American Standard shower stem won't come out...

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by geronimo21, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. geronimo21

    geronimo21 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    N. Arizona
    I have a drip from the shower head. This is a two handle 1970s American Standard.

    I believe the drip is coming from the cold water handle. I removed the handle and packing nut.

    I tried to remove the stem to get to the washers and seat, but the stem just keep spinning in place and won't come out. I thought that it was threaded and would come out. Is that correct or do I just need to pull it out once the packing nut is removed?

    Thank you.

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  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,270
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    That is a Colony trim, and the stem WILL get stuck, but all you have to do is pull VERY hard and it will come out. There is a "wave washer" on the end that gets compressed when the stem is installed, but the compression process causes it to grab on to the valve body.
  3. geronimo21

    geronimo21 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    N. Arizona
    Thank you.

    Thanks for the advice. It's exactly what my wife said. Always listen to the wife, right? Usually when I force things, I break them. So, I was erring on the side of caution.

    Thanks for the confirmation, though. It really helps.

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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,270
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Usually when I force things, I break them.

    That is why you have to stop about a minute before you reach your "level of incompetence".
  5. geronimo21

    geronimo21 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    N. Arizona
    Thanks, hj. I think my level of incompetence hit a new low.

    I got the old stems out with your advice to pull HARD. Bought the new stems, replaced the seat...was about to put the new stem in and realized one gasket in the package that I have no idea where it goes.

    I took a picture of the stem and the gasket. If you or anyone else can tell me where that gasket goes, it would be much appreciated. Thanks. :confused:

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    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  6. DavidSeon

    DavidSeon New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    MS Gulf Coast
    That's the new wave washer hj mentioned. It's meant to replace the old wave washer you haven't removed from the valve yet :eek:
  7. geronimo21

    geronimo21 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    N. Arizona
    Thanks, DavidSeon,

    I figured that out after a little while. The light bulb finally went off. I looked and felt inside the valve and didn't see or feel any old wave washer. Maybe there wasn't one to begin with. The house was built in '71 and I don't know if they were part of the stems back then.

    Anyway, I went online and found a similar looking stem which showed where the wave washer is supposed to go.

    d19dfb87-4bdc-4f61-9b17-2a473bfbecc7_300.jpg

    I installed the wave washer the way it looked in the photo and reinstalled the stem. So far, it seems to have stopped leaking.

    If for some reason what I've done doesn't look or sound right, could you give me a shout? Thanks for your help!
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,270
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It was the reason the old one was stuck and if it were in the valve the new one probably would not have gone in. Since it is so thin, it could still be on the stem you removed. Or someone could have repaired the valve in the intervening years and left it out, but ALL Colony stems "started out" with the wave washer installed.
  9. geronimo21

    geronimo21 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    N. Arizona
    Wave washer...

    Thanks, hj! Hmmm...I didn't see it on the old stem or in the valve...and the new one went in...maybe it fell on the shower floor when I pulled the old stem out. Or maybe it wasn't there to begin with as you suggested. Thanks for all the info...keeping fingers crossed it all works out. Thanks again for the forum. Very helpful! :D

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