Need advice on how to 'repair' a kinked 75' plumbing snake (just busted)

Two questions I'd love advice on: Q1: What am I doing wrong that my plumbing snake kinks all the time? Q2: How can I repair the one I just broke in half today?
Here's a picture of some of the 75' of snake laid out on the concrete after cleaning out the drain pipes today: PICTURE: http://picturepush.com/public/7839276
Here's the kind of kink that I keep getting in the hose when I try to rewind it back into the container: PICTURE: http://picturepush.com/public/7839277
Here's where I broke the snake today trying to unkink the kink: PICTURE: http://picturepush.com/public/7839281
Is there any way to repair this 75' snake or is it a goner? PICTURE: http://picturepush.com/public/7839283
In summary, I'm sure my technique is bad because I keep getting kinks in the snake ... and ... when I unkink them ... I broke the snake.
Q1: What am I doing wrong? Q2: How can I repair it?
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Martin C. wrote:

My experience has been you can't unkink them. They are spring steel. I just bought a replacement for mine that someone I lent it to got kinks in. Get your snake as close to the clean out as possible and feed it slower. The more snake you have exposed between the clean out and the base the more likely you are going to get kinks in it JME
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wrote:

http://www.cobraus.com/Products.aspx?Id=1022
Cobra 3/8" x 75' Replacement Cable Item #: 100817 | Model #: LX-99112
Lowes
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On Tue, 20 Mar 2012 00:58:57 -0700, DD_BobK wrote:

Thanks for that hint for replacement cables for the Cobra drain cleaning snakes. The Cobra pictured looks very similar to my "BrassCraft Drain Cleaning Products, BC400 Series" snake, even down to the blue/yellow color scheme.
The video was instructive for me to see problems with my technique: a. I had not been using the set screw (too difficult to use). b. I had been using reverse (I had thought that's how it went back into the drum). c. I had been using forward (to push the cable into the pipes)
From the video, it looks like you manually PUSH the cable to the tough spots, then you lock down the screw, then you put it in forward (but it can't move), then you unlock the screw and push forward again.
In the end, it looks like you turn the motor off and manually pull it back.
In contrast, I had not been using the set screw (because it's way too difficult and requires a wrench at all times); I had been using forward continuously from the start to the 75 foot mark; and I had been using the reverse to wind it back into the drum.
I guess THAT's why my 75-foot drain cleaning cable kinked!
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wrote:

hmmm...that's interesting.
I have rented 1/2" power snakes a number of times in the past few years and have always run the machine in the forward position while feeding it down the pipe and then running it in reverse while pulling it out. I thought that that was how it was done.
I've never had a problem with kinking, although the cable has gotten a bit wild when I've mistakenly left too much cable exposed between the machine and the drain and the cable hits an obstruction. The cutter stops and the rotating motion is confined to the exposed cable. I always blame myself for that since it is easily preventable simply by leaving less cable exposed. You just need to learn to lift your foot as soon as things start to go bad. ;-)
I've tried pushing the cable by hand but trying to move 40 - 50 (up to 75) feet of cable without having the machine running in the forward position is pretty hard work. With the machine in forward, the cable just slowly walks down the drain on it's own. Why wouldn't I want it to do that?
I've also tried pulling it back out without being in reverse and that's just as hard. While the cable still needs to be pushed back into the machine even while in reverse, it's much easier to do than without the motor running.
Of course, it does make a mess as it throws black gunk around as it spins. I build a tent with large pieces of cardboard to keep the spray contained.
The video makes it look like a lot more work that it has to be.
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On Tue, 20 Mar 2012 11:11:36 -0700, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I too found it unintuitive that the forward and reverse motor is only used momentarily.
The thing the video skips, of course, is that if you lock the set screw down, you can't feed it.
So, the video does this: a) They push it as far as it will go b) They lock the set screw c) Somehow (magically?) they push it further as they start the motor
Seems to me the video'd approach skips a few thumbscrew locks and unlocks!
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wrote:

Yeah, I replayed that part a few times and does seem a bit strange. I seems that at one point the cable moves too far foward to have been locked.
It looks just it does when I snake my drain, which as I said, I do with the cable always unlocked. It really does just pull itself into the drain, although it goes much faster if I help it along by pushing as it is spinning.
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Some drain augers are power feed & power retract. Some are meant to be hand feed & hand retracted.
It all depends on the model. My neighbor has a "Little General" .... 75 or 100' of 3/8" cable. It's a hand feed / hand retract and even has a warning about running in reverse. I always wondered why it had a reverse if you weren't supposed to use it?
My dad used to borrow a power feed & retract snake from work but don't recall the make or model and I've never seen such a handy unit.
cheers Bob
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Yow, that's some serious wisdom. Glad at least one gentle reader is willing to share. Restores my faith in humanity.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
On Tue, 20 Mar 2012 00:58:57 -0700, DD_BobK wrote:

