+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Fixing a dripping shower faucet

    The faucet in my shower/bathtub has had a slow drip for several years and I am now trying to repair it, so the drip stops and I need some help. The drip happens when the hot and cold water is turned off and when the diverter valve is in either the up or down position. So, it drips from the spout in the down position and the shower head in the up position. Its a American Standard 3 handle faucet system, cold handle, diverter handle, hot handle with a spout below the handles and a shower head above, of course. The tub near the drain never gets dry and tends to get mildew faster than it should because it is constantly wet.

    Here is what I have done:

    1. I turned off the main water supply to the condo.

    2. I removed the cold and hot water handles, they were corroded and stuck on, so I had to use a faucet handle puller tool to remove both handles. I then removed both valve stems to inspect them. Both stems had some corrosion and the rubber washers on the end of the stems were noticeably worn. The stems were screwed in tight, but I was able to remove them without any trouble.
    Faucet
    Stems

    3. I removed the cold water bibb seat, it was loose and it came out easily. The seat in the hot water is stuck and I am not able to remove it. When I insert my faucet seat wrench in the hot seat, the wrench spins and does not grab the seat, its stripped, its a hex head. How can I remove this stripped bibb seat? What tool(s) should I use to unscrew it without damaging the plumbing and threads? Any written instructions or photos or videos would be a great help.
    Seat Wrench

    4. I decided to replace the hot and cold valve stems, so I went to Lowes and found an exact match, its Danco Hot/Cold Stem 9C-23H/C. I installed the new cold seat and stem. I left the stripped hot seat in place and installed the hot stem. Hot is on the left and cold on the right. The drip is still happening.
    New stem package

    5. So, I removed both stems to take a second look. Everything looks good to me. I added some silicone plumbers grease to what I call the interior threads of the stems, the threads that open and close the stem valve. Not the threads that screw into the pipe in the wall, hopefully that makes sense. I read some where that I should install them with the stem in the open position, so I did that and the faucet still drips slowly.

    6. I decided to remove the diverter valve and inspect it for damage. The diverter valve looks in very good condition, just a small amount of white corrosion that I cleaned off. It did not have a rubber washer at the end of it, it has a white plastic piece. I went to Lowes (a short drive, luckily) to find a replacement and compare to mine, but they did not have one in stock. I decided not to replace it at this time.
    Diverter

    7. I then tried to remove the faucet spout to see if that was causing the problem, I donít think it could, but maybe. I removed the caulk around it and the escutcheon. I could not remove the spout, I believe its the kind that unscrews and its on so tight I canít remove it. There is no set screw on the spout. I tried to unscrew it by inserting the handle of my screw driver up the spout opening and turning to the left.

    8. So, the only thing I can think of that is causing the drip is the old stripped seat in the hot stem, do you think that is the root cause of the drip? What else could it be? What else should I check? When I look at the seat with a flashlight I donít see any damage on the end, its smooth and looks in good shape. I felt it with my finger and it feels smooth on the end where the rubber washer makes contact with it. I donít feel any nicks or bumps.

    9. Iím not 100% clear on how the stem works, does the water come in from behind the seat and when the stem is opened it lets water thru the seat and into the pipe and then the diverter sends it down to the spout or up to the shower head?

    Please help! I want to stop this annoying drip. Thank you!

    Sorry for the long post, just trying to describe as best I can.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,027

    Default Re: Fixing a dripping shower faucet

    If the drip is coming through the tub spout, then one of the valve/seat is leaking. If the drip is coming from around the stem, then you need to tighten the stem nuts slightly until this drip stops.

    Check your work, make sure that the cold seat is installed properly and not cross threaded or loose in some manner. The hot side is probably what is leaking, since you couldn't get the old seat out and it appears that it is damaged. You might be able to take a slotted screwdriver that is the same width as the stripped hex and drive it tightly into the hex. You can pick up a cheapy screwdriver and grind the blade down so that it's a perfect fit. Obviously, you will be trying to fit the widest portion of the stripped hex hole. As you apply torque to the screwdriver, smack the tip of the handle with a hammer, this will help keep the screwdriver firmly seated, and the jarring vibration will help to break the seat loose. You want to use firm hammer strikes, but not excessively forceful. Be forewarned, the only repair for a messed up valve body is total replacement, which will require opening up the wall.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,493

    Default Re: Fixing a dripping shower faucet

    You have done everything to perfection, but the hot seat refuses to spin out. You can try Spruce's method, but frankly, it's a long shot.

