stuck shower diverter stem, frozen, identify this?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by hauch, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. hauch

    hauch New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Seattle
    I've got a stuck, frozen (presumably corroded) shower diverter valve stem. Valve will not turn (Stuck -> tub spout) Got handle and trim off. Got packing nut removed - but there is no (second, larger, farther back) valve body nut on this particular valve to release the valve stem (some sort of unibody design.) This is unlike any other valve design I have seen described (for easy removal of the stem). It would seem the valve stem could be removed after the packing nut is off (might just pull straight out) - I can see the "packing" (metal washer), and there is probably just enough clearance for it to pull straight out, however the entire stem unit is corroded/frozen in place in the valve body.

    Have tried:
    lime-a-way directly on stem and down the shower spout.

    have put enough torque on the stem (without packing nut) to the point of nearly bending the stem rod and nearly snapping the entire valve body from the supply pipes/wall.

    Have tried hammering stem forward into the valve (lightly) to break corrosion, have tried visegrips to pull stem (not enough grip) and tried wiggling stem side/side. Nothing. won't budge.

    Don't want to try heat (pencil torch) as clearance is minimal, there is combustible insulation in the wall and I'll ruin the washers/seals/packing/seats before I even know if I can obtain a replacement stem.

    Other details:

    Valve is currently not leaking and 100% flow is to tub.

    unknown make model (could really use help to identify cf below)

    standard three valve Hot/diverter/cold setup to tub spout and handheld shower spout.

    Tub/shower was remodeled ~10yrs ago (prev owner) Valve body is brass and looks relatively young. (However other tub/shower in the home is also 3 handle and circa 1950s/60s - would remodeler have put new handles on old valves, tiled it in, called it good? this certainly is not scaldproof/pressure balanced/ moden code compliant) Shower surround is expensive finished large tile work, clearance is limited and there is no access from behind. (grr.)

    Can't identify the fixture make - lever handles(3) classic white porcelain/chrome. Stem is long (9" or more) the stem rod is fairly narrow diameter, splined along its ENTIRE length and the stem rod is uniform in its diameter along the entire length (i.e. nothing to grab ahold of, grrr.) The handle fits over the splines at the end of the stem and secures with an allen head set screw perpendicular to the stem.

    The packing nut is threaded on the outside to thread into the valve body, of course. It is also threaded on the inside lumen - and a short length of threaded pipe threads into the packing nut, and then the trim ring/ estucheon threads onto this piece.

    Next step:
    further penetrating oil on the exposed packing/stem.

    grind down some flats/indentations on the stem rod to give something to grab a hold of and pull outwards(rig some sort of pry bar/fulcrum)?

    If you recognize this diverter valve and/or have any ideas, please chime in,

    Much appreciated!
  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    Can you post a picture? I,m sure someone will be able to identify it.

    John
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Here's a hot tip....PHOTO NEEDED!

    You're no Hemingway with the pen.... the gizmo on the framiztan won't come out...can you help?

    My first thought, if there is a packing nut, there is probably a body, but the photo would help. Do you have a large enough hole in the tile to see further in around the body?
  4. hauch

    hauch New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Seattle
    yes - I agree... If I had a picture I would definitely 've posted it. I'll be back at this location in about a month - and I'll try harder to grab a pic then and then repost the question with a decent pic. I guess the succinct question is: Has anyone ever seen a diverter valve where the stem can be accessed by only removing the packing nut (i.e. there isn't a valve body/cap to remove.) Thanks
  5. hauch

    hauch New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Seattle
    yes yes - I agree... If I had a picture I would definitely 've posted it. I'll be back at this location in about a month - and I'll try harder to grab a pic then and then repost the question with a decent pic. I guess the succinct question is: Has anyone ever seen a diverter valve where the stem can be accessed by removing only a packing nut (i.e. there isn't a valve body/cap to remove.)?

    clearance is really tight - but yes I was able to see much of the valve body and it looks like one seamless brass casting to the right and left (the supply valves) and seamless up and down to the (threaded) connections to the pipes to shower and tub spout. I don't have access to the back of the valve. I'll try again if I can get a good pic to post.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Your best bet would be to pick a a new valve and replace what you have.

    Three handle valves went the way of the Dodo bird years ago.

    The Price Pfister three handles valves are easy to work on. But if can't even move the part from the middle dirverter, then I can't even imagine what brand you may have.
  7. hauch

    hauch New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Seattle
    yup, true that.

    Thanks Terry, - I was just hoping for a simpler, low-cost, solution as opposed to tearing into the nice expensive tile/stone work - and/or ending up with one of those huge chrome "remodel" estucheons covering the old supply valve holes...


  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,048
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    That type of stem is typical of several brands, Artistic Brass being one of them, and some of them use a Price Pfister stem. You are NOT getting to the spot where the stem can be extracted and if you continue putting pressure on the stem you WILL snap it off, probably inside the valve where it will no longer "turn off 100% of the way", and probably "not at all".
  9. hauch

    hauch New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Seattle
    Thanks man - looking more at faucetstems.com, I see an Artistic Brass stem that meets one of the characteristics (long continuously splined) ( http://www.faucetstems.com/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=48&products_id=30) and a Harden (http://www.faucetstems.com/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=749) that uses that threaded tube piece for the estucheon. If anything I'm just going to have to get in there more and get a more clear picture of the valve body. (and make better measurements of the broach to help narrow down the make. I agree I am missing something.
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