Any suggestions to try and "seal" a leaky blow-off tube connection?

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J2W2

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Hi,

I ferment in an SS Brewtech Brew Bucket, which has a 90-degree fitting on the lid for a blow-off tube. I've used it for years and have always hand tightened the blow-off fitting with no issues.

Recently I added a CO2 collector to try and reduce oxygen exposure. That worked well; almost too well. The space in the fridge that I ferment in doesn't have a ton of headspace, and as the CO2 bag filled, it started pushing things around. It shoved the plastic bottle of Star San that the tube sits in clear to the front, and managed to loosen the blow-off tube fitting. If I try to tighten it now, it just spins. The only way to truly tighten it back down would be to open the lid so I can grab the nut, which seems like the last thing I want to do.

Going forward, I plan to use a wrench to really tighten the blow-off fitting, and maybe replace some of the CO2 collector tubing with silicone so that it's more flexible and forgiving. In the meantime, I'm getting ready to cold crash, and I'm assuming the fermenter will pull at least a little outside air in during the process. I also do a closed transfer when I keg, but I'm a little less concerned on that as the pressure from the filling keg should force the CO2 from the keg into the fermenter.

The best I've come up with is either slapping some keg lube around the base of the blow-off connector, trying to seal the area with some sanitized saran wrap or press-and-seal, or a combination of both. Does anyone else have any other ideas?
Brew Bucket.jpg

Thanks for your help!
 
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I'm not familiar with that fermenter but I assume there is an oring there where the fitting meets the lid, so I would try to wrap something around it as you mentioned, I don't know how much you need to worry about it being sanitized as it wont be in contact with the wort, maybe some kinda stretchy... like electrical tape? Not sure, but it might help make it seal so you don't get oxygen in during cold crash. With the nut spinning on the inside when you try to tighten obviously not much can be done there, but maybe if you try to put some pressure at an angle on the fitting as you turn it sometimes that will force the nut on the inside to have enough pressure on it to keep it from spinning as you turn the fitting.
 
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J2W2

J2W2

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I'm not familiar with that fermenter but I assume there is an oring there where the fitting meets the lid, so I would try to wrap something around it as you mentioned, I don't know how much you need to worry about it being sanitized as it wont be in contact with the wort, maybe some kinda stretchy... like electrical tape? Not sure, but it might help make it seal so you don't get oxygen in during cold crash. With the nut spinning on the inside when you try to tighten obviously not much can be done there, but maybe if you try to put some pressure at an angle on the fitting as you turn it sometimes that will force the nut on the inside to have enough pressure on it to keep it from spinning as you turn the fitting.
Yes, it's got a silicone o-ring right under the fitting, on the outside of the lid. The edge of the hole that the fitting sits in has been rolled inside the lid, to prevent a sharp edge. Because of that protrusion on the inside, the hex nut is actually recessed in the middle, so there is less contact with the inside of the lid than if the nut was flat - could be part of the reason it worked loose.

would plumbers putty work for a temp sorta thing?
I had initially thought about modeling clay. I have some around that I've used in a pinch to temporarily fix other (non-brewing) things. I'd dismissed that one, thinking it would not be sanitary, but as bailey mountain brewer pointed out, it won't be in contact with the wort, so that might be the best thing to try. Maybe dip it in some Star San and give the lid a good spray before and after, just to be extra safe.

Thanks!
 

JohnDBrewer

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Looks like you have too much weight hanging off that connection. Try simplifying (reducing the weight) a bit or add some support right at/under the elbow. Also are you using a gasket on both sides of the bulkhead fitting? If not try that. If you are using gaskets on both sides the gaskets are probably too rounded and need to be flatter if that makes sense.
 

Konadog

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I've had that problem with a new BrewBucket (forgot to tighten) So what worked for me until I could tighten it properly was to pull up and wiggle it while tightening. It will snug it up, but wont completely tighten so it won't spin.
 
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J2W2

J2W2

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Looks like you have too much weight hanging off that connection. Try simplifying (reducing the weight) a bit or add some support right at/under the elbow. Also are you using a gasket on both sides of the bulkhead fitting? If not try that. If you are using gaskets on both sides the gaskets are probably too rounded and need to be flatter if that makes sense.
I kind of have the CO2 collector in an odd spot right now. When it's collecting, I have it sitting on top of the fermenter because the refrigerator door is closed to keep everything at a certain temp. Right now I have it finishing at room temp (70 degrees), so I just moved everything out of the way. The one thing I don't like about the collector is the plastic valve used to open/close the collection bag. You can't see the valve handle in the pic, but when you rotate it, the bag rotates with it, which isn't good in my tight space. I need to find some type of in-line valve that would let me open/close the collection bag without rotating it.

As far as the gaskets, I only have the o-ring on the top. I'll try to remember to post a picture of the nut it uses, but it's such an odd design with the internal curve that I don't think there's a way to put a gasket on the inside and have it do any good. I think tightening it down with a wrench, instead of just hand-tight, should resolve the issue going forward.

I've had that problem with a new BrewBucket (forgot to tighten) So what worked for me until I could tighten it properly was to pull up and wiggle it while tightening. It will snug it up, but wont completely tighten so it won't spin.
I don't really have any play with the fitting, since it was tight to begin with. It just rotates and would fully tighten. I've been trying not to mess with it as I don't want to make it any worse. :D
 

Konadog

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So it just spins, got you! A wrench will fix that next time it's open. The nut has that weird cut out due to the way the hole is punched out in the lid. There is that little lip that has to fit inside.
 
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