Shower Pressure/ Diverter problem?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Patcs2, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Patcs2

    Patcs2 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm new here...lucky for me, I found the forum just as I'm starting a bathroom renovation. I see several threads dealing with toilet falnge questions, but can't find the answer to my particular question (either that or I didn't recognize the answer when I saw it...always a possibility:eek:).

    The old tile floor was set on a one inch high mortar bed laid on the the concrete slab. The new tile will be put down in thinset over a 40 mil anti-crack membrane. That's going to leave me with a high-rise toilet flange sitting about 3/4" over the top of the tile once it's laid. :eek:

    The flange in there now is 4" across at the top, but narrows to 3" and sits inside a 4" drain pipe. Both the flange and the drain appear to be ABS (house was built in 1976) and are cemented together tight. The 4" drain was very jaggedly chipped away to open the stubout for the original flange installation. Cutting the flange off flush with the slab would leave the last inch or so of it cemented inside the 4" drain pipe. How do I go about getting this thing out so I can drop a new flange in once I've got the new tile laid?

    Any suggestions appreciated.

    Pat
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,296
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Do you know the flange is supposed to set on top of the finished floor? I would suggest you hire a plumber to cut the pipe down and install a new flange after the floor is laid.
  3. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    The slab will need to be busted out so the proper pipe can be retrofitted to the new flooring.
  4. Patcs2

    Patcs2 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Oh, well... that's what I was afraid of...
    Here are a couple pictures I remembered I had that I guess will only reinforce the need to have the slab busted out. The first shows the flange in relation to the old tile and mortar bed (sitting on top, like it's s'posed to). The second shows the problem I have now. You can see from the second picture how the flange would be way too high for the toilet if I did nothing and just laid the floor. I've worked with PVC, ABS and the related cements before, used compression fittings and sweated pipe fittings on copper before, but never dug into concrete for a project.

    Any chance this is DIY?

    Thanks for the input
    Pat

    Attached Files:

  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Is it fitting into a straight section of pipe or into the hub of an elbow?

    If into a pipe you could cut it off flush and use a rambit to cut the remainder of the closet flange out. Then install the new flange at the proper height.
  6. Patcs2

    Patcs2 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    The drain goes down more than a foot before the bend, so the rambit might be just the ticket! If the drain is 4", I'd get the PF-27 listed below, correct?
    I don't have the steadiest hands (several strokes following two heart surgeries :eek:) and might get a find to help with this. I'm just a little concerned about the thing getting away from me or a helper... the same way I've wondered while getting a root canal "What kind of damage would it do if that drill got away from him?" (though I guess a rambit-gone-wild incident would be, hopefully, a little less bloody)

    "Economy PVC socket saving tool - RamBit
    The "Ram Bit"
    An inexpensive way to reuse PVC/ABS plastic fittings.
    #PF-20 - 1/2"= $19.98
    #PF-21 - 3/4"= $20.49
    #PF-22 - 1" = $21.99
    #PF-23 - 1 1/4"= $25.49
    #PF-24 - 1 1/2"= $25.93
    #PF-25 - 2" = $26.75
    #PF-26 - 3" = $43.56
    #PF-27 - 4" = $44.76

    The Ram Bit Repairs: Schedule 40, 80 and Class 200.
    Works on: ABS DWV; PVC DWV; PVC Pressure.
    Removes plastic pipe from plastic fittings.
    Fits 3/8" variable speed power drill."
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,227
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    flange

    Cut the flange off flush with the floor. Remove the concrete from around the pipe and after the tile is installed glue the new flange to the outside of the pipe the way it should have been done in the first place. BUt because of the difference in the two floors, are you going to have a "step down" bathroom?
  8. Patcs2

    Patcs2 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    No plan to have a stepdown from the toilet area. I'm at the slab level now and want to have the new floor all at the same height. The stepdown would save me having to dig into the concrete though...
    The idea behind getting a 4" inch flange to "slip over" the drain pipe rather than a 4-to-3 "slip in" is that there's no bottleneck?
  9. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    217
    Location:
    Ontario
    I thought most people were satisfied with inside-fit flanges on 4-inch pipe. Maybe an outside fit one would be better in some sense, but wouldn't reaming out the old flange with a rambit and setting a new inside one be faster, easier and fully acceptable?

