How to plug a missing stem?

How to plug a missing stem?
What do people do when they can't get a faucet stem back in the pipe, and they have no time to rip out the wall and replace the whole valve assembly?
Are there plugs? With long handles so I can take it out to work on the faucet, and not have the plug fall into the wall?
I needed to change the washer in the shower/tub faucet, and when I removed the cold water stem, first most of the head was missing from the washer screw. The washer was worn of course and when I took it out, the stem of the washer screw broke off**. There is other damage too.
I went to HD and Lowes: nothing. I went to a plumbing supply store whose webpage says they are open on Saturday, but though I walked right in, they woudlnt' sell me anything. After I asked they referred me to another.
He asked what brand? Where can you find the brand of either the sink faucet or shower faucet. I said the toilet was made by Elger. He said for Elger I had to go to another store.
I asked, should I use a flat washer or beveled with this stem. He said, How old is it? I said 1979. He said, then you can't go that store. You have to go to this one, which has old stuff. (Isn't it the old houses that need new stems, not the new ones? Is this a racket to sell more faucets?)
He was nice for the third time and let me use his phone. The recording said they were closed on Sat. Sun, and Monday. So I've been without water since Thursday night. Do you think anyone could airlift some water in?     
**I drilled out the hole with a small left-handed drill. Wow, brass is soft, but the ez-out wouldn't take it out.
Now I'm torn: My next bigger left-handed drill is too big, but I'm sure I have a right-handed drill that isn't.
OTOH, I tried a bit with the next biggest left-handed and now a washer screw seems to stick in the hole, even if it doesn't go in far.
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On 10/21/2014 12:19 PM, micky wrote:

You will cut the wall open, replace the entire valve and repair the wall before you will ever get that 40 or 50 year old faucet fixed.
Do it. Do it right. Do it right now.
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wrote:

Do you feel lucky?
Is it this one?
http://gfretwell.com/ftp/American%20Brass.jpg
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On Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:12:28 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I forgot say they were doing inventory.

Yes. I always do.

No. Oh well. I went to another plumbing supply store and asked the question in the OP and he said plugging the hole where the stem went wouldn't do anything because the water woudl still be flowing. He had to say it 4 times for me to get it. I think someone replaced my Flintstone vitamins with stupid pills.
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On 10/21/2014 10:14 PM, micky wrote:

This is turning into a trend. Pose a question, and then provide needed information a couple days later.
Question: best kind of hearing protection, foam plugs or muffs? Later: For a MRI at the hospital.
I should try this?
Question: What is the best kind of incandescent bulb? Later: For the dashboard of my 1956 Buick.
Question: Does pepper spray work for self defense? Later: Against moon suited Ebola workers with respirators.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
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I don't know about that. Yesterday, the 21st, I went to another plumbing supply store and got all the parts I need, and some I don't need to see me through the next episode. stems for the bath and the sink, seats for the bath and the sink, a seat replacement wrench, and hexagonal** plastic adapters fit between the stem and the handle.
I'll see if they're enough to fix everything.
I must say that it was easier to spend $133 (instead of $2 for washers, which is what I planned) with the threat of having to hire a plumber breathing down my nexk
**(The stores only sell square adapters, both plastic and metal, but they seem never to have made hexagonal metal ones, so they break sometimes. I glued the last one together, but some day it will break so bad I can't do that.)
He also said that beveled washers flare out beyond their normal radius when the faucet is tightened, and he pointed to one of my old cold water stems about 1/12th of the circumference (later 1/6th) pushed out) and so flat washers are better at least when a faucet was designed for flat. Does all this sound correct?

Okay.
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On 10/22/2014 01:27 PM, micky wrote:

If you could get all the parts you needed for $133 then you did well. In the past I've spent so much time unsuccessfully trying to find replacement parts that I just find it easier (no matter how difficult) to replace the whole assembly.

It sounds right to me but I am not a plumbing expert by any means
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wrote:

