Plumbing repair for old leaky stem valve

Had some issues and needed to turn off the water to my house. Fixed that problem but when I turned the water back on, the stem was leaking from my valve. I tightened the nut and that helped a lot, but didn't shut it off completely. I'd like to repack the stem but I cannot turn the water off completely as there is sediment or corrosion in the valve and I can't turn it off completely, it still has some pressure.
I know I need to replace it (most likely will need to get city involved to shut water off outside) but for now, is there any way to repack that stem with *some* water pressure still in it? I know when I tried to unscrew the nut, it leaked a bit more but not what I would consider 'full' pressure. Any thoughts?
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Jeff,
What's changed? You just turned off the water to fix this faucet. Why can't you turn off the water now? Where are you trying to turn off the water? Shut off valve for the sink? Shut off valve for the house? Shut off valve at the street? Without knowning the answers to these questions. I'd guess that a minor drip while you replace the packing under the bonnet nut would be no problem.
Dave M.
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The hardware stores near me have "valve packing twine" or something. It's twine with grease, or silicone stuff mixed in. You may be able to close the valve as best you can. Loosen the packing nut, and put some of the valve twine around the shaft. Tighten the packing nut again.
Might need to take the screw out of the valve handle, hold the handle while loosening, remove the handle and the packing nut, pack, and put it all back together.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Had some issues and needed to turn off the water to my house. Fixed that problem but when I turned the water back on, the stem was leaking from my valve. I tightened the nut and that helped a lot, but didn't shut it off completely. I'd like to repack the stem but I cannot turn the water off completely as there is sediment or corrosion in the valve and I can't turn it off completely, it still has some pressure.
I know I need to replace it (most likely will need to get city involved to shut water off outside) but for now, is there any way to repack that stem with *some* water pressure still in it? I know when I tried to unscrew the nut, it leaked a bit more but not what I would consider 'full' pressure. Any thoughts?
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When you say "the stem was leaking from my valve" I assume you mean the main shutoff inside the house.
While some veteran plumbers will tell you is that you do not need to shut off the water upsteam of the valve you want to repack, the more cautious ones will add that you had better know where that upstream shut off is and have your tools ready in case some thing goes terribly wrong. I have heard of cases where the packing for the main shutoff was replaced with only that valve shut, with nothing more than a little leakage and other cases where the worker got a bit of a shower, but was able to complete the job.
On the other hand, I am in the same situation that you are in, except that I can shut off the main fully.I haven't done anything about the apcking nut leakage because of what recently happened to a friend. The packing nut on his main shutoff was leaking after he turned it back on, so he grabbed a wrench to snug it up. Something broke and he ended up with water at full street pressure shooting out of the valve body. He was lucky enough to be able to direct the water towards a nearby sump pump, which (lucky again) was able to keep up with the water. It took about an hour for the town's water authority guys to show up, find his outside shut off and stop the deluge.
I do not have a sump pump so I'm not taking any chances. The leak is very slight and on the town's side of my indoor meter, so it's not costing me anything. It so slight that even though I can feel water on the bottom of the packing nut, there is never any water in the jug I have hanging from the valve just in case.
I need to schedule a shutoff by the town so I can work on the valve with no chance of a flood. See this thread, just for fun...
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/plumbing-piping/44582-leaky-water-shutoff.html

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On 1/18/2013 12:53 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

problem but when I turned the water back on, the stem was leaking from my valve. I tightened the nut and that helped a lot, but didn't shut it off completely. I'd like to repack the stem but I cannot turn the water off completely as there is sediment or corrosion in the valve and I can't turn it off completely, it still has some pressure.

shut water off outside) but for now, is there any way to repack that stem with *some* water pressure still in it? I know when I tried to unscrew the nut, it leaked a bit more but not what I would consider 'full' pressure. Any thoughts?

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/plumbing-piping/44582-leaky-water-shutoff.html
All the replies have been good advice. I'd like to add, when you turn off the water upstream from the shutoff, change the valve to a 1/4 turn ball valve. IMO they hold up much better over time.
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The problem with that is that you've taken an simple repacking up to what could become a much bigger job.
My shutoff is right at the foundation wall. If anything happens to the 60 year old pipe that comes into the shutoff while replacing the valve, I'm in big trouble, i.e. no water until it's repaired, which could be a really big job.
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