Tub Drain plunger separated from linkage, stuck in drain pipe

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by thehausmaus, May 2, 2014.

  1. thehausmaus

    thehausmaus New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    MA
    Hello --

    I am new to plumbing so please excuse any incorrect terminology.

    We have a tub that recently started draining slowly and now drains very slowly. I initially plunged which didn't help. I then went to use a snake and opened up the overflow. When I took out the tub stopper, I found that there was no plunger attached to the linkage and it had appeared to unscrew itself from the linkage threads (undamaged, so it didn't break off). Using a wire, we determined that the stopper appears to be just below the drain shoe. We tried using the wire and also a magnet to get the item but they did not work (item may be brass).

    There is an access panel in the closet behind the tub. One idea is to loosen the slip nut to the pipe between the overflow and the t connector and hope to be able to reach the stopper. Any other thoughts or ideas? Thank you!
  2. SHR

    SHR Member

    Messages:
    89
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Your plan would also be my first choice for a repair attempt.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,311
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It IS brass. I would make a "V" on the end of a wire, then slide it down the drain line until it went THROUGH the "bucket" then pull it back up to try to catch the crossbar. Once that is done, hopefully the bucket is not corroded in place, you can pull it out. If it is corroded, sometimes flooding the overflow with PB Blaster or WD-40 will loosen it enough so you can extract it. If it were I doing it, there are other things I could try until it did come out, or the crossbar broke, but nothing I could describe to you.
  4. thehausmaus

    thehausmaus New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    MA
    We did try this technique but were unsuccessful. Based on studying what other tub drains look like, we're not 100% sure that we have a crossbar on the top of it because we pulled out a threaded rod, with a nut, attached to the lever. It seems like the rod would thread into the stopper or into a link piece that is connected to the stopper.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,808
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    [​IMG]

    Does it look anything like this?
  6. thehausmaus

    thehausmaus New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    MA
    The drain pipe looks the same and I do believe our system is a trip lever. Our drain lever (#3) rotates, does not move up and down. When we pulled off the lever and pulled out the linkage (#7?), it only had one threaded bar with a nut on it, no hook or eyelet at the end.

    We thought we could find a wrench to remove the slip nut (#13) to try and get into the pipe, but haven't found something in the correct size that can also fit in the tight space in the access panel.

    If pictures would be more useful, please let me know. Thank you so much for your help. I am going to find a better piece of wire to try and do more fishing.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,311
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Your threaded piece screwed into a "bracket" on the end of a rod. The "bucket" is attached to the rod with a loop in the end of it through a hole in the crosspiece.
  8. thehausmaus

    thehausmaus New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    MA
    Just to update: We called a professional. The drain lever likely connected to a spring which connected to a plunger mechanism. Based on the age of everything (70 yro pipes), it likely disintegrated/disappeared/broke a long time ago. We were able to fix the drainage using a super plunger (sorry I don't know the technical term). We probably didn't have great plunging technique to start with. There is not a p-trap but an arc (?) trap which makes it difficult to snake which is why we had issues.

    Thank you everyone for your help. While trouble is never fun, I am glad to have learned a lot more about the systems in my house.
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