Replace/upgrade stem on old shower

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by waterway, May 13, 2010.

  1. waterway

    waterway New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Burlington, NC
    I have rebuilt my old bathroom and the new walls are moved out a couple of inches, making the old faucet stems too short to protrude out of the wall.

    Can I replace the Gerber 1B-2H and 1B-2C stems with another type, and if so, how? When I went to get new stems to replace the old worn ones, I saw dozens of different stems, some with different lengths of stems.

    Or do they make stem extensions that can extend the stem a few inches so they protrude out of the wall and a handle can be attached?

    Any help is appreciated.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,948
    Location:
    New England
    Some manufacturers make what is called an extension kit for their valves if the thing is burried too deep in the wall. But, if the existing valves are not up to current code (i.e., it has the required anti-scald technology), you did yourself a big disservice by not replacing them when you redid the walls. One of the pros may know the specifics on that particular valve.
  3. asktom

    asktom Member

    Messages:
    531
    Location:
    Victor, MT
    Danco shows their 1B-2 stems as being used on sinks & Lavs, they are little ones only 1 3/4" long or so. Are you sure that is the right number? In any case, stem extensions are available - Larsen Supply # 03-1779. They can be used to extend from about 1" to 3". The base where they slip over the old broach has an OD of 1/2" which is sometimes an issue if they have to fit inside an escutheon nipple.
  4. waterway

    waterway New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Burlington, NC
    Thanks for this information. The house we bought is old, I think the previous owners did the constructions, wiring, plumbing themselves, and its a hodge-podge of pieces. I will look into the handle extensions, that is the easiest solution. Would I have to have all new pipes put in to use a different stem part?
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,948
    Location:
    New England
    Stem extensions are 'bolt' on, no plumbing changes are required (assuming you can find one that fits).
  6. asktom

    asktom Member

    Messages:
    531
    Location:
    Victor, MT
    The quick answer is that to change the stems you have to change the body of the faucet in the wall. To do that, you have to open up the wall on one side or the other - in a perfect world the shower backs up to a closet. The long answer is that you can't just go shopping for a longer stem, they are not interchangable. Oh, there are the fluke times another will work, but to go looking for one is a dream quest. A plumber would bust the wall to change the faucet, or, use stem extensions. The number I gave above will only work if you have a Gerber broach. Extensions come in 10 or so sizes, not all sizes.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Stem extensions, when available, DO NOT always work. Often there is a conflict with the rest of the trim because they have a larger diameter. Longer stems are also SELDOM available, unless the manufacturer made several different sized faucets which used the same dimensions at the operating end. In other words, in most cases, you screwed up and are out of luck.
  8. waterway

    waterway New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Burlington, NC
    Ouch. While I appreciate the bitter dose of reality, I am going to try the stem extensions previously mentioned. If they do not work, I am out a couple dozen dollars. If they do work, I have saved a week and hundreds of dollars. And in either case, I have learned to plan better next time.
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