Can't get knobs of stems. Any ideas?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by TigerDriver, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. TigerDriver

    TigerDriver New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Salem, VA
    I need to fix a faucet drips in my shower/tub. I assumed that these faucets take standard neoprene washers.

    I removed the screw from each knob, but I can't for the life of me get them off the stems. I've wiggled them; I've tried heating them with a hair dryer; I've even tried to pry them off with a couple of small wrecking bars (I stopped prying when I thought I was in danger of cracking a tile).

    Is there something special about these fixtures (click here for photo)? Any suggestions about how to get the knobs off.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2007
  2. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Buy a handle puller for $10.00 at the hardware store. They'll come off in ten seconds.

    While you're at it buy some plumbing sockets for those stems.

    Attached Files:

  3. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,726
    Location:
    Central Florida
    There's also some magical loosener-upper called PB Blaster or something like that that's been highly recommended for situations like this. Available in any auto parts outlet. Works.
  4. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I'm not sure that this is the right application for PB Blaster, since the handle puller is made exclusively to pull handles. And it works everytime.

    The PB Blaster may or may not loosen them up. But it will definitely stink up the bathroom.:eek:
  5. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,726
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I agree he needs the puller, but I squirt some of this stuff on stuck parts whether or not I've got fancy tools. Smells even better than WD-40 in the morning...
  6. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    MMMMM

    I would give it a good spray. I had a handle puller break.
  7. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    You guys must have a rare sense of smell. I've had customers complain to me for a week after I sprayed that stuff indoors.

    BTW, was it a "good" handle puller that broke or a cheapie?
  8. TigerDriver

    TigerDriver New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Salem, VA
    Bought both puller and sockets. Like you said, the puller yanked 'em off in seconds, and the sockets made quick work of extracting the stems.

    Thanks for fast/good advice.
  9. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    They were the same as in that pic. Then again I bought them at the HomeCheapo, so not good by default.
  10. Herk

    Herk Plumber

    Messages:
    547
    Location:
    S.E. Idaho
    They make good ones?
  11. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I think the best is the "Big Yank Senior." I think the major difference is the center rod that goes through the screw hole. If that rod is too thin, it will bend.

    Of course, if the handle is really fused on, there's always the tried and true method of using a channel locks to snap off the handle with the top part of the stem.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2007
  12. Herk

    Herk Plumber

    Messages:
    547
    Location:
    S.E. Idaho
    I wish they'd make one with real tool steel so the angled grabbers don't bend on a hard-to-remove handle. I've got one that's essentially a sliding hammer, like a body repairman's puller, and that's good for yanking the faucet loose in the wall.

    I've got a couple of relatively new ones, and one came with a ferrule puller, which was a good bonus since my tool box with the ferrule puller had been stolen.

    And you don't have to break the end off the stem - you can drill out the center. Your way may be faster, though.

  13. [​IMG]


    I've had much good luck with this...always use Free-All lubricant minutes before to help release the splines from the pot metal handles. I always put plumber's grease on the splines/holding screw in any rebuild.
  14. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    I do the same. It is best to think of the next time.
  15. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Of course nobody suggested a seat wrench set to pull out the old corroded seats that chewed up the washer... Next time soon!
  16. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I'm sure you know that washers don't always get chewed up. They usually just get flattened down to the point where they start to leak.

    Just figured, he was spending enough money as it was. If it still leaked after rebuilding/replacing the valve stems, I would've had him buy a set of seat wrenches.
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