Did they quit making the handiest fitting of all?

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Nukedaddy

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Back when I was on the tools we made everyday use of adapters to penetrate and fix tub spouts and shower arms. Sioux Chief made the, so did Delta, Oates, and some others.
The were usually referred to as thin wall tub spout adapters. They were 1/2 fip Ells with the outlet side longer than the inlet. The O.D. Of the outlet side had a fine thread and 2 or 3 thin star or hex nuts with brass washers. The nuts clamped the ell in the hole for the pout or shower.

Well, what happened to them. Can’t find them at HD, Amazon, faucet Direct or anywhere! Anybody know where to get them?
 

Nukedaddy

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Hmmm. I wish I could find a photo, as my description may have missed the mark. I shall try again. The fitting is an ell. The inlet end is 1/2 fip. The inlet is connected to either the tub or the shower or both outlets from the tub/shower mixer. The ell/adapter outlet is bigger in OD and longer than the inlet. The OD is threaded with a fine thread about 3-4 “ long and has 2 thin nut/washers. These nuts go on either side of the hole drilled in the Fiberglas and tightened to hold the spout or shower arm firmly. Finally, the outlet of the ell adapter is tapped 1/2 fip for the spout or shower arm.
There were variants in a straight pattern, some with sweat inlet, even some compression.
 

Jeff Handy

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I can’t picture how an ell would be of any use up by the shower arm or down by the tub spout.
There is already an ell or a tee back in the wall at both these locations.

Unless these adapters are installed in place of the normal ells to feed the shower arm, or tub spout nipple or copper stub out.
 

Zanne

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Do you mean an adapter that had like a pin that was tightened against the copper until it punctured it and allowed water to flow through the adapter via the puncture? Could it be a saddle valve? (clamps on to the pipe & punctures/penetrates)
 

RenewDave

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Like the old “fiberglass shower ell” ? Those things would just come loose then when you tightened them you had too many threads exposed.
 

Nukedaddy

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Dead on, BREPLUM ! I kept searching term I used back 30 years ago with no hits. This one you found on Amazon is on the way to me times 3. And below is a picture of another I finally found. Thanks for everyone’s help!
 

Jeff Handy

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So does the bigger side with the lock nuts have female threads inside, to receive the male threads of a standard shower arm?

How is this any better than a normal ell, with ears that are secured to wood framing?

I can see it being handy just to clamp onto the shower wall, but you are putting pressure on that thin surface.
Something like a hand shower being installed up there could put a lot of weight and in/out strain on the wall as it is being used.

Maybe I am just not picturing it right, sorry if I am being dense, haha.
 

RenewDave

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That’s the one... great for the installer, not so much for the service guy. And it ends up putting the shower head about chest high.
 

Nukedaddy

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Yes, 1/2 fip on bigger end.
There may have been some issues with careless use for some servicemen, but as I was primarily a service guy, and taught the apprenticeship program for fitters and plumbers for 20 years I did a few things extra. First of all, remember that any motion between the spout and the wall will eventually break down the caulk seal and allow leakage behind the wall. A plain-ole drop ear ell adapter and a brass pipe nipple or a sweat drop ear ell with a sweat male adapter on the wet side of the wall. These were pretty good for years, but the provide a long moment arm to transmit motion from the end of the spot or shower arm, stressing the caulk.
What I did, and still do is to epoxy the thin wall adapter with some Fiberglas scrim reinforcement to the dry side making the penetration 100% watertight and very robust to resist motion.
Also, these fittings work well on tile, so there is no reason to put them in a short position. Use them above the Fiberglas, epoxied to the cementitious backer board and caulked on the tile side. Unless you are putting plain-ole Sheetrock above and around tubshowers without tops. In those cases, it really won’t matter, the next guy will be replacing the wall section anyway.
 

Jeff Handy

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How does a drop ear ell, properly screwed to sturdy framing, have much motion at all?

As opposed to trying to grab the wobbly wall of the shower enclosure itself?
 

Nukedaddy

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The motion is relative. If you use a drop-ear ell adapter with a couple of #8 wood screws or drywall screws into a 2-by screwed into the wall framing has several shortcomings inherent to the physics. The two screws are only about an inch off the centerline of the tube or nipple where the tubspout or shower arm connects. If the overall length of the pipe and spout, from the ell to the end of the spout is, say, 10”, the the moment of force is 10” at the ell’s center. Then, since the screw is 1” off the center, any force (like an accidental kick, a dropped bottle of shampoo or ???) applied to the end of the spout is transmitted as torsion and shear to the screws and multiplied X10. A sideways force to the spout is transmitted X10 as tension to pull out one screw and to push the ell’s ear in on the opposite side.
In either or any case, the relative and unrestrained motion at the tub wall will hurt the caulk seal.
That is why I epoxy the thin wall ell adapter to the fiberglass tub wall. With a fixed anchor point at the location where I want to minimize the chance of a leak I have also minimized the mechanical advantages that can cause wall leaks.
 

frodo

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um...
a drop eared 90 is far more secure than the 90 you mention that is sandwiched to the fiberglass

the fitting you describe will twist the pipe when/if at a later date a stubborn nipple needs removal

that fitting would be ok on a stainless steel restaurant sink.

but not worth a **** on a shower head



nothing is holding back up on the nipple , Any one who is a plumber knows that if back up is not held on a nipple the pipe will twist off inside the wall. as far as the claim about loose wall and caulking. walls that are installed correctly do not move..
As suggested above. this is a great fitting for installing a faucet to a stainless steel sink in a commercial kitchen

ninty1.png
 
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Nukedaddy

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Well, first of all I am/was a plumber, third generation, union trained, and taught the union apprenticeship program for 20 years for both plumbers and fitters. I also sat for the plumbing engineer’s exam and passed for my “Certified In Plumbing Engineering” (CIPE) certification from the American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
I disagree that a couple of screws an inch apart are more secure than my method of an epoxy bond which encompasses and surrounds the thin wall adapter, spreading the bonded area to a 6’ diameter circle and covers the thin wall adapter completely with reinforced epoxy resin and reinforcing scrim.
I am happy to have found the fitting I described in my original post, and think my method superior in resistance to accidental damage and aging to others. I have nothing more to add or defend.
 

frodo

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sounds like you have been installing this fitting wrong for many years.

a fiberglass shower surround is about 1/16 to 1/8'' thick fiberglass panel or a plastic panel such as a sterling product
attaching the fitting directly to the panel does not stop any longitudinal movement. it only stops lateral movement.
a drop eared 90 attaches to the framing of the structure it stops both lateral and longitudinal movement of the pipe

further more a fiber glass unit is 72'' to the top lip of the unit.
this puts the shower head at 5'6'' midget height.
we install shower heads at 6'2 bottom of head. rough in for drop eared 90 is 6'8''
above the fiberglass unit
 

RenewDave

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Right Frodo. We roughed our drop ears at 80” off the floor, standard. Higher if the owner asked. Rarely did I ever get, “hey, can you lower that for me?” The strength issue is a non starter. Two screws to a block or two nuts on fiberglass. Duh.
 
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