Replacing single handle tub faucet

Hello:
I need to replace a single handle mohen (20 year old) faucet, mainly because I am sick of replacing $15 cartridges!
Anyway----I have no access panel behind my wall on the other side. I do have a tub surround on the faucet side. My question is: Can it be done from the surround side if I cut a 5 or 6 inch diameter hole in the surround? I can then cover the hole with the new plate. Is this possible or do I have to somehow make an access panel to get at the thing? I don't know if a 5 or 6 inch hole will do it----give me enough room to change it.
thx for any info.
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spot-the-dalmation wrote:

Bite the bullet; cut a *big* access hole on the other side. You'll be soldering with a torch or swinging wrenches and you ain't gonna do it working thru a tiny incision in the tile.
Jim
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Hey, Jim:
thx for your reply.
well---I cut a hole and created a panel in the back---but, alas---there is a cross member in the way---I can't replace from the back.
so----should I attempt a front replacement----I have about a 5 or 6" hole and it appears it can be done. Any sugesstions? Should I maybe hire a pro? Have you ever done it this way?
thx again
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(snip)
Uh, is that cross member narrow-side up, or wide-side up? If narrow side up, it was probably put there <by> the plumber when he was doing the rough-in, to hold the faucet casting. The bronze casting is probably screwed or nailed to it, and there is probably a matching one a few feet up to hold shower elbow.
Take a saw and cut the nails holding the block in place. If feed pipes are threaded rather than brazed on your faucet, and you don't want to cut and patch the feed lines, you may have to cut the block up to expose the faucet. This is what sawzalls were invented for- cutting stuff up inside a hole. When you put new faucet in, make a new block, attach faucet to it, and toenail or screw'n'bracket it into place after you position and connect the faucet. Yes, your access hole needs to be across a full stud space. (Your situation is a good example of why tub faucets should never be on outside wall, or against hallway wall. Almost always there is a way to make it back up on a linen closet or bedroom closet, where a big honking access panel is a non-event. )
aem sends.....
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Very helpful
thx for your input
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