How To Remove An ETT Mechanical Tube Plug

Mechanical tube plugs are a secure and easy method for plugging tubes in low, medium, and high-pressure applications such as feedwater heaters and other high-pressure heat exchangers. Both the installation and removal processes for Elliott’s Torq N Seal® Plugs are simple and do not require any expensive equipment. While mechanical tube plugs are strong enough to remain inside of tubes for long periods of time, in cases where they are going to be removed it is important to follow these three tips and tricks.

1. Remove the drive screw.

Determine the hex size of the drive screw in order to choose the correct hex driver. Insert the drive into the end of the plug and begin rotating the drive to unthread and remove the drive screw.

2. Remove the expansion ferrule.

Once the drive screw is removed, the expansion ferrule can be removed. This is the section of the plug that expands inside the tube during installation. In order to remove it correctly, first select an easy out tool sized to the expansion ferrule ID. Then, insert the easy out tool into the plug and remove by turning and pulling the tool.

3. Remove the plug body.

There are a few different methods that may be used to remove the remaining plug body. The first of which is with a slide hammer. A slide hammer uses a short piece of tube over a threaded rod (see table below for sizing). Begin by threading the rod into the plug with the piece of tube already over top. Then thread a washer and nut on the end of the rod. Once the washer and nut are in place, take the piece of tube and slide it towards the end of the rod, so that it strikes the washer. This action will work to knock out the plug body.

Another way to remove the plug body is to loosen it with a washer and a nut. Begin by inserting a threaded rod into the plug. Next, place a washer and nut on the end of the threaded rod and tighten them until the plug is removed.

Lastly, a hydraulic cylinder may be used to remove the plug body. Similar to a slide hammer, the hydraulic cylinder exerts a greater pulling force in order to remove the plug. Begin by inserting a threaded rod into the plug. Next, place a hollow hydraulic cylinder over the rod with a washer and nut on the end. Then, energize the cylinder so that it pulls out the plug body.

Thread Plug Size
5/16″-24 0.460″ – 0.550″
3/8″-24 0.560″ – 0.690″
1/2″-20 0.700″ – 1.125″
Mechanical Tube Plug