Help! Faucet won't align straight

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by kmpeters, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. kmpeters

    kmpeters New Member

    Messages:
    5
    We're finishing a bathroom remodel... the last thing needing installed is the tub faucet. We've already got the walls tiled, tub in, etc.

    We have a copper pipe sticking out of the wall there, and the faucet is a screw-on type. So my husband soldered a fitting (or whatever it's called) on, with threads on the end, so we could put this thing on. Now here's the problem.

    Before the peice was soldered on, it screwed into the faucet like a dream. So he soldered it on... it screwed on great, but when it got tight and flush with the wall, it was exactly upside down. So he un-soldered it, turned it 180 degrees, and re-soldered it. Then, when it was tightened down, it was turned only about 5 degrees, but it wasn't flush with the face plate (or whatever it's called that's up against the tile). So he un-soldered it again, resoldered it again, and then it was turned the other way, and there wasn't enough room to tighten it down straight... it hit the face plate first. etc.... he's tried four times already. :mad:

    It seems that this fitting has to be EXACTLY the right distance to the wall, to the millimeter, AND it has to be turned to the exact right position so that it tightens down facing down... turned to the right or left one degree and it's not tight when it's facing down. So how in the world do we figure out how to put it in this position? :confused: There's no way to mark anything, because it's all inside the faucet. We can't just keep re-soldering over and over and over and over and over... because we're not even getting closer every time we try.

    There's GOT to be some trick of the trade, or secret that you plumbers use to get it right the first time... share, please?

    Thanks so much, in advance...
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    This is a guess, but probably worth a try. I assume that you are using teflon tape on the threads? Consider putting another wrap or two on there. There will be a limit on how much you can use before it won't be able to be started into the fitting, but as long as you get it started and enough turns, it doesn't have to go to the "bottom" of the threads. To help hold things in alignment, consider also using some pipe dope. Once this stuff dries, it helps keep the faucet from loosening. The faucet doesn't need to be tightend until it bottoms out, it needs maybe a couple of turns past where you can hand tighten it. More won't hurt. You know you've reached the limit when you split the female part :mad: , but you don't want to go there!
  3. kmpeters

    kmpeters New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Thanks, but...

    Thanks. I'll show my husband your suggestion. That should help some, although I don't know if it will be be enough to take care of both variables... the exact length and the right position of the top of the threads of the screw end. The threads are very wide/deep... so there's a big difference in a quarter turn. My husband says that's half the problem... he can't figure out why in the world someone would make a faucet to go on like this!

    And like I said... I have to believe that plumbers who do this all day have some way of getting it right the first time without all the guess-work...

    Any other ideas, anyone? I'd like to have as many ideas for my husband as I can, when he tries to tackle it again tonight.

    Thanks!
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    If the fixture has a washer in it, then it is much more critical as you need to apply enough pressure to the washer to make a good seal. If the seal is the result of the tapered pipe threads, then you need enough pressure to close off the tapers. Since the threads are usually a little rough, lubrication available by either the pipe dope and/or the teflon provide that. The teflon, being more rigid, will allow you to take up more of that space and create a waterproof coupling at a variable depth determined by the number of wraps you apply. The pipe dope primarily acts as a lubricant, it does provide a little filler, but not as much as you might think!
  5. kmpeters

    kmpeters New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Nope...

    There isn't any washer. There's just the threads that screw on deep inside the faucet. They seem to provide a good enough seal, quite easily, it's just that we can't get the back of the faucet to be flush with the backplate, and the front facing down at the same time!!! At the point where it's facing down... there's a gap between the back of the faucet and the backplate, which water coming from the shower head would just run into. And then, if we tighten it down so that it's flush with the back plate, the faucet's upside down or sideways (depending on which "try" we're on). I guess water spraying up might be a new style somewhere... LOL.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2004
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    Well, it sounds like it is sticking out a little too far since it needs to be bottomed out to screw in far enough to sit flush with the trim plate. If you could take maybe 1/8" off of the pipe and then reinstall the fitting, sounds like it may just work. The thing does NOT need to be bottomed out on the threads to seal. That is where an extra wrap or two (or more!) of the teflon tape can help out - it effectively makes it seal with fewer turns of the screw. You can keep adding wraps of teflon until just before it won't thread in. If you get too much on it, it will mush up as you thread the thing in rather than laying flat and getting scrunched into the threads of the coupling.
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