View Full Version : Pulling Pipe.....

05-08-2006, 08:52 AM
Okay, this week is my first job that I am going to attempt pulling pipe.....I have had a couple of folks offer to help me on my first job......but I want to be edumacated first.

When I was on the golf course 22 years ago, we had a contraption that we pulled behind a tractor that had a sod cutting wheel and a huge bullet type thing that we hooked wires to and used the pto to jam it in the ground...it pulled 14 gauge wire about 12 inches deep...greatest invention ever I thought at the time....

Vibratory plows work the same only different I assume.

If you have pics great, if you can only describe this, that is great also...

The pipe attachment to the "thingie" so it doesn't fall off during the pull...thanks.

Now as for techniques...I bet there are many so I am interested in hearing all that have the time to post them.

Start to finish, pilot hole, multiple pipes in same pull, digging up poly for the saddle...how close to the heads do you pull, how much curve can you put in the pipe, what kind of plow should I rent etc....and anything else you can think of. I am pulling pipe on Friday....water tap, valves etc on Thursday.

Thanks very much in advance.

05-08-2006, 12:56 PM
just subscribing to this thread so I remember to come back to it later after work

05-08-2006, 01:57 PM
do a search under "vibratory plow or trencher". We use the toro vib plow, but we have yet to "pull" any pipe with it, one reason is because we don't have the bullets for pulling, so we let the plow lay the pipe in. Also do a search "subsurface Irrigation" I posted pic .

05-08-2006, 08:24 PM
A couple things to help you out when pulling for the first time.

Before you start pulling try to visualize where you want all your pipe to be and then from there decide on which pipe to lay first, second, third, etc...
Doing this will minimize how many times you have to cross another pipe on a single pull. Generally it's a good idea to pull your mainline and wire together first at maximum depth, so any time you need to cross it with a lateral line you will at least know that it is never shallow from having to cross another pipe. If you have more than one pipe to pull in the same area do them both at once (this obviously depends on the size of the machine and size of pipe you are pulling). On my Ditch Witch 410 I can get away with pulling a 1" 3/4" and 1/2" at the same time and a wire. If possible when pulling more than one pipe at a time, make them different sizes.

Chinese fingers are the most common grip used for pulling poly pipe where I am, however you can simply use a chain, pull the pipe through one of the chain links and fold the pipe over and the pipe will never come off when pulling. This is especially handy when pulling multiple pipes. If you are working on a job site which has grass a pizza cutting wheel before the blade does wonders on keeping the grass looking good, as well as a stomping pad so you don't have humps on your lines.

Poly pipe will bend much more than any vibratory plow I've used can turn so that is a non-issue. However, if you are dealing with pulls that are 20' plus try to make the turning radius as large as possible since tight turns are really really hard to pull long distances because of the friction of the pipe on the earth. If you have a pull which has a sharp turn and a long straight line in it, if possible do the sharp turn first then the long straight line. Doing it the opposite way never really works well.

Hope this helps, and I have a feeling you're gonna love using a vibratory plow.

05-08-2006, 08:57 PM
I'll take some pics tomorrow and post them...

I don't use the chain or the chinese fingers...
I use a bullet on a chain that basically looks like an insert fitting... I slit the pipe a little bit before I slid it on the bullet and then clamp it with a turn clamp. I never lose the pipe that way and then it's real easy to take off when you lossen the clamp because you can put pressure on the slit and slid it off... that'll all make perfect sense with a picture....

I've never had any problems with curves when pulling poly... just yesterday I pulled a line basically in a circle around a flower bed... the circle was as sharp as the 410 would turn...

I've only run a 410 and 255 ditch witch and would obviously rent the 410 if it's available.. the 255 did just fine for me.. the 410 however doesn't have any trouble with roots and the sod cutter on it makes the cut a lot more clean. There is a science to cutting through roots with a 255 when you get hung up.

Horay! I responded before Jon on his favorite topic!

05-08-2006, 09:09 PM
sprinklerguy... are you using saddles? funny pipe?

I don't use saddles... I've honestly never installed them though because I don't trust them. Most of the leaks I dig up here are either because they are on an old nylon fitting or an old saddle that cracked. I use insert fittings and crimp clamps. once it's dug I'd say it takes me 30 seconds to install the head... that doesn't include burrying...

so I dig a hole for the 1x1x3/8 tee that looks like a rectangle... it's about a foot long and about 6 inches wide... gives more that enough play to insert the fitting.

I try to pull the line about a foot away from the head to give room for the funny pipe so it's not sitting real close to the fitting

Dirty Water
05-09-2006, 12:47 AM
I was keeping my mouth shut because I don't pull poly :)

The biggest thing when plowing is to not lay it out like you were trenching. Lots of sweeping curves, very few 90'ed corners. Try to think about where your pull will start and end and don't paint yourself into a corner.

Because PVC is a lot more rigid than poly, we dig a small starting hole (10" deep x 4" wide x 12" long) that we begin our pull in, one of the laborers will plant a shovel ontop of the pipe to pin it down as deep as possible. We've found that with SCH 40 PVC, the tension tends to make it rise during the pull if you don't do this.

The only time I hate plowing is when I'm in small yard (40x40 or smaller) that has fences or a buildings on all sides. Because of this, its a major PITA to pull. You have to start at the edges of the yard and pull everything in to the middle.

We use the chinese finger pullers with a mountian climbing carabeaner. to connect them to the chain. I bet they come off even faster than BSME's insert fitting.

Only problem is on occasion they come off mid pull. And thats when I get mad :)

05-09-2006, 08:02 AM
Thanks guys....I'm sure it will be fine.

I use blazing saddles and hilarious pipe. No problems as of yet, but most of my jobs have been in the ground less than 1 year.

I think on this job I will stick with 1 pipe per pull for now...it seems I will be renting the 255 as most places have that machine.....the guy has grass, but not great grass so it should be fine.

Do you guys trench the funny pipe in or do you shove the shovel in the ground and sorta pry a gap in the sod? hmm..tell the truth now....


05-09-2006, 08:18 AM
Hopefully your pull is close enough the the head so that you need less than a foot of swing pipe. I don't trench in the stuff unless there isn't a choice.

05-09-2006, 08:54 AM
yea hopefully it's close enough you can get it down with the same hole as the fitting...

if I can I slice it in with a shovel as deep as I can... but if the grass sucks or it's dirt then you obviously need to dig the trench

Dirty Water
05-09-2006, 04:35 PM
We pull through our heads and swing the funny pipe parrelel to the PVC.

Dirty Water
05-11-2006, 02:41 AM
Hey Tony, are you working Solo? I've found that when pulling pipe, your a lot more effiecient with a laborer to help out.

Especially in your case with unrolling poly. I hate having to unroll poly before pulling it.

05-12-2006, 04:52 PM
with pipe prices where they are, swing pipe is about as cheap as regular pipe. If I need to run 4+ feet of swing to get into a corner or whatever, I often pull the swing pipe too. Double over the swing and shove it into the 1" finger.

Dirty Water
05-12-2006, 09:00 PM
I figure Tony's still yelling at the POS rental 255 and hasn't had a chance to read this thread yet :D

05-13-2006, 09:27 AM
He ended up trenching it for different reasons. I'm sure he'll be on here soon complaining about it. When he has time.

05-13-2006, 10:00 AM
I hate my job......;)