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Thread: OK, I drained it, now what?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    OK, I drained it, now what?

    After ten years or so, my Lee 20 pound pot needs some service. The pour valve has gotten goofy. This summer it stuck open and now it is freezing shut. I can take a straightened paper clip and shove into the spout and get it to run again, but after a few pours it freezes again. I figure some trash got down there, so I've drained it.

    The valve operating handle is best described as sloppy. The scrrew through it into the side of the pot loosens up over several casting sessions so I figure that needs addressed, I plan on lapping the valve stem and seat to hopefully stop the drips. Other than these two things the pot runs great I would'nt be surprised to find that I've cast over 75,000 boolits with it, as over time I've cast for several friends as well as myself. A common months shooting of my own involves 400-500 rounds so I'm well pleased with the service. Just needs some attention is all and I want to treat it right.

    Any help out there?
    Last edited by JohnH; 10-08-2017 at 12:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    HeavyMetal's Avatar
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    whats the inside of the pot look like? I cast for year with a Lee 10 pounder and suddenly I had the same issue, turned out the crud from a powdered flux was acting like insulation and kept the lead from being hot enough.

    A mask and a wire wheel on a cordless drill fixed the problem and I went to using pine shavings as a flux material which has worked very well and not given me the the problem I had with the powdered flux.

    This may not be your problem but it is a place to start, the next thing is to look at the contact points on the temp control in your 4-20 pot some times they just need a little cleaning, and old points file will work well here if you can find one, LOL!

    HM

  3. #3
    Boolit Master vzerone's Avatar
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    On my RCBS Pro-Melt as I'm heating the pot of and when it's ready to go I find the spout frozen so I hit with a little heat (small flame) from my propane torch. If I let the pot heat up a long time the spout is fine and ready to pour.

    Okay so now you have the pot empty. Take it outside and wearing a 3-Mask dust mask and gloves wired brush it preferably with an electric wire wheel, the small ones that fit your drill. Pick an appropiate style of wheel to fit your need to clean the pot. When I was done with the wire brush I cleaned the inside with a good spraying of WD 40. Then I cleaned that out and was finished except for the spout which I cleaned with the correct size drill bit.

  4. #4
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    First, i would avoid any cleaning technique that would make any of the crud/dust airborne.
    Also, if parts of your Lee pot are damaged or corroded beyond cleaning, you can order new parts from Lee.

    I cleaned one that was crudded up badly...see post #13

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-clean-the-pot

  5. #5
    Boolit Master vzerone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    First, i would avoid any cleaning technique that would make any of the crud/dust airborne.
    Also, if parts of your Lee pot are damaged or corroded beyond cleaning, you can order new parts from Lee.

    I cleaned one that was crudded up badly...see post #13

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-clean-the-pot
    Well JonB I imagine we could build a plastic sheet enclosure and wear a chem suit and respirator!!

  6. #6
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of dust...So, there are reasonable techniques, and then there are unreasonable techniques...to each their own, I guess

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    A good pot cleaning should solve the spout sticking problem.
    A good way to prevent this is to make sure your lead is well fluxed in the smelting process

    For the loose shoulder bolt that the valve arm assembly slides on, You take the pot housing front off and use a pair of pliers and pinch the slot together where the shoulder bolt screws into and your good to go.

    OR:
    https://leeprecision.com/parts/bulle...-4-20lb-parts/
    VALVE ARM ASSEMBLY SKU: EL3426
    VALVE ROD SKU: EL3427
    POT HOUSING FRONT SKU: EL3432
    #6 SHOULDER BOLT SKU: EL3444 x2
    20 POT VALVE(SPOUT) SKU: EL3451
    7/16-20 HEX JAM NUT SKU: FE3464
    Please allow up to 7 business days for delivery. ($8.04) shipped from lee

    if you add a new POT 20LB STANDARD
    you might have to also replace the HTR 700W 120V COIL EL3453
    they don't always survive the pot replacement process. and your new total shipped would be ($17.76)

  8. #8
    Boolit Master woodbutcher's Avatar
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    A simple and easy way to wire brush a pot is to use a shop vac with a HEPA filter.Just fix the nozzle to the side if the pot and go.Also,don`t forget the mask.
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
    Leo
    People never lie so much as after a hunt,during a war,or before an election.
    Otto von Bismarck

