1950s Crane Tub Drain Overflow - Repair or Replace?

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SteveIA

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Doing some bathroom remodeling; tub is a ceramic Crane (I think Oxford model) from the early 1950s. It is undersized from current standard, and due to the novelty of being ceramic and space constraints I want to keep it. I thought the drain/overflow mechanism was mostly working, but drain has mostly been left open for use as a shower in the recent past and investigating closer it seems that it not exactly the case. Trying to figure out if there's anywhere to get parts for something this old (the Crane tub drain/overflow parts I've found so far seem to be newer styles) or if I'm better off completely replacing with something more modern?

Going to try to attach pictures, but my tub has a X or + type grille with a large rotary lever, which raises/lowers the stopper in the bottom of the tub. It seems there is a piece under the grille that screws into the back section of the overflow that has a couple of ears. Then there is a stationary piece that engages into the back side of those ears and the overflow grille was threaded in the center to lock the stationary piece forward. My issue is that the threads in the center of my grille seem to be stripped, and everything else is seized onto the shaft. Are there any sources of parts for something like this? And/or is there any good way to repair the threads in my grille that will hold up, if I'm able to get everything else loose without breaking anything? It seems like the threaded section of the grille was not very thick... Which I suspect was part of the issue with why this failed.

If this style grille parts are not available and lasting repair seems unlikely, are there any available parts that I can utilize that will properly interface with the original stopper in the bottom of the tub? My current overflow does not have provisions for two screws at all... it's held in solely by the first threaded ring with the ears (which seems in good condition and threads are loose--I think because the whole thing was rotating when you turned the drain lever).

Or, if I'm better off to go wholesale replacement, is there anything I need to be mindful of to be able to interface to the ceramic tub, or should any drain assembly work?

If it's reasonably practical to keep the original stuff and get it working properly I'd like to do that, however recognize it's 70 years old and may not have infinite useful life. Nothing was leaking the past, but I thought it might also be a good idea to minimally try to take the drain apart and put in a new rubber gaskets (if there is one? It looks like the overflow has one that's pretty dried out and crusty). Or if it seems wiser to replace the whole drain assembly, it would be handier to do that now before everything is put back together.

I'm also interested in any tips/tricks for un-seizing brass/bronze parts without major damage if anyone has any... most of my experience is with rusted steel, but I'm hesitant to try to heat anything or not sure if need to be careful about penetrating oil ingredients.

If anyone has had one of these apart to know for sure what's threaded and what should just pull straight off, I'd also be interested in that information. The rear part of the shaft is D shaped and looks like the linkage should slide off of that... harder to tell whether the handle is threaded on (there's a knurled section directly behind it), or if there is any mechanism to keep the shaft from sliding in/out of the stationary portion that I need to be careful of. The setscrew was in place in the handle until I took it out a little bit ago, but so far there is zero wiggle between handle and shaft.

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Jeff H Young

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Tough call . Id really like to keep that living. I dont get involved with vintage stuff much , The stuff Ive Demoed out you wouldnt belive . If you have access to be able to change it or repair it later then Id try to keep it . If its no way to get to it and you have some fancy work below it that could be damaged concider changing. You might be able to find a better vintage waste and overflow or go new if you choose its a personal choice
 

SteveIA

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Showed pics to local plumber (whose dad originally put the bathroom in the house in 1952/53) and he thought with the lever mechanism seized up it would be best to replace the drain assembly with a good quality new setup. They had to order the parts and I'm waiting on them to get here, but got the old stuff all removed. Aside from the lever mechanism everything else seems to be in good shape and came apart without a lot of trouble... not sure of the removed unit's future but definitely won't throw it away.

I had planned to come back and post that I now believe I was wrong about how everything went together, in case someone else with a similar drain finds this in the future. I don't believe the trim plate was ever threaded; I think there's actually a threaded barrel seized onto my shaft right behind my lever which threaded into the T piece and held everything in place. If someone finds this in the future and theirs is similarly seized, be careful with heat as it seems like the T piece on mine was made of lead. So my T piece is now more screwed up than it was, some of the corroded metal on the rear of the handle has fallen off to where I'm not sure if we got the handle off the set screw would be able to hold it on again, and the threaded barrel piece and handle are both still seized to the shaft.

I really want to keep the tub... but at present it seems like it will be with newer-style drain bits.
 

Jeff H Young

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Personally I wont get too involved with that old stuff . but I really like it if I had an old home ( in Ca. 1950 is old) ,but for me to make money off that and the frustration , hassle getting parts I avoid it. good luck with it!
 
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