Here's what happened when I replaced the tpr valve (factory installed)
on my 3-yr old Richmond 40 gallon gas water heater. Using a large
crescent wrench on the flats, the brass deformed and the downspout
broke off. Then using a pipe wrench on the remaining body, as close
to the heater as I could get, the wrench merely gouged out more
brass. Then I ground two flats for the wrench to grip better, so this
time the entire body broke off, leaving a stud projecting from the
heater. I then had clearance to the inside of the fitting, so I used
a hacksaw blade down the middle of the opening, two slits 1/8" apart
down to the threads, and punched out the strip (dropped in, oh well).
Now It was easy to unscrew the stud with a needlenose.
My question: how would a pro have replaced this valve?
Crescent wrenches, while very handy, are not the best tool in the world for
something that requires lots of pressure. They always have some give to
them. I really try to avoid them whenever I can. Sometimes on a tight
object it helps to put tightening pressure on and the try again to loosen
it. Or, if room permits, heat.
Do any of the locking crescent wrenches work much better? I figure if
I see one at a yard sale I'll buy it, but if omsone said a particular
style really worked, maybe I'd buy it now.
I use end and box wrenches as much as possible, English and metric, to
get the right size, and I use vice grips a lot, but they don't even
pretend to be shaped like the bolt.
I'm having a tough time figuring out how a pipe wrench would slip so
it couldn't be used on a TPR valve. The TPR valves are kind of
oblong, even a bit rectangular and a pipe wrench should stay on it
easier than on just a piece of smooth pipe, which they are made for.
Still, if it finally broke off instead of coming out, not sure there's
much you could have done differently.
On 24 Mar 2007 11:59:51 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I'm not a pro in any repair or mechanical area, and I've also never
tried to remove this valve, though I have heard bad stories here about
But standard procedures for unscrewing things might apply. Please
someone let me know if any of this would be bad.
1) If loosening doesn't work, try tightening. Sometimes it will
tighten a little and then it will be easier to loosen. I guess this is
because you can build up some "speed" when you start loosening
afterwards, from farther away. If you get any play at all, you can go
cw and ccw and cw and ccw endlessly until it loosens.
2) Liquid wrench? Any way to get that in there? It works well in
some applications. AFter applying, the instructions say to tap or hit
the thing with something iirc metal, so that minute vibrations will
suck the liquid wrench further into the joint. I have some liquid
wrench style thing that comes in a plastic bottle with a 6+ inch thin
spout, for getting to hard to reach places. Bought it at an appliance
parts supply house. 2 dollars?
3) Heating with a propane torch. Somehow, I don't like this idea in
this case, but someone else may say it is a good idea. I guess I
don't like it because I think there is water inside that will keep
things from heating, but otoh, if you were going to take the tpr out,
the tank is probably empty, at least to that level. So maybe it would
heat. That's how I got all the bolts out of my motorcycle crankcase
last summer. None would come out when it was cold. There I had to be
careful not to overheat and warp the aluminum, but I did so. With a
water heater, I don't know.
4) Putting the wrench on and hitting the wrench handle with a hammer.
Wear goggles, the wrench may break or the hammer head may shatter, i'm
told. This is something like an impact hammer or impact wrench. Even
though one is only putting force on for an instant, it's probably
greater than you can do with your bare hands and the wrench. I think
this great force is only needed for the first millimater, to free it
up, and after that, you can probably just use your arms.
5)I guess this hammer thing 4) could be combined with method 1, and
one could hammer in the other direction. I think I've done this but
don't remember what happened. IIRC, maybe I eventually loosened
something, but I couldn't tell if this had helped or not, because it
wasn't the last thing I did.
I'm sure these ways are all good sometimes. Do any of you think any
of these are bad, or especially good? In this case?
They make a internal pipe wrench just for this purpose after the top breaks
off and all you have is a stub. I always used to have a rod I hammered
inside the pipe so when I had to get a pipe wrench on it wouldn't collapse
He would have cut it off with a hacksaw, applied as much heat as
possible, inserted an internal fitting wrench and backed it out. These
valves and the boiler taps (drains) appear to be cemented in at the
factory. While it might be possible to cut off the top leaving just
the flats and then using a hex socket and an impact wrench, most
plumbers don't travel with air compressors and impact wrenches on the
service truck. So your technique really wasn't all that bad.
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