Remove Tub Faucet Handles

We have a dripping bathtub faucet. This is a conventional two valve faucet with stems sticking straight out of the wall, about 50 years old. It's probably just a simple matter of replacing the washers but I have to get the handles off to do that. They may not have been off in a half century and naturally they don't want to budge. Any ideas? Bag them with a solution of CLR?
I suppose if worse comes to worse I can cut them with Dremel cutting wheel and replace them.
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Prediction: you will spend 2 hours of fruitless effort trying to get things loose before you give up in despair and a) call a plumber to replace the entire antique assembly with new, or b) replace the faucet set yourself. Check for access behind the fittings before proceeding. With luck there may be an access panel. Accept the inevitable and save your sanity.
Joe
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For way too many years:( I put up with my cranky dripping worn out 3 valve tub shower valves:(
Finally couldnt get parts that work replaced the mess with a delta pressure temperature valve set with flow control.
best home repair upgrade i ever made, my only regret i didnt make it sooner.
if you can remove the plastic covers in the handles that cover the retaining screws you can buy a puller to get the handles off, and deep sockets to get the valve apart.
but may find compatible parts are unavilable, the seats are worn, stems messed up, screws holding washers eroded away and rusted in place.
start job first thing in morning, figure it will take all day, have a backup plumber available espically if its your only tub shower...........
price and select new single handle valve just in case.
best wishes it can be a @$%^&*)(_ project:(
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No access. It's back to back with another tub in the other bathroom. And full ceramic tile on both. A pro may have better tools to get the handles off but even he/she isn't going to be able to replace the valves and piping without ripping open the wall if in fact that's what it comes down to. That's too much trouble just to cure some drips especially when you consider that logically one would want to replace the piping and valves for the other side while the wall is open. That's not really justified to save a few drops.
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Handle puller & some sort of penetrating oil / solvent (like a Liquid Wrench product). Remove handle screws, squirt ends of valve stems, try to get some spray behind the handles.
Tap gently with hammer and wiggle / manhandle the handles to get them moving with respect to the valve stems.
I just removed a 30 year old set last week....but I had to fight with them for about 10 minutes per handle just to get them to wiggle. Then I used a handle puller to finish the job.
If they hadn't budged, cutting them off was my next option. I replaced all the internal parts, including the valve seat. I figure they'll be good for a long time.
cheers Bob
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On Sun, 03 May 2009 20:40:59 -0500, Steve Kraus

ARe these big round handles or X shaped?

Even that would be better than opening the wall. Or a bigger grindstone. FFFF gives good advice. When someone said deep sockets, he means deep plumbing sockets. They have thinner walls, are more likely to fit, and they're a lot cheaper than automotive deep sockets. Can probably just buy one, or buy a whole set.
Wiggling very important. Pushing or hit-pushing as well as pulling important, to start it wiggling. Solvent good. I don't know if CLR or liquid wrench. Instructions for liquid wrench say apply, then hit the thing with something hard, to make it vibrate and suck the solvent into the joint. And to wait.
50 years old is not that old. Everything was the same then as on standard faucets now. The rubber washers are the only thing that varies, in diameter, and as assortment will have what you need, or you can probably get only what you need. The screws holding the washer in are still the same, and come either in the washer assortment, or perhaps in the screw aisle, but iirc they are brass and not found in the screw aisle.
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Why is everyone's answer always buy new?
You can get one of these at the Borg or any good hardware store. https://www.hardwareworld.com/Faucet-Handle-Puller-p38H0PM.aspx
A little heat on the handles from a torch will help (assuming they are metal). I would only try the dremel as a last resort. PB blaster or other penetrating oil. Also try giving them a whack as if you are trying to hammer them on, sometimes the shock will break them free.
If once you get it apart and the inside is chewed up you can clean up the seat with one of these. http://www.nothingbuthardware.com/411637.html These are also available just about anywhere.
A little vaseline helps everything go back together easliy.
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wrote:

Because sometimes it's cheaper and 10x+ as good. Twice I've pulled 25 yr old Price Pfister tub hardware off (using a faucet handle puller I got for like 10 bucks) and just tosssed everything. For $35 at the Borg I got a pack that includes everything right down to new seats.
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Screws will probably get chewed up because they are frozen. End up digging out the washer remains so you can get a pair of vise grips on the head to remove it. Possibilities include screw breaking off because it's so crudded, as well as driving tool used to dig out washer into hand.

And remove the faucet stem from the wall ya know. Now you also need cap thread washers for the stem base before reinserting.

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I wonder if you can build something like a gear puller, or steering wheel puller? Put some mechanical advantage on em?
--
Christopher A. Young
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There is such a thing on the market, called "faucet handle puller". Some are stronger and better than others.
Don Young
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A basic answer, the gear puller. Applied to different stiuations. Thanks for the head up. Sounds useful.
--
Christopher A. Young
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There are good sets and bad sets. I was helping a neighbor replace her shower handles and I picked up a cheap faucet puller from Home Depot for $10.98.
After soaking the handles in vinegar overnight, I used the puller to get the old cross-handles off without too much effort. The center diverter handle was a different story. The "hooks" on the puller were pretty thick and the diverter handle was rounded on the back so the hooks wouldn't hold. They kept spreading and slipping off when I turned the T handle on the puller.
I used a set of these (link) and some wood scraps to keep the hooks from spreading and eventually got the handle off.
http://ep.yimg.com/ip/I/toolsplus_2050_6059324
The neighbor offered to pay for the puller, which looked they had never been used. They came in a re-closeable plastic "bag" with snaps (not sealed in hard plastic like so many things these days) so I took her $10.98, gave her the puller and the receipt, and said do with these what you want. Before I left I saw her take the rest of her tools to the basement, but the puller (and receipt) was placed on the table next to her car keys.
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Yeah its called a "handle puller".....like I mentioned in my post.
......"I used a handle puller to finish the job."
google:
handle puller
pick any one of the first few hits
cheers Bob
.......
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