gate valve - heavy duty handle

I just spent the better part of the day digging out a mud hole where the irrigation line ruptured. The better half drove to three places, over 200
miles, to find the replacement part.
I broke a drain valve handle off last fall after the ground froze, so I pumped the line dry. Snowmelt re-filled it, and it froze and busted a six inch irrigation line.
I have drain valves located at low spots in my underground six inch irrigation main, normally buried about four feet. I've tried both gate valves and ball valves on the 1 1/4 inch drain tap. Ball valves freeze up hopelessly.
I've been using a fork arrangement (two rods welded to the end of a pipe) to reach down a length of six inch scrap pipe to turn open the valve. This will break the web of the valve handle out. (Except on two very old valves, when they made them better)
By chance, does anyone know of a heavy duty valve that I can put in the ground? Otherwise, I'm a figuring on how to make a special valve handle.
Karl
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in message

You could try Borg Wagner, Mechnical Seals Division, they make stellite shut off valves for oil rigs.
xman
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xmradio wrote:

Are you serious? Do you have any idea what oilfield gear costs? Not to mention how tight Karl is (:
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OH MAN, YOU SHOULD SEE THE GAWD AWFUL MESS NOW!!! We pressure tested with the hole open and it failed with a POP!! There's a lake of mud for fifty feet in all directions. We spent the evening stringing together every electric cord to get a sump pump out there. I get to spend the night watching that pump.
Need more parts, bought the last ones in the state.
That oilfield valve is starting to sound cheap about now.
Karl
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wrote:

Sounds like a real mess, although typical farming problem!
Is it possible to use one of the spring loaded valves like the use to drain wheel type irrigation lines? The water pressure closes it and will only open and drain when the pressure goes away. You would need a dry well under each valve. Perhaps you cycle the pressure too often to make this realistic, but would automatically solve your freezing problem.
Paul in Central Oregon where the irrigation sprinklers leave a beautiful frozen design each morning at sunup.
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On Fri, 20 Apr 2007 01:55:02 GMT, "Karl Townsend"

Why is your main buried, so you can work under the trees? If it has to be buried, I like the suggestion about water company hardware. Their stuff is always buried. However, it doesn't spend the winter drained.
Pete Keillor
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I got water! Filled the hole back in except for a spot about four foot diameter where I need to install a new drain valve.
The existing valve had completely corroded away. When I tried to twist it open with a vice grip, the whole top of the valve twisted off. A better handle ain't the answer. I'll check into water Co. stuff, but I'm leaning to a high quality plastic gate valve. I've got a while to think on it, then replace all six valves.
The mains are buried so you can drive around the place. All the 4 inch diameter risers are in terraces or tree rows.
Karl
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How about one made for a water service? May be a bit pricey, but they do the job. Find a big plumbing supply that also sells to water companies.
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What types of ball valves are you having freeze up so badly? Perhaps you have especially nasty water, I don't know - I have a lot better luck with 1/4 turn ball valves than with typical screw valves in household plumbing. If corrosion is the issue, I wonder if it's worth trying the all-plastic ones...

I think you'd be better off making a handle, perhaps by starting with a new handle and re-enforcing it, or making/getting an appropriate broach (or EDM, I suppose) and putting the right center hole in a mild steel disc with a couple of holes for the forks. Reason being, I've seen the town water guys with their forked stick down a hole, and they can't shut the valve off because the handle is broken...so no magic there. If you have the hub section of the old handle, you can probably just braze that to the center of a fender washer, drill two holes for forks and be there.
You might also try padding the fork with tightly-fitted rubber hose, so it's not quite as severe a pressure point on the valve handles. Moving the forks to the widest they can be should also help, slightly.
Another approach would be to braze a tube to the rim of the valve handle, with some cutouts so you can work a screwdriver to put the handle on the valve, and have the tube come up to where you can reach it for turning. Or just braze a short section of square tube onto the handle, and make then end of your stick be a slip fit into it. Either of those means that all the webs are taking the load, not just the two that the forks press on.
--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by

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wrote:

I guess there are a few different types, the keys we use are square and don't break under normal circumstances. There is no handle, the valve can only be turned with the key.
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On Thu, 19 Apr 2007 20:00:05 -0400, "ATP*"

He's got a point - municipal water companies have dealt with this for many decades, and have it all debugged so they don't have to dig up a valve to close it. Mainly because all the big patches in the asphalt would piss off the Road Maintenance people.
Their underground shutoff valves have a big square boss on the end of the valve stem, and they drop a big rod with a square socket to turn them. And they have special shovels and spoons to get the inevitable debris out of the holes that would block the wrench.
Of course, their idea of a "small" valve on a water main is six inches and you want 1-1/4", so you may have to search a bit.
--<< Bruce >>--
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Karl Townsend wrote:

Plug valve?
Tom
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wrote:

Have you tried finding or making an extension for the valve handle which would cause it to stick up above the ground even when the valve is buried? This would be where I would tend to start. Perhaps this isn't possible, though. ww88
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