Remove glued fitting from bulkhead? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Remove glued fitting from bulkhead?

I'm looking at buying a used tank at a great price but there's a problem. It's a reef ready tank and the owner foolishly glued 90 elbows into the bulkhead pointing straight up. The way the overflow is designed, even if I manage to cut the bulkhead off the tank there isn't enough room to get a new one in there. Is there any reasonable way to remove the fitting from the bulkhead or should I just find a different tank? I've seen that you can heat the fitting and once it gets hot enough you can work it off but I don't want to risk cracking the glass or damaging the bulkhead.

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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 03:17 PM
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Is it a glass tank? Heat is the only way I know of to remove a glued fitting. You can cut one end as close to the fitting as possible and heat from the inside with a heat gun and twist and pull the remaining pipe until it comes out. The fitting should come loose before the glass even gets warm.

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Yes it's glass! So there's hope?

Bump: Just FYI the tank is a Marineland RR 60 cube with stand for $100!

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 03:54 PM
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 04:13 PM
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By glued, I might assume that you actually mean solvent welded as that is the norm? If glued there are a number of ways.
If welded as in the normal PVC work, it becomes difficult but not impossible. Depends on your outlook and what parts you want to save. There are reaming tools to use to remove the fitting but they are expensive so not likely to be something you want. That leaves you maybe down to some delicate work that may or may not work out. I have removed part from fitting by carefully using a Dremel style tool and grinding it out. But it is tedious and prone to going too far and ruining the piece. I only do it when desperate and not just to save the expense of the part but to avoid things like removing a wall section!
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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This tank is factory drilled with the overflow directly over the return. If you look closely at the return fitting you can see the purple PVC cement. I have to be able to save the bulkheads because this tank has a low profile overflow and there's no way to replace them without cutting the overflow out completely.

Plan B is to cut out the overflow then cut off the bulkheads and install new bulkheads and cap them off. The wife will most likely not approve just using a glass patch applied with silicone. Ideally, I'd like to use a sump on this tank.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 06:15 PM
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Okay, since they did use the purple primer, I would assume it is going to be near impossible to actually break the joint loose. The purple is a way to start the PVC melting process before the solvent is used. It makes the PVC softer and that really makes it melt totally together when it gets done.
IF (big IF!) one is dedicated enough he "Might" be able to salvage the fittings by slowly, carefully sanding /grinding the parts off but it does really get iffy to try it. When both primer and solvent have been used the two parts are nearly the same and it is going to be really hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. An actual weld, not just a glue job.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 06:33 PM
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I agree with @PlantedRich it is actually solvent welded. The bond however is extremely shallow and is much more vulnerable to heat than PVC alone. When you heat it up it softens this surface bond so much that it can be pulled apart. I would assume this is because the surface bond made is a chemical reaction and changes the chemical makeup of the bonded area changing its properties. If it were actually plastic welded rather than solvent (chemically) welded you would not be able to do this. I have to disagree that its totally melted together as the primer reach a few thousands of an inch deep. I have always used a heat gun but some people say they have been able to do it even with a hair dryer.

Here is a good link to proper use and gives a good description of how PVC glue/cement/solvent works.

http://www.aetnaplastics.com/site_me...ng%20Guide.pdf

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I'm going to go for it and hope for the best! I'll post pics in a couple weeks.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Okay, since they did use the purple primer, I would assume it is going to be near impossible to actually break the joint loose. The purple is a way to start the PVC melting process before the solvent is used. It makes the PVC softer and that really makes it melt totally together when it gets done.
IF (big IF!) one is dedicated enough he "Might" be able to salvage the fittings by slowly, carefully sanding /grinding the parts off but it does really get iffy to try it. When both primer and solvent have been used the two parts are nearly the same and it is going to be really hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. An actual weld, not just a glue job.
That is what the primer people want you to think but this is the link I posted in another thread disproving that primer is better.
https://www.plumbingsupply.com/the-g...er-debate.html
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Dragonfish View Post
This tank is factory drilled with the overflow directly over the return. If you look closely at the return fitting you can see the purple PVC cement. I have to be able to save the bulkheads because this tank has a low profile overflow and there's no way to replace them without cutting the overflow out completely.

Plan B is to cut out the overflow then cut off the bulkheads and install new bulkheads and cap them off. The wife will most likely not approve just using a glass patch applied with silicone. Ideally, I'd like to use a sump on this tank.
Another low profile bulkhead won't fit in?

If not you could try using a male electrical fitting with a threaded busing on the inside and the outside then tighten them together. Use an o-ring, or make a washer for the inside. I've used this method before and it works well.
Unlike white pvc electrical is not tapered.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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I can't seem to find a short bulkhead under 1.5".

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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Dragonfish View Post
This tank is factory drilled with the overflow directly over the return. If you look closely at the return fitting you can see the purple PVC cement. I have to be able to save the bulkheads because this tank has a low profile overflow and there's no way to replace them without cutting the overflow out completely.

Plan B is to cut out the overflow then cut off the bulkheads and install new bulkheads and cap them off. The wife will most likely not approve just using a glass patch applied with silicone. Ideally, I'd like to use a sump on this tank.



Maybe I'm missing something here; but why do you absolutely need to remove that glued elbow? How was the original owner using this and what did he/she do with that elbow?

I'll assume that the elbow it sits higher than the top of the tank essentially making the overflow useless? If so maybe you could just leave it be and drill another hole somewhere in the tank to be used as you see fit? Are there true bulkheads in the tank that are threaded? Could you possible loosen them up and simply turn the elbow to face down and then you can use a sump as intended?
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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This is a really good view of how the back of the tank looks stock. They don't use short on these.



Bump: Sorry, to answer the above question yes they pointed those straight up to eliminate the overflow. I'm hoping they didn't actually glue the pvc into the bulkhead.

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Dragonfish View Post
This is a really good view of how the back of the tank looks stock. They don't use short on these.



Bump: Sorry, to answer the above question yes they pointed those straight up to eliminate the overflow. I'm hoping they didn't actually glue the pvc into the bulkhead.


did they say why they eliminated the overflow and if that worked for them? If so, just ignore it and drill a hole wherever you see fit to use your sump. But looking at the photo it shouldn't matter where/how they glued it. You should be able to loosen up that nut on the overflow enough to spin the entire thing and make the elbow point down making it useful again.

Hang on a second. The more I look at it the more I wonder if you're over-reacting. The purple primer on the return is only visible at the top end; where they attached what looks to be a barb and then a section of hose to bring that lowest overflow above the height of the tank. The opposite side of the pvc would be attached to the threaded portion of the bulkhead. Are you 100% those are actually glued to the bulkhead and wont just turn off?
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