Shower diverter problem


Recently I replaced the hot/cold water stems in both our tubs and the shower diverters as well and both took the exact same parts. No brand name anywhere so I haven't a clue who the MFG is. In one tub all went well. In the other, the shower, after installng the new parts, now splits the water half from the head and half from the spout which it did not do before the rebuild. I took it apart again but found no apparent cause. I reinstalled the old diverter and it started spliting the water half/half. I took it back out, took both diverters apart comparing each piece...they're identical. I put the old one together and back in with the same results. I took it apart AGAIN, took the head off, then blew 100psi back through the shower pipe hoping to dislodge anything IF something were causing a blockage. Nothing changed. Next I turned the shower on, placed a wet washcloth in the palm of my hand, and held it tight against the spout. This caused no difference in the shower output. My next thought was to just buy a spout wwith a diverter built into it. But then if the washcloth held against the spout didn't increase the shower output, a spout with a built-in diverter won't either. Oh, and during one of the take aparts I turned on both hot/cold to flush the water manifold out. Nothing changed. How can something this simple STOP working simply because it was rebuilt?! And how can something THIS simple and basic not have an apparent cause for not working now?!!!!! Shezzzzzz. it's a manifold with two inlets, two outlets, and three valves which when removed you have all it's working parts out? Help PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Check for a restriction in the shower head itself.
kenny b
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Good idea but I already had and it's clear. Even with the head removed the water splits half/half. I wish it had been that simple. I did a some plumbing years ago but never encountered something this frustrating from something this simple. I had been told there may be a restrictor inside the manifold. If there is, I don't see it which means doubtful I could reach it. Even if one did exist within, 100+psi blown backwards thru the shower pipe, that should have blown whatever out of wherever. I am completely stumped!
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The diverter itself is responsible for transfering the water to one or the other. The cast valve body couldn't change and create a problem. Changing the seat with an improper one could and would effect both the new and old diverter unit, other then that something is causing the diverter stem/unit not to seat properly. Your problem seems to be there. Without knowing what you have exactly, thats all that can be offered.
kenny b
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did you install the valve upside down? this will make it come out of the spout and the head
also is there a restriction in the tub filler? or the piping to the tub filler is undersized? I know moem insists on 1/2" copper to the tub spout and not pex to a stub out. just two things I have seen in the past which caused this problem.

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Hi Dave and thanks. No, this one can't be installed upside down. To describe it: This diverter has a short metal collar with two small holes on opposite sides. It fits loosely and kinda "floats" forward/ backward on the diverter body. On the washer end of the stem but just in front of the washer, there's a small "O" ring. At some point it appears the metal collar seats against this O ring and does what I do not know. The collar never mates with anything else to force it against the O ring so I can't see what would ever make the two meet. Actually, on the old diverter this "O" ring was missing yet the shower worked great. I even put a new "O" ring on the old diverter but it made no difference. I removed the ring, put it back in, and it still split the water. And I did find the old O ring intact so I know that isn't causing a blockage. Thanks
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I did replace the seat but AFTER the problem started. First I installed the new diverter and the water split so I put the old diverter back in which had been working fine. I finally replaced the seat again trying both the old/new diverter with no chnage. The new seat came with the new diverter and matched the old seat exactly. A real head scratcher huh!!! On this shower, when you turn the handle to start the shower the stem/washer screws out towards pulling the washer off the seat so at that point the washer/seat are out of the loop. Thanks for the reply and keep trying to thinki of another possible cause, please!!!!
snipped-for-privacy@adelphia.net wrote:

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You cannot have bought the new stems and seats without you or someone knowing what brand faucet you have. Tell us the brand and that would be a big help. BTW, most stem operated diverters that I am aware are solid mechanical seals that when actuated are completely water tight. Your problem is common with lift or button actuated diverters, or with stem types that are malfunctioning. The only way it is malfunctioning in your case is something you did in the repair process.
Bob Wheatley
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Oh yeah, I can get replacement parts without the MFG name. I pulled a water valve out, took it to Lowes, and matched it. The package does not say what brand it fits, just a generic valve, but it's identical. And while I MAY have caused this problem from the replacement of, I don't see how. I screwed the old valves out, checked the seats, screwed the new valves in, turned the water on, tweaked the packing nuts a little, installed the knobs/caps, done deal. A really straight forward process. Now, something old may have come loose in the process but what?! All the old washers were intact as were the old seats, they were just old and worn, I took the shower valve out, shower head off, blew 100psi backwards thru the shower pipe, turned on hot/cold water to flush it, but it still splits the water. I've pulled wrenches for 30 years, residential construction, heat/ac, concrete, electrical, plumbing, roofing, dirt work, home inspections, and on and on. Point being I'm no stranger to this type of work but what in the heck went wrong with this? Through the Internet postings I've met a few others with this same problem AFTER replacing the diverter and they too have never found a cause or anyone with an idea of what happened.
Bob Wheatley wrote:

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Well, that explains that. Repeat the process and this time ask someone at Lowes (assuming you can find someone) to tell you what faucet it fits. We need good information to make a good diagnosis. There are hundreds of different manufacturers with thousands of different inherent issues and/or design idiosyncrasies. Right now we're guessing at what you may have done wrong, and after your last post I'm guessing you put the wrong part in. But I/we still don't have enough information to know.
Bob Wheatley
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Dunno Bob and I'm certainly not trying to be hardheaded and do appreciate the responses. Here's more of what I did once this happened. I took it ALL apart again, carried both valves and the diverter to the garage and laid them on the bench. I carefully studied each (with glasses on!) and were identical to what I removed. My original post stated I did this to just the diverter valve but I didn't think the others mattered so I excluded that. . Next I took them apart one at a time and compared each part to each part as I went. They are identical in every way and every part.. This issue was concerning my daughters tub/shower. In our bath and I forgot to mention this (sorry), it has the exact set in the tub/shower which I replaced the parts of in the same afternoon. Guess what? Not a problem one and the shower works great just as it did before the rebuild. This is why I'm so frustrated at the one. Being practical and if it came down to this, I'll not tear out wall tile because of it. Still it's become a quest to KNOW what in the heck went wrong and honestly I would like it to work correctly but there is stopping point. Being a mechanic, when I repair something I try to do it right because I don't want it coming back to do twice. But I hate it when something mechanical defeats me but I'm about whipped!!!
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Did you change the seats under the stems?
Bob Wheatley
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Yes sir I did. It came with the new diverter but didn't change that until the problem started. Turning it on pulls the washer up off the seat and not used at that point.
Bob Wheatley wrote:

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Afternoon Bob. Tell you what, this weekend I'll take a pic of the shower diverter and if you want, send me your email address to snipped-for-privacy@aol.com and I'll send it directly to you. Or if you think it better, I'll post it here if possible. Maybe you can tell what brand it is? Plus from the pic maybe you'll see the small "barrel" that kinda floats on the stem body which I mentioned earliery. I did stop by Lowes yesterday and looked on the package for the brand or brands it fit and just as I remembered it didn't list any. I know from calls I've had through the years it's usually impossible to say what's wrong via the phone and this forum or any for that matter is about the same difference. You need to see or at least hear something to access what' may be wrong. I've had calls at home of car issues and they'll hold the phone out so I can hear the noise. Sometimes it's a hit, sometimes it's a miss, it's difficult to say at best. So, I THINK I still have the old diverter but if not I'll pull the new one AGAIN and see what comes from that. Thanks
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