Stubborn valve stems

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Gonjah and I both posted this link. Isn't this the tool made specifically for this task?
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41dtVDjTvyL._SY300_.jpg
Here's one in use...
http://images.meredith.com/diy/images/2009/02/p_SCP_075_08.jpg
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Gonjah posted a link to the correct tool a while back.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41dtVDjTvyL._SY300_.jpg
The old style wooden floor hardware store in my neighborhood used to lend out a set of these if you bought your stems from them. Maybe they still do, but I don't have those types of shower valves anymore.
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On 10/20/2013 12:52 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

socket, preventing you from putting in the cross bar, you have two choices: take a hacksaw to the valve stem and shorten it so you can put the cross bar through the socket. Then replace the valve stem assembly with new; or attempt to turn the socket using a crescent wrench gripping its outside.
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wrote:

on these suckers.

on them and tapping with a hammer but can't budge either one. I also thought about hitting them with a torch but I'm a little worried about catching wood on fire and not being able to get a wet rag being the tile -- or having to spray water inside the wall and creating another problem.

first?

037.jpg> Thanks, Oren. That's pretty slick!
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I should thank everyone but don't want to clog up the thread. Really appreciate all the good info. I'll upload whatever happens. Should be fixed in a day or two.
Here's a couple of photos of the two valve stems I'm trying replace. Both are starting to leak. I'm having a heck of time getting a wrench on these suckers.
I haven't tried soaking them with anything yet, but some kind of penetrating fluid or Lime-Away come to mind. I tried putting pressure on them and tapping with a hammer but can't budge either one. I also thought about hitting them with a torch but I'm a little worried about catching wood on fire and not being able to get a wet rag being the tile -- or having to spray water inside the wall and creating another problem.
Anyway, I hate to call a plumber for something that should be a Joe homeowner job but may end up doing that. Any ideas on what else to try first?
They were put in about 17 years ago when I had the galvanized piping replaced with copper. Never leaked until just now.
You all know what these things look like, but just for fun, here they are...
http://imageshack.us/a/img33/3793/glqx.jpg
http://imageshack.us/a/img32/4475/ew2b.jpg
Guv Bob
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Here's a couple of photos of the two valve stems I'm trying replace. Both are starting to leak. I'm having a heck of time getting a wrench on these suckers.
I haven't tried soaking them with anything yet, but some kind of penetrating fluid or Lime-Away come to mind. I tried putting pressure on them and tapping with a hammer but can't budge either one. I also thought about hitting them with a torch but I'm a little worried about catching wood on fire and not being able to get a wet rag being the tile -- or having to spray water inside the wall and creating another problem.
Anyway, I hate to call a plumber for something that should be a Joe homeowner job but may end up doing that. Any ideas on what else to try first?
They were put in about 17 years ago when I had the galvanized piping replaced with copper. Never leaked until just now.
You all know what these things look like, but just for fun, here they are...
http://imageshack.us/a/img33/3793/glqx.jpg
http://imageshack.us/a/img32/4475/ew2b.jpg
Guv Bob
What you need is a tubular spanner. (Piece of pipe with the end forged to fit various nuts.) You can get these for very great depths. http://www.thomasmeldrumltd.co.uk/Pages/TubularBoxSpanners.aspx They may call them something else in the USA.
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Here's a couple of photos of the two valve stems I'm trying replace. Both are starting to leak. I'm having a heck of time getting a wrench on these suckers.
I haven't tried soaking them with anything yet, but some kind of penetrating fluid or Lime-Away come to mind. I tried putting pressure on them and tapping with a hammer but can't budge either one. I also thought about hitting them with a torch but I'm a little worried about catching wood on fire and not being able to get a wet rag being the tile -- or having to spray water inside the wall and creating another problem.
Anyway, I hate to call a plumber for something that should be a Joe homeowner job but may end up doing that. Any ideas on what else to try first?
They were put in about 17 years ago when I had the galvanized piping replaced with copper. Never leaked until just now.
You all know what these things look like, but just for fun, here they are...
http://imageshack.us/a/img33/3793/glqx.jpg
http://imageshack.us/a/img32/4475/ew2b.jpg
{{{
You can remove the entire assembly to put in a vice or replace as a unit.
We just purchased a new (to us) house. The hose bibs were old and in bad shape. Not sure but the replacement cost us ~$30 bucks each.
Replacement was jack simple and in the long run less expensive than a repair.
Only caution is to not over toque on removal or replacement.
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On Monday, October 21, 2013 12:25:53 PM UTC-4, NotMe wrote:

