Joint/union replacement

bigjt_2

Active member
May 3, 2017
26
Indianapolis, IN
I have had a heck of a time getting my saltwater cell off its unions to clean it. There was some kind of calcium buildup and perhaps the unions were on too tight. At any rate it felt like they were almost glued on (though they weren't)

I got a strap wrench and was able to remove one of the barrel unions at one end of the cell. However, the other end was on so tight that when I wrestled it I eventually got more than I bargained for and part of the pipe came off with it!

At this point, think what I want to do is replace the small pipe that goes from the elbow joint shown in the pictures to the end of the salt cell. But in order to do that I need to get those remaining pieces of pipe that were glued unglued.

Plumbing noob question I know, but what do you folks with experience in PVC recommend for loosening the glue on these? And then also re-gluing? 1.jpg2.jpg3.jpgs4.jpg
 

ckendalls

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2018
76
Clermont FL
Bummer PITA! I had a cracked SWG coupler I had to replace but just had enough room to use a straight glued union and short PVC pipe with a new SWG threaded union. Is there enough room to use a straight glued union on the broken pipe to join a new very short PVC pipe to a new SWG barrel coupler union? You’d have to get a straight cut on that edge. If not enough room can you shorten adjust on the other side, use a straight union with a new coupler? If you have to do this, I’d use new SWG couplers for the long haul.

Otherwise I’d maybe use a Dremel to carefully cut away at that pipe going into the elbow and piece it out as clean as you can (tedious) and loosen the chunks and clean it up with solvent or acetone. It may be hard to get a clean fit and you might need epoxy sealer around the joint if it leaks. And of course when you do rejoin the SWG, use some silicon pool grease on the threads and gasket..
 
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bigjt_2

Active member
May 3, 2017
26
Indianapolis, IN
If you have to do this, I’d use new SWG couplers for the long haul.
Thanks for the feedback. I'm trying to find some new unions online but not having any luck. Right now it's looking like the only option is to buy an entirely new cell. :-( Where did you find your replacement unions? Mine have about 4.5" diameter.
 

Chasarms

Silver Supporter
May 8, 2020
347
Dardenne Prairie, MO
There is a tool, sort of a cross between a saw and a bit, that mounts in an electric drill that will allow you to cut the pipe out of the fitting and preserve the fitting. Using that, I would cut that broken pipe off flush with the elbow and then cut it out of the elbow. You can then cut a new piece of pipe to glue into that elbow and the threaded union.


Getting the old threaded union off the SWCG housing may be a challenge. If the PVC broke before it would give, then obviously it's on there. You could try letting it soak in some diluted MA to see if the buildup will dissolve. I would probably stand it on its end so that the housing itself wasn't submerged. If you can get loose, you can use that tool to cut out the broken pipe and re-use it. Just put some silicone grease on it (as suggested above), and hopefully, it won't be so hard to get loose next time.

If no luck with that, I would use a rotary tool to carefully cut a slot through the collar to remove it. Of course, then you have to replace the union.

I doubt you'll find those unions at a big box store. I'd try a website like Waterway.
 
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ckendalls

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2018
76
Clermont FL
Thanks for the feedback. I'm trying to find some new unions online but not having any luck. Right now it's looking like the only option is to buy an entirely new cell. :-( Where did you find your replacement unions? Mine have about 4.5" diameter.
I have a Hayward salt cell and I bought a replacement on Amazon. But it will depend your brand and model.
 
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bigjt_2

Active member
May 3, 2017
26
Indianapolis, IN
Welp everyone I got it fixed. I had zero luck finding a replacement union for the stuck one that was not a ridiculous amount of money. (Cheapest was around $60 for a a pair of two. Yeah, no.) Also couldn't find anything at the hardware stores/box stores that matched the same barrel union.

So I decided to leave the stuck union on permanently, and install my OWN $11 union out a little further on a new pipe! An naturally this meant I had to extend the existing piping out just a bit, but I was still able to re-use all the existing joints using the heating methods I found on YouTube. I haven't had a chance to make it back here in a couple days but they were very similar to what @Homebrewale mentioned above.

For knowledge sharing, here's the video I found that proved tremendously helpful:
I ended up using the last method this guy demonstrates with the steel coupling to remove the old piping from inside the saltwater cell. Also, for some of the existing joints that method didn't work quite as well, but a heat gun worked in those instances.

If you're a PVC noob like myself stumbling upon this and are wondering how to connect new PVC pipes, just search YouTube for "how to cement pvc pipes" or something similar and you'll get dozens of results. It's actually quite easy -- the most tedious part is measuring and cutting. Plus of course there's the anxiety that the stuff won't hold together after the cement glue sets a couple hours.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond.
 

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