Soldering Quarter Turn Ball Valves


Do you need to (and can you) disassemble quarter turn ball valves in order to safely solder them into the piping? I picked up a 1/2" valve at Home Depot. Was told there that you don't need to disassemble them. Looking through the ends it looks like there is a plastic seal that might be affected by soldering. However, based on advice I soldered one into place. It does not shut off properly with a small leak through it. I expect the heat of soldering damaged the plastic seats.
Did I just pick up a real cheap valve that should not be soldered in? Are there ball valves with seats of materials like bronze that can be soldered in place? If I have to I think I can set up of the joint soldering sequence so that the valve is disassembled, one end soldered to the fixed pipe, the other end soldered to a length of copper, the valve assembled and threaded together, then the far end of the copper pipe soldered safely away from the valve.
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Why not just use a pressure-fit fitting. Simply cut off the pipe with a pipe cutter, put the pressure fitting together and tighten. Works great.
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Yes, you can remove the valve stem. I do that all the time, and not only the packing, but the neoprene washer will be be protected from the heat. Unseat the valve about 1/2 way (like you're turning on the water), then unscrew the large hex cap until it's free of the body. The whole thing will then unscrew out of the body. When you put it back together, use just enough torque on the hex cap to stop the water from leaking. Overtightening will just make the packing wear out more quickly. Bill

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Gohabs,
Thanks for the suggestion but I prefer the security of a good soldered connection on permanent supply piping.
Bill,
Thanks to you too. However, I think you are describing a globe valve (like for your outdoor hose connector). You don't lift a ball valve off it's seat. It pivots within the body. Yes, for a globe valve, removing the stem and the sealing washer is standard procedure. It seems a bit trickier to disassemble a ball valve.
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JRR wrote:

OK so if you can't disassemble it to get the ball out, how did they get the ball in there in the first place?
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Heathcliff wrote:

Magic.....Or maybe they put in a small ball and fed it until it grew up.
Seriously, what you have to do is use a wet rag wrapped over most of the valve, exposing just the part you need to heat to soldering temperature.
Use a large flame so you can heat the joint quickly, and as soon as the solder looks like it's solidified, wrap another wet rag around the part you just soldered. That'll do it.
Jeff
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Ditto what Jeff said. Wet rag and a hot flame. Angle the flame away from the valve. I used MAPP for the first time a few weeks ago. Made quick work of soldering valves and not one was damaged. Cheers, cc
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JRR wrote:

This exact question was asked last week (and answered). Do a google search.
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Robert Allison posted for all of us...

We have to get together on this! Eigen no vector seems to be a blatant abuser.
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Tekkie Don\'t bother to thank me, I do this as a public service.

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JRR writes:

This is definitely a risk. Wrapping the center in soggy rags, and a quick solder with a hot torch, are your best shot, if you absolutely can't disassemble and reassemble the polymer components.
I wouldn't rely on technical advice from Home Depot aisle clerks.
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I don't think you can do that, but have never tried.
HD sells a ball valve on which the ends come off to be soldered to the pipes. Then you assemble the whole thing like a big union. I put one on my main water pipe two years ago and it hasn't leaked yet! Not cheap, but worth it.
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I can't even count how many Ball Valves I've Soldered. Now if you bought the ones the body comes apart with four bolts you might want to take them apart or better yet buy the solid ones. You can also buy threaded ones just solider an MIP on the end of a piece copper. Then use couplings to install in system.
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Thanks all for the feedback. I had searched for this subject but maybe had entered too many terms. Searched again and found the other thread. Between that one and this I think I have determined what I did wrong.
1) No wet rag to absorb heat in the body of the valve. 2) I think the tank on my propane torch is going empty and my flame was weak. 3) Pipe was drained but I may have had some drops trickle towards the valve. Need to use a little bread upstream to block and absorb any drips. 4) I had the valve in the closed position. This is the point where the handle is most out of the way for soldering both ends, but being closed may have trapped water.
So I'm off to buy another valve and a MAPP torch for a hotter flame. While I'm at it a backing cloth. Used some heavy duty aluminumf foil last time which worked OK. I think I can come up with the wet rag around here ;).
This time, I'll solder with the valve open and temporarily remove the handle to keep it out of the way.
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Some people use a threaded ball-valve. They solder on a threaded adapter, then screw on the valve.
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