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by Eric, Technical Support for FlexPVC.com a division of PVC Distributors LLC, Pahrump, Nevada
Installing A Bulkhead Fitting Without Access to the Inside of the Tank
The easy way to install a bulkhead fitting from the inside.If you only have access to the OUTSIDE of the tank (say a 55 gal drum or storage tank) with just one opening at the top, it's better to put the fitting in from the INSIDE facing out so the nut is on the outside so it's easier to tighten. To do this you have to have an opening at the top of the tank large enough to pass the bulkhead through it. For large storage tanks this is not usually a problem unless your bulkhead fitting is 8" or larger. But for most 30 or 55 gallon drums you can only install the 1/2" or maybe 3/4" bulkhead. What you do is run a stiff wire (baling wire) from the hole at the top to the hold you drilled in the side of the tank. Then thread the bulkhead onto this wire, NUT end first. (Don't forget the gasket). Then let the bulkhead fitting slide down the wire till it comes to the hole you drilled. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to gently grab it and pull it through the hole. Now thread the nut on from the outside passing it over the wire first, then thread it on to the bulkhead fitting. Once you have a few threads on, you can pull the wire out. Then tighten the nut. Usually if you are using a gasket, the gasket is enough to hold the bulkhead fitting in place while you tighten it. However if it is not, you can put wrench on the nut and hold the "tail" of the bulkhead fittings with a pair of pliers or channel-lock pliers. Sometimes this will mess up the threads on the bulkhead fitting, but if need be you can wrap the bulkhead's external threads with cardboard or a rag to minimize this. You can also clean them up with a triangle file. Usually it's not a big thing and some bulkheads (the Sch 80) have a non-threaded area that you can grab ahold of without damaging the threads.
Also note: If the opening at the top of the barrel is "almost" big enough, you can take a grinder to the flange of the bulkhead fitting to trim it down a little bit. We don't recommend taking off more than 1/8" around, but it can be done.
Also if you do not want to use a gasket, you can do this method with silicone or urethane, but it's messy.
Also, NEVER use a gasket AND a sealant like silicone. The gasket will just squish out. It's one or the other, not both.
See our bulkhead fittings page for the full range of bulkhead fittings we carry.
I hope you found this informative.
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