Plumbing question: main shutoff doesn't work

I tried to replace a cracked sillcock last weekend but the main shutoff didn't work. I turned it all the way off, but water would still trickle through the faucets in a very thin stream.
I'm guessing that this situation will make in impossible to replace the sillcock? Or are there any acceptable solutions I can use? It has a male threaded end, and there is a 1/2" copper supply pipe that i would have to cut.
Fixing the shutoff right now will be quite a task as it is located about 2-3 ft underground. There is about a 6" pipe from above ground dug in to access the valve. Will a pro be able to work within these constraints to replace the valve? I can't imagine that one could, so I'm resigned to ripping my landscaping to dig a hole. Also when i get around to doing this, does anyone have any suggestions for somehow redoing the shutoff so that I can get at it better?
Thanks!
--
XBRG

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"I tried to replace a cracked sillcock last weekend but the main shutoff didn't work. I turned it all the way off, but water would still trickle through the faucets in a very thin stream. "
If there is a cold water outlet anywhere that is lower than the pipe you need to repair and you can hook a short hose to it and open it all the way and route it to a drain, that would probably divert the water away from the sillcock while you work on it.
When you get the outside shutoff fixed I would put a simple quarter turn valve inside the house so you can easily shut off the water inside, plus then you have a backup outside shut off.
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snipped-for-privacy@home.invalid wrote:

You should be able to replace the sillcock even if the main valve leaks a little. Soldering is very difficult if there's water in the pipes, but threaded fittings work just fine.
Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

I gotta feeling the male thread he's referring to is the hose thread on the outlet of the sillcock Bob, else why would he metion cutting a copper supply pipe?
I'm not suggesting the OP uses a pipe freezer, bt for the general interest of those who aren't aware of them, they let you "shut off" water temporarily by freezing a small slug in a pipe. I've seen them in both electric and CO2 versions.
http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/SF2000-Pipe-Freezer /
Jwff
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

A plumber used one of those to replace the main shutoff in my basement a few years ago when the street shutoff was inaccessible.
Even if the sillcock is soldered on instead of threaded, he could get it dry enough to solder by closing the main valve to restrict the flow, opening several other faucets in the house, and shoving a wad of bread into the pipe he's trying to work on.
Bob
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wrote:

That bread is a good idea too. A new one for me. And again I probably wouldn't have thought of it. I guess I'm not as clever as my mother told me I was.

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On Thu, 15 Dec 2005 15:45:44 -0500, Jeff Wisnia

I doubt I'll ever need this, but I sure am glad to hear about it. I think I never would have thought of such a thing. ...Maybe I'll be able to tell someone else aobut it some day.
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There should be a city shutoff between the street and the shutoff for your house. If that is the one you are talking about, it is the city who is responsible for repairing it. If it is not, locate that valve and shut it off there.
They sell these little gel capsules that fit in the pipe and block the water. Once you solder the pipe, they disintegrate and flow out a valve. Once you solder on a threaded end to the pipe, you can thread the valve onto it while it is open. Open another faucet in the house to prevent pressure build up.
When you replace the shutoff, only use a ball valve.
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Do you have a water meter? There is usually a shutoff just before the meter. It needs a special wrench, although you can probably work it with a larger vice-grip.
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Rich Greenberg Marietta, GA, USA richgr atsign panix.com + 1 770 321 6507
Eastern time. N6LRT I speak for myself & my dogs only. VM\'er since CP-67
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On Thu, 15 Dec 2005 14:04:37 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@home.invalid wrote:

You got a Silly Cock? Shame on you, Now we all know. You better read this...........
------
* The First Plumbers Must Have Been Perverts *
The first plumbers must have been perverts. Did you ever notice the names of plumbing parts. First off. there are MALE and FEMALE pipes, fittings, and other stuff. Then, there are lots of NIPPLES. Heck, plumbers love NIPPLES, they carry boxes and boxes of NIPPLES around with them. They even have their racial choices. there are black nipples, and white ones, and silver ones, and even plastic ones. Of course some of those plumbers must have been gay, because they have drain COCKS, Sill COCKS, and all sorts of other COCKS. However, the one that gets me the most are those BALLCOCKS. Now, come on... Isn't that just a bit too descriptive. Heck, I recall walking into a hardware store to buy on of those things, and this young girl walks up to me, and says "can I help you"? Heck, I was too embarrased to tell her what I wanted, fearing I'd get slapped if I told her. I just told her to point out the plumbing department. However, she took me over there, and again asked me what I needed.... Good grief, I couldn't tell her, so I grabbed a pipe nipple, and told her "this is what I need", and checked out. I ended up leaving that store without the ballcock I needed for my leaking toilet, and bought a piece of pipe I had no use for.
Of course, there are also BALL valves, NUTS, SCREWS, and RUBBERS too....
So, the next time you go to a plumbing store, be sure to tell the cutest clerk that you want a pair of ball valves, a ballcock, and some black female nipples. Then ask her to screw the black female nipples into the male threads on the ballcock, and attach the ball valves to the bottom. When she is done with that, ask if she inserted some rubbers before she screwed the thing....
That ought to be enough to get a good slap, or maybe 5 years and a fine.... Of course, she might take this all in fun, and the two of you will rub ELBOWS. WYE, you could even end up PLUGing her, COUPLING, or letting her wear your CAP. If you really hit it off, and the two of you PUMP each other, you could join in matrimony, and have a very happy UNION !!!
So much for plumbing sex, but one word of caution. Before screwing anything, be sure use some DOPE on both the male and female parts. Sex on DOPE is always more fun !
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