Replacing Shower Arm

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by sdjerry, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. sdjerry

    sdjerry New Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    San Antonio, TX.
    Ok so I'm attempting to replace my shower arm. I removed the old one which was a 1/2" X 6", I already have the new arm, same exact size.

    I can't get the new one all the way into the threads though, so it still leaks a little bit when I test it. I used pipe compound instead of teflon tape on the threads going into the wall. I'm using an 8" pipe wrench to try and tighten it (all I have at the moment), but I get it halfway and that's about it. The wrench is having trouble gripping as well, I tried tape to prevent scratching the arm but I'm sort of messing up there to.

    So can anyone help? Do I just need a bigger pipe wrench? And how can I best prevent scratching the arm? Thanks.
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    I just put the shower head on first and spin it on that way,
    I "never" use pliers or a wrench.

    If pipe dope isn't doing it, you may need to throw a couple wraps of Teflon Tape on it.
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  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    One technique is to put one handle of a 12" Channelock into the open end and use that for leverage. You do have to be careful, because many shower arms today are made of inferior and thin material, and you can tweak the threaded end out of round if you are not careful. I don't think you could ever get enough grip through tape and not damage the finish.

    A good strap wrench is another tool to try.
  5. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    A few days ago I bought a new shower arm (different finish to match new showerhead and to replace damaged finish of old one) only to find the threads on both ends of the new shower arm were crap. They were not cut right and no amount of thread tape would fix it, I tried various thicknesses and torques. I tried tightening the heck out of it with a big pipe wrench just like you did, still leaked. It was the threads. The arm did not hand thread well and even though I did not cross thread, it was apparent that water was flowing between the shallow cut threads and the tape!

    Every single one on the shelves of two stores had the same problem in multiple finishes. The threads looked ridiculous, more like a spiral square wave instead of pipe thread. A plumber at one of the stores looked at it and agreed. He related a story about once having to recut the internal threads on a whole shipment of faucets that had a similar problem.

    I've since put the old shower arm back in place and it sealed instantly. I've also been experimenting with various showerheads and fittings for another project with no problem sealing any of three different original shower arms.

    Yes, they should hand tighten and seal with a minimal amount of tape. If they don't, take a close look for cheap Chinese cut threads. If they don't look right, there is your problem. The ones I had problems with were Danco "Perfect Match" carried by both primary big box stores. What an ironic name.
  6. sdjerry

    sdjerry New Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    San Antonio, TX.
    Thanks everyone for your help, I figured out what was going wrong. I was putting to much compound which was making it to tight to get it all the way in. So when you add the compound correctly, it should go all the way in by hand, no tools required.

    Yeah I scratched this one up a bit, but sometimes you have to mess up in order how to learn the job right. And now I know, but it's also nice to have this forum to support us do it yourselfers. :)
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