Garage Hose Faucet Shutoff Valve: Washer Replacement

After replacing the hose valve in the garage, I promised to repair its leaky upstream shutoff valve:

Corroded gate valve

Corroded gate valve

I shut off the hard water supply, dismantled the valve, and let everything soak in a cup of white vinegar for a few hours. The fizzing was a wonder to behold and the parts came out much cleaner without any effort at all.

Removing the handle required the handle puller and considerable rapping on the corroded-in-place handle at the tapered shaft. That reddish disk used to be a tin-plated steel data plate, but now it’s just a corroded sheet:

Shutoff valve - handle puller

Shutoff valve – handle puller

Because a shutoff valve will be open nearly all the time, it has a large washer that seals the cap and valve stem in addition to the usual stem packing:

Shutoff valve - full-open washer

Shutoff valve – full-open washer

Attempting to remove the screw from the stem broke the head into two pieces:

Shutoff valve - broken washer screw

Shutoff valve – broken washer screw

Worse, the screw shaft was a soft mass of corroded brass, so I had to drill it out and chase the threads with a 10-32 tap. I replaced the full-open washer with a slightly smaller one from the supply box, which required drilling out the hole to suit, adding some packing string under the main cap, and replacing the packing around the stem. But, eventually, putting everything back together works fine with no leaks at all.

This turned out to be slightly less horrible than I expected, which probably doesn’t justify procrastinating until the evening before the coldest night of the season.

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  1. #1 by Red County Pete on 2013-03-03 - 19:36

    When we were planning to leave San Jose, I did major renovation on our 68 year old house. To make the plumbing a little less frantic, I used ball cutoff valves for each circuit. Installation is medium easy, unless you a) goof up a solder joint, and b) you can’t drain the line properly. (Upstream cutoff valves were leaky, and weren’t user-fixable). That mess needed a valvectomy and a new circuit valve fitted in its place.

    Barring that mishap, the ones I like use a copper ferrule that soldered on the pipe, with a brass nut that holds it in place. The seals never see heat and the valve body never has to be turned. Ball valves tend to survive a lot of abuse other types fail with.

    • #2 by Ed on 2013-03-03 - 19:51

      a copper ferrule … with a brass nut

      I like that design. Haven’t seen anything like it around here, but now that I know it exists I’ll take a closer look the next time I need a ball valve.

      Which may be in a few months: the packing on that valve might leak when I open it for the garden watering season. I’ll try adding more packing, then cut the old valve out, replace it with a ball valve, and move on. Fortunately, I can now unscrew the hose valve from the backing plate (which is glued to the wall) and move the whole pipe a few inches to get enough room to add / remove things; I won’t need a sleeve coupling.

      • #3 by Red County Pete on 2013-03-04 - 00:35

        It was another Home Desperate pickup. If you strike out, let me know. I still have the old 3/4″ valve with ID info and a couple of unused 1/2″ ones that never got used. (Well, once I get around to getting some class L pipe for shop air, maybe. M is too thin.)

        • #4 by Ed on 2013-03-04 - 07:37

          M is too thin

          At least you’re not using PVC…

          Now that I know what to look for and where to find it, all I need is the opportunity to use a valve like that: thanks for the hint!