This is a shower valve. It's deep inside a wall behind plaster and tile; there is nothing jack simple about this job. He might end up replacing it, but there's a good chance he can just pull the stem and replace the washer.
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On 10/20/13 1:45 AM, Guv Bob wrote:

Here is a YouTube video that steps you thru the whole process, including replacing the valve seat if necessary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
ZXThHCwwA
Sometimes the seats are either non-removeable , or corroded in place. There is a tool to grind the seat in place, if necessary
http://www.homedepot.com/p/BrassCraft-Long-Stem-Faucet-Reseating-Tool-T165/100120194#.UmVlICTK4oY
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On 10/21/2013 12:34 PM, Retired wrote:

I used a valve seat cutter on my tub/shower valves then had to add thin brash washers as spacers because of the amount of material removed to get a clean seat that would seal. ^_^
TDD
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It was an "O-ring" until he went to the store and a "washer" after he got back. Looks like he got a terminology lesson while at the store. ;-)
If it were me, I wouldn't have installed the stem flange until I tested the fixture. He may have stopped the leak to the shower head, but he could have a leak inside the wall.
One other issue...He managed to complete a plumbing job without taking all parts to the store and he apparently did it in one trip. Obviously, the video is a work of fiction. ;-)

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On Monday, October 21, 2013 6:57:39 PM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

In my 60 years, I have never done that, not even once. I consider a 3 trip job an accomplishment, rarely I've managed a two tripper, but a one trip job has evaded me.
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On Sunday, October 20, 2013 12:45:18 AM UTC-5, Guv Bob wrote:

suckers. I haven't tried soaking them with anything yet, but some kind of p enetrating fluid or Lime-Away come to mind. I tried putting pressure on the m and tapping with a hammer but can't budge either one. I also thought abou t hitting them with a torch but I'm a little worried about catching wood on fire and not being able to get a wet rag being the tile -- or having to sp ray water inside the wall and creating another problem. Anyway, I hate to c all a plumber for something that should be a Joe homeowner job but may end up doing that. Any ideas on what else to try first? They were put in about 17 years ago when I had the galvanized piping replaced with copper. Never l eaked until just now. You all know what these things look like, but just fo r fun, here they are...
http://imageshack.us/a/img33/3793/glqx.jpghttp://i mageshack.us/a/img32/4475/ew2b.jpg Guv Bob
What is on the other side of the wall, the back of a closet, perhaps? That would make it very simple to cut out a piece of wall to access the valve w ith a propane torch, to remove the whole valve and then make the repairs.
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Thanks to all the great advice here at alt.home.repair, some videos online, and the helpful hardware folks at Ace & Home Depot, I was able to replace stems & seats in these two shower valves for about $45 in parts and tools. Time including taking the photos was about 45 minutes, plus trips to the store.
I really appreciate all the help you fellers dished out. Here are some snap flash photos and the diagram that came with the stem...
http://imageshack.us/a/img201/1213/0rby.jpg
I had some tools already. Got the seat wrench $10 and nipples $3 at Ace Hardware, and steel rod $4 at Home Depot. Originally went to Ace Hardware - a little more $$ but always extremely helpful. But I had to return the Ace brand stems & seats ($19) because I could not get the stems to stop wobbling when turning the knob. Also, the seat threads did not match my valve. Bought the Price Pfister stems at Home Depot for $13 each and reused the good seats.
If I had to do it over, I would have saved a lot of time if I had bought some earplugs. Some of you married fellers know what I'm talking about.
Once I had everything, the entire job took about an hour including, setting things out, cleaning up, shutting off/draining/turning back on the water. This was taking my time and being extra careful not to break anything. If I did this regularly and had the parts & tools on hand, it would have been 1/2 hour max for start to finish as long as no other parts needed replacing and I was wearing earplugs the whole time.
Even so, I still would have rather had a plumber or handyman do it. Here's the plumber story....
I got a good referral and that plumber estimated $80 plus parts if he could do it from the shower. If he had to cut open the wall behind and replace the valve, an additional $120 to the labor. But he is a one man business and was booked for several days.
Then I called another plumber who had done work on the street. He wouldn't give me the minimum cost for a service call or an estimated range for this type of job. Not a good sign, but the $25 to come out for an estimate I thought was reasonable.
This estimate turned out to be $269 for one stem replacement and $200 for the 2nd one if he did not have to open the wall. I told him that was way too much and would pay him the $25. He came back with a discount making it $310 total.
Even so, the $25 was worth hearing him tell me that would not need to open up the wall, and if I did it myself, I would need a special tool to remove the seat. Nice young feller, overpriced company.
Between this and a recent estimate for a tuneup at the car shop, evidently the service & repair business is the place to be working right now. Time to restock my tool chest, clean out the van and hang a sign on it "I REPAIR ANY THANG ANY WHURS". LOL!!
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Guv Bob wrote:

