Stubborn faucet flange won't budge

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Innova, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. Innova

    Innova New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    San Diego CA
    Guys, I posted this in Bathrooms and Tubs...but I think this is more a plumbing question than a remodel one. So I hope you don't mind me posting again here.

    A 1" high lavatory pitted flange I want to replace. Closed bathroom,
    no windows...20 years of hardwater.

    It ain't budging off the threads. Tho I didn't have a strap wrench handy...the
    channel lock pliers I used gripped pretty well. Plenty of muscle torque.
    I let it soak with CLR for awhile. Not long enuff?

    What do you guys do in this case? I'm a painting contractor and I'm pretty
    handy guy. I'm thinking of taking my Dremel Tool with the small circular ceramic
    cut off blade and just going at the sucker. I'm thinking of cutting straight down
    (on the side) and then prying it off.

    I don't care about damage to nipple...replacing it.

    Does this sound like the plan?
  2. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I would try a large, curved channel locks. If that didn't work, I'd heat it up with a torch. And if that didn't work, I'd cut it off with my rotozip or a sawzall with hacksaw blade. BTW, there's no need to double post. We look at all the categories.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    flange

    A picture would be handy so we could try to identify the brand.
  4. Innova

    Innova New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    San Diego CA
    What brand? As if I installed it originally? I looked below at the nipple and saw no markings. Want a pic? What will that tell you?

    With all due respect...what do you have to add besides me going at it with my Dremel tool and ceramic cutoff blade.

    No disrespect intended. But you MUST have come across some pretty damn calcium frozen on flanges in your time.

    Did all of them come off with a twist?

    I know I said I didn't have a strap wrench. AND... I have a wrench underneath secured to the nipple against the wall. I can put as much twist pressure as I want now.

    I still have a feeling that even with a strap wrench...this sucker is frozen.

    What do you guys do then? Maybe you've never had such a problem?
    Why not a reply from someone with such a problem?

    Noted...try heat. good idea. Curved channel locks? maybe.

    Didn't mean any disrespect.

    I'm kinda good with Dremel Tool and circular ceramic cut off blades (cutting notches into security bar bolts to remove them).. Should make work of it in no time.

    I am thinking about using a torch on it (as suggested)...that is....if you've solved this type problem I am having.
    Thanks.
    Cool site.

    Pics upcoming just for whatever.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also...notice the low profile flange size. 1" high. All Home Depots carry are the taller "shower" size flanges.
    I saw some low profile 1" flanges..but they were curved at the bottom and not flat like those seen in the pic.

    I'd appreciate any help in buying similar style lave faucets flanges that are cheap and low profile (as depicted).
    OR A COMPLETE SET. As long as handles aren't too tall like shower handles.

    Flange size hole is 1". Your basic 1986 condominum built lave. I have this sink and one other to replace.
    I don't mind replacing them both!....I need it not SHOWER type height and relatively not too expensive.

    I was thinking of just replacing the pitted flanges in the bathroom.....keeping the handles.LOL ...
    The other flange will be a bear to get off too!


    The other set needing replacing is a vanity and may be easier as its not in a closed bathroom...it's in an alcove with more air.

    Suggestions? At least one of you say that torching the flange does wonders.

    Actually..one here may suggest a strap wrench and some muscle. Not a bad idea either. Heat and strap wrench.
    Hard water over 20 years can almost fuse threads.

    LAST OF ALL...SORRY FOR SUCH A BIG LONG FAT POST! I'LL END UP WITH MY TRUSTY DREMMEL TOOL AND CUT OFF BLADE PROBABLY. (and if that is the case...then take note plumbers..I am a can do guy....Dremmel Tool is kinda handy-small ceramic cut off blades).

    I googled this problem for an hour btw.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  5. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    The reason you didn't find an answer Googling is because it's not something we come across very often. I've never had a problem removing any kind of lavatory faucet flange or any kind of flange for that matter. I've had some nasty frozen cartridges and handles, but the flanges usually came off easy. That's why they make cartridge pullers and handle pullers and not "flange pullers."

    You could also try soaking it in vinegar overnight to try to dissolve the mineral deposits. If you have a large vice grips, you can squeeze it on the narrow part of the flange and bang it CCW with a hammer. That may loosen it up. If not, go to the torch, or just try to cut it off like you want to anyway. Just don't cut into that nice marble countertop.:D
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    The best, bar none, liquid penetrant for breaking frozen, limed, rusted or whatever threads is called PB Blaster. I have tried them all and this stuff is THE BEST.

