Plumbing Forum - Professional & DIY Plumbing Forum > General Plumbing Discussion > Showers and Tubs > HELP ~ Remove a tub/shower stem



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Old 03-26-2012, 12:59 AM   #1
justforfunorama
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Default HELP ~ Remove a stubborn tub/shower valve stem

I have a 1961 ranch home with slab construction. Two weeks ago I started noticing water coming up inside the floor in the laundry room and the floor was hot. You could hear hissing when you put your ear to the slab. I busted up the slab replaced the mess of kinked up pipe, pressure tested the line for 2 days and then covered everything up (with sand and 1.5" of concrete in case I needed to access things again).

As soon as I turned everything back on, the debris that was in the pipe (some crusty mineral stuff) got dislodged and the nearest sink's hot water slowed to a trickle. So I removed the valved under the sink removed the debris and everything works fine.

Now it's been a week or so and there is another shower and a tub that are having significantly restricted hot water flow. So I assumed that I would have to change out the stems on the two faucets & bleed the debris. I thought this would help a number of things. First it would improve the restricted flow and 2ndly make the faucets easier to turn off.

The problem is that I can't get the old stem out. I've heated it with a torch. I've taped it with a hammer. I've tried liquid wrench and still it's so frozen that I can't turn the thing with a stem wrench/driver. I've bent 2 screw-drivers and am hesitant to move onto a 'larger lever' with my cheater pipe for fear that I will break the fitting in the wall and end up having to remove the tile. I've read a few things online and they say to try PB Blaster.

I bought a can today and hit it generously this afternoon. So, I'm looking for advice. How do I remove the stem without breaking the fitting and being forced to tear into the wall?

Do I just muscle the heck out of it and hope for the best?

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Last edited by justforfunorama; 03-26-2012 at 04:51 AM. Reason: being more specific
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:20 PM   #2
SlowDrip
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Hrm, I know it has been a while since you posted this but I figure, better late than never.

The PB blaster should have helped loosen it up considerably. If it didn't work, it is possible that you warped something by heating it with a torch.

This looks to me like an old Galt stem (hard to tell from the outside). If it IS then it is extremely likely that the torch did some warping, since they had a notoriously thin brass casing.

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