stuck set screw

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by leeelson, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. leeelson

    leeelson New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Nevada
    Couldn't find my problem with a search....

    I have a Kohler K-T14420 Shower control whose stem extension is very loose. I think a retaining screw may have broken off (I have a parts diagram). My problem is that I can't remove the set screw from the handle stem despite repeated applications of WD-40. I apply a fair amount of force, enough to deflect the 2" hex tool a half inch at the end but I'm afraid of breaking it off inside the screw. Part of the problem is that when the shower is off, the screw points down, so WD-40 doesn't really soak in. (When the shower is on full, the screw is horizontal, and I'm quite wet since there's no shower shut off)

    I considered heat, but since the exterior is chrome, I couldn't see applying my torch to the handle. If heat is the answer, how do I apply it without ruining the finish?

    If heat is not the answer, what is? As a last resort, I think I can drill out the set screw. I'm not too worried about having to replace the handle stem and stem extension. Is this the best way to go? What a pain.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,253
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The set screw should be hardened so forget about drilling it out. Heat will not usually damage the chrome finish if applied moderately.
  3. leeelson

    leeelson New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Nevada
    Did apply moderate heat, however the set screw was rounded and is no longer possible to remove with a hex key. What is option #2?
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,809
    Location:
    New England
    Too late for now, but WD40 wasn't the best solution to trying to loosen up the screw! A penetrating oil something like PBlaster, which is designed especially for this, would likely have worked better, if it would at all.

    You may be stuck with trying to get a new trim piece after cutting the old one off, that's if you can still get one. You could have shut the main water off to the house, oiled it up, and left it say overnight to soak in.
  5. leeelson

    leeelson New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Nevada
    post.jpg post-1.jpg
    Progress. I was able to drill out the set screw without too much trouble. Now I need to know what to replace. Some things are obvious:broken screws, drilled out base, etc. But I'm not sure where the original problem lies.

    The symptoms are that the whole stem assembly moves in and out, which it shouldn't. Also, I can rotate the stem counterclockwise from the off position, which I couldn't before. I suspect that the pressure balancing valve itself (Kohler K-304) is at fault but I don't know whether to replace the mixer cap, valve or both. I've attached a couple of drawings that could help and could attach a detailed parts list.

    Also, there are 2 screw heads on valves adjacent to the pressure valve, i.e. on the supply lines. Are these likely to shut off the water supply? If so, that would be very useful.

    Thanks for any input
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,770
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Those should shut off the water to the valve.

    Sometimes it's less expensive to pick up a new rough valve and rob the parts off of it.
    However, are you sure it's not a matter of snugging up the bolts and screws here?
  7. leeelson

    leeelson New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Nevada
    All accessible screws have been removed. The pressure balancing unit and valve cap are still attached (not sure whether to pry them off). There are no bolts. valve_parts.jpg
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,809
    Location:
    New England
    FWIW, on some designs, the stop is in the trim, not the cartridge, so it might just rotate until the trim is back on.
  9. leeelson

    leeelson New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Nevada
    Good thought, but push the stem in and it stops properly. Called Kohler and they confirm a problem with the valve cap. Free replacement is in the mail. :)
Similar Threads: stuck screw
Forum Title Date
Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog stuck tub stem seat- what size screw extractor to buy Jan 22, 2013
Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog Stuck set screw in Moen shower faucet Oct 14, 2010
Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog Stuck Shower Stem with no bonnet- 60's Wolverine Apr 1, 2014
Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog My shower head sounds like a bird is stuck in it! Jan 30, 2014
Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog Removing Stuck Shower Arm and Drain Dec 18, 2013

Share This Page