Sounds right to me. I am sorry you were not lucky enough to need the ones I had but for anyone else, they are "American Brass" brand and there is a right and left stem along with the seats, free to a good home.
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Glad to hear that. He calls himself something like "the old parts store". Been in business for decades but some of the parts he orders new. LIke the plastic hexagon adapters**. And even the long stems seem to be new because he apologized for not having the right length. He said they used to come in 5? lengths and now they just come in 3.
So it is about 1/2 inch or a little more longer than what I had, but it comes with it's own shiny tube that goes all the way inside the handle a little bit. But that got me thinkin'. When I was in Lowes and looked in the Danco catalog, some of the 9c- stems had silver bodies and I didn't know what I was looking at. I had no idea they unscrewed (even though I just unscrewed them from my own. I told you I was stupid.) (This means the valves will be stick out 0.6 inches farther than the diverter. I guess I can live with that, but I still want to see if I can get the exact same length.)
So I went to HD tonight, and it seems Danco still lists the 9C-1H/C. Actually it's number !. But HD didn't stock it (or most of the ones in the catallog), so I'm looking online right now (browser slow so I have time to type here).
And Amazon has it by Danco for $34 but I can't tell online if it's really the same length . Includes a new seat. 1.1 x 1.8 x 7 inches
MENARDS has it for $19.99 Are they always cheaper than everyone else?? No Menards around here but they'll still ship it.
In the catalog at Lowes and HD, the to-scale picture was definitey the same length, but otoh even that doesn't mean it's still the same length in real life.
Based on the picture, HD has it online only for $43 but only with the jamb nut. The much bigger bonnet nut is not in the picture. And it's silver colored instead of brass. In the specs it says "material: metal", but it also says "Color family: Brass", so maybe it's a bad picture. Although it sure looks realistic, with lots of fine lines on it in the enlarged picture. http://www.homedepot.com/p/DANCO-9C-1H-C-Stem-for-Eljer-9D0017254B/202066390 On the plus side it includes a new seat, which I paid $2 for (less than the $3 plastic adapter) . And they want 8 days to ship it to the store, and 9 days to ship it to my house.
It also says: Assembled Depth (in.) 1.25 in Assembled Width (in.) 1.88 in Assembled Height (in.) 6.5 in
Now how can that be, for something that is round in two of its dimensions.?
The one at Amazon, same product supposedly , it says 1.1 x 1.8 x 7 inches None of the numbers are the same.
Mine is 4.25 L x 1.1 Diameter in inches. . (From one corner to another. From one flat to the opposite is 1.0" )
IOW, I guess HD and Amazon's version don't match 6.5" vs 4.24L OTOH, this is 9C-1H/L where 9 means the length. Maybe I should try shorter ones. Although 9 is the length the Danco chart gave, when I put my stem on it.
Sears has it by Danco for $48.25.
The guy I bought from yesterday very strongly implied that his weren't Danco. He charged $30. He also would say that there is more one quality and Lowes sells Danco which is cheap Chinese junk, while maybe Sears sellls something better. ??? (and then he gave lots of different products that were made cheaply in China, he said.)
**Yes, when I don't have enough adpaters, I could just buy new handles that use square adapters, but I'm a bit compulsive, and since the house came that way, I want the shower, bath, and all three sinks to have the same handles.

Me neither, but I'll use flat like he told me to.
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On 10/23/2014 12:10 AM, micky wrote:

Very complicated, that's why I originally told you to just replace the whole assembly, even if you do have to cut the wall open, you would have been done by now.
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On Thursday, October 23, 2014 7:49:25 AM UTC-4, philo  wrote:


I have reluctantly decided that's the only way that makes sense.
Some of my plumbing is so old that when I do find the parts, something else breaks, and even if all goes right I still have a 30 year old fixture in t he wall. It's going to come out someday anyway, might as well be now.
You don't need to repair the wall, by the way; just put up a mirror.
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On 10/23/2014 07:15 AM, TimR wrote:

I did have one project where I did find an exact replacement for the water valve assembly for my bathtub. So I was able to replace the whole thing without too much of a problem. To try and repair the 40 year old original would have been foolish.
There is supposed to be an access door /behind/ plumbing valves, so this would be a good time to make one.
Many years ago I had to work on a friend's shower where the water only came out in a trickle. The kitchen had been redone and drywall was covering the access.
I used my Sawzall to gain access and nicked a copper pipe in the process and caused a leak.
After I fixed the leak by soldering it, apparently steam in the pipe cleared the clog... so my clumsiness turned out to have been good.
I also absolutely stopped doing /any/ type of plumbing work for friends after that!
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philo  posted for all of us...
I may not have read all messages.


Yup, done that. Then the decision is to just solder the nick or put a repai r coupling in...
I am a bull in a china shop!
--
Tekkie

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On 10/23/2014 02:07 PM, Tekkie® wrote:

It was a small nick to easy to solder.
Since it was an old house I assumed it would have steel pipes and that if I sawed slowly there would be no damage if I hit one.
Obviously I was wrong.
My friend was so mellow about it that when I told him there was a problem, he never got up or stopped watching TV.
Luckily someone else in the house knew where the shut off valve was.
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Wow. What a lucky fluke!

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wrote:

No I wouldn't have been done. I might not be done even with shopping for the new fixture, but if I was, soon atter that the plumbing would be installed.. but I'id ha e a sheet of plastic taped to the wall and hanging over tho hole where the plumbing fixtures stick out.
I'd have to reach under the plastic to trn the water on or off, and I'd have to check the tape periodically to see if was still sticking.
Eventually i I would cut in some greenboard, or some kind of spackle, but then I'd have to find somone to level it and replace the tile. I can't make things level. Hopefully, I hadn't broken many of the tiles.

Seems to me, 30 years, or 35 like my house, is like brand new. 100 years is getting old, not because it's a long time but because methods have improved since then. There are newer alternatives to the standerd valves now, but they're still selling plenty of stuff jusl like mine.

Now that I have more pats, I have enough parts to last 30 more ears. That makes me 97. I plan to die when I'm 93, so I'm trying to get a reverse mortgage on the last 3 years of my plumbing.

This is the wall IN the tiled shower/bath, not a blank wall on the other side. On the other side of the wall is a tiled shower.
And no valves to turn off the water afaik exept one the turns off both upstairs bathoom, the kitchen sink and dishwasher. All but the powder room, thel laundry sink, the washing machine, and the garden faucet.
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