How to Replace a Bathtub Drain Linkage

What You'll Need
New linkage
Plumbers putty

Replacing a bathtub drain linkage can be a simple job that you can do without the help of professional plumbers. You just need the right information, tools and materials to get the job done. To fix that slow draining bathtub, follow this step-by-step guide. The tools and materials required for the job are given below.

Step 1 - Expose the Pipes

The first step to start fixing the bathtub drain linkage is to locate and access the pipes that are connected to the tub. Usually, there is a panel behind the drain that hides the pipes. Remove the panel from the wall and gain access to the pipes.

Step  2 - Pull Out the Drain Linkage

First, use the screwdriver to unscrew the drain overflow faceplate. When you unscrew the faceplate and slowly pull it out, the old linkage will get pulled out with it too. The old linkage will look like a cylinder or a spring, depending on the type of drain you have. 

Step 3 - Check for Broken Linkage

When you pull out the bathtub drain linkage and the plunger does not come out with it, it means it may have broken off of the linkage. In this case, you will have to locate the plunger and take it out.

Step 4 - Locate the Drain Assembly and Clear It

There is usually an access panel door that is covering the door assembly. You can either remove this panel door to fully expose the drain for cleaning or you can use a coat hanger to pull out pieces of the linkage and other stuff left behind. All this material left inside may be blocking the bathtub from draining effectively.

Step 5 - Locate Drain Seat

First, remove the upper pipe by unscrewing the nuts that are holding it. You have got access to the upper pipe by removing the face plate. When you have taken the pipe out, you will be able to see the drain seat in which the plunger has to rest. Remove the old plunger from this seat.

Step 6 - Install New Plunger

When you have cleaned the drain seat well, install the new plunger and rest it in the drain seat. Then install the new drain linkage to the plunger. After you’re done, replace the upper pipe and cover the joint with plumber’s putty.

Step 7 - Complete Installing New Bathtub Drain Linkage

When you have connected the linkage to the plunger correctly, slide the whole mechanism into the upper pipe. When you are sliding it into the pipe, make sure you hold it from its end. You don’t want the end to fall into the pipe.

Step 8 - Attach Linkage End to Face Plate

Now, attach the end of the linkage you are holding to the face plate you removed. Attach it with a cotter pin. You must have gotten this pin when you bought the new bathtub drain linkage. Replace the faceplate by screwing it back in. Your job is done.