    My advice to the OP is to be sure to locate and drill holes for lead anchors before gluing on the new flange, then use stainless screws into the lead anchors to secure it. Also make sure you use a flange with one of those pretty stainless steel rings -- not a thick all-plastic one. Having an extra-thick flange seems to cause people trouble; I know it did me.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    Rambits are designed and sized to ream out the inside of a fitting (i.e., remove the pipe from a fitting) so the fitting can be reused, not the inside of a pipe like the current flange on the inside of the pipe.
  11. Patcs2

    Patcs2 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    rambit

    So would the rambit work if I cut the metal flange off the top? Then what I'd have is a short 3" piece of ABS (the bottom 3/4" or so of the flange) inside the larger 4" ABS drain.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,227
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    flange

    NO, what you would have is a piece of 3" hub that the RamBit would just slide through it. The reason for an outside flange is that you can slide it down to the floor and then saw the pipe off if necessary. I use hundreds of 4" outside flanges to every inside one. And NEVER use a 3" one of any kind.
  13. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    217
    Location:
    Ontario
    Interesting. I see that -- Pipe Shredder, Ram Bit, Pipe Hog -- all the same.

    Still, I SWEAR I've seen a video of a tool that would cut out an inside fit flange in a similar way to one of these reamers. It came with a doohicky to fit down into the riser to catch all the swarf and had a different alignment setup to take its alignment from the riser.
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I'm sorry I brain farted on the rambit size...

    Put a hose clamp around the outside of the pipe and break out the flange inside or chip cement and go to the outside.
  15. Patcs2

    Patcs2 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shower diverter goes halfway?

    Grateful for all the help on earlier dilemmas I posted. I'm nearing the end of what wasn't supposed to be a leisurely project but turned into one... Another question though:

    I put the tub/shower trim on this morning and even with the diverter turned all the way on, about half the water is coming out of the tub spout. The shower definitely has more than a dribble coming out...you could use it to shower, but it would be tedious trying to rinse off. There's just not much pressure up there, since much of it's still flowing out the tub spout below.

    It's a three-handle faucet and I changed the Sayco stems earlier in the project (the hot and cold flow both work fine). I used Danco's three-handle Sayco rebuild/remodeling kit from HD. The shower head is a simple Aquadyne with a full and "water-saver" setting. All the sleeves seem to be well-threaded onto the part of the stem behind the wall and the hot and cold handles are screwed on straight and tight. There's no leaking I can see up at the shower, nor from the stems or diverter. The optimist in me hopes that the diverter stem is somehow wound too "tight" inside (is that possible?). My inner pessimist thinks there's a gusher behind the tile Hardibacker and I'll soon see the greenboard on the backside of the wall turn to mush, though it's been a couple hours since the test and I see or hear nothing like that.

    Any suggestions appreciated.
    Pat
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    A divertor can only leak when the water is on, so that isn't an issue. Greenboard in a shower isn't a good idea, but that's another topic altogether.

    A generic rebuild kit may not be the best. Not sure if you can get an OEM one or not.
  17. Patcs2

    Patcs2 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Greenboard on backside

    Jim-
    The greenboard is only on the backside of that wall (it's a privacy wall behind which is the toilet). So the shower wall with all the plumbing inside -- from outside going in -- is sealed tile/ thinset/ hardibacker/ tarpaper. I just figured that if the shower head supply that comes up out of the diverter is leaking somewhere internally...say where the 1/2" galvanized does the 90 toward the showerhead mounting arm... the first I'd see of it would be wet greenboard on the otrher face of the wall. I had no reason to suspect that while everything was exposed - the pipes are all good- but as I said, that's the pessimist in me...

    Pat
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