Multiple Shower Issues

Discussion in 'Showers and Tubs' started by Ferdinand, Jan 7, 2018.

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  1. Jan 7, 2018 #1

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    First off, thanks so much for this forum!

    I should just call in a professional plumber, but I suspect that might get expensive. I will likely still end up doing that but, being curious and moderately handy myself, I much prefer to at first get a full understanding of the process in order to decide whether it's something I could risk tackling myself.

    We recently purchased this house which has this fancy shower, (see photos below). It has three separate valves, and a temperature control dial. The three valves individually turn on either the bathtub faucet, the side jets, or the overhead shower nozzle, or any combination of the three.

    The issue is, all three outlets drip constantly. Also the temperature control dial cannot be turned at all. Push/pull, turn/twist, it can't be budged. I don't want to force it for fear of breaking something.

    The shower does work. The temperature is locked at a comfortable setting, but it cannot be adjusted. However none of the three valves close completely, so it always drips.

    The problem was caused, I'm pretty sure, because the previous owners had the water softener system programmed incorrectly. It was set to regenerate every three days, regardless of how much (if any) water was being used. As a result there were salt stalactites growing from all of the faucets. That situation has been corrected. The softener now regenerates only after 800 gallons of water usage. But I'd really like to fix the shower.

    The problem is, I can't figure out how to start. Obviously I would have to pull the valve stems out. But, first off, there are no shutoff valves to be found anywhere. I'd have to shut off the water to the entire house.

    Next problem, there are no obvious set-screws holding on the triangular-shaped valve handles. The bezels behind the handles spin freely, but cannot be removed without first removing the handles. How do these handles come off??

    Next, the temperature control dial has a large bezel plate behind it, held on by two screws. Once those screws are removed I can see what's behind the bezel (see photos), but it won't slide off completely without further disassembling the temp mixing control.

    As I would first need to shut off the water to the entire house, that pretty much eliminates any opportunity for experimentation because, once disassembled (or broken), I'm committed to fixing it before the water can be turned back on.

    There are no identifying marks that I could find on any of the plumbing fixtures, so I can't go searching online for a user manual. There is a label on the shower door glass, but I suspect that's just for the tub insert and has nothing to do with the plumbing itself.

    Any suggestions?

    Ya, ya, I know. Don't be cheap, call a professional... :cool:

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  2. Jan 8, 2018 #2

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    The temperature control dial is not so critical, as it is currently locked at a comfortable setting. I would like to know though whether I'm just being stupid and there's some simple trick to getting it to turn. But I'm happy to leave it as-is for now.

    But the dripping has to stop!

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how the handles come off the valves? I don't want to break anything. There are no visible set-screws. I turn the handles counter-clockwise, water comes on. Clockwise, water stops, but continues to drip.

    Maybe they just unscrew? Turn the handle fully counterclockwise to the valve's fully open position, but keep turning??? Is that even possible?
     
  3. Jan 8, 2018 #3

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

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    Bump to the top for assistance!
     
    Ferdinand likes this.
  4. Jan 9, 2018 #4

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    So far, the only good thing that's come from this is that I'm not feeling quite as stupid anymore. If it's stumped all of you guys too, then I don't feel so bad anymore that I couldn't figure it out on my own. :)

    So, final question, if I contact a professional plumber for help, and maybe even send him these photos beforehand, is he going to charge me $100 or more just for the service call for coming out to my house, only to tell me he can't figure it out either?

    Surely there must be a way for these things to come apart, no? :confused:
     
  5. Jan 9, 2018 #5

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

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    I was hoping one of our professional plumbers would chime in, but they are all very busy after the holidays and only pop in here when they find time, as we all are only volunteers here. I will tell you that either the black rubber will pull off, or the chrome end cap will pop off, allowing access to a phillips screwdriver under it. I'm certain that most professional plumbers can probably take this off in about 10 seconds, but they will charge you for travel time for their inconvenience. Have you done a google search for assistance?

    The bottom line is, you need to replace the cartridge to stop the leak. You may finally be able to remove the face plate, but do you have the tools necessary to remove this cartridge? For the cost of a plumber, you are getting someone who is insured for damages, knows what they are doing, has the correct tools, and will not cause any damage to your existing shower. If you ask my two cents, give one a call and be done with it.
     
  6. Jan 9, 2018 #6

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    My apologies. I didn't mean to come off sounding like a dick. :eek:

    I very very much appreciate any advice offered.

