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Thread: Return fitting stuck in wall

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Aug 2015
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    Manalapan, NJ
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    Return fitting stuck in wall

    I have one pool return that I cannot remove the eyeball seat. The outer ring and eyeball come out no problem, but the threaded pipe that connects into the wall which holds the eyeball will not move. I tried the plastic removal tool but the plastic part that fits into the notches simply deformed under the torque I applied to it.

    So I have two questions.

    1) Does anybody know of a way to get this thing out? I see there is a heavy duty removal tool made of metal, but it's a bit expensive.

    2) Is it even necessary to remove the fitting? The only reason I want it out is so that I can install one of those threaded plugs when I winterize. If I leave the fitting in, I could use a rubber expansion plug right in the fitting, but is that water tight? I feel like water could still sneak in between the male threads of the fitting and the female threads in the wall. The water level will be above the return all winter.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Brian
    27,0000 gallon In-Ground Plaster Kidney Shaped Pool - Approximately 30 years old
    Hayward Superpump
    Hayward Pro-Grid DE4820 Filter
    TF-100 Test Kit

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: Return fitting stuck in wall

    You just need to find a flat piece of metal that fits into the notches. There should be something around the house or hardware store that will fit exactly.

    Just be careful not to over torque the fitting and damage the female threaded fitting.

  3. Back To Top    #3
    MarkTX's Avatar
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    Re: Return fitting stuck in wall

    When this happened to me, I used a big kitchen spoon. The width of the spoon reduces as you get nearer to the front end, so it should always fit.
    Oh yeah, torque the back end of the spoon, not the handle.
    30,000 gal free-form IG w/ spa, PebbleSheen Blue Surf, Pentair cartridge filter, Pentair 3 HP Intelliflo, extra pump that is way over-sized for weeping moss rocks, Dolphin Oasis Z5, municipal water, all built Jan-Feb 2016. TF-100, SpeedStir, Liquidator 3/8", borates. My build thread http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...-in-Cypress-TX

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    Re: Return fitting stuck in wall


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    In the Industry

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    Re: Return fitting stuck in wall

    Take a hacksaw blade and carefully cut into the remaining fitting in four places, 12,3,6,9, o'clock position, trying to be careful not to cut into the threaded female adapter that it threads onto, but just far enough to where you weaken the fitting enough right before it makes contact with it (some slight penetration through the fitting may occur as long as you don't get carried away with sawing through the fitting it threads into under it) then when you think you have cut through enough in those four places, get a screw driver and hammer, and tap the fitting inside and away from the female adapter, collapsing it, we used to remove sections of pvc pipe glued into fittings this way to reuse existing valves, or avoid digging to expose pipe, it works just as well on threaded fitting like yours, if not better because its threaded, and most likely will be very brittle, and easy to collapse when hit due to the 30 year age you mentioned.

    Look at how one of the fittings you have removed already compares to the one that is stuck, and notice how it might look with cuts placed in it to gauge your depth when making the 4 cuts, some little pieces may break off as you go just keep chipping at it carefully or make some of the cuts deeper to further weaken it.

    I have seen these fittings end up being glued in intentionally, or accidentally, or they were tightened in over glue that ran inside the pipe on the threads when brand new, then were forced in over dried glue on the threads etc.

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    atlanta,ga
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    Re: Return fitting stuck in wall

    So - had the same issue. I used a strap wrench after tapping it a few times. EcoPure Universal Whole Home Water Filter Strap Wrench-EPUSW - The Home Depot

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Apr 2017
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    Naples, FL
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    Re: Return fitting stuck in wall

    When I decided to re-aim the eyeballs in my pool I found all six of them stuck. I could not adjust them. I used channel locks to try to turn the outside threaded ring which for 5 of them unthreaded the entire eyeball from the return 1.5" pipe. For those I just bought new complete eyeball assemblies (less than $4 each). But on one, the knurled ring on the eyeball crumbled. The ball then easily came out but the ball housing remained totally stuck in the return pipe threads.

    Now on hindsight I should have just bought a new eyeball for that and just used the new ball and knurled ring, and screw that ring onto the old housing. But no. I (stupidly) figured I would just remove that housing with my channel locks - after all the other five all came out with the ball housing without a lot of torque - just the knurled ring was on tighter than the housing was threaded into the pipe so the whole thing came out. So I figured this one would come out with the channel locks. Boy was I wrong. Those channel locks bit into the threads and shredded the threads but the housing was stuck tight. Now the threads were ruined to boot. I knew the plastic removal tool (that fits the two internal slots) would never work and was pretty sure even a metal tool would just strip those slots out too. So I went to a plumbing shop and bought a tub-drain removal tool - essentially an inside pipe wrench. They did not stock it but ordered it and had it the next day for me.

    The tool I got which will fit in the approximately 1 and 3/8" inside of a 1.5" MPT eyeball, is made by Rectorseal, called "Golden Extractor" tub drain tool (product code 97258 - www.rectorseal.com 800-231-3345). It fits inside, you use a 3/8 drive socket wrench handle to turn it, which as you turn it makes it expand and bite into the inside of the eyeball housing. This baby cost $63, but it worked. Now this housing was really stuck. My 3/8 wrench handle is not very long (about 8") and I could not budge it with that short handle. A longer pipe over the handle would have worked, but I had a 1/2" drive breaker bar that is about 18" long. I got a 1/2 drive reducer to 3/8 drive and used my breaker bar and presto out she came with no damage to the inner threads of the return pipe.

    A bit expensive but less than hiring a plumber or pool company (who might not have done it as cleanly).
    In ground cement 15,000 gal. salt pool. 1 h.p. pump. Janty cartridge filter at 100 g.p.m., Heat pump heater. Oval pool, round at deeper (6 ft) end, square end at shallow (3 ft) end but half that end is round part of attached spa and steps. Enclosed in screened pool cage. One skimmer in middle of one side, one main drain in deep end, one main drain in spa. 6 return lines, 1.5" threaded, three on each side of skimmer.

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    atlanta,ga
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    Re: Return fitting stuck in wall

    And finally - a Polaris UWF Universal Wall Fitting in the third return - used a filter wrench to open that. Hate being a newbie but appreciate all the members and TFP tutorials

  9. Back To Top    #9
    maxepr1's Avatar
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    Re: Return fitting stuck in wall

    I've done just about all of these suggestions. Hacksaw trick is what the really hard ones require. Put some plumbers grease on the threads of the new one and it will be easier the next time.
    40'x19' IG Diamond Brite 29K 4' Waterfall/Dive Rock FNS60 DE Inteliflo VS 2hp Whisperflo pumps Aqualogic(P4) SWG TF100 Tester


    Pool School, Pool Calculator,TFTestKits,

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