1950's Vintage Shower Valve Identification and DIY Removal Tips

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JHL

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Greetings everyone.

I have a house originally constructed in the 1950's in Southern California. There is a shower valve that is leaking out the stem that I want to replace.

I am fairly handy and want to tackle this myself. After reviewing available replacement valves at the local Ace store I pulled the trim off the offending part in my house and tried to identify it. Attached are the photos I took.

It appears from these photos that removal is fairly straightforward, attach socket and back the valve out. I am concerned about the shape of the valve that can be seen deeper in the wall, against the base. It also appears to have a much larger hexagonal shape that maybe I need to use instead of the smaller diameter hexagonal shape on the surface close to the access.

Also, I don't see anything like this guy at the store or even online. I don't want to shut off the water to the house and tear into it and be left with some oddball thing that cannot be replaced. Can anyone help with identification of this valve ?

Thanks in advance.

0203201644.jpg 0203201645.jpg 0203201646.jpg 0203201646a.jpg
 

Terry

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A picture of the handles would help us.
And sometimes the outer nut has a packing for the stem, and the back nut would be the one you remove the entire stem with. Normally.

tub-sockets.jpg
 

Smooky

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It appears that you have a 12 point broach. The picture is a bit out of focus so if you can verify the number of splines on the broach that would be helpful. Some of the brands that have a 12 point broach are Price Pfister, Artistic Brass, Arrowhead Brass, Crane (Repcal), Harcraft, Milwaukee, Universal Rundle, Wolverine, Scoville, Symmons and there are others.


To narrow down the possibilities take the stem out, clean it up and lay it next to a ruler and take an infocus picture.

(The broach is where the handle attaches to the stem. Count either the ridges or the valleys.)
 

dj2

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Most likely it's Pfister. They sell remodel kits at the stores. The wrench set that Terry displayed is also available in the stores.
Renovating this old rough in is ONLY worth it, if the body is in 100% mint condition. If it's even slightly damaged, you will be throwing good money away.
Seriously consider removing the faucet and installing code compliant one handle faucet, one of my favorites is MOEN.
 

JHL

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To narrow down the possibilities take the stem out, clean it up and lay it next to a ruler and take an infocus picture.

(The broach is where the handle attaches to the stem. Count either the ridges or the valleys.)

Ok, dumb question: How do I remove the stem ? I have the socket set shown above but from my observation, there isn't an obvious way to remove just the stem. Or am I just overthinking it here ? Just fit a socket to the narrow hex in the wall and wrench it out ? I guess the shape of the valve inside the wall has me thinking it's something different.
 

JHL

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Most likely it's Pfister. They sell remodel kits at the stores. The wrench set that Terry displayed is also available in the stores.
Renovating this old rough in is ONLY worth it, if the body is in 100% mint condition. If it's even slightly damaged, you will be throwing good money away.
Seriously consider removing the faucet and installing code compliant one handle faucet, one of my favorites is MOEN.

Ok, yeah. We're into a bigger job than I am looking for right now, but that is something that might have to happen. I want to avoid it if possible.

The good thing is the valve is leaking out the stem only when the hot side, (the photos are of the cold side) is opened and not when the showerhead diverter is closed. And it drips off the end of the stem, not into the wall.
 

Smooky

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Ok, dumb question: How do I remove the stem ? I have the socket set shown above but from my observation, there isn't an obvious way to remove just the stem. Or am I just overthinking it here ? Just fit a socket to the narrow hex in the wall and wrench it out ? I guess the shape of the valve inside the wall has me thinking it's something different.

You need to shut the water off to the house, then fit a socket on the hex in the wall and wrench it out. If or when you get it out you can take it to a hardware store or big box hardware store. There is usually a place to match your stem at the store. You could clean it up and lay it next to a ruler and take a picture and we might be able to identify the stem. Then you could screw it back in the valve and turn the water back on if needed. As Terry said above we might be able to identify the faucet by looking at the handles and the trim. From the existing pictures you provided it is very difficult to tell exactly what you have.

Here are some Price Pfister diagrams:
https://www.plumbingsupply.com/pp-threehandle-tub-shower-repairparts.html
 
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JHL

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Thanks for that link ! I think what threw me was item # 16 in that diagram. With that backed off, I will be able to see the valve itself and go from there. My first thought, since the leak is occasional, small and only out the stem, it to give the packing nut a snug down and see if that makes it go away.

If not then I will try an get the whole valve out with screwing up anything else too much.
 

JHL

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For reference, just the handles and the fluted trim item, this is essentially what they look like.

86-KO123.jpg
 

JHL

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I'm not in the house right now, it's in another city, so I can't give better photos of the exact handles and trim.
 

Michael Young

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constructed in the 1950's...

Unless there's something super-unique about that faucet - do yourself a GIANT favor. Go around behind the valve. Cut the wall. REMOVE that 70-YEAR-OLD piece of metal and install a brand new single handle DELTA builder's grade faucet.

I work on a lot of 100+ year old properties. If there isn't something magnificently special about the fixture - GET RID OF IT. If there is something super-special about the valve - package it up neatly and send it to a specialty shop to have it completely re-tooled. They'll ship it back to you in like-new condition (yes, it will cost you about $450 - worth every penny if it's something special)
 
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