Leaky Shower Faucet - Everything Possible is Wrong

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by mharrison, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. mharrison

    mharrison New Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Help! I've been dealing with the most difficult leaky faucet repair ever in my shower.

    My hot water leaks even when turned off, so I did some research and found that it was probably a damaged washer and/or seat within the valve stem. I did more research and took off the handle to expose the stem. This is where I ran into the first bit of trouble. The stem is recessed in a long tube, kind of like http://www.idealtruevalue.com/servlet/the-72668/Detail . The whole setup looks a lot like http://www.accentshopping.com/produ.../Froogle/utm_medium/CPC/utm_campaign/28320GER . After trying every-tool-known-to-man to remove the nuts inside of this tube, I finally found that I needed a set of shower valve socket wrenches, so I bought http://underbid.com/action/display/item/20640-1061821782/sku/636779.html . I managed to get the smaller nut (the packing nut?) off of the stem to see that the gasket within was completely destroyed and there was a damaged washer around the stem. But the stem is still firmly in place and I can't get everything out.
    There's a larger nut that appears to be holding the stem in place. Using the socket wrenches, I tried to remove it. Nope, it's stripped! I have absolutely no way of getting to it other than the socket wrench, and the nut is too stripped for it.

    So it occurs to me that maybe the tube everything is enclosed in should be able to come off? I looked behind the wall and it looks to be attached to an elbow that goes to the hot water pipe. All around the seal is a dried white glue looking substance. I got a large pair of pliers to remove the pipe, but it just bends and doesn't turn whatsoever - it's firmly planted on there.

    Help! How can I remove everything so I can replace the gasket and washer and reseat the stem? Based on everything I've read, it's a pretty straightforward process to do this, but everything possible seems to be wrong with my setup!
    I can provide high-resolution pictures of my setup of anyone needs them. Thanks!
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Please post a picture of your setup. Almost surely , the chrome sleeve you are talking about MUST be removed. If may in fact be attached to the stem you need to remove. If you can post some pics of the handles and the wall setup, we can provide more details.

    There are many, many brands and models which are similar to the example you posted, so don't buy any replacements until we pin that down. None of this stuff is "generic". You must get the specific part for your make and model.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2007
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  4. mharrison

    mharrison New Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Sure. The handle says it's Sayco. I can't read on the valve stem itself because it's very corroded. Maybe this? http://www.home-improvement-superst...rvice-parts-st3212-h-c-faucet-stem-sayco.html

    Here's the best pic I could get of "inside" the tube...I'll try to get a better pic later. http://i13.tinypic.com/71oidkg.jpg

    Here's the thing from the outside: http://i14.tinypic.com/6s8b4wl.jpg

    Here's the little nut and broken gasket I was able to remove: http://i1.tinypic.com/6u4u6ba.jpg

    And here's where it comes out behind the wall: http://i10.tinypic.com/6k789ci.jpg

    Are these useful or is there anything else I should try and get a shot of?
  5. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Jun 12, 2006
    You probably stripped the hex nut that holds the stem in place by trying to use the wrong tools to remove it and by not removing the flange and tube first.

    You can remove the chrome tube (sleeve) by inserting a plumbing socket inside it to keep it from deforming, while using a large channel locks to unscrew it. The flange will come off together with the sleeve.

    Once it's off, you may find that the hex nut is not stripped, and you can use plumbing socket to remove it. Use a large crescent wrench for leverage when you try to turn out the valve stem.

    You might try to spray it with PB blaster first to loosen it up.

    If that nut is really stripped, you will have to open up the wall and use a large vice grips to try to remove it.
  6. mharrison

    mharrison New Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    I finally just got the sleeve out. I had to tighten it (clockwise) before it would even think about loosening (counter-clockwise). The nut within certainly is stripped...it's not something I did - it was that way before. Now I have to figure out how to get the nut off, which is within the wall.

    I'm beginning to wonder if I should just cut the valve stem off, use something like gator grip sockets to grab the stripped nut, then replace the entire thing?
  7. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Jun 12, 2006

    Excellent idea. Let us know if the gator works. I was going to suggest bolt extractors, but I didn't think they made them large enough. Don't forget about the PB Blaster--you can get it at the auto parts store.

    BTW, you should have been thinking about replacing the stem from the get-go. I only rebuild stems if they are in very good condition.
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