Best way to remove radiator drain petcock?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: Best way to remove radiator drain petcock?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 09:34 pm:

I flushed Popeye's radiator the week before last with vinegar. I was out of town this week and came back to a dry radiator - the petcock does not seal. There is no spring assembly on the petcock to keep it sealed and the screw on the opposite side from the handle will not come out. Does not appear to be an original petcock, at least when comparing it to the pictures in the catalogs. It is brass, though.

I attempted to remove the petcock while the radiator was out, but it is frozen in place and I did not want to put enough turning pressure on it to break it off. Had no idea at that point that it would leak.

Now I have no choice but to remove it. The new one is on its way.

Would heat help loosen it? Penetrating oil? What's the best way to get it out without breaking it?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Daron - Brownsburg IN on Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 10:08 pm:

Did you try tightening it just a bit before you try backing it out? That and /or a sharp rap with a medium size hammer should work.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Claverie, Memphis TN on Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 10:42 pm:

Heat will help, but you need to be careful not to get the surroundings hot enough to soften the solder. A "shock" from warm to cold might help as well.

With the radiator dry, of course, try this:

Have a jar or cup of ice-cold water handy, and test to make sure you can raise it up under the petcock and pretty close to completely submerge it.

Then use your propane torch on a low flame, heating only the petcock and not the radiator, slowly until the area is good and warm but not hot enough to melt the solder.

Immediately dunk the petcock (only) in the ice water, holding it there for long enough to get the petcock cold.

The difference in expansion rates between the brass petcock and the neck of the radiator is your only hope for loosening the stuck threads.

You might try a second time through if once doesn't work, but if twice doesn't do it, remove the radiator, turn it upside down, and dribble penetrating oil around the (warmed) threads. Let it work for hours, occasionally rhythmically tapping the petcock with the handle of an 8" Crescent wrench or other light metal tool. The vibration is useful in allowing the penetrating oil to get into the crevices and do its work.

As a last resort, because someone installed the petcock with a hardening sealant that won't come loose, cut the petcock off just past the radiator fitting, then drill out the hole in what's left with successively larger drills until what's left is thin enough to crush and remove. Be careful not to drill out the threads in the radiator fitting.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Brass TT on Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 11:01 pm:

An alternative to this, but a bit more effective, but costly and a 2 person (3 handed ) job.
Make a split -2 piece thick cardboard sheild that slips around the neck of the tap, up against the radiator tank. Heat the tap as previously mentioned THEN have the other person install and hold the sheild in place. Place the nose of a CO2 fire extinguisher over the tap and give it a blast of 1*2 seconds. Now quickly try to move the tap. BEWARE THOUGH, BARE SKIN WILL FREEZE ONTO THE TAP AND COLD BURNS WILL RESULT.
Then either have the extinguisher refilled or keep one for just such jobs. DO NOT JUST HANG IT BACK ON THE WALL IN CASE IF FIRE !

(Message edited by Brass TT on May 13, 2017)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Brass TT on Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 11:02 pm:

!

(Message edited by Brass TT on May 13, 2017)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 12:15 am:

Hi Cliff,

The spring-less petcock on your car IS an original, but not original to your car. That type, with its distinctive tensioning screw, instead of a spring, was used on early cars. I do not know for sure when they were phased out in favor of the more common spring tensioned style. They likely were out of use by 1913 or so. If you can remove it intact someone may want it. Good luck with your project, Bill


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Allan Bennett - Australia on Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 08:27 am:

Cliff, I had the same thought as Bill when you mentioned the tap had a screw retaining the turn piece. If it is a Ford tap, it will have the same shaped oval 'handle' as the later taps. These are worth saving. If the handle is not the same, you may have an aftermarket replacement that is of no special value.

Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chadwick Azevedo on Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 08:29 am:

Or just try pushing in as you turn it off, might just seal up for you.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Scott Conger on Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 08:31 am:

I would add that if the job is done with the tank inverted and kept full of water, heating the petcock will not damage any solder joints


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Will Brown on Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 09:56 am:

There is a product called Hot Dam which plumbers use to help the spread of heat when heating up a fitting. It's a bit expensive but worth it,
https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Dam-Heat-Stopping-Compound/dp/B000LG7KLA
All the best


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 06:41 pm:

I dropped the radiator today (I am becoming more of an expert at that than I anticipated).

I took a bit of advice from many individual posters to arrive at a solution: I carefully wire-brushed the area where the base of the petcock touches the radiator, then doused it with penetrating oil. Then, after 5 minutes of light tapping with a wrench, I applied just enough heat to the radiator base to make it warm. Then, more wire brushing, penetrant, tapping, and a bit more heat. Rinse, repeat five times. After the fifth round I felt movement - and the petcock backed out. I chased the threads in the radiator and put it aside pending arrival of the replacement. Here is the "offender":

petcock1


petcock2

If anyone can use the petcock, pls contact me. I can bring it to Luray next Friday. It it of no use to me so no reason to ask anything for it (postage only, if it is mailed).

As always, thanks for the advice - this is without doubt the best advice forum ever.

Cliff


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 07:25 pm:

Now that's patina! :-O


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Allan Bennett - Australia on Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 07:38 pm:

Cliff, not exactly like the ones I have, but darn close. Mine do not have the shoulder at the end of the thread, and the outlet side is not so pronounced. Either way, your leak may be the result of that heavy scoring on the side of the tap body. looks like a pipe wrench around the tap was used at some time to screw it on/off the radiator and the body has been warped so the taper is compromised.


These taps can deliver a nasty surprise. After driving my 1912 van 25 miles to a tour start at our city clubrooms, I pulled up with an oil trail under the car. The trail ran back about 50 metres. The tap had vibrated open crossing an intersection just before my arrival. It could have been a disaster.
If anyone is running them, make sure the tap piece has no play in the taper. It may need a shim washer under the screw head to eliminate this.

Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 08:19 pm:

Hey Allan,

FWIW, the score marks on the side were the product of my using a pipe wrench to remove the petcock. It was fairly pristine before removal. The 'handle' was/is fairly pitted because, I believe, pliers were used over the years to turn it.


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