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Old 11/24/2009, 09:19 PM   #1
iNsiNuASiAn
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Overflow Leak at Bulkhead. HELP!?!?

I decided to finish the plumbing and fill the 225 gallon today. Finished the plumbing. Sealed all PVC connections, so I decided to fill er up (after adequate PVC glue dry time). Everything went fine however as the bulkheads started filling up I was getting leakage from both sides. I had to drain then totally from beneath, dry everything else inside, lower slightly the tank water level, and try to think of was to fix this. GOOD thing is the tank is filled, the BAD thing is I have this leak problem to the filter underneath. The 1 tank occupant will be fine in the amount more water that is in the tank so no worries there (had the tank filled 1/3 and bought a gold fish).

The rubber gasket (that was supplied with it) are installed on the bulkhead/inside side of each bulkhead. I felt I sufficiently, using as much hand strenth as reasonable, however there was still leakage. Leakage seemed to come from around the bulkhead as if the seal were not enough. Piping was OK.

Should I use silicone around the bulkhead? Should I buy an aftermarket gasket? Do I really need a wrench to tighten the connection better?

Please Help!?!?!?


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Old 11/24/2009, 09:34 PM   #2
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If possible, take it apart and examine the gasket, and the surfaces its in contact with, chances are there is something there that is interfering with the seal. If you apply pliers to it, i would not go far, maybe 1/4 turn past where your at now. but they should seal hand tight.


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Old 11/24/2009, 09:43 PM   #3
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Or you can remove just the nut and look under the bulkhead with a flashlight. Reinstall the nut, the second time around should help it seats tighter.Good thing it's leaks now when you around.


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Old 11/24/2009, 10:59 PM   #4
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"Hand tight" is not the same for everyone. With all of my bulkheads I tighten them by hand and then snug them up a LITTLE more with a wrench. I agree with what 'sjames' posted -- not more than 1/4 turn.


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Old 11/25/2009, 03:03 AM   #5
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Anyone every think to use liquid/rubber aquarium silicon in addition to more tightening methods. I may even as my handyman shot owner if they have a higher quality rubber seal. Seems odd that both sides leaked. Not one seal failure, but two.

Perhaps shotty manufacturing? Who know...

Anyone think that I shouldn't do at least a seal of silicone on both sides (inside more important)?

Thank you


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Old 11/25/2009, 07:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iNsiNuASiAn View Post
Anyone every think to use liquid/rubber aquarium silicon in addition to more tightening methods. I may even as my handyman shot owner if they have a higher quality rubber seal. Seems odd that both sides leaked. Not one seal failure, but two.

Perhaps shotty manufacturing? Who know...

Anyone think that I shouldn't do at least a seal of silicone on both sides (inside more important)?

Thank you
IMHO if the bulkhead won't seal as it is designed to (no silicone, gasket on the flange side) then something's wrong. Instead of a bandaid (silicone), you need to find and fix the problem.

Look for flashing on the bulkhead, foreign matter, a gasket that has "pinched," a hole that's the wrong size, etc.


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Old 11/25/2009, 08:54 AM   #7
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you'll often see thin ridges from the molding process that should be sanded off.

As for tightening, I made up some sockets as my bulkheads were recessed but even if they weren't getting secure just with my finger tips didn't seem enough.


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Old 11/25/2009, 04:22 PM   #8
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Vaseline is a great sealant and also lubricates the threads so hand tight is just a little tighter than w/o it.


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Old 11/25/2009, 04:23 PM   #9
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didnt mean that quite the way it sounded. LOL


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Old 11/25/2009, 05:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by fishbait2 View Post
Vaseline is a great sealant and also lubricates the threads so hand tight is just a little tighter than w/o it.
You should not use vaseline on the bulkhead gasket. The gasket ALWAYS goes on the flange side of the glass, never the NUT side. A properly installed bulkhead does not need grease or sealant

The plumbung should NEVER hang from the bulkhead and instead MUST be fully (rigidly) supported by other means.


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Old 11/25/2009, 05:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeanAnimal View Post
You should not use vaseline on the bulkhead gasket. The gasket ALWAYS goes on the flange side of the glass, never the NUT side. A properly installed bulkhead does not need grease or sealant

The plumbung should NEVER hang from the bulkhead and instead MUST be fully (rigidly) supported by other means.
Got an example of this? I'm trying to figure how I'd support a True Union Ball Valve threaded into a bulkhead fitting. I mean, wouldn't that in fact help to further seal the gasket inside the overflow box?

In any case I can't quite picture how you'd support it otherwise....


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Old 11/25/2009, 11:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeanAnimal View Post
The plumbung should NEVER hang from the bulkhead and instead MUST be fully (rigidly) supported by other means.
That's actually how I have my setup. The return plumbing starts under the bulkhead, beginning with a valve and a short u shape in plumbing, however both sides are the same. The bulkheads are holding the weight, or some weight theoreticaly (how much I don't know). The only weight holder is actual pump, but who knows how or even if its taking any weight. Ill use some metal strapping to take the weight off the bulkheads. Good idea.

Any others?

For some reason the bulkhead rubber threads are flat on one side but the other side has rings for some reason. Common sense tells me flat side down. Wrong?


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Old 11/26/2009, 04:36 AM   #13
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I am still wondering if the silicon will be sufficient. No one thinks that going with a higher grade gasket will help the issue?