    Be prepared to replace the body. Luckily they still make 3 hole bodies.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,027

    Default Re: Fixing a dripping shower faucet

    I agree, old plumbing can be quite finicky.

    If you're lucky, the valve could be replaced from the back side of the wall, leaving your tile intact. This is a little tougher on the plumber, but if you don't have to replace walls and tile, you'll be hundreds of dollars ahead, if not a few thousand. With any luck, the valve backs into a closet on the other side, much easier repair because it doesn't have to be perfect, since it's hidden in the closet. Another alternative would be to simply screw a panel over the access hole and skip repairing the wall altogether, perfectly acceptable if within a closet where it won't be seen.

    Good luck, please report back with your progress and outcome.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Fixing a dripping shower faucet

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    If the drip is coming through the tub spout, then one of the valve/seat is leaking. If the drip is coming from around the stem, then you need to tighten the stem nuts slightly until this drip stops.

    Check your work, make sure that the cold seat is installed properly and not cross threaded or loose in some manner. The hot side is probably what is leaking, since you couldn't get the old seat out and it appears that it is damaged. You might be able to take a slotted screwdriver that is the same width as the stripped hex and drive it tightly into the hex. You can pick up a cheapy screwdriver and grind the blade down so that it's a perfect fit. Obviously, you will be trying to fit the widest portion of the stripped hex hole. As you apply torque to the screwdriver, smack the tip of the handle with a hammer, this will help keep the screwdriver firmly seated, and the jarring vibration will help to break the seat loose. You want to use firm hammer strikes, but not excessively forceful. Be forewarned, the only repair for a messed up valve body is total replacement, which will require opening up the wall.
    Thanks for the reply, the drip is coming from the spout. I double checked the cold seat and valve and it appears fine. I will think about the screw driver method you describe.

    I was thinking about applying some PB Blaster penetrating lubricant to the hot seat to try and loosen it, do you recommend that?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Fixing a dripping shower faucet

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    You have done everything to perfection, but the hot seat refuses to spin out. You can try Spruce's method, but frankly, it's a long shot.

    Be prepared to replace the body. Luckily they still make 3 hole bodies.

    Ok, thanks dj1.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Fixing a dripping shower faucet

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    I agree, old plumbing can be quite finicky.

    If you're lucky, the valve could be replaced from the back side of the wall, leaving your tile intact. This is a little tougher on the plumber, but if you don't have to replace walls and tile, you'll be hundreds of dollars ahead, if not a few thousand. With any luck, the valve backs into a closet on the other side, much easier repair because it doesn't have to be perfect, since it's hidden in the closet. Another alternative would be to simply screw a panel over the access hole and skip repairing the wall altogether, perfectly acceptable if within a closet where it won't be seen.

    Good luck, please report back with your progress and outcome.

    Hopefully I don't have to open up the wall and replace the valve body, but the backside of the wall is accessible, so its an option, its not in a closet though. I have done construction/carpentry before, so I suppose I could do the demo and carpentry work myself and hire a plumber to replace the valve body if I had too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Fixing a dripping shower faucet

    I have not applied any teflon tape, do you recommend I try adding some tape to the cold seat? Just to make sure the cold seat is leak proof, I am thinking about removing the cold seat and applying some tape to the seat threads and screwing it back in. Will that cause any problems?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,027

    Default Re: Fixing a dripping shower faucet

    Quote Originally Posted by jjeleven View Post
    I was thinking about applying some PB Blaster penetrating lubricant to the hot seat to try and loosen it, do you recommend that?
    I've never found "penetrating" sprays to do much of anything, but you can try it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjeleven View Post
    so I suppose I could do the demo and carpentry work myself and hire a plumber to replace the valve body if I had too.
    Repairing drywall is a whole lot easier than doing tile. Hopefully the back of this wall is not too conspicuous. Still, you could do the majority of the work yourself and have a pro come in for the finish.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjeleven View Post
    I have not applied any teflon tape, do you recommend I try adding some tape to the cold seat? Just to make sure the cold seat is leak proof, I am thinking about removing the cold seat and applying some tape to the seat threads and screwing it back in. Will that cause any problems?
    No, do not put tape on the seat. You shouldn't need anything, though if you want to apply something, use Oatey thread sealant, as it remains soft and pliable as it ages, meaning, you'll be able to get the seat out again if the need arises. The red label is the one I use, the others would probably work just as well for this application.
    http://www.oatey.com/products/thread...hread-sealants
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •