Removing risers from brass sprinkler heads.

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pasadena_commut

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I would like to reuse some brass sprinkler heads (Champion and Orbit) which have accumulated from sprinkler repairs over the years. The problem is these all have some or all of a riser attached, and that needs to come off. These fall into two categories:

1. Entire galvanized riser attached, very rusty
2. Black nylon(?) riser, snapped off flush with the bottom of the head

(These are respectively, from the gardener's lawnmower hitting the head and breaking the tee on the original 1960's era irrigation, or breaking the riser on the 20xx era replacements. Most nylon risers break at the bottom where it enters the tee - those are easy to get out of the head and there is a tool to unscrew that stub out of the tee. )

For the first type I tried putting a really big pipe wrench on the riser and one of these wrenches:


on the head, then tapping the head wrench with a hammer. But the pipe wrench kept slipping on the riser, I think maybe because the rust was crumbling. I have not yet tried penetrating oil but assume that will also be needed to get the threads moving. What is the trick to get a pipe wrench to bite all the way through the rust to the metal below?

For the second type all that is visible is the threaded top part of the riser, end on. There is nothing to grab, and because of the brass pop up shaft the only access is through a fairly narrow slot. Is there some clever trick for unwinding a threaded piece of nylon? I thought about putting a heat gun on it and melting it but would need some way to protect the rubber "stop" on the bottom of the pop up at the same time.

This project is just to see if it can be done. Economically it does not make much sense since buying that number of new heads would probably come to all of $20.

Thanks.
 

Twowaxhack

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You could cut the pipe off near flush with the heads then use a saw to make relief cuts then peel it out with a sharp screwdriver or needle nose.

Or you could watch cat videos. Your choice.,
 

pasadena_commut

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I don't follow. The plastic riser is already flush with the bottom of the head - no way to cut anything. The galvanized is not flush and could be cut off and then cut down towards the head. I don't see though how anything could then be "peeled" since despite the flaps this would create there would still be a solid galvanized (threaded) ring inside the sprinkler head.
 

Twowaxhack

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If threads are broken off inside the head then cut through the broke threads parallel with the pipe, up in the head. Make 2 or 3 cuts.

They’re commonly called relief cuts....

Cut almost all the way through. Then peel out the broken piece.
 
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pasadena_commut

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Making those cuts will be very difficult with the pop up brass rod still in the head. There is very little clearance between it and the inside of the riser. While it isn't hard to get this little piece of brass out by cutting off the rubber stop at its bottom I have never been able to find anything that will work to replace that stop. On a sprinkler head where that stop had broken off I tried various size rubber o-rings. While these worked as stops for a second or two when the water pressure was applied the force would then push the pop up past them (roll the o-rings off the end of the pop up) and then the pop up would shoot out of the head. I think when the heads are manufactured they must mold the rubber stop directly onto it.
 

Twowaxhack

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I’d probably just throw them away. I work with my hands for a living so it has to pay me to work on it or I replace it.

Good luck with the project ! 👍
 

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