The tub diverter spout will not move!

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Cephus, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    I've got a house that was built in 1928 and I have no idea how long the plumbing has been in the oldest bathroom in the house, but it certainly predates my time here. The tub diverter is dead, you can pull it up and it does nothing at all. It's a screw-off type, no set screw so it should be easy, right? Nope. It will not move. I did everything I could to it and eventually, after using a 14" pipe wrench on the thing and not having it move a millimeter, I grabbed my trusty reciprocating saw and hacked off the spout so I could get to the inner workings, you couldn't even tell what kind of attachment it was from the outside. Now, no matter what I do, I cannot get it to move at all. I've heated it with a propane torch. I've soaked it in Liquid Wrench. I've tried to rock it back and forth to break out whatever is inside and nothing works, it will not move at all. I cannot reach any of the pipes in the walls (they were sealed in, which leads me to believe these parts have been there for many decades, at least since the last addition to the house in the early 60s).

    So now what? The diverter is this type:

    Brass Tub Spout with diverter.jpg

    Someone please help!
  2. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    629
    Location:
    NC
    You may need to figure out how your spout is installed and replace it. I would look for a set screw under the bottom or It may unscrew etc.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    Most of the time, replacing the spout is the only reliable fix.
  4. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    I guess people aren't reading what I wrote because I am trying to replace the spout and IT WILL NOT COME OFF THE WALL! I already explained this once.
  5. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    629
    Location:
    NC
    You need a bigger wrench. A 14 inch pipe wrench is just a toy.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    Can you see the pipe? If not, cut some more off. Maybe cut along the pipe and try to split it off. If there's no setscrew, with enough force, it will come out one way or the other.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  7. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    Unfortunately, there's no room for a bigger wrench, I'm wedged between the walls on both sides and the faucet stems. I pulled the handles to give myself as much room as possible but I'm at the point that the wrench I'm using hits the wall on both sides when fastened to the remnant of the diverter.
  8. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    This is what I have left:

    Diverter.jpg

    You can't really see the pipe, it's hidden behind a plate that is mounted onto the bottom of the diverter. I may have to carefully Dremel along the plate to see if I can cut enough to get the plate off. I thought having enough force would do it but so far, no go.
  9. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    629
    Location:
    NC
    How far is it sticking out? It is hard to tell in the photo.
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    The silicon is probably holding everything in place. Tough to cut through. Maybe one of the pros will have seen that type and can offer some other suggestions.
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Like Jim mentions, cut the Silicone off and then use a couple of these.

    [​IMG]

    You many need to resort to a hand drill to drill off the brass end, and then you can use an easy out on the pipe.
    Or you can drill the center and use an easy out.
    Or you can use plumbers pliers and muscle it off.

    That little piece of brass doesn't own you.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  12. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,711
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Awesome Picture Terry! lol - you should have flexed for the photo...... hahahah
  13. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    There is no silicone, I already cleared all of it out. The thing is only attached at the pipe.
  14. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    Maybe half an inch. I put my biggest set of locking pipe pliers on it and they just slip, the central bit is perfectly round.
  15. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    My next step is to drill out the center. I don't want to damage the pipe in the wall though because there is no access whatsoever to replace it. So far though, that piece of brass is beating me. When the whole spout was still there, I put a wrench into the open end of the spout and tried to twist it off that way and I broke the entire end of the spout off and the thing didn't move an inch.
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    There may be silicon underneath the fitting (between it and the tile), gluing it in place very tightly. That stuff can make a bond that's over 1,000#/sq in.

    Without being there, it seems like that hat shaped fitting is probably threaded onto the pipe stub coming out of the wall. Got a Dremel (or similar tool) with a cutoff wheel? You may be able to carefully slice through part of it in several places parallel with the pipe coming out, then split it off the pipe. If it's brass, even if the pipe is steel, it should unscrew, but the silicon may be just bonding it to the wall, making that nearly impossible.

    Sometimes these 'little' jobs just turn out to be a major pain. My last little job ended up taking a lot of thinking, and nearly three days of try this, try that before I finally overwhelmed it. So, don't feel like you're alone...sometimes, it's just a big PITA!
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  17. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    If there is, it's in the threads of the pipe. I took dental floss and wrapped it around the pipe so I know there's nothing adhering it to the wall.

    No, you're absolutely right, that's how it's threaded on, you can look through the two holes and see pipe thread. The pipe is indeed steel, I have no idea what the fitting is, it's likely brass but it's so old that it was difficult to cut through with my reciprocating saw, even with a new metal blade.

    Once I can get it off, I already have the new parts, I'm going to extend the pipe out and install a new diverter, it's just getting to that point that's the pain in the butt.

    Thanks for your help, I'll keep trying to hack parts off of it until it comes loose, unless someone has better ideas.
  18. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I always carry a pipe extractor with my tools.
    What you have there is just normal common stuff for a plumber.
    Once I was there, and brought my tool box in, five minutes max.
    I can do it without using muscle, and with. Most of the time the plumbers just grip it harder and get it done.
    When I was forty, I was kicked off a softball team because I hit the ball too hard at the opposing teams second baseman. My team manager thought that grown men shouldn't have to field balls as hard as I was hitting them. Now I'm 61, and I find a really good hit for me just hits the fence. It won't go over anymore. And even though the second basemen back up a ways, they don't complain. They do seem pretty aware though.

    [​IMG]
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    For my own education, does that piece have a male thread into a fitting in the wall, or is it a female that fits over a threaded nipple? Based on Terry's response, it sounds like it's a male piece threaded into the socket (maybe an el?) in the wall.

    All of the spouts I've seen (and that's obviously not a huge amount) all either fit on a straight pipe (some like the Delta use a fitting soldered on) or onto a threaded nipple, and thus had a female fitting on the spout itself, so that's something new.
  20. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Tub spouts go onto pipes. Either copper, which this one isn't using, or a pipe nipple.
    A pipe extractor allows the removal of the pipe barely at the wall.

    [​IMG]

    A very standard tub spout that uses a pipe nipple.
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