Weldless fittings - intermittent leaks - fix?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

NoCornOrRice

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 11, 2010
Messages
299
Reaction score
69
Location
Canada, eh
I've had various weldless fittings on all of my vessels for over a decade and have brewed with them countless times. Normally they are fine, but sometimes they leak, which has gotten annoying. I use the more premium fittings, keg lube and change the o-ring from time to time. I have also tried putting an o ring on both sides of the kettle wall. I am thinking about putting jb weld or silicone caulk on the outside of the bk and fermenter wall to prevent leakage. Has anyone done this?
 

day_trippr

Moderna Or Bust! :D
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
36,338
Reaction score
18,807
Location
Stow, MA
Why are you changing o-rings "from time to time" - is that for actual leaks, or something else?
Are the holes over-size for these leaking fittings?

I have kettles loaded with weldless bulkheads - five on my boil kettle, three on my mlt, and six on my hlt. Most of them are @Bobby_M's brewhardware.com excellent bulkheads, the rest are Blichmann original equipment. None of them have ever leaked, which is a testimony to their design, imo, but they do require a properly sized hole (13/16" preferentially).

I would certainly not glue or epoxy a weldless bulkhead. I'd consider replacing a chronic leaker with a different model first...

Cheers!
 
OP
N

NoCornOrRice

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 11, 2010
Messages
299
Reaction score
69
Location
Canada, eh
I've changed o-rings after a leak emerged sometimes because I figured it was worth a shot. The Blichmann weldless fittings are well designed, in terms of not leaking, I agree. I did find their bottom dump valve on Fermenators to be too narrow and prone to clogging, so I widened the hole and replaced with a 1/2" weldless bulkhead similar to the Brew Hardware ones, but from a Canadian vendor. That one does not leak, thankfully. Most of the holes were made with a punch and a couple with a step bit, all the holes are 13/16". I did have a welder for beer arrangement years ago, but he grossly overstated his welding abilities, unfortunately.
 

Staticsouls

@holtbrewingco ig
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
407
Reaction score
234
Location
Rancho Santa Margarita
Disassemble and reassemble while everything is dry. Then water test. If it doesn't leak at that point you should be gtg. Like daytripper I too have all wellness fittings on my cold side and once sealed they have never leaked for me. Hope this helps.
 

GoeHaarden

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
1,096
Reaction score
590
Have you thought about the pull through/solder fittings at brewhardware?

Pull Through Tutorial

I fitted one of my kettles with these and it's super easy if you just follow Bobby's instruction...no leaks!
 
OP
N

NoCornOrRice

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 11, 2010
Messages
299
Reaction score
69
Location
Canada, eh
Have you thought about the pull through/solder fittings at brewhardware?

Pull Through Tutorial

I fitted one of my kettles with these and it's super easy if you just follow Bobby's instruction...no leaks!
Thx. I was looking at those, and if the other suggestions don't resolve the issues, I may end up going that way.
 

GoeHaarden

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
1,096
Reaction score
590
Thx. I was looking at those, and if the other suggestions don't resolve the issues, I may end up going that way.
They're are pretty awesome. I had a similar issue with a leaking weldless bulkhead and just switched to these for peace of mind.
 

odie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
1,360
Reaction score
562
Location
CC, TX
Pull thru and silver solder "should" solve your issues...

I did my 1/2 fitting for the thermometer.

But for some reason the 1" fitting for my electric element I could never get to solder properly. Cleaned it well, lots of flux, etc...3 attempts to silver solder it failed. Solder seemed to just bead up every time. Fitting held strong but kept having a minute seep. In the end I just JB welded the outside and called it a day.
 

Wolffie

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
77
Reaction score
36
Location
Tipp City, Ohio
Pull thru and silver solder "should" solve your issues...

I did my 1/2 fitting for the thermometer.

But for some reason the 1" fitting for my electric element I could never get to solder properly. Cleaned it well, lots of flux, etc...3 attempts to silver solder it failed. Solder seemed to just bead up every time. Fitting held strong but kept having a minute seep. In the end I just JB welded the outside and called it a day.
You know FYI, but for me FMI (MY) to silver solder don't you need a hotter torch or a propane Mape gas to silver solder ??
 

day_trippr

Moderna Or Bust! :D
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
36,338
Reaction score
18,807
Location
Stow, MA
The typical DIY propane cylinder and torch set is sufficient.
It's really all about cleaning, fitment, and proper flux...with maybe a touch of technique (or at least awareness of what's going on in real time)...

Cheers!
 

GoeHaarden

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
1,096
Reaction score
590
The typical DIY propane cylinder and torch set is sufficient.
It's really all about cleaning, fitment, and proper flux...with maybe a touch of technique (or at least awareness of what's going on in real time)...

Cheers!

Yup. Those cheap little propane tanks from the hardware store is all you need.

I used a long pipe clamp attached to a work bench that had about a 3 ft overhang and suspended the kettle from the inside. Then just heated the outside of the kettle from below. Much like Bobby does in his video.

Deburred with sandpaper and step bit. Then cleaned kettle with BKF, then cleaned the kettle hole and pull through with denatured alcohol. Solid joints on all in them...
 

odie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
1,360
Reaction score
562
Location
CC, TX
Deburred with sandpaper and step bit. Then cleaned kettle with BKF, then cleaned the kettle hole and pull through with denatured alcohol. Solid joints on all in them...
I did the same. The 1/2" fitting went perfect. the 1" one I just could never get right...IDK...if the JB weld ever gives out I'll try the solder again.

frustrating it is...
 

Brooothru

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
1,444
Reaction score
1,032
Location
Either in the brewery or on the road
Why are you changing o-rings "from time to time" - is that for actual leaks, or something else?
Are the holes over-size for these leaking fittings?

I have kettles loaded with weldless bulkheads - five on my boil kettle, three on my mlt, and six on my hlt. Most of them are @Bobby_M's brewhardware.com excellent bulkheads, the rest are Blichmann original equipment. None of them have ever leaked, which is a testimony to their design, imo, but they do require a properly sized hole (13/16" preferentially).

I would certainly not glue or epoxy a weldless bulkhead. I'd consider replacing a chronic leaker with a different model first...

Cheers!
Absolutely go for Bobby M's weldless bulkheads. I recently replaced a ball valve on an 11L boil kettle that had always leaked no matter what I did. The small diameter of the pot made it nearly impossible to get a flush fit even with double gasketing. Replaced it with one of Bobby's weldless ball valves and it is completely leak free. Also got two hole plugs, one 1/2" and one 7/8", neither of which lets a single drop get through. They really work.
 
Top