Leaky faucet won't stay fixed!

I have a problem with a leaky shower faucet that won't stay fixed.
Before I describe my problem, I should describe my faucet. The faucet stem rotates inside a long metal sleeve that has internal threads which matchup with the threads on the stem. The metal sleeve has a nut-like shape on one end and external threads on the other. The metal sleeve is inserted through a hole in the wall. The sleeve screws into the pipe behind the wall. You can use a wrench on the nut-end to screw the sleeve in tightly. Clockwise motion of the stem is stopped by the washer hitting the seat. Clockwise motion can also be stopped by the the faucet handle hitting the outside end of the sleeve that faces out from the wall. Counter-clockwise motion is stopped by the stem threads hitting the inside end of the sleeve that faces out from the wall.
My problem is that when I turn the stem counter-clockwise to turn the water on, the stem threads hit the end of the sleeve, which then causes the sleeve to move too! Since the sleeve moved, the whole assembly has moved away from the seat. When I turn clockwise to turn the water off, the faucet handle hits the stem before the washer hits the seat. So the water leaks. I can turn the handle harder so the sleeve starts to screw back in, but it only slows the leak, it doesn't stop it.
So I need some way to keep the sleeve from moving.
I cannot tightly screw the sleeve in all-the-way because it prevents the stem from rotating at all. I can't turn the stem clockwise because the washer is already hitting the seat. I can't turn the stem counter-clockwise because the stem threads are hitting the end of the sleeve. So to leave enough room for the stem to move in-and-out, I end up having to unscrew the sleeve a little bit. But since the sleeve is not screwed in tightly, it tends to move.
The odd thing is, if I remember correctly, the sleeve of the other faucet is screwed all the way in. I tried swapping the sleeve and stem from the other faucet, but that didn't help.
So to "fix" the leak, I'm always adjusting how far the sleeve is screwed in. I make sure the stem moves in far enough to turn the water off and I also make sure the stem can move out at least a little bit to turn the water on. But since the sleeve doesn't stay in place, the next time someone uses the faucet, the sleeve moves and I get the leak again.
Does anyone have some suggestions on how to fix the problem?
Thanks, Clint
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Clinton Bast wrote:

I find it hard to believe it's screwing into a "pipe" Clinton. More likely it's screwing into the seat portion of a valve assembly, huh?

You haven't mentioned anything about the stem seals. Is there another nut like thing at the back ends of that sleeve which compresses a seal (or packing) around the shaft?

In what manner is it preventing the stem from moving? Is it because all clearance is taken up, i.e. there is no longer any space for longitudinal movement of the stem? Or is it because some (unmentioned) shaft packing on the stem is being compressed so tightly that the stem won't turn,
Has this problem been with you since you began owning or using those faucets? If it has, probably some clod replaced some old worn parts with incorrect sized ones and you are going to have to find the proper ones or get someome to do a little lathe work on what you've got to make them work. (I'd be happy to do that for you gratis, but you probably don't want to be without your shower for the time it would take, unles you happen to be in Red Sox country, near me.),
Any possibility a thinner washer could get you where you need to be? I doubt it, but have a look.
Good Luck,
Jeff
--
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying."
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When the sleeve is screwed in, it should be stopped by something other than the washer contacting the seat. Be sure the stem is fully retracted in the sleeve in the "on" direction when you screw it in. Then tighten the sleeve securely. If this doesn't work you may need to remove the other side and compare the dimensions. Always turn the faucet fully "on" while removing or installing the stem and sleeve assembly into the valve. Hope this helps, Don Young

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In case anyone is interested: I had a plumber come in to fix the leak. He had to replace the valve seat and O-ring (I don't know what an O-ring is). He also said that we really need to update our fixtures (they are all from 1951)since you can't find replacement parts for them.
- Clint
snipped-for-privacy@fflax.net (Clinton Bast) wrote in message

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Clinton Bast wrote:

On O ring in the case of most plumbing is simple a gasket( piece of rubberized plastic about 3/8 to 12 in. wide donut shaped with a hole i the center that goes on the end of the faucet stem and is squeezed on to the faucet seat to stop the flow of water.. the seat is what the washer sits on when the water is shut off....
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