How do I open my basement drain?
July 14, 2018 12:01 PM   Subscribe

We have a basement drain that is clogged. We're supposed to be able to unscrew the top of the drain, but it's stuck. Looks like we need a special tool for leverage, but I don't know what it's called or where to get one. Pictures/links under the fold.

The drain is the type that has a trap with a cover over it and a bypass. . We need to clean the trap. To do this, we're supposed to be able to unscrew the cover.

The cover has a circular ridge with 4 slots that look like they're made to accept a certain kind of tool.

Here is a picture of the drain cover showing the slots.

I tried using a 6" chisel with vise grips to turn it, no luck. I need the right tool or a better workaround.

Is there a specific tool for this? What's it called and where can I get one?
posted by mattu to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Best answer: Your Google search term is "4 pin socket spanner". Good luck!
posted by Quietgal at 12:12 PM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't know that you are going to find a 4 pin spanner. Two pins might do it, Oatey sells two kinds but doesn't seem to want to tell you the diameter of the tools.
Your chisel has a tapered end (for chiseling) so it cammed out I bet.
Even a piece of steel flat stock *the correct thickness* from the big-box hardware store and an adjustable wrench (as low as you can get it) would be an improvement.
If all parts are metal, you are probably fighting corrosion that has made the part much harder to turn.
I usually use heat to break the corrosion lock, as in a torch. (No specific floor drain experience here, just general mechanical knowledge from working on old things.)
If no joy cold, you might get the water out and use a MAPP gas torch (also available at big box store, figure 20 bux) to heat the nut. I'd heat it and let it cool completely and then try it again. Trying to turn it hot may lead to destruction, esp. if it is brass. The heat expands it, it can't go anywhere since it is threaded in, so it gets squeezed a bit, when it cools it is just a tiny bit smaller - this assuming the nut is threaded on the outside. Even if female threads, a tiny bit of movement can break the bond.
posted by rudd135 at 3:37 PM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, I kinda guessed it wouldn't be trivial. Thank you both.
posted by mattu at 7:07 PM on July 15, 2018

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