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Thread: What's Wrong with My Lee Pot

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    What's Wrong with My Lee Pot

    Tried casting with a new mold yesterday. Everything was going fine then the spout started acting like it was getting clogged. It's happened before and I used a piece of a fish hook to clear it. Yesterday when I tried to clear it, it stuck open and drained the pot. Luckily I keep a small pan under the spout. Once it was empty (and still hot) I removed the rod. I couldn't see anything in the valve but used a piece of wire to clear anything out that may have been in it. Reassembled and everything went fine until I got the mold up to temp again, then the scenario played out again. This time I let the pot cool down, disassembled again and tried cleaning but still didn't see anything that would cause a problem. Heated everything back up, cast a few bolts and same thing happened again. Has anyone else experienced this?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Don't knock yourself out over it, get a better pot...….until you do, use a propane torch on the nozzle when flow stops. There is not much you can do about Lee drip-o-matic problems except add weight to the mechanism.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Other than a drip once in a while mine has been pretty reliable. Sounds like the metering rod is hanging up and not closing or the mechanism is hanging up or dragging on something. One or both screws that secure the mechanism from the bottom and top may have worked themselfs loose. Has happened more than once.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


    frkelly74's Avatar
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    I find that every once in a while I have to stick a ring shank paneling nail up the spout to keep the spout running. The ring shank seems to clear it out pretty well. Use a vice grip to hold the nail and . regular finish nails seem a little soft and will bend before they clear the spout.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    It's not dripping. It gets stuck wide open and drains the pot. Even tapping on the rod wouldn't shut it off or even slow it down.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


    frkelly74's Avatar
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    There is a slot cut in the top end of the plug for a screw driver . Give the plug a little twist and it should go back into place. i have a piece of copper wire binding the plug rod to the bail that raises the plug to keep is lined up properly.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Chambers View Post
    Don't knock yourself out over it, get a better pot...….until you do, use a propane torch on the nozzle when flow stops. There is not much you can do about Lee drip-o-matic problems except add weight to the mechanism.
    I use a torch to warm the frozen nozzle as well as replaced the knob with an 8oz egg weight. The treads ran right down the hole of the weight.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I have not had any problems like that with mine sense I quit draining the pot though the spout when I get down to an inch or so of the bottom I pour it over the side into an ingot mold so it does not carry trash into the spout .
    It can still happen I'm sure but most of my problems went away with that and making sure I did not cast before fully up to temp.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    toallmy's Avatar
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    Do you have the old style rod with a screw beside it , or the new style rod ?
    If it’s the old style lee has a replacement that works much better .
    As mentioned above the screws at the top & bottom of that thin pice of metal that moves up & down come loose .
    Take a good look at it you will figure it out.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    When it sticks open,take a screw driver plain head and twist the rod or valve that plugs the bottom. The slot is on top . Give it a twist while pushing the weighted arm down to close. Also look at your two screws holding down the tab. They strip over time. The tab holds the closing arm that pushes down the valve. Also if you pull up on the arm to far it will do this also. Just take your screw driver and twist the valve and push the Handel down. This will let it fall down the hole and stop the flow.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy


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    I had mine act like that after a cleaning here a few weeks ago. As with yours, I could see no obstructions, so I used the fix from the manual. I used a screw driver and turned the rod a few times with just a bit of downward pressure, tried again with no luck. So I blew of that casting session and drained the pot by hand. (That sucks BTW) Then I checked to find a drill bit that would fit but not be tight at all, and I used a pair of pliers and twisted the bit down through the valve. And there actually was a chunk of gunk in there. I finished and put it back together and it works like new with no drips at all. I always fluxed a good amout as I smelt and as I cast, but I'll be more conscientious from now on.

  12. #12
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    how well did you flux the alloy when you smelted it and did you flux it in the casting pot?

    It sounds like you may have bent the valve rod or a tweaked valve arm assembly.

    The first thing I'd do is check the shoulder bolts that hold the valve arm assembly and make sure they are snug. Something is binding.

    then with the pot drained raise the rod until it's almost out of the spout, twist the rod, and see if it turns true in the spout. If it's always on one side you may need to bend the valve arm assembly a little until the rod is centered in the spout.

    I made this out of a bamboo utensil, cut the end off, drilled a hole & slid in a paneling nail


    notched a clip to slide around the nail on the top and secure it on the bottom. Added a little wire to keep everything in place





    It's great for quick cleanings of the spout

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks for the help guys. Looks like I got it fixed. As tankgunner mentioned, I just cleaned it a few weeks ago, so the problem seemed strange.
    I took it apart again and used a bronze bore brush to get down inside the valve after heating the nozzle good with a torch. Must have been a bit of trash down in there.
    Funny thing is, I've never had much trouble with it dripping but now it does. I'll probably pick up some valve lapping compound and lap the rod and nozzle together.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDC View Post
    It's not dripping. It gets stuck wide open and drains the pot. Even tapping on the rod wouldn't shut it off or even slow it down.
    That sounds like the bottom Shoulder Bolt. It's down near the spout and it's very common for them to back out. The linkage gets caught between the shoulder and the bottom of the pot and the valve won't close.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Yes valve lapping compound works wonders on the valve rod. I just always just used a big paper clip bent to a l shape to clean the Nozzle. The bottom of the pocket where the valve sits likes to accumulate junk that you can’t see. It seems since I quit draining the pot empty I haven’t had problems with my pot getting junk in the bottom pocket. My lee 10 lb pot is 25 years or older and about wore out.its Been fixed and fixed again. I got a new 20 lb lee I keep holding off on using untill the 10 lb quits.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Forgot to add the lee 10 lb pot and the 20 lb use a different valve open close system.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    mine blocked up once pulled the rod out cleaned the end then used metal polish to mate the taper and seat .had not cleaned it for 10 years at least .

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Paso View Post
    That sounds like the bottom Shoulder Bolt. It's down near the spout and it's very common for them to back out. The linkage gets caught between the shoulder and the bottom of the pot and the valve won't close.
    X2 check the one on the top also

  19. #19
    Boolit Man trapper44shooter's Avatar
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    I just turned my flow screw back & fourth a few times & it stopped & hasn't happened again I got a brand new Lee 420 & I haven't had any problems since I have cast 300 yesterday with it did good

  20. #20
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    Avoid plugging the bottom pour spout by using more heat. Hotter alloy.

    Copper will also plug it. To remove copper, bring the pot temperature up slowly, till it becomes liquidness. No flux or stirring. Skim surface of stuff that looks like oatmeal.

    The stuff will be a mix of copper & antimony.

    Increase temperature of pot/alloy & add linotype. Start casting.

    Some babbitt alloys may have a high percent of copper.

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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