  9. #9
    Boolit Master vzerone's Avatar
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    Now that I remember I sprayed my pot with WD 40 first and then used the wire wheel and there was NO dust.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    Jim_P's Avatar
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    A Lee Pot is $59 at Midway. Maybe it's time for a new pot? My time and efforts are worth something too. And if you need to buy a wirewheel or dust mask. Where's the return?
    Watch Your Top Knot!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master vzerone's Avatar
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    Excuse my ignorance, I've never owned a LEE pot, so what is the pot made of? How thick is it? Reason I ask is I've had a RCBS Pro Melt since 1980 and it's still running with no repairs or replacement parts.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


    Walter Laich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vzerone View Post
    Excuse my ignorance, I've never owned a LEE pot, so what is the pot made of? How thick is it? Reason I ask is I've had a RCBS Pro Melt since 1980 and it's still running with no repairs or replacement parts.
    +1 but I have added some aftermarket parts: lid, new tray
    and made the handle a pull down for lead pour
    this last change really makes casting a pleasure
    NRA Life
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    RVN War Games, 2nd Place

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    I drained mine, cleaned the sides and the spout and then took some valve grinding compound ad first used it to clean the rod , then put a blob of it into the valve and slowly ( sort of ) turned the rod while chucked up in my drill. This seated the valve and it quit dripping.
    Tom
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  14. #14
    Boolit Man
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    Lots of good advise here but the pots are not that expensive to put yourself brought a bunch of effort. My Lee was dribbling after about 35 years of use. I emptied the pot and made a good effort to clean the valve seat and lapped in the valve rod. It was still not satisfactory. I just bronzed over the pour spout ,removed the pour rod and use the pot for dipper type casting. I find this gives better results for rifle bullets anyway. I bought a new Lee for casting pistol type projectiles.
    That made sense to me without buying a bunch of parts to refurb a very old pot.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    When you are retired there is plenty of time to tinker....
    Tom
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  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Not on topic, but my first thought when I read the title of this post was, "Shake it off and put it away."

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Several tricks to avoiding dust are 1 work it wet with a oil or even water soap water is better still. I have heard of boiling the pot with soap water to clean also. Just fill it plug it in and turn it on. Scrape or brush while boiling. The shop vac with filters works but can be loud when running. Pick up a set of tourch tip cleaners for the nozzle these work great and arnt expensive. A drill of the correct size can be used also but is more of a pain than the tip cleaners. The shoulder bolts threads can be pinched together then reinstalled. If you could find some High temp paint and apply to the threads when assembling it may act as a thread locker. Hace to be High temp for headers or manifolds to take the heat of the pot and not break down. Ive seen High temp Paints listed with 1500* capabilities. Red Locktite and most epoxies are 500*-700* limit and the pot runs there. Some specialty industrial epoxies have a higher point but are very expensive for the small amount needed. I have lapped the rods in with limited results. sometimes an added weight on the handle helps more.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
    sutherpride59's Avatar
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    The cheapest and safest way to clean your pot is with plain ole soapy water and a wire brush. Then just put a drill bit through the pour spout. Then you just pour the contaminated water into your motor oil container with you old engine oil and take it up to autozone or advanced auto parts and get rid of it. Hazmat is hazmat, that way it's treated right and you don't have to worry about putting lead into the ground or county sewage system. Like a previous poster said why spend more money on gas masks and wire wheels when soapy water is just about free and a cheap wire brush is $1 at the dollar tree. It took me no time to clean my pot and I was a bit surprised by all the oxide buildup. She runs like a champ now, gotta love ole drippy.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master



    Bloodman14's Avatar
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    When I rebuild my pots, I throw them into my blasting cabinet and clean them that way. I have a dust collector attached to it.
    Lead Forever!


    The 2nd amendment was never intended to allow private citizens to 'keep and bear arms.' If it had, there would have been wording such as 'the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. -Ken Konecki, July 27, 1992

    John Galt was here.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy

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    Does anyone know what is the correct drill size for the spout.

    Thanks,
    eveready
    eveready

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check