50 year old 3 valve tube/shower faucet question

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by bird is da word, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. bird is da word

    bird is da word New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Hello gentlemen...I am in the midst of a cosmetic bathroom remodel and I have a few questions about a 3 valve shower faucet that is about 50+ years old.

    My problem is that the valves are shot and the all leak. Surprisingly no water leaks behind the tile wall. They all leak down the wall and also "pee" (for lack of a better term) out the center. I am curious to learn a few things about this 3 valve setup.

    1.) Is it possible to buy a new 3 valve shower fixture and use the new handles/knobs on the old manifold?

    2.) Are there standard repair kits that have an array of seals and gaskets to repair the existing set up. I have considered this route and having the brass components replated.

    I am looking for sound advice as to what is the best approach. I have no interest in breaking out the old tile or using a escutchion for a single handle setup.

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    From a safety viewpoint, you should replace it. If you take the valve stems out and take them to a decent plumbing supply house, you have a chance of finding a replacement. Most generic replacement handles are a waste of time since they don't usually fit properly. No clue what it would cost to replate the existing ones, my guess is that it would be cheaper to put in new ones. It is highly unlikely you would get replacement handles to fit, but you might be lucky. If you can post a picture, somebody may be able to tell.

    New construction valves are pressure balanced which means that when someone flushes a toilet, you don't get scalded. I prefer a temperature controlled one which keeps the temp the same winter/summer and as the heater tank starts to empty until it then just falls as the hot water runs out (i.e., no cold is being used).
  3. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    It sounds like you just need new bib washers on the stems and need to tighten down on the packing nuts. You may also need to replace the seats and the packing material.
  4. Dan Pick

    Dan Pick New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Speedway, IN
    A 50+ year old faucet is about at the end of its life depending on how aggressive the water is in your area. I would suggest replacing the faucet. The negative is that you will need a remodeling plate to transition to a single handle pressure balance valve or have a few extra tiles for the wall.
  5. Whatever you do...dont change that faucet!!!

    Dont change that 50 year old faucet while its so easy to do!!
    Noooooo.... Hell Noooooo!

    It takes all the fun and "sport " out of plumbing if
    you were to do a %100 complete job....
    and makeing the expensive repairs later keeps me and all
    the other service repair plumbers in business

    So please just do it "half assed" like I see it done all day long...

    then you are %100 certain to be calling in someone with
    skills to change it out in a year or so....for say $500..and you
    might have to hire a tile man to make reapars too....
    so it keeps everyone busy....

    but if you DO decide to change it out, .......against my better advice.....
    be sure to go get a cheap crappy off brand that
    wont last long that you cant find parts for in 5 years.....
    something made in TIAWAN is best....

    Whatever you do ...DONT ....spend the extra $10 bucks for a
    good brand like DELTA that you wont have to fool with for 25 years....


    (plumbing humor)
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  6. Yeah! 50 year old faucet is young and vibrant. You wouldn't want to be replaced by your doctor for a little pee out the center would you?

    I got that problem and bread bag twist ties fix me up real good!
  7. bird is da word

    bird is da word New Member

    Messages:
    8
    anyone know about replacing the guts and handle? The manifold doesn't leak or drip. I am looking to avoid tile work.

    I am also curious to know if there are ways to identify the brand of this faucet.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  8. take a picture of it...

    Bird, I see you are gonna take my advice....


    good boy.....always avoid work at all costs...
    it can always be done on another day....LOL.



    put a digital picture of it on ths site and it can

    probably be identified,,,,
  9. bird is da word

    bird is da word New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Pull the handle...took a close look and it is a Speakman. I would like to replace the handles, escutcheon, and stem assemblies. I have found the handle and escutcheon parts on www.e-onlineplumbingparts.com

    Escutcheon - lower left
    http://www.e-onlineplumbingparts.com/Pics/Escutcheons/Escutcheons page 10.jpg

    Handle - upper left
    http://www.e-onlineplumbingparts.com/images/handlepicsta/Speakman/Page 3.jpg

    This outfit has all of the stems Speakman makes but I don't have a clue as to which ones I need. Is there a standard part number for faucet stem assmeblies circa 1949?
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