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I've managed to get a Snake stuck in ribbed conduit. I managed to get about 15 feet of the snake in the tub before it stopped advancing and now I can't get it out.

How can I remove it without damaging anything?

Picture of Snake, wire, and blue ribbed conduit

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Did the conduit already have something in it? –  Zoredache Feb 15 '11 at 19:26
    
Yes it has an 8 wire telephone cable. –  citadelgrad Feb 15 '11 at 19:39
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Not sure why everyone's jumping on the off-topic bandwagon here: Until we get an electricians StackExchange site I think SF is about the best place for this kind of question. –  voretaq7 Feb 15 '11 at 20:31
    
@voretaq7 - Yeah, there's about a dozen other wiring questions on here, and 45 others in cables, and very few of those are closed. Though I'm sure they're far from the most populous topics on here, I'd still say it's fairly well established that such things are indeed on-topic. –  Iszi Feb 15 '11 at 20:37
    
@voretaq7, there is absolutely nothing in this question to indicate that the OP is even working on wiring related to our profession. As such I suggest it should go to diy.stackexchange.com –  John Gardeniers Feb 16 '11 at 23:45
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Without sacrificing the existing wiring in the line there's very little you can do here that doesn't risk damaging what's in the conduit. Best suggestion I have is to twist the snake 1/4 turn left and right while working it back and forth to see if it will break free. You can also try Dyna-Blue or something similar, but that's best applied before trying the pull...

On occasions like this it is sometimes better to cut the snake and declare it a loss rather than risk destroying the existing wires and having a real repair project on your hands.

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+1 I've found this situation happens most when the existing cable is looped around the snake. The following has worked on a few occasions for me: Push the snake back in a bit, pull on the existing cabling a bit (in the opposite direction of the snake pull; aka from the other end of the conduit), pull the snake through with short jerking motions. Simply pulling hard usually destroys the existing wiring. –  Chris S Feb 15 '11 at 20:42
    
Chris's adivce is sound. I didn't say it before, but if you value your cable definitely *don't yank on the snake. Of course if you don't value the existing cable you can use it as a pull rope ;) –  voretaq7 Feb 15 '11 at 20:46
    
I didn't have any Dyna-Blue but I did have Olive Oil as it was in a kitchen. We use about 3-5 Tbsps of oil but I probably should have used less oil to start as it made a little bit of a mess. –  citadelgrad Feb 16 '11 at 17:41
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