Thanks for that hint for replacement cables for the Cobra drain cleaning snakes. The Cobra pictured looks very similar to my "BrassCraft Drain Cleaning Products, BC400 Series" snake, even down to the blue/yellow color scheme.
The video was instructive for me to see problems with my technique: a. I had not been using the set screw (too difficult to use). b. I had been using reverse (I had thought that's how it went back into the drum). c. I had been using forward (to push the cable into the pipes)
From the video, it looks like you manually PUSH the cable to the tough spots, then you lock down the screw, then you put it in forward (but it can't move), then you unlock the screw and push forward again.
In the end, it looks like you turn the motor off and manually pull it back.
In contrast, I had not been using the set screw (because it's way too difficult and requires a wrench at all times); I had been using forward continuously from the start to the 75 foot mark; and I had been using the reverse to wind it back into the drum.
I guess THAT's why my 75-foot drain cleaning cable kinked!
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UPDATE: Apparently BrassCraft is Cobra.
I called Cobra customer support (800-835-2200) who explained that my snaking technique was wrong, hence the kinks & broken snake.
Apparently Cobra doesn't sell the snakes directly because their customer support said that I could pick up the 100-foot length at Lowes hardware stores:
Lowes P/N 100817, 3/8 x 100 feet Slotted End Cable Cobra P/N 90441, 3/8 x 100 feet Slotted End Cable
Cobra confirmed the 75 foot and 100 foot lengths will fit into the BC400 drum, which is apparently called the "40 Series" on the Cobra web site.
Cobra confirmed the technique is this: 1. Feed the snake as far as it will go 2. Then lock the thumbscrew (mine must be broken as there is no plastic) 3. Then put it on forward 4. Then unlock the thumbscrew & feed again & repeat as needed 5. Use reverse only momentarily to back out of tough spots 6. When done, hand feed back into the drum
So, lesson learned!
The reason it kinked, they said, was that I was doing it all wrong.
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Martin C. wrote:

I'd get a 1/2" cable if you can, much less likely to kink than a 3/8"
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On Tue, 20 Mar 2012 12:18:17 -0500, ChairMan wrote:

Good idea. I called Cobra again (800-835-2200) to ask about the half-inch cable.
They told me Lowes does not sell the half-inch cable but they sell the 75- foot length for $187. They won't sell a longer length for the BC400 because the 75 foot length barely fits (most people apparently leave the last few yards hanging out.)
Tangent: It must be like tent bags which I can never get the entire tent back in no matter how neatly I try to pack it in.
I wonder ... since I use this BrassCraft (aka Cobra) BC400 power snake only about once every three years ... if others can advise me with more experience.
Do you guys generally plan on 75 feet or 100 feet of snaking when you have a plumbing problem?
Note: 100 feet will get me halfway into the roadway, I think, from the house anyway. I don't know where the roadway cleanout plug is (probably buried in the lawn somewhere).
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wrote:

If your municipality is anything like mine, this is what I would do:
Call them and tell them your drain is clogged and that you believe that you have snaked all of your portion with no relief, so you would like them to come and snake *their* portion.
If this were my town, they would come out, locate the clean out and then snake from the cleanout to the main sewer.
After that, you'd know exactly where the cleanout is and you'd know how far out you need to snake to clear the part that you own.
What happened in my neighborhood about 5 years ago is that as our cast iron pipes got older and older, the town was getting more and more calls to snake our drains. Since the town was responsible for their section of the drain, and because there were no cleanouts in our front yards, they always had to come into our houses and snake from our inside cleanouts all the way out to the street. Homeowners basically had access to a free snaking service since the town couldn't get to their section without snaking ours.
So about 5 years ago they dug up our yards, replaced their section of cast with PVC and put in a cleanout. If you call them now, they simply drop a camera down their clean out, check for a clog on the street side and snake if required. If they don't see a clog, then the problem must be back towards the house and we are on our own to clear it.
In my case, the roots enter the pipe at the junction between my cast iron pipe and the PVC wye which connects connects my pipe to theirs and to the clean out. By "law" this junction is on my side of the cleanout, only accessible (read: clearable) from inside the house, therefore it's my problem. I've been snaking it with a cutter head at least once a year for the past 4 years but I just ordered a batch of Root-X foaming weed root killer which I'm going to try in a few weeks.
I have to wait 5 - 6 weeks after the last cutting to allow the roots to grow back a bit and give the foam some "open ends" to poison.
I won't know if it works until at least a year goes by without any slowdowns or partial blockages, usually signalled by a gurgling toilet in the basement when an upstairs toilet is flushed. Once that happens, I know that the roots are back and I'd better snake before the the pipe gets completely blocked by something catching on the roots.
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wrote:

Yeah, that's why I mentioned renting. I paid about $50 for a day for a pretty bulletproof snake with power feed (out and back). I haven't seen one like it for sale, but I'm guessing I could rent one once a year until I'm too old to use it, for what it would cost to buy...and I don't have to store it.
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