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.
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
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
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
start job first thing in morning, figure it will take all day, have a
backup plumber available espically if its your only tub
price and select new single handle valve just in case.
best wishes it can be a @$%^&*)(_ project:(
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.
Handle puller & some sort of penetrating oil / solvent (like a Liquid
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.
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.
Why is everyone's answer always buy new?
You can get one of these at the Borg or any good hardware store.
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.
These are also available just about anywhere.
A little vaseline helps everything go back together easliy.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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