Kohler Niedecken, Need information on very old shower mixing valve

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by pimball, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. pimball

    pimball New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2015
    Location:
    Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
    The mixing valve in my old shower was working well but now only delivers cold water. Looking inside, there are two valve ports for hot and cold with a heavy spring on top of each and a bronze yoke spanning across them both. There is a screw in the middle of each spring fastening the valves to the yoke. The yoke moves in and out with the turning of the mixing handle. The screw on the right (hot), seems to be stripped because it turns around and around without coming out. I assume this is why it no longer delivers hot water. I can't start getting violent with getting it apart until I know how it is going to be fixed, because once it is apart and can't be shut off, I won't be able to use the tub either since both are on the same supply lines. I really, really do not want to rip open the wall to put in a whole new unit because the whole room is done in irreplaceable black glass. I do not understand exactly how this valve works. Can anyone explain it to me? Can anyone identify it from the pictures? Are there any diagrams or parts available? About how old is it? I do not know the actual date of the bathroom remodeling but assume it was in the 40's.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2016
  2. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

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    Montreal, Canada
    What's on the other side of that wall? Usually shower fixtures are removed from the drywall behind it, it's uncommon to destroy the tilework.
     
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  4. Smooky

    Smooky Well-Known Member

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  5. pimball

    pimball New Member

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    The tub is located on the other side of the shower wall. It is totally tiled with glass panels. The wall is plaster, not drywall. Piping is not accessible from either side without major destruction. Whoever installed it must have been planning for it to last for ever.
     
  6. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
    Location:
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    So you have a tub on one side and a shower on the other, both sandwiching a tiled wall with fixtures in the middle?

    They weren't planning it to last forever. They did it because it was the only way.

    Should you ever destroy the "glass panels" tilework, I recommend you replace it with a light weight earthy ceramic tile. They are light and made with red clay, easy to break. And probably unsanded grout. I've never smashed apart epoxy yet to know if it's difficult.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Smooky

    Smooky Well-Known Member

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  8. pimball

    pimball New Member

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    Dec 8, 2015
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    Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
    Thank you so much Smooky, you've nailed it. However, I still have a problem. Apparently the yoke and plunger assembly is supposed to slide right out once the cover plate is removed. Unfortunately mine seems to be stuck tight and won't budge. Am I missing something else or should I just continue to try to force it loose? It could be jammed with rust particles from the old iron piping that used to be in the house before everything was replaced with copper. The diagram you sent does seem to be the right valve except maybe just a little newer. A minor difference I noticed is that my dial plate is flat and has two screws to hold it in place and the diagram model has a cone shape in the middle instead.
     
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    The design looks like a Kohler Niedecken valve and the clockwise rotation is a Kohler feature, although I have not seen one labeled "Shut cold to hot". In addition other companies did use a similar mechanism, such as American Standard.
     
  10. Smooky

    Smooky Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  11. pimball

    pimball New Member

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    Dec 8, 2015
    Location:
    Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
    Thank you again Smooky. You have been very, very helpful and I appreciate it. Now with the Speakman description I understand just how the Niedecken valve works even though it hasn't come apart yet. I can see why mine is stuck so tight and definitely suspect it is from rust debris. Perhaps I can loosen it with a little oxalic acid rust remover. Anyway, thanks.
     
  12. Smooky

    Smooky Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Did you screw the stem into the yoke and try to wiggle it out?
     
  13. Smooky

    Smooky Well-Known Member

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    You might be able to remove the yoke and pull one at a time.
     
  14. pimball

    pimball New Member

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    In case anyone is curious enough to wonder what eventually happened, I did get it apart. With all the help from
    Smookey, I understood how it was made and felt confident in applying a great amount of pressure to pull it apart. I made a wooden 1/2" circular disc to go inside the valve casing for the valve cover to bear against and screwed down hard with the shower handle. It finally broke loose and the yoke and valve cylinders slid out. What I found inside was a lump of hard rubber from an old valve stem somewhere else in the piping system not related to the shower. It had gotten stuck in my shower valve and had to be broken before the valve would slide out. Once it was cleared out, everything worked fine and no further repairs were needed. That valve is really heavy duty and beautifully made. Thank you everyone for your interest and help!
     
    Reach4 likes this.
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Thanks for the update.
    I once found a small plastic ball on the incoming pipe to the cold on a shower valve. It wreaked havic with the water flow.

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    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  16. ClassicTVMan1981

    ClassicTVMan1981 New Member

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    This Niedecken mixer you have would date between 1948-1963 going by the faceplate design.

    I say the last Niedecken was produced in 1979 or 1980.

    ~Ben
     
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