Switching up tub spout mounting style?

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New Member
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Portland, Oregon
I have a bathtub in my house with a very deep surround and the previous owner settled on a tub spout that was too short and allowed water to pond on the surround. I found a beautiful 9 inch solid brass diverter tub spout from Delta that feels like a brick in my hand, and is long enough to solve the problem.

The current tub spout is the slip on style with a set screw onto 1/2 copper. The new spout is 1/2” NPT female threaded, 3/8” inset from the mounting face.

So I need to switch mounting styles. Fortunately I can see inset 1” beneath the hole in the finished tile, the current stub out is soldered to a male threaded adapter, which is threaded into a drop ear elbow.

First question- can I just grab the protruding 1/2 copper tube with a pipe wrench and turn? Is it likely to come out smoothly or am I going to break it?

Second question- once I have the current stub out removed and am down to just the drop ear elbow, is there a secret for getting the right length nipple and ensuring that the connection at both ends is leak-free while also bringing the tub spout flush with the wall and oriented correctly? The elbow face is 1.08” sunk behind the tile wall; the inset in the spout before the threads start is 0.39”. I’m concerned that a 2” nipple will be too short and a 2.5” will be too long. Given the weight of the spout I would like to get it to sit against the wall rather than supported completely by the pipe.

Third question - how do you torque down this connection when the only thing to grab onto is the tub spout? I was thinking maybe a strap wrench.

Thanks for the help with this slightly technical challenge!


The Plumbing Wizard
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Bothell, Washington
Maybe the old pipe will come out smoothly. If not, perhaps resort to an easy-out of some type. There are several types you can pick up if needed.

Brass nipples, threads on both ends, perhaps a few wraps of tape and some pipe dope. There is some give on both ends and it's not a full pressure connection. The water is wanting to make it's way out the end of the spout.
I turn by hand, but then I've done a few. A strap wrench I can see working, or sometimes something in the end of the spout to help you turn it.

Jeff H Young

In the Trades
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yea many times it will unscrew but might need to get a socket over the mip adapter. either a brass nipple 0r sweat 2 male adapters the custom length you need.
here is my way .....
first I sweat a nipple longer than needed
second dope it and or tape it up one end screw it in using the male adapter hex to tighten ( snug but not crazy tight )
third prep with dope and screw tub spout to desired tightness. measure gap between spout and wall .
4th what ever the measurement is . unsweat adapter cut pipe and sweat back on .
5th dope it up again and screw on spout.
a little time consuming but measuring to the thousandth of an inch and mathematical is great but this gets a perfect fit don't need a bunch of extra brass nipples .
If pipes in wall are very rigid it requires the nipple be a more exact length. just one way of doing it I use from time to time especially if factory nipple length isn't good enough
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

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