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Old 11-03-2013, 07:34 PM   #1
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Plumbing leak--am i doing something wrong here?

i have new parts connected here, and i still cannot stop the very slow drip where the T meets the brass fitting. I have put lots of plumbing tape and screwed it as far as possible, and there is still a slow drip. The brass fitting/fresh water intake valve is brand new so i'm not sure if there's something simple i'm missing here. it looks like the PO left a drip here go unattended, so if it was an old problem, the new intake valve should have fixed it. any ideas appreciated! thank you

and sorry for the dark lighting and confusing pic. that's a mirror on the floor.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:13 PM   #2
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It looks like the plastic T treads are going as deep as they can into the brass female and the taper just isn't closing up tight enough.

You may be able to replace the brass part with plastic, which may have a better fit.

The other thing you may be able to do, if the brass female has a inner lip or taper is to get a o-ring to fit inside the brass female, taking up space. The male T's lip would press against the o-ring which in turn presses against the inner lip or taper of the brass female fitting, much like the compression ring found on garden hose connectors.

Boy you just can't seem to get a break can you?

I too have had little simple things on my trailer be a royal pain and take more time to do than I would have ever guessed.

Also see 2manystove's comments on his install in thread "Trouble Winterizing the Hot Water Side of Plumbing".
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:26 PM   #3
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Could the tee be cracked?
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:31 PM   #4
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Generally what I have found is that for metal on metal threads you need about 3 wraps of the white teflon tape. With plastic on metal or plastic on plastic you don't use the teflon tape. One problem with plastic on metal threads is overtightning. When it is overtightened the plastic threads can easily start to strip or deform and further tightning just makes it drip more. Once the plastic threads distort, nothing will make it better.

When I added a drain hose and shutoff to my water heater I tried to use a plastic threaded nipple into the aluminum tank and all I got was a slow drip, about 1 drip every 30 seconds. The more I thighened it the faster it dripped. Adding teflon tape made it worse. ... sigh ... I ended up using a brass nipple with teflon tape BUT you have to be carefull that you do not crossthread brass into aluminum or you will strip the aluminum threads.

You may need a new plastic T but don't over tighten it or maybe a brass T with teflon tape only where it goes into the brass piece you have now on the tank.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:53 PM   #5
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Just to add more coufusion to the process. There is a tiny put critical difference in pipe threads. There is NPT (National Pipe Thread Tapered) meaning the threaded end has a slight taper and NPS (National Pipe Straight) meaning the threaded end does not taper. The NPT (tapered) pipe will go in until the thread tightens against the outer pipe threads but NPS (straight) never tightens, it is used with compression fittings like the plastic pipes connected to your T. Your plastic T may be straight threads.
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
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You may need a new plastic T but don't over tighten it or maybe a brass T with teflon tape only where it goes into the brass piece you have now on the tank.
are you saying to get a brass T, and then use plumbers tape where's there's brass to brass. then do not use tape where it's brass to plastic? is this correct?
the brass piece there now is a full 'unit' with outside parts so i can't replace that without replacing the whole thing. come to think of it, the outside brass to brass hose fitting (both brand new) has the same slow drip. no tape there, just a washer (? rubber circle thing). i do not currently have a washer in the brass-to-plastic T inside. i could try that too, like bunjin suggested.

i did look closely at the plastic T, and it looked ok to me.
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:17 PM   #7
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Just to add more coufusion to the process. There is a tiny put critical difference in pipe threads. There is NPT (National Pipe Thread Tapered) meaning the threaded end has a slight taper and NPS (National Pipe Straight) meaning the threaded end does not taper. The NPT (tapered) pipe will go in until the thread tightens against the outer pipe threads but NPS (straight) never tightens, it is used with compression fittings like the plastic pipes connected to your T. Your plastic T may be straight threads.
hmmm...i would need to find out what thread the brass is and get a T to fit.
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post
Just to add more coufusion to the process. There is a tiny put critical difference in pipe threads. There is NPT (National Pipe Thread Tapered) meaning the threaded end has a slight taper and NPS (National Pipe Straight) meaning the threaded end does not taper. The NPT (tapered) pipe will go in until the thread tightens against the outer pipe threads but NPS (straight) never tightens, it is used with compression fittings like the plastic pipes connected to your T. Your plastic T may be straight threads.
I believe Gene hit the nail on the head right here. By the looks of the pic, those T's are made for flared fittings and are straight running thread.

Basically putting it, straight running thread will not seal up very well in this case. The plastic will flex and collapse trying to bind up on the tapered brass NPT thread.

Not to fear... you just need an adapter that will screw onto the T and seal properly and then have NPT tapered threads to screw into the brass fitting.

They are made and hopefully Lowes has them or they can create a combo that will do it, just may need 2 fittings to get there. Take the T fitting to Lowes and tell the store helper person you want an adapter to go from this T fitting to NPT male thread. Now to figure out what the tank brass fitting is, 3/8 NPT or 1/2" pipe? This one is hard to tell by the pics. BUT tell the person at the store, this tee will screw into the brass female fitting but it will not tighten up correctly as it is not tapered thread. They then will know what pipe size the brass thread is. There is way too much difference between 3/8 and 1/2" pipe thread to have it screw in at all on the wrong size. Odds are high it is 1/2"

BTW, NPT stands for National Pipe Thread. It is a US industry standard.

