Replace drain basket in bathtub

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by wolf, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. wolf

    wolf New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    texas
    I need to replace a drain basket in my bathtub that has a lot of corrosion. The stopper no longer maintains a tight seal therefore the tub will not hold water. The crossbars are broken off, so it looks like the standard basket wrench I've heard about will not work. I am very hesitant to cut it out because I would probably do more damage than if I left it alone. Please help. Thanks for any advice.

    * I am new and posted this under the general plumbing thread also. I didn't realize there was a more accurate thread topic for my problem*
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,824
    Location:
    New England
    You can certainly get the old one out, but may have problems finding an exact replacement without having to replace the whole drain as well. It can be done, but not always easy.

    You'd want to post a picture so there's a chance someone can identify it and let you know if there's a replacement. You'd likely need access to underneath as well.

    To get the old one out, you'd likely need a hacksaw to cut a notch, then use a chisel and hammer to try to unscrew it. If that doesn't work, you'd take out a small section, then peal the old one out. Doing this without compromising the existing threads of the shoe may be beyond your skill level.
  3. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,142
    Location:
    South*East
    You should have no problem finding a replacement as they only come in two sizes. They even make a replacement with a bushing so it will fit either one.

    John
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Actually there are about 2 common sizes...
    And a bunch more that you can find adapter bushings for...
    And some that can't be matched so you end up replacing the whole drain...
  5. marcwd

    marcwd Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I am reviving this thread in advance of my attempting to replace the corroding tub basket in my 1920's-era cast-iron tub.

    What is the likelihood of being able to remove the basket without destroying the shoe and, if the shoe remains intact, finding a matching basket or adapter bushing such that the whole drain would ultimately not require replacement?

    Attached Files:

  6. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,239
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Given the great amount of access you appear to have, why NOT replace the entire drain assembly?
  7. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,142
    Location:
    South*East
    From the looks of it I would say it hooks up to a lead trap. Not a job for a DIY call a plumber.

    John
  8. marcwd

    marcwd Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    My DIY ability is limited, at best, to removing and replacing the basket. I would not attempt to replace the shoe myself.

    I'm trying to determine whether to give it a shot myself or go immediately to Plan B (hire a plumber).
  9. marcwd

    marcwd Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I don't understand the implications of a lead trap to a basket (and, possibly, a shoe) replacement. Could you kindly elaborate?
  10. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,239
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    I guess the big factor then is how bad you need to use the tub.

    If you take it apart successfully, you might spend days getting something to replace the basket with and it might or might not work when you are done.

    If the plumber comes, he will likely cut out the whole works and re-do it.

    I cannot see the trap in the picture.
  11. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,142
    Location:
    South*East
    What I'm looking at is to the right of the shoe in the picture. It looks like a wiped joint for the trap just off the branch of the cast iron Y.

    John
  12. marcwd

    marcwd Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I am able to be without the tub for a while, so I'm not too concerned about that. Just trying to get an idea whether I could likely be successful in just removing and replacing the basket on this vintage tub.

    If the consensus here is that the shoe would almost assuredly need replacement as well, I won't attempt anything myself.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  13. marcwd

    marcwd Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I just looked over the setup again.

    The trap was replaced at some point with plastic parts. It's fitted in between the lower end of the vertical pipe (to which the shoe output pipe connects) and the branch of the cast iron Y.
  14. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,239
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    The tool you want is called a drain key. [​IMG]

    The risks are that the threads in a tub shoe might be one of many, and you might damage the threads removing the basket. If you try to force the basket free, the shoe may twist and could damage the connection to the pipe.

    Looking at the condition of what you have, you might want to consider just getting a new tub stopper and living with it until you are prepared to bite the bullet on a remodel.
    [​IMG]
  15. marcwd

    marcwd Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    You make a good argument against my proceeding with this project for now.

    Nothing is leaking at the moment; The only thing driving this is the appearance of the basket. (I just had the tub refinished and I originally thought that I could find some sort of chrome flange to cover the basket.)

    For the future, it's good to know about the drain key. But for now I think I will put this on hold.

    Many thanks!
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,304
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; why NOT replace the entire drain assembly?

    I guess the biggest reason would be that he does NOT have an overflow opening in his tub. And given that it is an old "remote overflow drain", the odds of it having a conventional sized thread borders on zero as far as replacing the plug is concerned, because those drains were specific to each manufacturer. The difficulty of removing the plug has very little to do with anything other than HOW the original installer put it in. IF he used any sealant on the threads it will probably have to be cut out.
  17. marcwd

    marcwd Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Thanks, hj. Your comments lend additional weight to my not attempting to remove the basket.

    The "remote overflow drain" to which you refer -- Is that the section of vertical drain piping that rises above the normal water line and stops there?

    Also, what about my original idea of simply covering the existing basket with some sort of chrome flange - something like this: http://tinyurl.com/473aplq

    Would I just be asking for trouble by adding this (e.g., water pooling around the flange and not fully draining)?
  18. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,304
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    When the tub was originally installed, the faucet had a center "knob" which was attached to a tube inside the "overflow" riser. When it was lowered, it closed the drain so the tub would fill with water, but when it reached a certain level, it would "overflow" into the top of the movable tube to maintain the water level in the tub. When the handle was rotated, it raised the tube, and then the water drained out of the tub. One feature of that type of tub was that the water spout was either where an overflow opening would normally be, or near the bottom of the tub. Either way, it was a potential source of contamination since the tub water could be "sucked" through the spout and into the water system. That potential for contamination still exists because you still use the "illegal" spout.
  19. marcwd

    marcwd Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Yes, I see the tube that sits on the overflow riser. It has a tab with a hole which, no doubt, was the former connection point for raising and lowering it. (The actual drain closing mechanism must have been removed at some point because the tube is in the lowered position and yet the drain, of course, is open.)

    What is curious is that there is no evidence of a "center knob" for controlling the drain closure. The original knob set is there on the tiled wall (though no longer operational, having been replaced by a new valve set beneath), but the tile shows nothing that would indicate the former existence of a center knob. Follow-up: Perhaps the diverter knob of the new valve set is in the place of the original drain closure control. But then, how was the diverter function provided for originally, or was there no shower then?

    Also, it's interesting to note that the potential for contamination exists despite the fact the water lines are above the tub spout. There must be a condition where a vacuum is created in the water lines which would then suck the tub water up into the lines.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011
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