How to remove bathtub faucet handles?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by miranda12, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. miranda12

    miranda12 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    My bathtub has three handles (Hot, Shower, Cold). I have to turn them hard to make sure that it does not drip. It is becoming more difficult for me to turn off the water. I was hoping that if I removed them, all they'd need is a cleaning. I unscrewed the cold handle, so far, but couldn't remove it. Please help!
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2006
  2. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    You need to replace the bib washers--the rubber washers located on the bottom of the hot and cold stems. Once you do that, you won't have to turn your handles so much to shut off the water.

    1. Shut off the water supply to the tub.
    2. Remove the handles. If they don't come off easily, you need to buy a handle puller from the hardware store.
    3. Remove the sleeves and escutcheons surrounding the stems.
    4. Using plumbing sockets, remove the stems.
    5. Replace the bib washers.
    6. Put everything back together.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 17, 2006
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  4. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer...healey-feeley.....
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Good Old Wd- 40

    Might I suggest a healthy dose of wd-40

    on those old handles first....??

    if you dont you will probably break the stems off in the handles

    spray it down and wait an hour then gently tap, tap,tap

    if free from the brass stem....


    I havent seen one of those handle pullers in a long time...

    they never did me much good,
     
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have a trick that works fairly well. I take my torch and slowly heat the handels up. They will reach a point where the crud will let go and they come off easily. You do have to do it slowly though. I concentrate the flame right at the screw area of the handle so the heat will be at the problem area.
     
  6. miranda12

    miranda12 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    I need more help!

    I haven't gotten around to taking off the handles yet, but plan to try this week. The problem of shutting off the water is becoming more prominent. Could anyone let me know what the "bib washers--the rubber washers located on the bottom of the hot and cold stems" look like, or will I just know when I see them? Also, not to sound dumb, when I go to try to pull off the handles (I will put some wd-40 on them) will they pull straight out, or will I have to twist them. The last time I tried to pull them off, they were quite stuck and it felt like, if I pulled any harder, that I was going to destroy the pipes. Should the handles just slide right off? This is the first time I ever attempted to take off handles and am not sure what to expect. I am usually up for a new challenge, though. Any help would be useful! Oh Yeah, I am sorry, but I currently do not own a torch. Even though that sounds like a neat way to try to remove the handles, I don't trust myself with firepower!
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2006
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    Depending on how long ago it was that you pulled them off last will determine how hard it will be. When you put them back on put 1 layer of teflon tape over the top of the spline B4 you put the handles back on. If you have to remove them again they will pop right off.

    Personally I like PB Blaster way better than WD 40. You can get it at Low*s. WD 40 displaces water, PB breaks the oxidation / corrosion between the metals, it is a true penetrant.
     
  8. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    PB blaster is the best. Also available in the auto section at W_Mart or most auto parts places if L's is not nearby.
     
  9. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Location:
    Alabama
    I'll also vouch for PB blaster... use it alot when working on cars. As for the faucet handles. If you've never taken one off before...it's really not difficult. Usually a little back and forth wiggle with loosen the crud and they slide off the spline with little difficulty. Everyone has their own technique and with experience all of us develop our own preferences. I would use Cass's method only as a last resort... but then...he may not like my method of prying them off... to each his own. If you're having difficulty getting the screw loose that holds the handle on it usually helps (using a decent quality screw driver) to apply a little turrning pressure while pressing the screwdriver into the screw head and give it a little whack or two with a hammer... unless you really get irritated ...then you use an impact driver...try very hard not to strip the head of the screw.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2006
  10. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    Pullers work really well..
     
  11. Bill

    Bill New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2004
    I have a leaky tub faucet and believe I need to replace the seals within the hot water side within the handles. The problem is that I cannot get the handles off of the stems and am afraid to force it off. Perhaps the deposits have made it difficult to pop them off ( i am assuming that they are supposed to pop off similarly to sink handles ) and I need to force them off. I have separate turning handles for hot and cold, and then the direction (shower or tub) knob between the two. The handles stick out from the tile about 2 inches or so and it seems that there is a cover over top of the stems that extend to the handles. Any help is appreciated - my plumber took them off over a year ago, but have no idea how he did it. The handles themselves have small screws that appear to attach them to the stem. I removed these screws but the handles do not come off. Any help is appreciated, sorry if my terminology is not correct. Regards
    Bill
     
  12. Mad Plumber

    Mad Plumber Mad Skills

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2005
    Occupation:
    Plumming
    Bill,
    : You must be married. Here you are using good simple English to describe an everyday problem and you're still apologizing. All you need, is a handle puller, which can be gotten from a hardware store. The things will set you back about 15 bucks, but will spare the tub handles getting all mucked up. Check out these "Smart tools" from PASCO Specialty. These are not dumb tools, they are smart! Why would you buy dumb tools anyway. They call this one "Big Yank faucet handle puller" Even if you're from the South, you can use this thing. I've even seen people that aren't very big use it. You don't have to be a big Yank to use this tool, just smart.
    : by the way, I gotta go, Yes dear, I'm sorry dear, no I won't do it again dear. I'll be right there dear, Sorry guy, I gotta go!
    : Mad Plumber

    After you break the pin off the faucet handle puller. Fish the broken pin out of the screw hole. grind or file the end of the puller flat.
    put the screw back into the faucet handle all the way, then back it out 2-3 turns. use the handle puller to pull the handle out a little bit, then take it off. back out the screw 2-3 more turns. Then repeat with the handle puller.
    usualy doing this 2-3 times will move the handle enough so that it is free and can be pulled off.
    When replacing the handle, coat the splines and the screw hole liberaly with grease. Silicon grease is better but any kind will do. (bacon grease will work although it does tend to smell a bit after a while).
     
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    DEpending on how the faucet was made, there may NOT be any "washers" to replace, in which case you replace the entire stem.
     
  14. MNshowerdude2

    MNshowerdude2 not to be confused with showerdude, im showerdude2

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Location:
    Minnesota
    sometimes its a valve seat....these are usually brass and take a beating when the Flatwasher fails and you force it harder and harder...... I usually replace o ring, washer, washer screw and the valve seat, after which I take a toke on the peace pipe and rejoice..... Ez peezy

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2017
  15. MNshowerdude2

    MNshowerdude2 not to be confused with showerdude, im showerdude2

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Location:
    Minnesota
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