    Every plumber should have a can of this on the truck.

    http://www.pbblaster.com/store/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=1

    Just let it work.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2006
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    flange

    It is a Price Pfister as I suspected from your original posting. I have had the best luck by putting some WD-40 into the recess, holding the bottom with a Crescent wrench as you are doing, and then grabbing the large outer flange, not the 1" high riser, with large Channelock pliers. I have only had a couple that this did not work and I had to cut the flange off. Price Pfister parts are very common in most areas. As a last resort you can call 1-800-PFAUCET and order them from Price Pfister themselves. You might have to download, or have them fax, a parts liist for an 8" wide-spread faucet with Windsor handles. The handles for that faucet are the same as the shower handles, the flanges are different. Be careful with the cutoff tool because the threads go all the way down to the steel locknuts on the countertop.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2006
  8. Innova

    Innova New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    San Diego CA
    Thanks for the replies. I'll try everything but the Dremel tool.
    I'll also buy a small strap wrench.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    strap wrench

    Forget the strap wrench. You do not want to put any force on the 1" risers. That will just torque them and make them grab the faucet harder. Grab the large portion so it does not squeeze the threaded part.
  10. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    hj, you should give the PB Blaster a try. Far better tha WD-40 which is not realy a penetrant.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    wd40

    All it has to do is seep into the threads and lubricate them.
  12. Innova

    Innova New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    San Diego CA
    Success! Turning at the flat base instead of the riser was the key...that and PB blaster. Thanks!

    After getting the flange off, the metal circular retaining ring is now also frozen on to the threads.
    It holds the nipple onto the marble hole.
    I've sprayed it with PB Buster and will let it work. I may have to cut that retainer ring off.

    I have a feeling noone makes the short risers anymore as seen in pic.
    I might be able to go with taller one and cut it off with hacksaw maybe,
    depending on threading. The one depicted is simple hole...no innner ledge.

    I could go with some other faucet\spout setup I suppose, something nicer.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2006
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    riser

    They still make the short ones, but now it is a smooth chrome piece and a threaded plastic part to hold it down.
  14. Innova

    Innova New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    San Diego CA
    I forget. I don't think so..not positive. The only ones they sell at Home Depot are the taller ones. Since the threading MIGHT be at the bottom (not sure) , I don't see why I couldn't cut it down to size maybe. I forgot to look at the ones at HD to see if they had thread at the bottom. I'll do that when I get the rusty ring off.

    Once I finally get the nipple out...I'll try and match it up with the replacements I see at Home Depot. HD also sells a $34 complete 2 faucet pack with handles.
    It's the same style I have now.
    I may just end up buying those if I can't find replacement parts. Then maybe saw off the taller flanges that pack comes with.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2006
  15. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Pp

    That is not a "nipple" it is the shutoff valve. There is no reason to cut the locknut off and remove the valve. Just go to a good plumbing supply store and get new Price Pfister flanges with the plastic retainer. You are trying to make the job a lot harder than it has to be. Oh, and I accept your apology about the having "nothing to add" comment.
  16. Innova

    Innova New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    San Diego CA
    heh...I was sorry for a large post...not adding to it. That a hint? OK
    End of story coming up.
    Trying to remove the working valve part was not possible. I could not get it off.
    I ended up having to cut off the retaining ring to bring it to someplace for replacement.
    Unfortunatley I cut into the threads of the complete assembly..making
    replacing part of it a no go. I found a local place that still carries a generic
    complete assembly and installed it with no problem.

    I found the shorter flanges too.
    The only bummer? The new replacement flanges now are just a tiny bit
    less concave and they will not sit flat on the vanity when screwed down. I ended up taking off the
    new brass retaining ring and grinding it down flatter and smaller. That worked. Took about 5 minutes.

    I'll have to do the same with the other retainer rings for 3 flanges as they are frozen on there already. I'll manage it with my Dremel tool. I'll cut a circular piece of galvanized metal to protect the surface while I shave them down.

    I hope I didn't overstay my welcome here on this one subject. I may be asking for more excellent advise from ppl here.
    Thanks for the help. PB Blaster is great.

    Innova
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2006
  17. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    rings

    Why are you removing the locknuts? The only reason to do that would be to replace the faucet.
  18. Innova

    Innova New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    San Diego CA
    I meant to say originally, the faucet was leaking out the spout when turned off.
    I really tried to remove the stem from the base, it turned about a quarter turn and just would not turn any further, so I decided to replace the whole thing.
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