Faucet Cutoff Valve Hard to Turn


The faucet cutoff valves on a bathroom sink are extremely hard to turn. I mean HARD. I almost couldn't get the hot water to turn off, and I could not get the cold off because the handle is so close to the drain pipe.
http://img2.timeinc.net/toh/i/a/plumbing/sink-shutoff-valves-04.jpg
I'm going to have to turn off the water supply to the house and remove these completely to find out why they are so stiff. I'm assuming they have mineral build ups that need to be cleaned, or the valves need to be replaced. They could certainly be part of the problem I am having with slow flow (in a prior thread).
I'm curious. Why are these valves used instead of ball valves? Cost? Ball valves are a lot easier to operate since the water is either all the way on or all the way off.
Maybe I'll get one of these, or something like it. Any recommendations for a tool? I saw one with a long handle at one of the big box stores, but now I can't find it again.
http://www.gordonwrench.com/tool.htm
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You can usually rebuild these without removing the body. You will still have to turn off the water for the whole house. They are cheaper than ball valves is why they are common. You will probably have to add an adapter to a ball valve. I've never seen one that has a compression fitting on one end like the cutoff valves do.
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Reason they are used: Cheap. The original plumber was looking for something to shut off the water for the period the main water was on before the sink faucet was installed. Almost intended for single use, never expected to still be in useable shape years later when they might be needed for a future maintenance project.
Replace them with some decent ball valve for a few bucks each and they will last as long as the main faucet.
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On 6/10/2010 9:42 PM, NGDirect wrote:

The problem is, I've never soldered copper pipe. When I get back to the farm, I'll look them over carefully to see if there is a way to replace them without soldering.
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If there is enough tube sticking out of the wall you can cut off the bad valves and replace with 1/4 turn angle stops using compression attachment.
cheers Bob
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On 6/12/2010 1:59 AM, DD_BobK wrote:

I believe there is enough sticking out to do that. We'll see. Thanks.
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Short answer: Forget any special wrenches or rebuilding them. Replace them with 1/4 turn ball valve angle stop.
cheers Bob
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