Replacing an "old" shower valve

I just bought a house built in 1986. The owners had recently remodeled both bathrooms (they tiled the walls in the shower areas -- it looks great). The problem comes in that they did not replace the old shower valve, which is brass, has one handle to control the temperature and turn it on/off, and one handle to control the flow rate. The shower leaks terribly for many minutes after you turn it off then settles down to one drip every two minutes or so. I've taken out the cartridge and am going to a plumbing supply house (not Home Depot) to see if they have a replacement cartridge. I don't have high hopes.
Any pointers on removal of the brass valve and replacement with a newer model (one that I can get parts for)? Any help is appreciated.
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Bob in CT
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Bob in CT wrote:

Good luck on getting parts.
To replace the control, you need access to the wall space (opposite of the shower). Assuming it's an interior wall, cut out a big square of drywall in order to work in there comfortably with a torch. I seriously doubt you would want to tear out the new tiles to work from that side. Do, however, look into whether the new control escutcheon will cover the old holes.
Jim
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Jim, you are speedy! Well, you're thinking the same way I am -- replacement is the only option. Unfortunately, I do not think that I can get to the rear of it, so I might have to work from the front! Doh! I'll check tonight. The first thing I was going to do was buy a new assembly and make sure it'll physically fit. What will likely happen is that I'll ignore it for a while (I'm installing two new bathroom fans -- the ones in there are so loud as being unuseable -- and an attic fan and a soft water system). I'm a single guy with two bathrooms, so I can use the other shower for a while until I decide to tackle a job of this magnitude.
It just irks me that if you're going to completely remodel a bathroom that you'd leave in a valve that's almost 20 years old. It doesn't make sense and it's something I would never do. I either do it right or I don't do it.
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Bob in CT
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Bob in CT wrote:

Last fall on "Ask This Old House" they replaced a shower valve by cutting out the tile around the old (two handle) valve and replacing it with a one handle valve that had a very large escutcheon plate that would cover the hole they cut in it.
By the way, you might want to buy a more expensive single handle control, so that you can control both temperature and flow. I had my bath room remodeled several years ago and just have a temperature control now. Right after the remodel my water bill went up noticeably, because it goes to full flow, even though I don't need it.
Bill Gill
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Thanks, Bill. I think you're right -- I'll have to carefully cut away the tile (a friend has a rotozip with a tile cutting blade) and replace the valve. I'm more bummed that they just redid this bathroom before I moved in. I'd have paid them to replace the control when the walls were down to drywall.
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Bob in CT
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So, get a new showerhead with a flow restrictor.
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Actually, my shower has both -- a new shower head with a flow restrictor and a control with a flow restrictor. However, I can barely reach the shower head and my girlfriend can't reach it at all.
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Bob in CT
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