on the riser. Extend from the cut to the surface with PVC similar to described above.
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:35 PM   #3
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I've got a better picture now that I've dug it out a little bit.

Is that top piece called a flange? It won't unscrew. The pipe below it that it appears to be attached to looks threaded on the outside (??) but it's hard to tell for sure.

So you're saying I can cut it below the flange and then attach a PVC extension piece with a coupler? If I were to cut it directly flush with my concrete slab, the cut would fall just below the flange.

Also, it may not be copper, but it's some type of metal. Finally, the top piece appears to have been bent in a little to fit inside the pipe, as if they were the same diameter originally.
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:40 PM   #4
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Okay. so if I have enough space for the coupling on the riser, then I can do it there.

What can I use to cut that pipe?

Also do you recognize that disc that is exposed just above the dirt?
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:30 PM   #5
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Jeff,

1- you can cut the pipe with an internal pipe cutter. I will go through copper, cut go slowly. Available from Home Burrito in the plumbing section

2- they are all just above some dirt. When you dig all that out, replace the bottom section with packed sand to about 2 inches below the surface, then fill the rest in with concrete. The idea is to make it removable later.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:35 PM   #6
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You could cut it with a hacksaw or sawzall also.
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Old 12-31-2010, 03:16 PM   #7
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Iron pipe drain removal

I borrowed a sawzall with a steel blade. I'm going to see if I can get through it with that.

I'm starting to think that it's not copper, but rather cast iron.

Anyone know what that ring is a few inches below the drain? Could that be some sort of gasket? I guess if I'm going to have to cut it out anyway, I can just try to rip it off.
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Old 12-31-2010, 03:45 PM   #8
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So, here's where I am.

Got the flange cut off. Turns out it was brass. It's an odd shape on the inside of the pipe though. Can I use this to connect a PCV pipe to with a rubber coupling? I'm currently right below the plane of my concrete slab.
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:01 PM   #9
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Jeff,

From here it looks like you have some serious digging in front of you. Plug the drain to keep the soil out of the pipe and dig down about 10 - 12 inches. You'll need the room later, or may have to dig some more after we get a peak at what you have. That clamping ring needs to go. The brass isn't a clear sign of copper or cast iron drain pipes. What do you have in the rest of the house?
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:16 PM   #10
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Here is what I have under the sink in the same bathroom.

Also the hole in the foundation is about the size of a basketball. Do you think I can do this in that hole?

The pipe turns about 8 inches below my cut.

Do you know how much it would cost me to have a plumber fix the drain pipe (approx)? I'm feeling a bit discouraged.
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:19 PM   #11
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Jeff,

This is certainly something you can do yourself. We even have some women 'round these parts who have tackled such an endeavor (hiding under desk).

While it will be a tad tight, keep digging. Your $90 an hour plumber would be doing the exact same thing. Try chopping the dirt loose, then sucking it out with a shop vac.
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:34 PM   #12
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What do you think about the drain pipe? Iron? Lead? What would I use to cut through that? Is it even safe to cut through a lead pipe (if that's what I have)?

"We even have some women 'round these parts who have tackled such an endeavor"

Challenge accepted!
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:49 PM   #13
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If its lead - you will have done all the prep work for the plumber and saved a enough money to take the missus out to a really fancy dinner.

If its cast iron we have a few tricks up our sleeves

If its copper or galvanized it can be cut more easily.
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:09 PM   #14
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Guess I'll start digging out tomorrow and post the pics.

I really appreciate all of your help. Have a safe New Year's Eve.
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:00 PM   #15
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I had a heck of a time digging around my pipes under the slab like that. I used a hose and a shop vac and "water dug" it out..

Was way more fun than scraping spoonfuls of dirt out on my hands / knee's.
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