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Ridiculous sprinkler repair
Old 04-14-2007, 08:38 AM   #1
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Ridiculous sprinkler repair

Anyone ever see this?

I have a schedule 40 white pvc pipe in my front lawn, and at the beginning of it it comes up from deep in the ground, takes a right angle and after a few feet goes under the driveway...maybe a 2.5' run of it. Right next to the right angle tee is a fitting for a riser to which a drip hydrant was both glued AND screwed.

Of course one of the workman at some point stepped on the hydrant and broke the plastic riser off flush with the face of the fitting.

I tried to extract it with a tee-riser extracter, but due to the blue glue...not a chance.

Normally I'd cut and replace the piece with a new glued segment, but since its so close to the 90 degree bend in the pipe, i'd probably have to dig up about 3 cubic feet of dirt, cut the pipe below the 90 degree bend and replace that as well.

Not my idea of a good time spending half a day doing this when i've got a lot of other pressing items to attend to, and so far i've called 7 irrigation repair companies and not one has so much as returned a call.

I'm tempted to try gently drilling out the old fitting until i'm down to just white plastic inside the fitting and gluing in another one. Anyone ever try this or have another option?
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair
Old 04-14-2007, 09:32 AM   #2
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair

i installed the irrigation system here including new pump to existing well. no idea why you would have to dig all the way to the 90 degree turn. unless i didn't read your post correctly, sounds like you can just dig a foot down, cut & add a coupling to get back up to proper height.
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair
Old 04-14-2007, 11:36 AM   #3
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair

Problem is that the broken coupling is immediately adjacent to the 90 degree turn coming up out of the deep ground. I'd have to dig down under the 90 degree turn, cut the 90 degree turn and the coupling off, then put a new 90 degree turn in...

picture would be better and i'll take one later, but crude drawing...

|
\/ Broken coupling

__| |____________
| _| |____________
| |
| |
| | <-pipe up out of the ground...I'd have to dig down to here, cut from here up through the 90 degree turn, the broken piece, and replace the whole mess.

or has anyone had any luck drilling out a broken off nipple (wow does that sound dirty and painful) and gluing a new fitting in.

I tried a piece of "funny pipe" to bridge the broken off nipple but it wouldnt seat properly. I might heat another piece up in some hot water to soften it, and try that again...at least temporarily.
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair
Old 04-14-2007, 12:32 PM   #4
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair

those couplings only need less than a half inch of overlap so if you have at least that coming out of the 90 yer set. otherwise, pass the shovel. (digging here is easy as i've got just a small layer of top soil over sugar sand with no rocks & no clay. as long as i don't hit a root i'm home free. your results may vary.) just consider this your exercise for the day.
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair
Old 04-14-2007, 01:32 PM   #5
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair

If there's a cool piece of PVC to fix this problem, or a solvent that dissolved only the section of PCV cement that you wanted to dissolve, then I'd buy the entire company. But from what I can tell, as you say you are well & truly screwed.

When you dig up all that crap and replace the bend/riser, you'll be using a flexible riser that can get run over by a car without cracking, right?

Pontificating with my butt wedged firmly into my Monday-morning quarterbacking recliner, I suspect that the torque required to drill out the fitting would exceed the torque that the surrounding PVC is capable of handling without cracking (or without causing the drill bit to jump around). But it might be a lot of fun to play around with a spade bit in the 1/2" or 5/8" size before you have to give up and start digging. Would Gabe or your spouse be able to provide pictures for the rest of us here?

If that pipe actually goes under a driveway then you'll quite possibly be screwed again when the driveway shifts or settles (and the PVC does not). Even piece of garden hose would offer more longevity than PVC under concrete or asphalt. I don't understand why contractors run PVC piping through (or alongside) concrete and then expect it to both shift and remain pressure-tight.

Is this your first sprinkler repair in the new house? Because gosh, I wonder how many fittings in the rest of the system are screwed & glued?

I'm curious now. On Monday or Tuesday I'll call Diamond Head Sprinkler (one of the island's older firms) and see if their 85-year-old guy in the back room knows of any solution for this. You may be chasing glued sprinkler risers for a few more years!
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair
Old 04-14-2007, 02:07 PM   #6
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair

I've peeled out glued fittings and know there are available drillbit setups for ABS drainline repair, but glued and screwed? Uhm, yup - sounds like spade time. Suggest you not try a spade bit - too much jumping around. Maybe a necked down shaft metal bit.

Recently had to replace a rotted and broken-off galvanized drain line nipple going into a T-fitting buried in a wall behind a kitchen sink cabinet. Ugly job that became easy once I cut a saw kerf into the inside top of the nipple (blade inserted into the inside of the nipple) using a reciprocating saw. Cut to the threads and then collapsed the nipple using a hammer and chisel.
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair
Old 04-14-2007, 02:42 PM   #7
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Re: Ridiculous sprinkler repair

Yeah i'll bet they're all glued and screwed. Guy who installed them that way probably figured it'd create a lifetime of work for him.

Got a couple of these around the yard, soon to be covered with little plastic 'hats' I'll dig in around them. The rest of the ratcheting heads are going to get replaced with the Hunter gear drives that drop right into the old Rainbird housing. Allegedly.

http://www.hunterindustries.com/Supp...rinstruct.html


Not even .01" of space between the riser fitting and the 90 degree turn. Butted hard together. Of course, theres three feet of open pipe right next to that, so thanks a lot to the original butthead installer

I think i'll try the hot funny pipe experiment tomorrow after it stops raining. At least that might buy me a month or two of only mildly leaky horsepuckey so I can get around to the real repair another time. At least its not 100 degrees out already.

If that doesnt work I may try an angle-headed bit of approximately the size of the pipe diameter and try to just slowly 'clean it out' to the bare pvc, then glue another riser pipe in. :P
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