Replacing shower valve assembly

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  #1  
Old 12-31-14, 12:36 AM
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Replacing shower valve assembly

Have older home (1940's) with 2 handle shower faucets. Both valves have been leaking for sometime. I have been unable to find the correct replacements so I have been repairing them but they eventually leak again.

I bought a replacement valve kit which includes everything I would need to completely retrofit the existing setup, but looking at the setup from the closet side inside the wall their is no valve, only 3 lines that lead to each of the shower valves and the shower head.

My question is can buy a kit to replace the entire setup from the front side, inside the shower?

I think I need to replace the entire valve assembly including the seat but not sure if this is possible.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-31-14, 06:09 AM
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You did not say where your faucet is leaking, what faucet you have or include any pictures so it's hard to say anything specific.

There are replacement valve stem assemblies which is what I suspect you're talking about. Whether or not it will help depends on where and the cause of your leak but in general most older faucets can be repaired with simple washers by disassembling the old valve cartridge/core.

If you have replace the seat washer and leaks return (dripping from the spout like the valve can't be turned completely off) relatively soon then you've probably got a damaged seat. On many older faucets the seat can be replaced. If your seat can't be replaced I would consider replacing the entire faucet assembly. There are tools that can re-face the valve seats but I've not had good luck with them so I usually just replace the faucet.

The "kit to replace the entire setup" is called a new faucet. Since it involves replacing the faucet body it involves some work in the wall. It sounds like you have access to the back side which helps alot and you probably can replace it without disturbing your shower surround.
 
  #3  
Old 12-31-14, 06:14 AM
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http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...rt-images.html

When working on shower valves, you need to shut off main to house. Drain the lines the best you can before removing the valves.

See link above. Pictures are needed. There are many types of valves.

This is just a guess, and it needs to be confirmed. If you have old 2 valve set up with mixer/diverter valve in the middle, it may be Price Pfister.

The Price Pfister rebuild kits are readily available and give you everything you need to completely rebuild/swap out parts from the front.

You need a few special tools. A valve seat wrench and a valve wrench.

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  #4  
Old 12-31-14, 10:48 AM
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Here is a photo from the backside in the closet.
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The valves are not common as I have tried several hardware stores and standard big box retailers. Even our local hardware store which is really well stocked with plumbing items for older homes could not identify them.

When turned off hot side shower valve is leaking from the bathtub spout. Cold water valve leaks when the shower is running.

I want to replace both shower valve assemblies including the seat without having to touch the copper piping inside the wall.
 
  #5  
Old 12-31-14, 01:31 PM
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If you can't find the new valves, you may have no choice but to change out the entire valve body.

Replacing the seat is easy, if they are replaceable. Use the seat wrench (angled) I pictured above.
Use Teflon paste on the male threads.

Maybe if you can't find the new valves, you can rebuild them. All you need is the seat washer and the packing O-rings. Have you tried that?

If you did change the washers before, and it still leaked out the spout, new seats will cure this.
 
  #6  
Old 12-31-14, 03:19 PM
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I have replaced the rings and seat washer 3 times. I don't mind spending the time and money to replace everything. I would rather have everything be new and not have to bother with this again.

Thanks.
 
  #7  
Old 12-31-14, 04:27 PM
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Well,
The good news is you will save a lot of money because replacing the valve body will be relatively easy.
You have full access and tile inside bath will not be damaged at all.
 
  #8  
Old 12-31-14, 08:52 PM
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The only part of replacing the entire valve body that makes me a little uncomfortable is the copper pipe that extends up to the shower head. All of the other connections are threaded male-female so I should be able to remove them with channel locks or a small pipe wrench.

But the pipe going up to the shower has a threaded connection soldered to the copper pipe. I am thinking that I need to heat this pipe to break the solder connection, reconnect the threaded joint to the valve body, then reconnect the threaded piece by soldering it to the copper pipe.

I am thinking this would be the last step after making all of the other connections.

Does this sound right?
 
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Old 01-01-15, 05:22 AM
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You would cut the shower riser pipe above the valve body, actually a little higher than what I showed with yellow lines.
You would also cut the pipe going down to tub spout.
You may or may not have to cut off the unions going to each valve. This depends on the valve body you purchase.

Maybe someone else can comment on this, I think the chances of finding a valve body that matches up exactly to those unions is slim.

You best bet would be to shop around for a valve body. Get the correct spacing as far as width.
I would take the picture to a plumber's storefront (no big box store), they may have a valve body laying around that is just what you need.

Once you have replacement in hand, you can post back for help. You will need to do some soldering though.
 
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Old 01-01-15, 05:50 AM
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Replacing the valve will be easier since you have access to the back side but it will require care. You will probably have to cut out the wood brace and stud that are behind the stud. You'll have to work carefully to not vibrate or move the shower wall and damage the shower surround. Then once the new faucet is in place and the plumbing connected you'll have to install new framing to support the faucet and wall stud. It's best to avoid hammering and screw the framing in place to reduce the chance of damaging your surround.

