Frozen Shower Stems

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by SRichards, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. SRichards

    SRichards New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Location:
    MD, USA
    I am stuck and so are my shower/bathtub stems. Every video I have watched just has them turning right out for people so either I am doing something wrong or I need a trick from someone who does this stuff all the time. So here is the background. The shower faucet (the hot water is the worst) has a slow leak evident by the watermark on the shower floor and on the underside of the shower handle. I also think that the shower head also has a slow leak or drip (because we cannot completely turn off the faucet) but gravity keeps it from being a big problem since it is simply a shower but I don't know just guessing.

    Set up is a stand alone shower with a two handle shower faucet (no idea of the brand) constructed in the early 1980's. Everything in this home has been low cost builders grade material. (In working in the other bathroom I encountered a similar problem when trying to upgrade the shower head and found something on the threads that had made it almost impossible to unscrew.)

    So being the diy gal I am, I did some research and was able to remove the handle, etc to get to the stem. Then that is where I get stuck. I have to turn off the main water to work on it so this is becoming frustrating since it halts all household activity. I tried tightening the packing nut to see if maybe it was just loose but it is super tight and does not stop the leak. I think the previous owner overtightened it because they couldn't do anything either. So I figured I would take the time to replace the stem, seat, etc. since it looks as if it hasn't been touched since first installed. But the stem isn't moving. I have soaked it in liquid wrench, hair dryer, hammered it, man muscle (had my husband try), and a mini propane torch. And I even let the liquid wrench sit for a few days because I got annoyed with it. I am beyound frustration. So I am hoping that someone out there has a miraculous tip that will save me because I need to fix the diverter on the tub/shower in the other bathroom and it too has the same problem (after I chip away at the tile to even get access to it.)

    Oh and I have tried turning in both directions (just in case it went the other way) and the nut is actually starting to strip from the socket wrench (too much man muscle and not a perfect fit). Someone suggested getting a mechanics socket to get better grip and prevent stripping so I tried that and found that it is a 1 inch socket but now I have no good way to get a grip to turn the socket. I thought maybe trying and extra deep socket so I can get some leverage but I need to find the tools. After four stores still no luck so maybe it doesn't exist (6pt 1 inch extra deep socket).

    The cold water stem is set even further in the wall and I haven't even tried to tackle that one (it has a slower leak). And it looks like a second bathroom with three more stems that will be just as difficult.

    I tried to focus the pic on the shoulder of the stem so the stem itself is a bit blurry. If a different picture would be better just let me know.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for any wisdom/tricks you may have. I will try anything and I really don't want to have to do a rebuild this isn't our forever home.

    Thanks again
     
  2. SRichards

    SRichards New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Location:
    MD, USA
    So from the lack of responses either my question is the only question people ask and everyone is tired of saying the same thing or there is nothing else to do. That or everyone is just extremely busy. This is when someone is supposed to stop me from grabbing a hammer and start pounding on it. I hate these bathrooms leaks are getting worse and apparently I am doing something wrong.
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    A better, sharper picture may help.

    Sometimes you are better off cutting out some tile and replacing the valve though.
    They make remodel plates that cover the old holes in the wall. This way you can get a new single handle, pressure balanced faucet in there. We find it's sometimes cheaper to just cut away and replace with new parts, then scurry around hardware stores trying to match up something that old.

    Normally, If you can find the right size socket, they spin out. I have come across some where that wasn't really an option.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. SRichards

    SRichards New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Location:
    MD, USA
    Thank you for the response. Sorry for the rant but these bathrooms are really getting frustrating.

    I tried to get better pics. I just have a feeling there is something I am not doing right because it is not just one bathroom but both that we cannot get the valves to move no matter how much we try to turn them. I really hate to make the investment to redo them and I miss having my own bathroom. I am trying to keep it as a last option.