I think silicon will help and I will try that, but I rather fix it up as best I can, then run it instead having to repeat MIS-FIXING


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Old 11/26/2009, 07:42 AM   #14
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Bean, you put the vaseline in between th gasket and the glass. You will always end up with some on the threads. It helps to seal small imperfections. I helped replumb the salt section at a buudies pet store and probably would have had atleast one leak if not for this. 60 bulkheads w/o a single leak.
(Except the first one, cause we didnt use vaseline and the threads locked up before it was tight and we broke the tank trying to remove it.)



IMO, I would do this before silicone, because it isnt such a PITA to remove, unlike silicone.


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Old 11/26/2009, 09:04 AM   #15
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I am still wondering if the silicon will be sufficient.
You should not need to use silicone. If the bulkhead is properly installed you will not need sealant or grease. Silicone is a band-aid at best and can actually make things worse by allowing the gasket to slip and/or creating an uneven sealing surface.


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Old 11/26/2009, 09:08 AM   #16
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Bean, you put the vaseline in between th gasket and the glass.
There is no reason to do so. The bulkhead is designed to seal on its own. Grease will allow the gasket to easily deform.

If you feel that you MUST use something to lubricate the threads, then use silicone grease to lightly lubricate the threads INSIDE the NUT.


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Old 11/28/2009, 12:19 AM   #17
iNsiNuASiAn
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Quote:
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If you feel that you MUST use something to lubricate the threads, then use silicone grease to lightly lubricate the threads INSIDE the NUT.
Its not the threads that are leaking though, its through the rubber gasket. I found a replacement at home depot that seems to a bit more heavy duty, however it is off by about 1/8 of an inch around the bulkhead center. They only had 1 7/8" diameter, probably something closer to 1 1/2" would be a bit snug.

I just added some silicone to the bulkhead top sealing it to the top of the gasket. Gonna let that dry overnight.


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Old 11/28/2009, 01:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iNsiNuASiAn View Post
I decided to finish the plumbing and fill the 225 gallon today. Finished the plumbing. Sealed all PVC connections, so I decided to fill er up (after adequate PVC glue dry time). Everything went fine however as the bulkheads started filling up I was getting leakage from both sides. I had to drain then totally from beneath, dry everything else inside, lower slightly the tank water level, and try to think of was to fix this. GOOD thing is the tank is filled, the BAD thing is I have this leak problem to the filter underneath. The 1 tank occupant will be fine in the amount more water that is in the tank so no worries there (had the tank filled 1/3 and bought a gold fish).
You need it let it dry for 24+ hours.....


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Old 11/28/2009, 08:12 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by iNsiNuASiAn View Post
Its not the threads that are leaking though, its through the rubber gasket. I found a replacement at home depot that seems to a bit more heavy duty, however it is off by about 1/8 of an inch around the bulkhead center. They only had 1 7/8" diameter, probably something closer to 1 1/2" would be a bit snug.

I just added some silicone to the bulkhead top sealing it to the top of the gasket. Gonna let that dry overnight.

The silicone is likely to interfere with the seal, not help it.


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Old 11/28/2009, 09:45 AM   #20
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Its not the threads that are leaking though, its through the rubber gasket.
I never infered that it was. Again, a properly seated bulkhead and gasket need no grease or sealant.

Quote:
I found a replacement at home depot that seems to a bit more heavy duty, however it is off by about 1/8 of an inch around the bulkhead center. They only had 1 7/8" diameter, probably something closer to 1 1/2" would be a bit snug.
Did you find something wrong with the original gasket? If not, then don't need to replace it.

Quote:
I just added some silicone to the bulkhead top sealing it to the top of the gasket. Gonna let that dry overnight.
Again... there is no need for sealant. If you install the bulkhead properly it will not leak


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Old 11/29/2009, 05:25 PM   #21
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What if there are imperfections in the glass?


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Old 11/29/2009, 05:43 PM   #22
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You need it let it dry for 24+ hours.....
No, you don't. 2 hours is plenty.

Dustin


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Old 11/29/2009, 07:12 PM   #23
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What if there are imperfections in the glass?
Thats why the gasket is made of neoprene or epdm..to fill any minor imperfections in the surface its adjoing to.


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Old 11/29/2009, 07:22 PM   #24
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I would just grab a better gasket and give it a try. If it does nothing for you you can always return it. This thread is filled with the usual "this guy is wrong and I am right" nonesense that clutters RC as of late. CERTAINLY you will do no harm trying out what you consider to be a higher grade gasket. I doubt that you are too inept to "properly install" a bulkhead as, honestly, my four year old niece could probably manage it (well, maybe not tight enough, but you get what I mean - installing a bulkhead is NOT a hard concept).


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Old 11/29/2009, 09:47 PM   #25
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This thread is filled with the usual "this guy is wrong and I am right" nonesense that clutters RC as of late.
And here comes lordofthereef to counter all the usual "nonsense" with a good old fashioned dose of sarcasm, wit, and general bad attitude.

Quote:
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I doubt that you are too inept to "properly install" a bulkhead as, honestly, my four year old niece could probably manage it (well, maybe not tight enough, but you get what I mean - installing a bulkhead is NOT a hard concept).
Ok Lord, we'll all agree that you have never screwed up a simple task by overlooking (or not even knowing about) fine details. You're obviously above that. But I'll be humble and admit that even with my BS in Building Construction from Auburn, years of general contracting experience, and lots of hands-on plumbing practice, that I too have dealt with my share of bulkhead leaks. People aren't born knowing which side to put the gasket on, to use teflon tape on the threads, etc. It's something people learn.

These forums are a great place to learn through others and seek help from the same; it's people like you that "clutter up" this fine learning/sharing medium.

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