Fitting radiator valve tails (Stelrad)

I'm trying to replace a (rusted through) leaky radiator. I ordered and received a Stelrad K1 (single) radiator and I'm confused about fitting the 'radiator valve tails'.
The instructions just say - prepare the radiator valve tails with PTFE tape (no problem) and fit to the radiator connections - the radiator connections are sealed with some sort of plug which would take an enormous phillips screwdriver or similar. Do I need a special tool to get these out? Do they actually unscrew? I've tried a bodged tool on them but they don't move easily and I don't want to damage anything.
Help please - Alan
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HI Alan

In the past I've found that these plugs will undo with a large flat-bladed screwdriver.....
Once you get them started you'll find that they come out quite easily..
The Screwfix double rads I used had 4 plugs - the two top ones needed replacing with the supplied chromed plugs, one of which had a bleed valve in it. The two plugs at the base of the rad were replaced with radiator tails.
Hope this helps Adrian

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"ajp" wrote

Yes, these fittings are a nuisance. They do require removal (unscrewing) with "the equivalent of" a large phillips screwdriver. Recommend you score around the edge of the insert with a stanley knife or similar - I've had these bring paint off before now. Then get something flat that will positively engage one "leg" of the philips cross and turn this with a shifter (obviously the rad must be sat somewhere solid). When the plugs are out, check the threads are clean before trying to fit the rad tails. I've had some rads with gunk in the threads which will stop the tails from screwing fully home.
Stelrad radiators ain't what they used to be from a quality perpective unfortunately.
HTH
Phil
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ajp wrote:

Thanks people,
I've got them out - using a bicycle bottom bracket spanner - don't ask!
Surely they could come up with something that didn't need me to go hunting round the workshop and bringing in a whole pile of odd shaped bits of metal.
Alan
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HI Alan

But where would be the fun in that ? <g>
Well done !
Adrian
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writes

To follow up other comments about Stelrad not being what they once were, I found the threads on mine were a bit rough, causing the PTFE tape to tear and in a few cases cause leaks. For those I remade the joints using specialist thread jointing compound, I use Dow Corning Plumba Thread but Fernox do something similar. For extra security either add on an extra couple of turns of the PTFE or use the compound instead.
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fred
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

If you're replacing a lot of rads - or fitting new tails to old rads which have had Boss White rather than PTFE tape on the threads - it may be a good idea to invest in a 1/2" BSP tap[1], to clean up the threads before screwing the tails in.
[1] As in tap and die for thread cutting, not the sort for turning water flow on and off! <g>
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<snip>
The only leaks I had in my last installation were from these wretched taper threaded joints. I tried PTFE wrapped round in every variation from a couple of turns to so much that you could barely see that it was threaded, and still the damned things wept. Is it really too much to think that, by now, a standard valve connection which wasn't based on steam engineering practice from the 19th century, could have been devised? Not to mention brackets that cope with walls which aren't perfectly flat.
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Still, I'm glad you're not bitter :-)
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fred
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It's going to depend on the make of valves and radiators, but I started with 10 turns of PTFE on the tails. If they either didn't seem to tighten before getting near the end of the thread, or if they leaked air when pressurised (easy to spot with gas leak detector spray), then they got redone with 15 turns. None leaked at the point, nor have any leaked in the 6 years they've been installed.
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Andrew Gabriel
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I don't see what the problem is .Why did you need odd shaped bits of metal ? The rads I got from Screwfix had similar plugs ...obviously put in prior to it being painted .....but I used a flat screwdriver with a large blade and that turned it with no problem .....
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Stuart B <> wrote:

That was the first thing I tried - the largest flat screwdiver I own. Ok so there are probably larger blades on the market but in the past half century I've never needed a blade bigger! When I tried to turn it it slipped and started to damage the inside surface of the stopper. At that point I got onto this ng just in case there was something weird about Stelrad rads. Perhaps if I could have seen a join between the plug and the rad I'd have been more optimistic.
Alan
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You could be forgiven for not seeing the join as it would be covered with the paint . I spose the manfrs just assume that the user knows that something has to go in it's place they also know the plug HAS to come out . You'll be wiser the next time . :-) I spose an alternative would be to use a screwdriver held on to the edge of the plug and tap it in the correct direction with a hammer . I can't recall if the plugs are round or hex shaped .
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