how to remove the stem from a bath tub faucet

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by templeavenue, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. templeavenue

    templeavenue New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    San Diego
    Hi.. I need to replace the stem from the leaking faucet that is installed on the bath tub. Pictures show how the faucet is installed. There is no access panel to it. I unscrewed the handle to remove it. Then I saw the stem covered with a steel cover with hard plastic (attached or glued together) at the bottom. I was trying to remove the steel cover by lifting the plastic and it eventually came out but I think it's broken as in the picture.

    I could not remove the stem. I took a picture and took it to a Home Depot and the guy said I had to remove the stem by unscrewing it (where I indicated with an arrow in the picture). It wouldn't come out. I put the WD-40 and left it for a few minutes (even a night) and it's not coming out. I ensure that I was doing it counter clockwise, and the nut had some damage already by my force. I used both the 17mm wrench and an adjustable wrench.

    Is it the correct to remove the stem from the nut where I put an arrow? Any suggestions how to remove it?

    Thanks in advance.

    Attached Files:

  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,684
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The small plastic piece should have been unscrewed from the valve body, NOT pried off. now you need a new piece for that. The stem WILL unscrew if you use 5/8" deep socket and turn it counterclockwise. You probably have the "washerless" stem and if so you need a complete new unit, but it has to be the short stem for a Roman tub and you also need a left and right hand version because you have lever handles. If that is your version, it does not have a seat in the valve body.
  3. templeavenue

    templeavenue New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thanks for your help. I bought a 5/8 deep socket from the Home Depot and tried it. It did not come off. The socket seems a bit smaller (I felt like it almost fit but if I looked closely it was not). The nut was some damaged by me when I had tried to remove it with a wrench. Do you think it's due to the damage I have done or I should get the next size up (1/2 " deep socket?).

    thanks again.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,684
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Remove the remainder of the plastic holder and then use an adjustable wrench.
  5. templeavenue

    templeavenue New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    San Diego
    thanks... But I am a bit confused now as to where to remove it. If I remove the remainder of plastic and use an adjustable wrench to remove the whole thing from the bottom (the closet thing to the bath tub), is it going to come off? Or I should only remove it from the but I put arrow in the picture and removing the remainder of plastic will make it easier?

    I am a very newbie here.. Thanks
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,684
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    You are making this a lot more complicated that it has to be. Remove that piece of plastic because it is in the way and has to be done anyway. Then just grab that hex with ANY KIND OF WRENCH you have on hand and unscrew it. Just be sure to "turn the faucet on" first so the stem does not jam when you unscrew it.
  7. templeavenue

    templeavenue New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    San Diego
    Ok..I see what you meant.. I tried to remove the nut from the other handle using the same deep socket and it seems to come off easily...

    So, I guess I stripped the nut when I was trying to remove it with an adjustable wrench. I did use WD-40 but it did not help.

    I tried again with both an adjustable wrench and deep socket.. I could tell that the nut was stripped when I used deep socket..

    Any suggestions how to remove that stripped nut?
  8. BarryP

    BarryP Reporter

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Hamden, CT
    Use a monkey wrench. The jaw has some play in it so when you rotate the wrench (in the direction of the open side of the jaw), it bites down on the nut. A brilliant tool.

    If you only have a crescent wrench, be sure to seat the nut fully in the crescent/ jaw, so it's braced on 3 sides, and turn the wrench in the direction of the open end of the jaw. Similar principle as above.

    Hope this helps,

    Barry
  9. templeavenue

    templeavenue New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thanks Barry... I did try with a crescent wrench and in the way you described at the very beginning. I could not use a monkey wrench because the nut was too thin to be bit down for a monkey wrench.

    Any other tools? maybe a saw to cut it or just get a plumber and pay for it?
  10. BarryP

    BarryP Reporter

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Hamden, CT
    I'm going to disagree with you here. You may have to angle the monkey wrench so the mouth of the jaw is angled down ever so slightly. That way it'll have less of an opportunity to twist off. There is a bit of finesse involved. Of course the wrench teeth need to be sharp.

    The most important things to do is be calm, relaxed and know that you aren't the first person to experience this, of which most had successful outcomes. You just have to believe.

    Also, as you saw on the other faucet, this nut is not as thin as it looks, but actually has a threaded shaft which is now buried in the body of the faucet. It can take the torque. You won't break it.

    Add a length of metal pipe (with a diameter allowing it to slip onto the wrench handle) to lengthen the wrench may make it easier to turn.

    Barry
  11. templeavenue

    templeavenue New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    San Diego
    I took the pics again after attempting with a monkey wrench and a crescent wrench to show the current state of the nut. I think it's almost gone..

    20130814_063018.jpg 20130814_063118.jpg

    Any other suggestions?
  12. BarryP

    BarryP Reporter

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Hamden, CT
    I know this may sound silly, but...

    Can you post pic of the wrenches you are using?

    Also, see the most bottom nut? It is half of the assembly which fastens the valve to the tub. See how thin it is? A wrench is able to bite onto that. Therefore, it can bite onto the nut you need to remove.

    If your wrench keeps slipping, it's too loose (open).

    CORRECTION:

    My term "Monkey Wrench" is referring to a Pipe Wrench. I should not have been so cavalier with my terms. A pipe wrench has teeth to bite down on a pipe or other cylindrical object. Facets are not required.

    Ridgid 31010 10" pipe wrench

    The pipe wrench also will require about an 1/8 of a turn to get proper purchase on the nut.

    Sorry for causing further difficulties and frustrations.

    Barry
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2014
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,684
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Use a pipe wrench with teeth that will grab it. Or call a plumber before you make it so bad that is is impossible for him to remove it. I had one that was almost that bad yesterday, but was able to get the faucet apart.
  14. templeavenue

    templeavenue New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    San Diego
    Here are the wrenches I used...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2014
  15. BarryP

    BarryP Reporter

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Hamden, CT
    The red one wins! Get it on there and even tighten it while it's on, but before you start turning. Then turn.

    A 1" (?) pipe, slid over the handle to extend the length of the wrench will increase your force, provided you don't choke-up on the handle.

    Adding some penetrating oil (overnight) won't hurt or more WD40.

    Be patient and go for it!

    Barry
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,051
    Location:
    New England
    WD40 is some neat stuff, but penetrating oil will trump it in this situation. Something like PBlaster is good. But, once you get a good purchase with the pipe wrench, it should come apart.
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