Leaking Shower after Replacing Stems

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by DHewes, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. DHewes

    DHewes New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    I am in a 15 year old house and my shower had a slow leak (1 drip every 3-5 minutes). It is a dedicated shower (not shower/tub) and it only has the shower head and two separate handles, not the style with a single handle in the middle. I started by taking off the handles and tightening the screws that hold the long plastic piece to the stems as one of these screws were out about 3/8". No luck. So I turned off the water and completely removed the handles, the brass escutcheons, the long plastic pieces and the stems. I took the stems in to Home Depot and learned they were Delta stems. I do not know if that means it is a Delta system, or just uses those stems. Here is a picture of what they look like:

    [​IMG]

    The guy told me they had the parts to rebuild them, or the entire things and they had both Delta and another brand. I went with the Delta name brand and bought two of the entire stems to save a possible second trip. Had everything installed and the water back on in a few minutes - no problems at all with the job itself, everything fit nicely. The shower is working exactly as it is supposed to and I do not see/hear any water dripping from the stem area so it looks like I got everything back together correctly.

    Now the fun part...this did nothing to stop the drip. This is the limit of my plumbing knowledge as far as shower go, so I have no idea what to even check next. Anyone have any ideas/suggestions? I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks!
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,352
    Location:
    New England
    Where exactly is it leaking from? Also, sometimes, it helps before installation if you apply some silicon plumber's grease to the O-rings, otherwise, they can roll out of position when installing or they can be a major pain to actually insert the thing in the first place. It also makes the valve turn smoother, longer.
  3. DHewes

    DHewes New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Jim,

    I appreciate the reply. It is leaking from the shower head where the water normally comes out - the bottom most hole - like the water isn't turned off all the way. Now, for one of those "I really feel stupid" moments - I called Home Depot and spoke with the person that helped me. It seems that I completely misunderstood. The cartridge pictured above does NOT have the springs/seals in it, but rather they are behind this piece. I did not replace those - since I thought they were in this piece. Looks like I do need to make that second trip to Depot and try this again... Will update after I finish.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    It is sad that the store employee was unaware that the stem, with stainless steel seating surface and o-ring shaft seal, RARELY needs to be replaced. Normally, ONLY the seats and springs need to be changed.

    This is such an extremely common repair ( not only Delta but a dozen very common copy cat brands, and now even including Price Pfister) use this seat and spring design. It is very reliable, has been around for 50+ years, and the repair is easy...seats and springs. Really too bad the guy didn't know that.
  5. DHewes

    DHewes New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Well, picked up the seats and springs...another $5 but WAY cheaper than calling someone. Took Jim's advice and bought the plumbing silicone grease as well. Everything back together, again very simple...and this time the leak does appear to have stopped. Thanks guys - appreciate the forum where us non-plumbers can get real world advice.
  6. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    If you had called Delta's 800# they would have sent you the parts free of charge.

    John
  7. DHewes

    DHewes New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    John - Thanks for the info, that is great to know. One of the advantages of being a plumber longer than I have been alive... :)
  8. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    Not quite sure how to take that, but happy to see your problem has been solved.

    John
  9. DHewes

    DHewes New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    John - Sorry...your title says "Plumbing Contractor for 49 years" and while close, I am not quite that old. It was meant in the sense that you have a vast amount of knowledge and experience, nothing more.
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