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PEX + Sharkbite + Shut-off = LEAK!

lindenboy's picture

I have purchase several 1/2" sharkbite fittings to finish off a rough Wirsbo AquaPEX installation and the connection leaks slightly no matter how I connect it.  Am I missing something?  Is there a trick to this?


I have the PEX tubes poking through the cabinets on a vanity.  I took the sharkbite (which has a 1/2" threaded male end on one side and the standard sharkbite push-on on the other), slathered some blue pipe dope on the threads, twisted my chrome 1/2" to 3/8" valve on the end till hand tight.  I then took two wrenches and tightened the mother down till pretty tight (this was the second time after already taking it apart once).  Lastly, I slid the sharkbite onto the PEX tubing and turned on my water main valve to test.


Tiny droplets of water are leaking through the dope at the thread location.  What gives?  is there something about connecting crome to copper?  I have had similar issues with chrome nipples to the threaded wall receptors -- the last time I tried to use teflon tape to seal, but leaks continued to appear until i used the pipe dope.  This time, while slightly different of a configuration, the dope doesn't seem to be sealing the threads.


I thought this would be an easier solution than the alternative -- hiring ANOTHER plumber to take my money and not finish the job.  Haha.


Any additional thoughts?  I'm ready to yank all my hair out!


TIA.


 


"It depends on the situation..."
"It depends on the situation..."

(post #106731, reply #1 of 26)

Get a different sharkbite and a different angle stop. Sometimes threads leak no matter what you do.

(post #106731, reply #2 of 26)

I concurr with David; either the Sharkbite fitting or the cut-off valve you have is defective. Take one or both back to your supplier and demand a replacement.


Dinosaur


How now, Mighty Sauron, that thou art not brought
low by this? For thine evil pales before that which
foolish men call Justice....


Dinosaur

How now, Mighty Sauron, that thou art not brought
low by this? For thine evil pales before that which
foolish men call Justice....

(post #106731, reply #3 of 26)

Thanks for the replies!


Wouldn't it seem strange that all of the fittings leak the same way?  Perhaps the threads between the particular stops I have and the sharkbite male end are off just enough to cause that problem on each connection -- that's really the main consistentency in this situation.  Aall 5 sharkbites, valves and applied pipe dope are identical.  Maybe I'll try a different type of stop valve first.


While we're on the subject, shouldn't pipe dope be considered fool proof?  I obviously have been lured into a false sense of security : ).  If given the choice, is teflon tape equal to pipe dope or do they each have their uses and places in the plumbing world?


 


"It depends on the situation..."
"It depends on the situation..."

(post #106731, reply #9 of 26)

I had a stop valve that leaked like that. Tried 3 turns of tape PLUS dope. Still it would get a bead of water.

When I removed the stop valve the treads looked "different". After comparing it with other threads it looks like it had been bored too big betwen threading.

The tops of the threads where flat like an acme thread.

When I went to replace them all of them that Lowes had of that style of stop valve had that fault.

.
.
A-holes. Hey every group has to have one. And I have been elected to be the one. I should make that my tagline.
. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #106731, reply #10 of 26)

Interesting you got them from Lowes.


I just had to unsweat an angle stop (brand friggin new) that was leaking


I should have known better when I bought them.


They were not individually wrapped and there was about 30 of them in the box.  Looked cheap, but i had to take some tile back that the client picked and did not want to make a 2nd stop.


Live and learn. Removed it and put on a brasscraft.  Low and behold, perfectly fine.


I think lowes is pretty cheap in the plumbing department in my area.


Just an ignorant opinion but they caused me to have to get my b tank and soldering stuff back out for no reason other than they were cheap.  (except  I paid a little more for their cheap stop than  I did the brass craft.


 


GRRRRRRR

(post #106731, reply #26 of 26)

Well hopefully this thread will give a few people peace of mind.


FWIW, the sharkbites and straight stops came from the local plumbing supply shop, not a big box.  They aren't immune to some bad or at least non-compatible valves, right?!


I ended up at the other local hardware store, where I bought the last five "new" quarter turn 1/2" straight stops they had (hadn't even been stocked yet).  With a few wraps of teflon tape and only the dope that was left in the sharkbite threads from before, I was finally successful at installing a leak-free joint.


I'll at least be taking back those other stops to the supply shop and explaining that situation, hopefully to get a refund.  Thanks again!


"It depends on the situation..."
"It depends on the situation..."

(post #106731, reply #13 of 26)

I haven't used pipe dope in 40 years. Three or four wraps of Teflon® tape and it's good to go. Haven't had a leak yet (touch wood!).


It does seem odd that you'd get 5 bad ones, but there's a lot of cheap imported crud on the shelves in the big boxes these days. I buy sweat-fit copper tees etc in bulk packs (100 units per bag). Always the same manufacturer (Bow) but about two years ago, I got four bags in a row in which every damn fitting was out of round and too small for the pipe. I had to ream the entry and pound like hell to get the fittings on. That's no good, so I took the whole bag back.


Four times I took the whole bag back.  Finally I looked closely: Made in China.


Pipe is made in Canada. (So were my older bags of fittings. They fit.)



Dinosaur


How now, Mighty Sauron, that thou art not brought
low by this? For thine evil pales before that which
foolish men call Justice....


Dinosaur

How now, Mighty Sauron, that thou art not brought
low by this? For thine evil pales before that which
foolish men call Justice....

(post #106731, reply #14 of 26)

I do 5-6 wraps of tape plus dope and it's been pretty foolproof, but I don't do a lot of plumbing.

Steve

(post #106731, reply #18 of 26)

It would not be that usualy for a large number to be off. Rather it would be expected.