As for the piping I think you'll just have to deal with the plumbing and cut the pipes. As Handyone mentioned it will be difficult or impossible to find a replacement that will match up exactly to use the current unions and you will have to redo the piping for the tub spout.
 
  #11  
Old 01-01-15, 09:26 AM
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Here is a photo of the replacement valve I purchased. It is part of a Price Pfister kit that includes everything including new shower valve handles.

I have taken some measurements of the old valve and it appears to be the same dimensions. Unless I am missing something it seems that this would work?
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  #12  
Old 01-01-15, 10:46 AM
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That will work fine. That's what I "guessed" was already there in my post #3.

So you may not have to cut the unions. Just cut the shower riser and the tub supply for now.

Use a mini tubing cutter.
 
  #13  
Old 01-01-15, 11:24 AM
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That's the answer I was hoping for. I want to keep the cuts to a minimum.
 
  #14  
Old 01-01-15, 12:32 PM
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Remember I said no union cuts "for now". You need a good and permanent seal on the unions.

Don't let the number of cuts guide you, it can all be fixed. I believe you can fix this yourself, but if worse comes to worse, this will be a piece of cake for a plumber.
 
  #15  
Old 01-02-15, 08:39 AM
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While you are at it I would install 1/4 turn shutoffs' for the hot and cold supply lines. Good luck.
 
  #16  
Old 01-02-15, 05:21 PM
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getting ready to take this on. One last question about the cuts. The tub line is threaded galvanized piping. Should I cut this or just back it out and reinstall?
 
  #17  
Old 01-02-15, 05:42 PM
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If you are referring to the line going to tub spout just back it out. I would replace it, it doesn't cost much and you can get it in other than galvanized. Bring the old one to match the length. Don't forget the plumbers tape or liquid.

Good Luck
 
  #18  
Old 01-02-15, 07:12 PM
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I didn't see in picture this was galvanized going down to spout. Follow saltydog's advice. This is actually a good thing, you can get valve body positioned and then install new pipe down from there. One less thing you need to solder. You never want to cut galvanized as it can be easily replaced. The only exception I would make is a drain or vent line.
 
  #19  
Old 01-03-15, 06:50 AM
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Handyone, I believe Stumped1 was referring to the nipple that the runs horizontally to the tub and the spout attaches to it. All the pipes a saw in the photo's looked to be copper as well and I would have expected other than a galvanized nipple.
Stumped1 can you clear this up? If you have a combination of galvanized and copper supply lines you may have some other things to clear up before your install.
If it is only the nipple I referred to just replace it.
Remember don't forget the plumbers tape or liquid. You also want to use plumbers putty at the point where the tub spout any cover plates meets the surround as well as any Escutcheon plates (covers) to prevent any shower water from leaking under them.
 
  #20  
Old 01-03-15, 07:41 AM
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Yeah,
I think you're right salty, looks like copper down from existing valve body. It must go down to a drop ear elbow and then galvanized out to spout.
Stumped, change this spout nipple to brass. Would you agree Salty?
 
  #21  
Old 01-03-15, 08:21 AM
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Stumped :NO NO NO: I don't believe that for a second . I think brass is the perfect solution. I would verify that the part ( forgot the name) that the nipple screws into is brass ( I have only seen brass). Brass and copper work well together even though they are dissimilar metals.

Link to a nipple. They come in different lengths and diameters:
Everbilt 3/8 in. Lead-Free Brass Pipe Nipple-BP-785 - The Home Depot

Part nipple screws into looks like the one in this link, however, the one in the link is for PEX supply lines you will want one for copper pipe:

SharkBite 3/4 in. Brass PEX Barb x Female Pipe Thread Adapter 90-Degree Drop-Ear Elbow-UC342LFA - The Home Depot
 
  #22  
Old 01-03-15, 02:18 PM
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The galvanized pipe is seized into the fitting. There was no way I was going to get it out without the risk of damaging the shower surround or having the pipe break off.

Replaced all of the washers on the old valves and the leaks are gone, until next time.

Thanks for all the advice. I was fully prepared to retrofit everything but thought it better not to take a chance of creating a DIY disaster.
 
  #23  
Old 01-03-15, 03:08 PM
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I would still see if the seats are replaceable. My bet is they are. Remove one of the valves and look inside at the back for this:

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A tip: Do not close valve too tight, it damages the seat washer. Even if you went to the trouble of changing out everything, leaks would have occurred if valves are shut too tight.
 
  #24  
Old 01-03-15, 05:01 PM
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I did attempt to remove the seats, even bought the tool you recommended. Problem is that the center of the seats are round, not squared off like the tool. Not sure if this means they were worn out and round, or just round. Either way I could not get a grip with the seating tool to get them out.
 
  #25  
Old 01-04-15, 06:03 AM
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Removeable seats will have a hex in the center. Non-removable, those machined into the valve body, do not have the hex and have a round hole in the center. How long do the washers last before it starts leaking again? It might be worth trying to reface your seats especially since the only other option is to replace the faucet.
 
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