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DIY Dilemma: How do I fix bath tub faucets?

I have a number of dillemma's around my house. The most pressing is this issue I have in my main bathroom. The faucet handles started breaking a few years back. Now they look like this.

 

ghetto-fab-faucet.JPG

 

As you can see, the stems are flatten or broken now. Also, some of the white threading is gone. I'd like to replace this faucet assembly with this one from Glacier Bay, http://www.homedepot.com/Plumbing-Bathroom-Faucets-Tub-Shower-Faucets/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbrfc/R-100662011/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053. 

 

Can anyone tell me what I need to make sure I get this installed right? It's hard to shut the water completely off now using the pliers and my water bill has started to rise.

 

Thanks!

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Posted 2011-12-21T15:50:43+0000  by CraftyGalDIY CraftyGalDIY
 

Hi SheCanDoIt22!

 

Thanks for such a detailed response and for the extra encouragement. I'm actually very excited about the opportunity to do this repair myself. Once I am done, I'll share the results on this post.

 

Thanks again!

 

CraftyGalDIY

Posted 2011-12-22T16:57:21+0000  by CraftyGalDIY

Hello CraftyGalDIY,

 

Welcome to the community. I love your name.

 

This is a very simple repair that I’m sure a crafty gal like yourself can do.

 

I know it looks like your faucet has lost all hope but I would suggest repairing it instead of taking on replacing the entire unit.

 

If you want to replace the entire unit you would have to tear out your tub surround just to get to the valve body. Not to mention that in order to install the new valve you will need to know how to sweat the new copper fitting on for the new valve. If this sounds like something you want to do I’m sure we could show you the way but I really think you will be happy with just rebuilding the unit you have. It will look and operate like new.

 

To rebuild your shower valve you will first need to figure out what kind of handles you want to go with. You can change the look of your shower just by changing the handles. It looks like you have a Price Pfister handle set so you have a few different options to choose from.

Here are a few of the most popular styles.    Price Pfister handle sets.jpg    

   

Now for the new parts that you’re going to need to complete the repair. I find that the easiest way is to purchase a Shower Faucet Rebuild Kit. It will include the stems, seats, handles, flanges, and nipples. The only other items that you might want to purchase are a new spout and shower head.

                    Price Pfister Shower repair kit.jpg

 

 Food for thought: Take your old spout off and bring it with you to make sure that you get the correct one. They come in a few different styles.

Tub Spout.jpg

 

The tools that you’re going to need are: Phillips screw driver, strap wrench or channellocks, valve stem tool(included in most rebuild kits), seat wrench.

 

Once you get all of the new parts you will need to turn off the water supply and open a couple of faucets to release the pressure. Now you’re ready to take off all of the old components.

Take the last handle off and then use your channallocks to unscrew the outer chrome trim pieces. Then remove the plastic nipple so that you can get the stem tool over the stem to remove it. You will need to put a screw driver trough the top holes so that you can unscrew it.

 

Now if you look into the valve body you will see the seats. This is what the washer on the stem seal with to stop the water flow. They can get rough on the top edge and cause it not to seal right. This is why it’s always a good idea to change them while you have everything pulled apart.

Different styles of seats. Faucet seats.jpg

 

Now all you have to do is reverse the process and install all of the new parts.

 

It’s a good idea to hand tighten all of the parts first so that you don’t cross tread any of the parts. If you put it in and turn it counter clockwise until you fill it click and then tighten it. This will make sure that the threads are aligned correctly. Don’t force anything. The brass is fairly soft.

 

When putting the plastic nipples and the chrome trim pieces on you should be able to just hand tighten them. If you need to use the channellocks make sure to use a towel or something else to protect the chrome trim when you’re putting the new ones on. I use a thick piece or rubber so that it protects it and also helps you get a good grip on it. It only has to be snug so make sure not to over tighten it. Also be careful not to mess up the threads on the plastic nipples. (I speak from experience.):smileywink:

 

I hope this has given you all of the information that you were looking for.

 

Let me know if you have any other questions. I would love to help.

Posted 2011-12-21T19:08:34+0000  by Christine_HD_OC

the (stem) insert that holds the knob... and controls the water, you can pull that out and replace it they are usually a very snug fit and may have another screw holding them in, so just look closly and see if anything else looks like it can come off.

 

If you cant get the insert out, call a handyman you should be able to find one on craigslist for about 25 bucks, and just tell him you cant get the insert out they should be able to get it out in under an hour.

 

it should be pretty straight forward to swap it out, a screw driver and maybe a phillips head should be all you need for the knobs, and probably some plumbers tape for the actual faucet.

Posted 2011-12-21T16:18:42+0000  by jettenone
 
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