Something like boring and threading a fiting an automatic machine of some kind.

And that is nothig new.

The tooling wears, the machine is out of adjustment, or the wrong tooling was put in. I suspect that was what happened in my case because the hole was clearly too big.

The one station might do that on 3-10 parts a minute. So it might be some time before someone finds the problem. And while they should go back and "catch" the bad ones it is easy for a bin or two to be released.

.
.
A-holes. Hey every group has to have one. And I have been elected to be the one. I should make that my tagline.
. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #106731, reply #19 of 26)

Im sure the folks in China who probably made the fittings will be upset at this quality problem.

(post #106731, reply #23 of 26)

It could be a burr on the thread that's cutting a groove in the plastic as it goes on.

As for the made-in-China issue, I know hardware stores have two grades of galvanized fittings -- the cheap Chinese ones, and the made-in-USA version for maybe twice as much. Usually a store will stock one or the other.

(post #106731, reply #24 of 26)

off topic buy when I worked for the Navy our supply dept got some shackles that the pin would not even screw into the other side due to mis alignment- yep made in china

(post #106731, reply #4 of 26)

Two things. You may be bottoming out in the angle stop before it's tight enough to seal. Pipe threads are tapered and I recently had this very problem with a pex to iron pipe adaptor. Different adaptor solved problem. I'd try another brand of stop before pulling hair all out.


Second, my understanding of pipe dope is that it performs two functions, primarily lubricates threads to mimimize galling, secondarily as a small gap sealer. I'm no plumber, but no amount of pipe dope will fix a thread interface problem.


 


Everything will be okay in the end.  If it's not okay, it's not the end. 

 

Everything will be okay in the end.  If it's not okay, it's not the end. 

(post #106731, reply #5 of 26)

It did somewhat seem like the male threaded end was not getting as far as I would have expected into the stop.  I figured pipe dope would take care of the rest.  I will be trying a different stop tonight before moving on with another fix.


Glad to know have a bit more assurance that it's not just me.  Thanks.


"It depends on the situation..."
"It depends on the situation..."

(post #106731, reply #7 of 26)

On a lot of leaks ,the fittings are tightened to much, causing the threads to stretch, so two new fittings are in order anyway.

(post #106731, reply #6 of 26)

or could it be you tightend the fitting to tight and developed a hairline crack

(post #106731, reply #8 of 26)

Ive run into what your talking about and I think your running out of room to tighten them.  I always use teflon tape (3-4) wraps and then dope, will always work.  Unless you already cracked the fitting.  New fittings, tape and dope should work

(post #106731, reply #11 of 26)

Yep, I agree with a few others.


New fittings, at least 2 turns (3 is aok too) of tape and dope as well.


I have that issue with compression fittings on copper.


Dont know why but I can never seem to get copper compression fittings to not leak.


I avoid them now.  I would rather just sweat the joint.

(post #106731, reply #12 of 26)

On compressions I put a dap of dope on the threads and on the ring. Not ot seal, but to lube it. Rarely did they ever leak and when they did another 1/8 turn would stop it.

.
.
A-holes. Hey every group has to have one. And I have been elected to be the one. I should make that my tagline.
. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #106731, reply #17 of 26)

Re. compression fittings, I would slather them up with dope and still leak.


Next time I will try your trick.  I've made flair fittings with a ball pien hammer that never leaked so I think it is the compression fitting gods that are after me.


I usually fix their fiddle by avoiding them like the plague.

(post #106731, reply #20 of 26)

A trick on compression fittings is to stick the pipe all the way in and then withdraw about 1/16" before tightening the nut. This keeps the pipe from topping out against the end of the bore as the nut compresses the pipe and squeezes it out.

That plus a dab of lube.

But I too avoid compression fittings if possible.


It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way. --Rollo May


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #106731, reply #21 of 26)

Ahhh


I never heard that one but it makes perfect sense.  I always, being a little anal, would make sure it was seated tight prior to tightening. 


Figured I was doing something wrong but when  I asked a few people, they looked at me like i was nuts when I told them my comp. fittings leaked.

(post #106731, reply #22 of 26)

That sounds like a good trick, Dan. I'll remember it.


But the compression fittings I'm familiar with seal when the brass compression ring gets squeezed between the nut and the fitting body as you tighten down the nut. The pipe never moves.


I actually prefer compression fittings of this type for remod work (sweating 'wet' pipes is such a PITA...), and even for new work when the connection being made is one there's a fair likelihood will someday need to be taken apart for maintenance or repair. The only thing you need is a new ring 'cause the old one can't be gotten off the pipe after it's been compressed.



Dinosaur


How now, Mighty Sauron, that thou art not brought
low by this? For thine evil pales before that which
foolish men call Justice....


Dinosaur

How now, Mighty Sauron, that thou art not brought
low by this? For thine evil pales before that which
foolish men call Justice....

(post #106731, reply #15 of 26)

use some teflon tape. I think I read that 3 wraps is recommneded but I've used more when I have to.


Edited 7/26/2008 2:32 am ET by popawheelie

______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ There are three kinds of men: The one that learns by reading, the few who learn by observation and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. Will Rogers

(post #106731, reply #16 of 26)

Yep, I've come across that too. Chrome fittings(valves, stubs, etc) seem to like teflon tape far better than dope. Black pipe still just gets dope.


I've used quite a few Sharkbite fittings, and have no problems yet.

(post #106731, reply #25 of 26)

You get these occasionally. When I have a "leaker", I usually go with the "belt and suspenders" method. Rector Seal on the threads *and* an extra wrap or two of teflon tape. Nothin's gettin' through that!


Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA

Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA
Everything fits, until you put glue on it.