Tight/Hard to turn taps

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by viewer, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Hello again,

    We have these sort of taps in one bathroom, for hot and cold use in the shower.
    [​IMG]

    We can only turn them about 90 degrees maximum before they stop...too tight to turn more.
    This makes it hard to adjust temperature, as well as not boost the pressure up high enough for a strong shower. The vanity taps next to the shower go a million miles per hour, so it is not a presure problem.

    To try to fix, I took off the little screw caps at the end of the handles, and I can then take the spindled knobs off of the centre, but for the life of me, I cannot get the conical section that abutts the tiles to come loose and look in there to see if it needs some silicone lubricant or the like. It's as if the dome shaped covers are super glued to the tiles, and being round, there is no way to grip them, or know if they turn/screw off, or simply pop off. If the taps ever start dripping, gosh knows how I would get to the washers?

    Any thoughts please ?
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    They unscrew. Use a strap wrench next to the tile to grip the bottom edge.
    SHR likes this.
  3. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks...I'll give that a go.
  4. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Thank you for the help, I got them partly undone.
    I couldn't turn them as said, and had to resort to sliding a paint scraper between the tiles and the tap itself, to break away the silicone the former owner had applied between where the tap disappears into the wall, and inand around the screw part of the cover...it took a long while to complete getting them off, in the end gripping the covers with a pair of stilsons and putting a big effort in!

    This is where I am up to tonight, before I go looking at new parts to replace things tomorrow, pending some hopeful information from you good people here?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Where the tap slightly peeks out next to the tiles, there is a square section on the tap, roughly 20mm square, but only exposed next to the tile by about 1 mm. Should I try undo/screw it off from here with a spanner or wrench, or should I be buying a tap type remover that is similar to a spark plug remover tool. I saw on one youtube tutorial on taps that these special tools are costly?..right or wrong?

    I assume these taps have been on here a long time, maybe 30 years, so obviously will need to purchase some new one's now. Are all tap fittings the same size, or will I have to remove one and take it with me for selection purposes?

    Thanks for the help so far, everything learned is great.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I am going to guess that the stem removes by unscrewing it from the valve body using the handle to turn it. It would be the normal way with a faucet of that age. If so it will push the packing washer out with it.
  6. dw85745

    dw85745 Member

    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Arizona
    Just a word of caution.
    If it were me, I tried and locate the parts prior to tearing it apart -- especially if this is an occupied home.
    Murphy's Law comes into play with old plumbing and if something goes wrong and there is no separate shutoff to this bath, you may be without water for sometime or tearing out the shower walls to get access for some type of replacement.

    We have a local company in Tucson, AZ called "Bonnets and Stems" that specializes in old parts. I have NO affiliation with them, but mention them as a source in case you can't locate elsewhere. Long way to go for a part, but if you need it you need it.

    My2Cents
  7. asktom

    asktom Member

    Messages:
    557
    Location:
    Victor, MT
    It is tough to know what part to buy until one has the stem in hand as a sample. Also, it may just need to be cleaned up and lubed with silicone grease.
  8. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Fair comment all...I was also worried, in that these being original fittings, how solid they may have now become, and as soon as pressure is exerted to try unscrew it, the pipes or something may break...but really, I see no alternative than to just try?I went to the hardware shop today and bought a proper plumbers tap remover kit. It has about 4 interchangeable faces to put on to suit different shaped taps...one of them is square shaped. Dark now, so will have to check and see if this tool fits tomorrow.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I assume you mean "seat removing" tool, because you do not need tools to remove the "taps", but there is a good possibility that your faucet does NOT have removable seats.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Dark now, so will have to check and see if this tool fits tomorrow.

    I was under the impression that Australia had electric lights for use when it is dark.
  11. dw85745

    dw85745 Member

    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Arizona
    One trick you might try prior to using a wrench or BIGGER wrench, is to lightly tap the stem and body as close to the joint as possible. I'm talking about using a small tack hammer or the end of the wrench to tap. After taping about 25+ times, if you have a helper, have them tap while your turning. This works much better to break the joint than just brute force or a BIGGER wrench when things may be fused.
    My2Cents
  12. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    We are afraid of the dark here..lol

    This is the poorly described tool
    [​IMG]
    Will try the tapping (no pun ) with a small craft hammer.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    That is just like the "multi sized" faucet sockets we use, and from your photo I do not see anything that would fit them. I see they say "magnetic", but since faucet parts are brass, there is nothing a magnet could attract.
  14. dw85745

    dw85745 Member

    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Arizona
    I'm with hj. If what you describe is a square (can't tell from pictures) then the hex spanner set you bought will Not work. In fact may strip the corners off the square if used and cause more problems. I don't have any square spanners, but have seen a couple for other than plumbing applications. I'm sure in your area there were probably alot of your style faucet around. I'd check with a local plumbing supply house.

