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Old 10-27-2019, 08:04 PM   #1
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Default Removing old stuck wire from conduit

We are working on this job that was installed in 1968 with TW solid wire. More than likely the contractor used YELLOW 77 as wire lube. The problem now is that the conduits that go under the basement floor the wire is stuck and will not come out. We have broken several wires trying to pull them out.

American Polywater makes a product that is supposed to free up stuck wire and it costs $86.00 a gallon plus shipping and has to be ordered directly from them.
My question is are there any other solutions that one might use to free stuck wire ? We are going to pull in fire alarm cable is the conduit after we get get the old TW wire out and I don't damage the fire alarm cable..
Thanks for your help

LC
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:21 PM   #2
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Yellow 77 is wax based. There's no solvent I know of that dissolves wax that I'd want to run through pipe, they're either flammable or they might damage insulation of the new wire or who knows what. So I'd use the Polywater stuff.

You might be able to soften the wax enough to pull the wire out if you just blow hot air down the pipe with a heat gun on low or even a blow dryer. Once it breaks free you're probably done.
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:22 PM   #3
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If the wires are breaking than I don’t think any product will work, they are not coming out.

Best of luck.
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Crapshooter View Post
We are working on this job that was installed in 1968 with TW solid wire. More than likely the contractor used YELLOW 77 as wire lube. The problem now is that the conduits that go under the basement floor the wire is stuck and will not come out. We have broken several wires trying to pull them out.

American Polywater makes a product that is supposed to free up stuck wire and it costs $86.00 a gallon plus shipping and has to be ordered directly from them.
My question is are there any other solutions that one might use to free stuck wire ? We are going to pull in fire alarm cable is the conduit after we get get the old TW wire out and I don't damage the fire alarm cable..
Thanks for your help

LC
I saw that American Polywater product in a City Electric in a little town in North central Florida. I think it’s called “Cable Free” or something like that.
Alternatively, you can buy 226 in a Gallon can. That should work fine.
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:41 PM   #5
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Several 2-liters of Coca-cola. Poured them down both ends and let it sit overnight.
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:22 PM   #6
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I wouldn't try to pull only one at a time. It's all or nothing.
If the wires keep breaking at the same length, the pipe might be rotten and filled with clay.
When I have no choice, I'll measure and dig then repair the run.

Try blowing some compressed air thru the run before trying the coke trick.
If the pipes rotted, no air will come out the other end.
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Several 2-liters of Coca-cola. Poured them down both ends and let it sit overnight.
Have you tried this one? As stated above, Yellow 77 is wax based

I have read that Coca-Cola dissolves wax, (ie, if you get automotive wax on your car windows). Kinda makes sense.
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:43 PM   #8
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What gauge are the TWs?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:43 PM   #9
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The primary acid in Coke is Phosphoric acid. Be wary, as it reacts negatively with steel if I recall correctly, so you may end up eating a hole in the conduit.
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:53 PM   #10
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Try hot water.
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:55 PM   #11
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A welder turned on low will warm up the wires if you think that wax is the problem.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:01 PM   #12
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generally we try to pull one wire with sharp jerks rather than just pulling on it. If that doesn't work then it really depends of where you are and what kind of mess is acceptable.

We have stuck a hose pipe in one end (in florida hose water is hot) and stuck a aqua vac on the other end. We have also blown lube through the pipe. (haven't try cola yet but im willing to try that one). In general if the water or air doesn't flow through the pipe you have a major problem.

A trick i did see years ago that i have never had to tried was to overload 2 wires (wire nutted at the other end) on purpose using a truck battery. The wires were in a freezer and moisture (water) had frozen the wire in a low spot. saved thousand of dollars on renting a lift and all the work involved in getting to the conduit.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:23 PM   #13
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For an outside underground 2" pipe, (not TW insulated wire) we used the Jet spray Vac Tron. Same unit for digging a trench with compressed water/vacuum. Saved us from having to jack hammer a serious amount of concrete to get to it. What's the diameter of the pipe?
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Old 10-27-2019, 11:01 PM   #14
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Call a rooter guy, they have all kinds of tricks to get stuff out of pipes.
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Old 10-27-2019, 11:08 PM   #15
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I'll hook the with to a come along or a little lever chain hoist and put a light tension on them and dump as much white vinegar as I can in there and let it sit. If they break free we pull em blow the pipe out and then swab it.
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Old 10-28-2019, 08:40 AM   #16
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Most likely they are sitting in the dirt....they are probably rotted steel conduit

what are you pulling them out with?

Try and pull one at a time with something.....chain block, toe motor, truck, back hoe???

If something mechanical don't budge them they ain't coming out.
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Old 10-28-2019, 11:41 AM   #17
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About 25% of the time we end up running new conduit. Either stuff gets in and turns to concrete or the conduit rots out or gets linked by another trade or the guy that put them in got them twisted and stuck so just made it work. Duct banks for some reason are worse than above ground conduits. I always try to plan duct bank retrofit jobs with the plan that it might not work.

Hilti has just the tool for this kind of situation. It’s called a jack hammer.
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Old 10-28-2019, 10:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird dog View Post
Try hot water.
Good choice. Water hot or cold will help because it just seems to loosen thing up and has always worked well for me.
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:09 AM   #19
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I had a project as a young journeyman to abandon a feed inside of a switchgear and feed it from an ATS.
We wanted the rabbit but, it was stuck in the pipe.
We pulled it tight with a tugger and put some diesel fuel in the pipe and left it overnight.
It worked
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Old 10-29-2019, 09:23 AM   #20
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Let's say you get this wire out... New wire is going to be a bitch to get in.
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