Great follow-up info. Thanks for posting it. And, excellent photos and captions on the photos (which I don't know how to do).
Glad it all worked out.
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Thanks. Just paying back. Maybe some future shower fixer might get some ideas. I still would rather have a reliable plumber or handy man do these things. Now looking for a garage for the car. Same story ... they use "the book" for labor charges which tells me they either don't know how to do the work or don't understand how to set their own prices.
I used to run a small service and repair bidness and we used our own records of costs, overhead and margin to set pricing. It's not that hard to figure out. You never hit it right where you plan, but at least that's a start. You can always adjust prices.
I used to go to a small garage for basic auto mechanic work, until they started using "the book." I was over there last week and they said business was really slow. Every other car repair place is covered up with work. He's a good guy, so I told him to go back over the year and figure out his true costs and overhead, and then use that to set his rates. Plus, the dude's shop is only open M-F 9-5.
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wrote:

to replace stems & seats in these two shower valves for about $45 in parts and tools. Time including taking the photos was about 45 minutes, plus trips to the store.

Hardware - a little more $$ but always extremely helpful. But I had to return the Ace brand stems & seats ($19) because I could not get the stems to stop wobbling when turning the knob. Also, the seat threads did not match my valve.

about.

the water. This was taking my time and being extra careful not to break anything. If I did this regularly and had the parts & tools on hand, it would have been 1/2 hour max for start to finish as long as no other parts needed replacing and I was wearing earplugs the whole time.

replace the valve, an additional $120 to the labor. But he is a one man business and was booked for several days.

range for this type of job. Not a good sign, but the $25 to come out for an estimate I thought was reasonable.

way too much and would pay him the $25. He came back with a discount making it $310 total.

remove the seat. Nice young feller, overpriced company.

now. Time to restock my tool chest, clean out the van and hang a sign on it "I REPAIR ANY THANG ANY WHURS". LOL!!

Good idea. Seems like these flanges ought to come with at least a rubber gasket or o-ring. I was expecting to get a whiff of mold from the holes in the wall, but they smelled OK. Looks like the drip inside found it's way outside to the shower - lucky for me.
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On 10/23/2013 3:28 PM, Guv Bob wrote:

that came with the stem...

Depot. Originally went to Ace Hardware - a little more $$ but always extremely helpful. But I had to return the Ace brand stems & seats ($19) because I could not get the stems to stop wobbling when turning the knob. Also, the seat threads did not match my valve.

fellers know what I'm talking about.

off/draining/turning back on the water. This was taking my time and being extra careful not to break anything. If I did this regularly and had the parts & tools on hand, it would have been 1/2 hour max for start to finish as long as no other parts needed replacing and I was wearing earplugs the whole time.

Did it appear to help?
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Didn't need it. I just turned it back and forth a couple of times until it broke loose. Didn't even have to tap it with a hammer. And that 3-ft steel bar worked a lot better than a rachet or screwdriver handle - centered it in the wrench and it came loose right away.
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On 10/23/2013 3:43 PM, Guv Bob wrote:

have to tap it with a hammer. And that 3-ft steel bar worked a lot better than a rachet or screwdriver handle - centered it in the wrench and it came loose right away.
Thanks, glad to hear. I like to put a bit of grease or Rectorseal or Neversieze when I put things back together. Hope to make it easier for the next disassembly.
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