You may also need new T's as the one you have not may be swedged in trying to seal up.

Good luck and hope this helps
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:03 PM   #9
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noralee,

The o-ring idea is just a Jerry-rig idea to get you a possible break for awhile.

John and Gene have the better solution, esp. if indeed you have straight to taper threads.

The first thing is to have someone look at them. The relationship in the pictures just doesn't look right to me. Again Gene and John IMO are dead on with their take of the situation.

If you look close you can tell by eye straight threads from taper threads, esp. once you become aware of them.
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:40 PM   #10
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They are made and hopefully Lowes has them or they can create a combo that will do it, just may need 2 fittings to get there. Take the T fitting to Lowes and tell the store helper person you want an adapter to go from this T fitting to NPT male thread. Now to figure out what the tank brass fitting is, 3/8 NPT or 1/2" pipe? This one is hard to tell by the pics. BUT tell the person at the store, this tee will screw into the brass female fitting but it will not tighten up correctly as it is not tapered thread. They then will know what pipe size the brass thread is. There is way too much difference between 3/8 and 1/2" pipe thread to have it screw in at all on the wrong size. Odds are high it is 1/2"
is it correct that it doesn't matter then if it's brass to plastic. it matters how it's threaded?

john, thanks for your helpful instructions, makes it so easy. thank you
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:31 AM   #11
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The material isn't so important. Brass to plastic and or plastic to brass.The threads are. The threads have to be tapered to tapered or straight to straight. The adapter John refers to is on one end straight threads and the other will have tapered threads, thus allowing the fittings you have be joined together via the adapter.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:55 PM   #12
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Yes the plastic threads are machine thread on the "T" they won't seal on NPT Probably what you'll have to do is use a short piece of plastic pipe they do make a NPT on one end and flare on the other. I would get a new "T" at the same time it's probably toast.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
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is it correct that it doesn't matter then if it's brass to plastic. it matters how it's threaded?

john, thanks for your helpful instructions, makes it so easy. thank you
As mainah stated, the threads being matched is what matters more in this case than the material. Brass is very good but still you need to make the jump to plastic as some point no matter where you do it.
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:25 PM   #14
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i think i may have gotten confused . i took in my current T to camping world. they said it was tapered, and i told them i needed the other kind (un-tapered) so that i could try to fit it into my water inlet. they said they did not carry un-tapered and gave me some places to check for the piece.

I have had no luck finding an un-tapered T, but as I read through these posts again, i think it might say that i needed a tapered T.

Now I'm really confused about the piece i might need. can anyone clarify?
the next thing to do is to replace the water inlet. the place i bought it from should replace mine if it appears flawed.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:16 PM   #15
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Shark bite (brand name) people make a 1/2 " pipe (tapered thread) to plastic fitting you'll still need a short piece of plastic to a shark bite "T" then cut off the flare nuts and join them to the "T". Can you take the entire deal (the "T") to a plumbing house and explain what's going on? Even you picture would help them.
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:23 PM   #16
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i thought i needed an un-tapered T. I was using a tapered T...
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:16 AM   #17
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No, your inlet pipe is pipe thread it is a tapered thread the plastic "T" fitting is not this is why it leaks. The tapered thread gets tighter as it is tightened (that sounds funny but it's the way a tapered thread works) they do make a plastic fitting that is pipe thread on one end and machine thread on the other but a "T" is the same on all 3 ends and it's not a tapered thread. I would go to a plumbing shop and explain your dilemma not a bog box store a real plumbing outfit they do things like that all day long and can fix you up with what you need. It may help if you take the offending part with you so they can visualize what you are talking about.
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:13 PM   #18
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I took the T to the camping and plumbing store and they said it was tapered, and that that was all they carried. if the inlet is also tapered, then these 2 pieces, the ones i have, should work together since they are both tapered.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:31 PM   #19
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It is a tapered flare. The treads are not tapered you need a tapered pipe thread to fit your water inlet. Some where along the line there has to be a 1/2" NPT (national pipe thread) with the other end able to join to your "T" There will be a short piece of plastic pipe with two flare fittings involved that is about the only way I see out of it. Picture this, there is a fitting that is designed to screw into you water inlet (it is pipe thread) the other end will look exactly like the "T" end that joins to the plastic pipe. Now in between your "T" will be a short piece that looks like your water pipes with nuts like the water pipe you can now screw the short piece to the "T" and your other two pipes will fit like picture.
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:54 AM   #20
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It dawned on me last night there is an easy way to deal with you plumbing. What you need is a ˝” hard plastic “female “T” it will have female pipe fittings on all 3 sides. You’ll also need a ˝” close nipple it is a short piece of pipe that has NPT threads on both sides. Next you’ll need two ˝ NPT adaptors that will join to your plastic plumbing most likely from a camper dealer or a plastic pipe dealer. The close nipple will fit on your inlet pipe and you will end up with something that looks like what you now have the only drawback is it will be longer so hopefully you have the room to install your water lines.
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