    Bathroom 1:
    Complete pic of the handles down to stems:
    [​IMG]

    Hot faucet:
    [​IMG]

    Bathroom 2:
    The diverter desperately needs changed.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    [​IMG]

    This is interesting.
    The knob on the left is a Price Pfister. I don't know what the other two knobs are.
    It looks like you should be able to spin the stems out though. They come out counter clockwise.
     
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego
    You may need help here, since as Terry pointed out someone has been "mix-and-match" on your parts, and that does NOT work!

    You need special ( not expensive) deep well shower sockets. The part that turns out is the INNERMOST , largest, hex that you see. Make SURE that before trying to unscrew, you turn all the valves at least 1/2 way to OPEN.
     
  8. SRichards

    SRichards New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Location:
    MD, USA
    Thanks for your responses. I am glad to know that I am at least turning the right part and have done everything the right way...opening the valves...turning counterclockwise. I guess they are just really in there and this isn't going to be easy no matter who does it.

    I believe the handle that looks like a Price Pfister is a universal handle. If you take the handle off the previous owners put a square universal adapter that has stripped the broach on the other two handles. I switched the handles to handles I found at the store that fit but haven't messed with that one since it wasn't stripping it yet. So you can see the disaster I am left with.

    Thanks again
     
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    A deep socket on the hexagonal piece next to the "round" faucet body, and a lot of force in a counterclockwise direction will remove the stem. Then a good parts catalog will tell you which stem and seat you need to replace it.
     
  10. sadiq

    sadiq New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Location:
    California
    hello Experts!
    i'm having the same situation and it is 1979 built house. The shower divertor stuck. i have removed the front portion. I have used the socket wrench and removed the nut inside the stem but stem is still tight and unable to take it out. I have the same shower model describer above in the picture. Any idea what is holding the stem?

    I have called plumber he used his full force to take out the stem but the same result.
    Now the plumber is asking $500 to cut dry wall and fix them.
    Any idea or solution without cut the dry wall or tiles? please advise. Thank you!
     
  11. sadiq

    sadiq New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Location:
    California
    Here is the picture. please advice. Thank you
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Smooky

    Smooky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
  13. sadiq

    sadiq New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Location:
    California
    Thank you.
    So Are you saying there is another nut holding the stem? I'm seeing the copper thing insde, it is kind of round shape.
    I have seen many youtube video that shows unscrew one nut and it is coming-out.

    Is there a special tool required to unscrew the second one? Is this special model?

    The link you have provided doesn't help. sorry for too many question.
     
  14. Smooky

    Smooky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Hot Faucet_LI.jpg You have removed the packing nut that is labeled # 1 in this picture but to remove the stem you have to unscrew it at the part that is labeled #2. Whoever set the tile on your shower did not leave enough room to remove the stem. The links I provided above are ways to cut the tile because that is what you will have to do to remove the stems. If you are not careful the tiles will break and then you will need to replace the tile too.
     
  15. sadiq

    sadiq New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Location:
    California
    perfect!
    Yes, I need to get it inside more then.
    Thank you very much and really appreciated your help on this.
     
  16. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Occupation:
    self-employed plumber-electrician doing residentia
    Location:
    Georgia
    Last time I had a problem like yours I ended up with a twelve-point deep well socket for my 1/2 in drive breaker bar. The socket would not seat on the nut faces until I sawed off the stem. Hallelujah moment after a four-hour struggle. I learned a lot that day.
     
  17. sadiq

    sadiq New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Location:
    California
    Thank your for sharing your experience.
    I will try the deep socket before we decide to break titles or dry-wall!
     
  18. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Occupation:
    self-employed plumber-electrician doing residentia
    Location:
    Georgia
    Please don't break your titles.
     
Similar Threads: Frozen Shower
Forum Title Date
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog stuck shower diverter stem, frozen, identify this? Feb 15, 2010
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog frozen shower arm May 28, 2006
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog symmonds frozen shower valve Aug 14, 2005
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Frozen screws in shower strainer Nov 19, 2004
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog How to test if your waterproofing material has frozen Oct 17, 2014

Share This Page