    If you can't locate a square spanner (preferred), measure the size of the square and place the open end of a combination wrench (has both an open and box end) on the square the best way you can and insert either a screwdriver in the box end to make a "T" out of the wrench and then try and turn the screwdriver. Alternatively, use the open end on the square as described and a second wrench (e.g. adjustable ) or locking pliers, to clamp on the wrench and use that to try and turn the open end on the square. (As stated taping while turning is best). I'd use the above as a last resort as you don't want to screw up the points on the square. If you can find an open end of the right size manufactured to AS954 (Aircraft Standard), these wrenches put the pressure on the flats rather than nearer the points which a standard open end wrench does (ANSI B107.8 or .9) -- at least when used as designed.

    One last thought. Better than using an open end wrench, get an open end "Crowsfoot" wrench of the right size You will also need a long extenstion and a socket wrench.
    These are automotive tools, but the crowsfoot wrench is designed for such an application.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  15. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks all...

    The tool worked well.
    This is what it was like.
    [​IMG]
    The one needed was the square shaped, and it fits into the longer hex shaped section.
    Fitted perfect, and got the seat out ok.
    I just quickly put the things back together for now, so easy to undo again,and will just need to go to the hardware again tomorrow, and get some new taps and fittings.We saw some yesterday, and it was cheaper to buy a complete set of taps, seats etc in the one sealed plastic wrap thingo, than buy separate parts.

    Thanks a lot for the help...when finished I'll post some more photo's.
  16. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks...yes, by posting here, and the photos etc, I hope that this will help any others whom venture here, and all knowledge gleaned, proves worthwhile to not just me, but any other person wanting help. It is amazing how help can be found, but I also believe it is most important, that if you ask like I have, you make sure you keep replying and updating those that are helping you. There is nothing worse that not knowing an outcome. I will definately go towards the brass fittings..
  17. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Well, job is finished..photo attached..
    [​IMG]
    The new tap seats were hex shaped this time, and simple to put back in place of the older ones.

    The only difference was that the old covers screwed onto the seat, then the handles were screwed onto the shafts, and the little hot/cold indicator thingo's also screwed onto the tap ends.

    The new covers were just caps that pushed over the top of the seats, resting against against the tile wall ( there was no thread to screw on the caps, just a smooth seat where the caps push over the top)., a spring inserted over the seat and into the covers, then the tap handle was pushed on, a threaded washer held the tap in that position, and a hot/cold indicator thingo pushed itself in place.

    The new covers are not as tightly in place as the original covers which screwed onto the tap seats, and thus tight against the wall, but is good enough.

    Job done...thankfully the old seats came out well, thus making things a lot easier.
    Each set of taps came in a blister pack, that contained the two seats with all the necessary washers, caps,tap handles, hot/cold indicators,washers.They were got from Bunnings stores, and each set was about $18.00 complete. I did both showers this afternoon, as I was still afraid of the dark!

    I hope these notes may help others, and I thank the forum members for their contributions and assistance.

    THANK YOU!
  18. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Your use of the term "seat" is confusing, since the seats are inside the faucet where the rubber washers press against them. what brand is the faucet, because I cannot imagine any faucet, that looks like your original picture, using the parts that your later pictures show.
  19. dw85745

    dw85745 Member

    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Arizona
    HJ. You may or may Not be aware the British/Aussie/ reference may use different terms than US.
    For example, a British boot is a US car trunk. They may refer what the US calls a stem as a "seat". Would be interesting to have a term cross reference to see the differences.
    If I find something online I'll post it.
  20. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Boot, bonnet, torch, cararvan, tyres, lift, they have many unique terms. As someone said, "ask for a bison and an Australian will give you pan and an American will give you a buffalo."
Similar Threads: Tight/Hard turn
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Can't turn off shut off value to dishwasher Aug 24, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & you will go with one-pipe monoflo setting or two-pipe reverse return setting? Aug 24, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Quarter-turn Angle Stop - ID? Aug 5, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & 1/4 turn left or 3/4 turn right? Gas shut off valve Jun 8, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & turn water off for 10-week absence? Jun 4, 2014

Share This Page