    It's a hard black plastic ring. The chrome end cap is the most tempting target, but I'm reluctant to pry on it for fear of damaging it. I might try twisting it with a rubber strap wrench though...

    A google search is what led me here.

    I don't even know what other search terms to use from here on out. If I knew the type or model number of these valves, that would certainly help.

    At this point, I'm even willing to leave the temp dial alone, as it is locked at a comfortable heat setting.

    If I could just get those triangular handles off I could at least replace the valve cores, as the primary objective is to stop the dripping.

    Otherwise the next google search will be to find a local plumber. :(
     
  7. Jan 9, 2018 #7

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

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    You're not being a dick. I just feel bad when someone needs help and I can't help them, since I am just an old retired guy trying to help out the forum owners. The triangle valves are just diverters, and would not needs to be worked on. You need to replace the valve, which is behind the thermostatically controlled valve. I too spent a considerable amount of time looking for this exact shower valve, since once I found it, I could go to the company web site and find their instructions for replacing the cartridge.

    As a last ditch effort, if you found a local plumbing house and show them your pictures, they may be able to identify which brand this was, and sell you a cartridge to replace.

    Or again, find a reputable local plumber and let him go to town.
     
  8. Jan 9, 2018 #8

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    Whoa, really? I hadn't even considered that.

    [​IMG]

    So that thing not only adjusts the ratio of hot/cold water flow, it also stops/starts the water flow??

    Well, damn, that's a pretty fundamental change of concept for me.

    Okay, I'm right back to feeling stupid now. :eek:

    I can see how one shutoff valve behind the central temp control valve would make more sense. But shouldn't each of those three diverter valves, if closed properly, also stop the dripping? All three of them drip. There is a steady drip from the bathtub faucet, the shower head, and the side jets. Or do diverter valves never actually fully close?

    I'm starting to think this will be the way to go, as there will likely also be special tools required.
     
  9. Jan 9, 2018 #9

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

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    The dirverter valves are just that, they divert water only. All your pressure and flow starts and stops with the main valve.
     
  10. Jan 10, 2018 #10

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    I worked up the nerve to partially disassemble the main valve. Twelve (12) photos to follow...

    We only recently moved into this house. I had to dig through some boxes to find my rubber strap wrench.

    First image. It took a bit of convincing with the strap wrench, but the chrome end cap simply unscrews!

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  11. Jan 10, 2018 #11

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    Next, the black plastic knobbly ring slides right off.

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  12. Jan 10, 2018 #12

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    The knobbly ring is splined to the black core on four raised ridges.

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  13. Jan 10, 2018 #13

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    The chrome sleeve ring slips right off.

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  14. Jan 10, 2018 #14

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    Had to use the flash to show this next one.

    The black core is attached in its centre by a big brass slot screw. There is also a stainless steel pin shown by the second arrow.

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  15. Jan 10, 2018 #15

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    Remove the brass screw and pull off the black centre housing with the temperature markings on it. That stainless pin goes through to the other side, where it is wrapped in a white plastic bushing.

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  16. Jan 10, 2018 #16

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    The arc through which the temperature dial can be turned is limited by the pin in the white bushing contacting these two stops.

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  17. Jan 10, 2018 #17

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    The temperature dial, held on by the centre brass slot screw, is a press fit onto the cone-shaped centre core.

    In its as-found condition, the centre core wouldn't turn at all. But it has two flats machined into it, onto which a 9/16" wrench fits nicely.

    With a little wiggling back and forth with the wrench, I managed to free that up so now it turns!

    Sadly, it has no effect. I let the bathtub faucet run and tried adjusting the temperature by turning the wrench. Nada. Makes no difference whatsoever. The water temperature remains the same, not hot, not cold, just comfortably warm.

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  18. Jan 10, 2018 #18

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    After scraping some of the corrosion off, I can see there is a big C-clip, behind which is a big brass nut.

    The black plastic bit, with the two end stops limiting how far the temp dial can be turned, has three feet that appear to butt up against that brass nut.

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  19. Jan 10, 2018 #19

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    I pried out that black plastic piece. Here's what the backside of it looks like. More corrosion.

    Interestingly, the three feet pointing towards the centre have curved inner edges. I thought those edges were going to be flat, butting square against the brass nut. But apparently the rounded edges mean this black plastic piece is free to rotate past the brass nut.

    Also interesting, note the spline teeth around the inner edge of the outer perimeter.

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  20. Jan 10, 2018 #20

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

    Ferdinand

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    Those spline teeth mesh with the outer edge of the brass housing.

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