rebuilding old valves?

Hi all,
next on my "to do" list is to replace/rebuild two shutoff valves serving two outside spigots. They don't shut off anymore, meaning that I hope that I don't get any really cold weather prior to getting this fixed, as I can't drain the pipe going through the cinder block basement wall to the spigot without shutting off all water to the house.
However, both are in not very easy to replace locations - one is in a very short section of pipe, such that I don't see how to unsolder it and remove it without breaking things. The other is located similarly, with the added wrinkle that it's now got paneling over it, with only a small hole to allow the handle to protrude into the back of a closet. (hey, I didn't install the closet, the POs did.)
The helpful guy at the plumbing store (where I was Saturday, buying a new faucet and kitchen sink) seemed to think it was no big deal and actually offered to come out and fix them as side work for him. I might take him up on that but he made it sound simple enough that I ought to be able to do it myself.
Is there something online showing how this is done? I'm pretty mechanically handy, but don't know a whole lot about plumbing other than cut, solder, and replace. I imagine that that is what most people would do in this situation, but if there's any way I can avoid taking the back of this closet down I'd be pretty happy about that.
thanks,
nate
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If those are frost proof hose bibs don't bother to repair them. The seat is not replaceable and that is what causes the washer to go bad. I would take the plumber up on his offer.
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Jack Hammer wrote:

They're not, they're regular spigots with separate stop and drain valves just inside the wall. It's the inside stops that I'm fighting - see my other recent post. Sounds like I need to either source new rubber packing washers, or else give up and call the plumber. Fun fun.
nate
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rubber packing nuts are available, at least from good plumber supply stores or ol time real hardware stores.
the big boxes have little:(
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Ayup, that is my problem, I have three good hardware stores, one good plumbing store, and two Home Despots nearby, only one of the good hardware stores (and of course, those awful orange-colored stores) is open late enough that I have a chance in hell of actually patronizing it :( I guess the water to the spigot can stay off until Saturday, although it seems like Saturday has become "plumbing day" not "finish the hot rod day" like it should be.
nate
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wrote:

Sounds like what you need to do is cut-off and abandon those old spigots and put in two new ones that are EASILY accessable and serviceable including inside shut-offs with drain valves. Simple, eh? Bubba
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Bubba wrote:

That's what I have, it's the inside shutoffs that are the problem.
Today I decided, probably against better judgement, to disassemble the more easily accessable of the two to see what there was to see. It appears to be a regular stop valve, and the washer was completely missing. No problemo, right? Go to hardware store, procure a handful of washers and brass screws, assembly is the reverse, etc. It now shuts off properly, however, I've got a new problem - it leaks around the threads of the packing nut unless valve is set completely off. Not a problem as the spigot controlled by this valve is under the deck and inaccessable. I dug out the old packing and crammed it full of new graphite packing, still leaks. It appears the old packing was a formed rubber thing and the graphite rope is squirting out around the stem when I operate the valve. I just left it shut off for now with the drain cap removed, but this'll have to be figured out before I tackle the other one, the one that I really can't cut out and replace...
nate
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My usual practice is to replace any leaking valve and, if appearance is not a factor, replace with 1/4 turn ball valves. They give a lot less problems (never had any in 30 years) and don't leak ever (in my experience) You have the problem of inadequate access.
Replacing the packing is not a complicated process but you will have to shut the water off first.
Harry K
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There is a reason why I'm trying to do this the "hard way" - replacing the one valve would involve taking down paneling in the back of a closet, which is, of course, full of stuff. I'd probably also have to cut out a good bit of tubing and at least one tee to replace it. I'll actually need to buy a deep socket to remove the stem of that valve, as the stem itself is the only thing protruding from the wall. So I'm trying to rebuild the other, identical valve in the laundry room so I have the system down so that I can do the one in the closet quickly and without hassle.
Sounds to me like this will be another saturday AM project when I can run to the real plumbing store and get all the right washers, packing, etc. the graphite "rope" packing just didn't work in this app.
nate
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Keep in mind that the packing has to be compressed in order to seal properly. Depending on the type of packing and bonnet you might be able to put new packing on the bonnet side of the old packing. The bonnet sometimes also has to be tightened pretty hard to compress the packing enough. If you could get a new packing that was correct for your valve it would probably compress and seal easily.
Don Young
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Put in a ball valve and do away with washers and bonnets do your self a favour
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I would but not in his situation. He doesn't have access without major tear out of paneling, etc.
Harry K
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Harry K wrote:

Well...
looks like that's gonna happen.
Due to a fortunate coincidence of circumstances, I ended up leaving the county offices about 4:30 PM (e.g. too late to make it back to the office) so I hurried home, disassembled the valve again, and ran to one of the good hardware stores. Found a washer to fit under the cap, and also a couple options for packing that looked like they'd work. Ended up using a semi-rigid packing washer for a faucet and sanding it down slightly to work. Turned on water, opened valve, drippy drip drip. Cranked the s**t out of the packing nut. Still dripping. Took screwdriver and started chiseling all the lime off of the valve. The water was coming OUT OF THE CAP NUT. yup, must be cracked, although I can't see it - it is definitely not coming out around the threads of the packing nut, it is coming out of the brass itself. New valves available at store use a different type of construction, so there's no mixing and matching of parts going to happen here.
Will be calling plumber in AM, and demo'ing paneling in closet. If this one is bad, I'm not taking a chance on the hard to reach one, and even worse, the house main shutoff valve (also behind closet) appears identical to these two, although it is still working correctly. Might as well get all three of 'em replaced and be done with it.
nate
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