how do I connect broken pipes

I am not that handy and just moved into a new place. I recenlty noticed that there was a gap between the wall and sinktop so I lifted the sinktop to bring it closer to the wall for caulking and completely forgetting about the plumbing and disconnected the pipe connected to the faucet. I think the pipes were connected by some kind of a compound before but when i lifted the sinktop they broke apart.
What's hard now is that the two pipes will hardly align to where the smaller pipe fits just inside the tip of the bigger pipe. I tried to put putty around the two pipes and tape around but I can't really get it tight enough I guess because there is still some leak and the bottom pipe (smaller) separates from the bigger by gravity.
I also tried a 1-piece connector with screws that I placed between the two pipes but I got a lot of leak.
Please help!!
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You gave quite a bit of detail but didn't say what the pipes are made of.
I assume the place is new to you but not totally new or there woudln't be the gap and compound you mention.
Also, how much of each pipe is showing?
If all there was was a compound connecting them, it should have been repaired anyhow, so you just accelerated the repair.
wrote:

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The pipes are metal and the house is about 17 years old.
What exactly did you mean by how much of each pipe is showing?
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How much room do you have to work with under there - is what he meant.
Is one only a nub sticking out of the wall or is one busted off right next to the U trap?
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the U pipe is busted off at the top and the bigger pipe is about 4 inches from the top connecting to the sink.
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check wrote:

That sounds like a drain pipe. They should have compression fittings. Big nuts screw tight. Loosen the big nuts and you should be able it disassemble the pipes. Have a bucket under them. Only take apart any broken parts. If they just came apart with clean edges, just loosen the nuts, put them back together and tighten then nuts, otherwise take the broken parts the the hardware stores and they will sell you new parts to replace them
I suggest however it might be far easier and better in the long run to leave everything as it is (put a bucket there to catch any drips and remind everyone not to use that skink) and stop by the hardware store and buy a comprehensive DIY book It will have all the photos and details that we can't provide for you. It will make this job and many more to come far easier.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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Picture worth 1k words. No digital camera to post a pic?
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under the sink can be replaced with nice new stuff for less than 30 bucks or so, assuming the supply lines up the the valves, and the waste line in the wall or floor is intact. I'd remove any old stuff that looks deteriorated, and go buy fresh parts. The trap and tail are available as a kit, and the metal feedlines that go between shutoff valves and faucet, if they can be undone on faucet end, can be replaced with flexible plastic lines. Good time to replace faucet as well, if it is flakey. Recommend buying a basic home plumbing DIY book, or looking on a website- the pictures there will explain it better than we can here. Not rocket science, but it can be a bloody knuckle and gunk in eye job, working upside down in tight spaces. May be easier to pull sink out completely, clean it all up, and reinstall properly from scratch. A lot easier to redo faucet supply lines and drain tailstock on a loose sink, and just drop into place on cleaned-up or replaced shutoff valves and drain line. You should not have been able to just pick up the sink- they are supposed to be fastened down. Sounds like whoever worked on it last did a piss-poor job.
Oh, yeah- shut the house water off before you start- those little shutoff valves under the sink love to snap off if the pipe is rotted. And start this early enough in the day so you can run back for more parts.
If all this seems way too intimidating. this is a pissant job for a plumber, and wouldn't be that expensive to hire out. He'll be in and out in a hour.
aem sends....
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There are three pipes under the sink, a drain pipe, a hot water supply pipe and a cold water supply pipe. There are different piping materials and connectivity methods that have been used over the years and are even in use today.
You don't say what pipes you are talking about nor the piping materials nor the connectivity used. You need to buy a good book on home repairs such as the Readers Digest. This will step you through the repair method for what you have under the sink.
Saying the pipe is metal doesn't help much because different metals use different methods. You need to learn the piping systems in use and the terminology. The book is your best bet. Maybe buy two different books to get two different points of view.

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You may want to consider calling a plumber. Even though this newsgroup is a do-it-yourself forum, it sounds like you may be in a bit over your head. Using connectors with screws to splice pipe back together around the sink is really not the right way to approach this, and the specific solution will really depend (as others have already stated) on the exact type of pipe you are dealing with. Metal pipe such as copper is worked in a different manner than metal pipe like galvanized.
If you can take a digital photo and send it to us, or take it to a local hardware store, you should get a lot more specific help. Maybe a plumber could be avoided if there were a lot better description.
Smarty

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Here is a photo:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8819871@N08/535242150 /
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check wrote:

Unless I'm missing something, the trap will swivel a bit more to the left.
Then the trap "arm" going into the wall can be pulled toward you (or away) in the slip coupling to allow alignment.
Jim
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longer pieces to maneuver things around. (I'd buy the whole kit- it is cheap, and it is good to have spare parts in stock.) Put the new longer tailpiece on the sink, loosen all the big white round nuts, and wiggle everything around till it lines up. You may need to cut some pieces to make it all work. Use a utility knife to deburr the inside of any pipes you cut shorter. The picture shows it is a lot simpler problem than your original post implied. You do still wanna tie the sink down with the correct clips or whatever- plumbing aisle at big-box has those, too. The DIY book most of us told you to buy has lots of pictures of the procedure- this is about the most common home plumbing repair, now that faucets seldom have washers. Speaking of washers, pay attention to the diagram on the bag, about which way the triangle-cross-section washers go- it is important. I'd take the old parts to the store, to make sure you get the right diameter, and the right parts and nuts and such.
aem sends...
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I placed a coupling with washers in between and it did the job. Just a few drops of leak but probably just needs to be tightened. Thanks a bunch for the help.
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