Old Crane bathtub stopper - HOW to remove it?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by ps400, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. ps400

    ps400 New Member

    Sep 17, 2004
    I want to remove the drain stopper from my Crane 1950s vintage bathtub drain. I want to fish out the hairball from below the stopper. Everything works fine - the stopper raises and lowers with the handle, but I can't figure out how to remove it! Removing the raising/lowering handle exposes the overflow tube and the shaft that operates the stopper. The stopper raises when I lift the shaft (not opposite). The shaft is a solid copper rod so it cannot be withdrawn through the overflow tube opening. The stopper won't unthread, or lift straight out. I don't want to disassemble the whole drain if I can avoid it. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. e-plumber

    e-plumber DIY Senior Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    New York
    Crane Bathtub Waste Assembly

    Some older bathtub waste assemblies have the linkage inside the overflow and the bathtub shoe that are an integral part of it, this might be the case. Usually a 1/4" snake cable will by-pass the linkage and jump the trap to properly clean the drain line.

    In your situation without a drain cleaning machine, stuff a wet rag into the overflow, and use a plunger with strong push/pull thrusts to break up the hairball or retrieve it from the bathtub drain oulet.
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  4. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Sep 6, 2004
    Plumber, Contractor, Attorney
    Wichita, Kansas
    Sounds Normal - Am I?

    This sounds like a normal waste and overflow system to me. You sometimes have to bend the copper rod to pull the stopper out and sometimes it hangs up so you have to turn the rod and try to pull from different positions.
    I don't have or know how to use a plunger but I do think e has a good idea that has worked for others.
  5. fajmerchant

    fajmerchant New Member

    Jan 13, 2005
    Same dilemma

    I've posted on a few other threads sans luck regarding this, but this sounds like a better-articulated description of the same problem I'm facing on what I finally identified as a Crane yesterday. I have tried getting an auger past this linkage at least a dozen times, but it always just ends up snaking its way into the tub shoe.

    I tried bending the copper rod to get it out through the overflow, but it ended up breaking in two (leaving me with half the linkage still in the overflow tube in an exceedingly difficult position to reach -- if I stick my fingers in, I can just touch its top).

    At this point, I have no clue what to do, and the tub faces a 2nd floor outside wall, so there are no ways to access it without tearing open tile or a ceiling.

    If anyone has any further wisdom on how to deal with this, any advice would be great. I realize I might have to call in a pro at this point, but do to low resources I'm desperate to avoid that.

  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    If you have a direct lift drain, and it was more common with Kohler than Crane, then it is impossible to remove without disassembling the drain. But they had a very substantial rod in the overflow and I cannot see you being able to break it without doing some other damage. An indirect drain fitting, that operated a linkage or a "bucket" on the end of the rod, would have used a "lighter gauge" rod which could break, but either of them would come out fairly easily unless it was corroded to the point that the drain stopper was not working in the first place. You may be able to remove the strainer in the bottom of the tub and install a "retro fit" push/pull drain. But some Crane threads are proprietary and need a special thread bushing for the new strainer.
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