Plumbing Question - Bathtub Shower Pipes


Hi,
I'm trying to help out a friend who purchased a house built in the early 1970's. In their main bathtub, they have a small broken showerhead that attaches to a shower pipe with a ball on at the end of it. We could not find a decent replacement showerhead that would fit it. Apparently, all the new stuff screws on and, with a replacement showerhead, there are three different size/makes of ball fittings to choose from. I sweated off the ball and it now leaves an unthreaded shower pipe behind.
The problem is that the riser pipe and everything behind the wall is also soldered together. The bathtub is part of a tub enclosure which makes access from the shower side impossible. Also, there is no direct way to access the pipes from the opposite wall without doing some cutting of the sheetrock - it's a wall papered room. This makes changing the shower pipe or the whole assembly difficult.
I'm reaching out for any help in finding an adapter or other solution so that I could use the existing unthreaded shower pipe. Possibly something that would solder on the one side and have threads on the other.
Would anyone be able to help?
Thanks so much, Wayne
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The Sparkster wrote:

You're saying that the shower arm sticking out of the wall is actually soldered into some fitting (EL) *inside* the wall? Usually, the arm would be screwed in to a fitting.
Measure the OD of the arm. Then see if a copper male adapter would fit and solder it on. That will give you threads to work from.
Or maybe a compression fitting.
Or ream out a shower head which has 1/2" pipe threads (std) and solder it to the pipe.
Get measurements.
Jim
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Just unscrew the pipe sticking out of the wall if you want to replace it or you may need to replace it if the threads on the end are different from today's shower heads. Today's shower heads have a female thread and screw onto the male thread of the shower head stem sticking out of the wall.
You can remove the one coming out of the wall by unscrewing it, unless like was said, someone soldered one in but I've never heard of that being done. If it's chrome plated, it surely isn't soldered in. Look thru the hole in the wall with a flashlight and verify it is threaded into a pipe inside the wall. Unscrew it, put teflon tape on a new one and screw it in until tight and at the position you want. Then screw on a new shower head.
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The standard way it should be plumbed the pipe inside the wall than feeds the shower head should have a Drop eared 90 on it http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId 78953&cp54880.1255000.1306326&view=all&parentPagemily&searchId06326 The pipe (usually chrome) that sticks out the wall screws into the Drop ear 90, shower head screws to that.
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