Does shower faucet stem packing nut need to be removed before removing the stem ?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by carlegeo, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. carlegeo

    carlegeo New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    The stand up shower, with 2 faucets, has a stem similar to or same as price pfister 910-0130.

    I need to replace the stem washer on the end, perhaps the seat.

    ===> Do I need to remove the packing nut first with the deep socket that would fit it before
    removing the stem itself ?

    (I don't want to replace or repair the packing nut unless it really is a problem in itself)


    It seems like the deep socket that will fit onto the stem part itself
    looks like it won't get caught or interfered with by the packing nut
    but not clear on that.

    Pfister has said both that it needs to be removed and that it does not, at different times.

    In various articles/videos I've seen sometimes it says to remove it, sometimes not.


    I don't know if the reason for removing it might be to make sure the deep socket for the stem
    itself does not get hung up by the packing nut or for some other reason ?

    ==> I'd rather not remove it if not needed since this will be first time am doing this.


    Thanks - carlgeo
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,020
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Typically, the packing nut does not have to be removed from most stems, unless the stem has to unscrew through the packing to come out. Pfister stems do not need the packing removed, for any reason.
  3. carlegeo

    carlegeo New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    hj, thanks for this information.

    I hope its ok to ask a question related to this overall task but not about the packing nut itself vs starting a new thread ?

    1. I put the deep socket into the stem, not at the packing nut but further down (stem was open most of the way before I took off the handle and estucheon)

    2. The stem itself was in the way of using the 2 holes in the deep socket to
    put a screwdriver in to be able to use the leverage of the screwdriver to unscrew the stem. That is, the screwdriver fit into
    the holes but the stem was in the way of it going thru with enough clearance. thus turning the screwdriver in this way
    would have put pressure on the stem and given me no leverage in any case.

    3. I tried a vise grip (the adjustable wrench I have is not big enough for the circumfurence of the deep socket.

    and tried to turn it and met with a lot of resistance. The vise grip seemed to hold onto the deep socket, it was not slipping off it.

    4. This is where my courage failed me, this being the first time have tried this in spite of reading
    many articles, watching videos and reading many posts on this site.

    5. I realize that some force is needed to do this, but was afraid of damaging the pipe in the wall or
    having stem break off or some other disaster.

    I'm not super strong either so realize that might have been a limitation also.


    ===> My question is - does it just take more force to be used

    or also is using a vise grip not a good idea in any case ?

    Thanks again.
  4. Winslow

    Winslow Plumber

    Messages:
    450
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Make sure the water is off and the stem is open (the bibb washer is not compressed against the seat.) This will not only make removal easier it wil also ensure you don't strip the threads in the valve body. Some valves like harcraft for example have fine soft threads and trying to remove the stem in the closed position can strip the valve body. The Kohler valvet system is another example.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,020
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    MOre pressure will do it, as long as you are trying to rotate it counterclockwise. Make sure the stem is REALLY all the way open. Otherwise, when removing the stem, the different thread pitches of the stem and the bonnet will cause it to bind and could damage the body, but, when you install the new stem, if you mess up and the stem contacts the seat before the bonnet is tight, you WILL "punch" out the internal membrane and that WILL require replacing the faucet.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
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