Newbie hose bib repair help

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Arthur Dent

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Just joined today hoping to pick some experts brains. I am trying to repair a hose bib that has had a slow leak for years. I thought the hard part was going to be removing the old brass screw that held the old seal. (It was hard) But the hardest part seems to be finding the correct bonnet packing for it. I have a few pieces on order since they were cheap, but thought I would check and see what people who know more than me about this think. It no longer leaks when shut off...just when it is on. :)
Measurements I took with a caliper are .34" for the valve stem and .93" for the inside of the packing nut. So this makes me think I want something that is going to have 11/32" ID and 15/16" OD. I do not really understand the 3rd measurement I see for the "wall". It seems like the packing in this case is also the washer?
One that I ordered was the Danco #90 bonnet packing. But I am wondering if I can fashion something myself using another one, or if I can use the graphite packing string to do what I need.
Attaching some pics to show what I am working with...fairly old and basic brass bib. I cleaned up the loose parts and plan on cleaning the main piece up too. Including a picture of a representative diagram to what I am working with. Mine is very similar except that I did not find a washer between the packing and the spndle as shown in the diagram.
 

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Arthur Dent

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You can use graphite packing it comes in roll looks like thick sting coated in black graphite
So I tried this today. I had to pack quite a bit in to get it so that it was packed tight. It was a little difficult to then turn on the faucet, and once I did, it sort of slowly started leaking between the stem and the bonnet nut. It was sort of oozing the packing material. I think that the issue is that there is no packing washer to compress the material between. Here is another diagram that basically shows the bib I have. The original packing material was super compressed into the bonnet nut and I had to dig it out with a knife.

Should I to find a washer that I can use to sit on the valve body and compress the packing material when I tighten the nut?
 

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Arthur Dent

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Also, maybe am not installing the packing material correctly. I bought two types, one looks like a very thin string and the other was a much thicker string that seemed to be made up of several smaller ones wound together. I used the thicker one and just wound it around the stem as many times as I could and still get the nut to grab and tighten. Perhaps there is a better method that someone can tell me?
 

Twowaxhack

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You messed up when you dug the old packing out. You should’ve just added to it.

Now you need a packing kit to for sure have the right packing. There are a multitude of packings.

I suggest locating a shop that sells faucet parts that has the master kits or finding a hardware store that has the master packing assortment kits.

You could possibly add a thin brass metal washer. You could try several hacks to make up for not having the proper packing.

If you want it to work perfect then you need to find the correct packing, or replace the faucet.
 

Twowaxhack

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Your original packing was shaped like the inside of your packing nut. Like a flying saucer.

I’m going to my warehouse next week and will look in my packing kit and see what’s left. It’s been a while since I’ve looked in it. I’ll see what I can find for you. Maybe I can put together a few that are strong possibilities.
 

Arthur Dent

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You messed up when you dug the old packing out. You should’ve just added to it.

I thought that might be the case. The first video I came across, the guy had a very similar faucet and he dug all the old stuff out and replaced it completely. I have since watched some videos where they did just add to the existing packing.

Your original packing was shaped like the inside of your packing nut. Like a flying saucer.

That is what I thought based on the shape of the bonnet nut and the packing I have found online. I tried a #41 from Ace. The outer diameter seemed perfect. But the "dome" part did not seem to fit the dome of the bonnet nut. And, the inside diameter seemed too big for my stem, 7/16 vs 11/32.

I might try the #41 again. I think I can trim the dome to fit and then maybe I can add the thinner string packing to make up for the inner diameter?

I also have a #90 on order that I am waiting to come in. The inner diameter is closer, 5/16. It is the outer diameter that is a bit smaller at 7/8 vs 15/16. But again, maybe I can make up for it with the string/rope packing. Just taking a while for it to come in. The #90 was hard to find in stock anywhere, even online.

find the correct packing, or replace the faucet.

Yeah, hoping to not have to replace the faucet. That is the last resort. The guy who built this house did a lot of things janky...or so I have been told. No telling how he connected this brass faucet to the plastic (hopefully CPVC) water lines in the house. Actually, I can attach some pictures and maybe you can tell me. Is it normal to use metal cut-off valves with plastic piping? He did it all over. I guess I am lucky that there is access from the inside of the house already. I would need to move a lot of stuff to get proper access and as a precaution in case I create waterworks. :)
 

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Twowaxhack

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Why don’t you just replace this entire hose bibb with a proper frostproof with built-in vacuum breaker?
That probably involves more plumbing work than he wants to do. Possibly wall repair inside.

Maybe he will answer your question but my answer is one I hear on a regular basis.
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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Of course your are right. Looked like from the schematic it was a screw in type and then absolutely, it's a bit of work. Been there and done. Then I forgot to remove the hose one autumn day and had to do it again when it all froze up...frostproof only works if you remove the *&^% hose.
 

Arthur Dent

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Why don’t you just replace this entire hose bibb with a proper frostproof with built-in vacuum breaker?

I will probably be doing this on the other end of the house where a pipe did break before I learned about leaving the bib open in the winter. The house builder installed cut-off valves for every bib. You can see the one for the bib in question in my post above. My understanding is that I close the cut-off and then leave the bib open for winter and all should be good. Everything has since I started doing this. But I learned the hard way on one, so I will be replacing that bib. Luckily it was right above the laundry room. The ceiling already had an opening in it similar to the one I picture above. I came home to hearing my sump pump going off every 30 seconds or so which usually only happens during storming when the ground is already saturated. The pump is in the laundry room between the washer and dryer. I am standing in the doorway looking at it and listening to it kick off when I notice that water is running down the wall in the corner. The pipe had broke and the water was running down and then going into a drain that I discovered under the dryer that then goes into the sump well. So nothing was damaged...besides the pipe of course. I got really lucky.

For this bib, I might end up replacing it, but I will feel defeated if I do. Sounds stupid, but I would rather spend $50 trying to fix it than to just buy a new one. If I am successful, it will feel worth it to me as I think the experience is good. :)
 

Twowaxhack

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I don’t like those plastic male adapters. I’m sorry but I don’t care for cpvc much. I’ve used it and may use it again but I don’t like it. I only use it for water heater relief lines and water heater pan drains.
 
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