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Old 03-24-2016, 12:59 PM   #1
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Unsticking a Bladex Valve

I have an issue with one of the 1-1/2" Valterra Bladex waste valves. It's closed and won't budge. The valve is probably 30 years old and likely hasn't been operated in several years and I need to replace it. I would like to get it open to empty the holding tank before I try to remove the valve. Any suggestions?

As a side note, why didn't anyone ever use stainless steel fasteners? With decades of rust on them they're nearly impossible to remove.
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:11 PM   #2
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If you can get to the back side of the valve, drill a hole directly opposite the pull rod. Put a metal rod into the hole and it should rest against the edge of the gate. Use a hammer to gently tap on the rod and drive the gate open. Be glad it's not a black tank valve.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:11 PM   #3
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alvo-

Per your "side note," when I replaced valves last year with new ones I used stainless bolts, washers and nuts, instead of the mild steel hardware Valterra supplied. In fact, I've made it a habit to replace with stainless anytime I touch an exterior fastening, whether in plumbing or elsewhere. It's not a lot of money compared to the future hassles avoided.
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FRR2EYW View Post
If you can get to the back side of the valve, drill a hole directly opposite the pull rod. Put a metal rod into the hole and it should rest against the edge of the gate. Use a hammer to gently tap on the rod and drive the gate open. Be glad it's not a black tank valve.
I dealt with the black tank valve last week. I emptied most of the tank into a bucket and then flushed that down a toilet. Not the most elegant solution, but it worked. A little later a saw a little drip and thought maybe I didn't close the valve fully, so pushed a little on it and the valve and a section of the plumbing fell out, the remains of the tank (thankfully not full!) ended up on me and the ground. I got cleaned up and then spent a couple of hours cleaning up and sanitizing the pavement at the place where I park. The fortunate thing for me was this happened on a day the business there isn't open, so didn't impact them at all. I got a new valve, flanges and fittings and thought I was done.

Until today. I used WD-40 on the bolts earlier and just tried them again and discovered that they're so corrorided that a socket wrench won't even work on them. I can't easily get to the back side to try drilling a hole, so I think my only alternative is to try to cut through the valve with either a hacksaw or a reciprocating saw ... with the gray water tank full. Not going to be fun.
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Old 03-24-2016, 07:55 PM   #5
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If you can get a wrench on both ends then just break them.

Or use this as an excuse to buy a cordless impact drill driver as the impact does magic at breaking things like this loose.

The hardware is likely small and I cannot remember but even if 1/4 20 a good wrench or socket on one end and same or vice grip pliers on the other and twisting against each other and NOT against anything will usually snap the bolt in two.

Snapping one will allow you to get a screwdriver in the gap and pry just enough to allow it to drain slow.

Break another if needed then when dry break the other 2
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Old 03-24-2016, 09:40 PM   #6
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The bolt is 11/32" and the nut is 3/8". Because of the corrosion it's hard to get a good grip on the nut with a wrench, but I have managed to break one of the bolts and get it out. A tad more space would make the job a little easier, but I'll be back at it tomorrow.

It's things like this that make you understand why mechanics and plumbers and others that work on old stuff charge what they do.
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:28 PM   #7
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5/16 is the common size.

Little large but still can break.

The valve should rotate on pipe after another one breaks.
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:02 AM   #8
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alvo-

What about drilling through the old valve's blade (or housing) to drain it? That'd probably be less dramatic than cutting the valve off a full tank with a saw.

My former coach's grey water valve cap had a hose fitting on it. If you got one, and drilled through the blade, you could slap that kind of cap onto the bayonet real fast and drain through a hose, instead of a bucket or pan or whatever you can fit under the valve.
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Old 03-26-2016, 01:08 PM   #9
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5/16 is the common size.

Little large but still can break.

The valve should rotate on pipe after another one breaks.
Oddly, a 5/16" open end wrench fit the head of the bolt perfectly, while a 5/16" socket wouldn't.

It took breaking three bolts before I could spread the pieces enough to drain the water. Even after I had all four broken and removed it was a chore to get the valve out. The pipes on either side were really tight up against it, but I finally got it out. Putting in the new one went quickly.

Wondering what's next.
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