Trouble installing new diverter handle - can't get screw to screw into the stem all the way

Plumbing Forums

Help Support Plumbing Forums:


New Member
May 17, 2023
Reaction score
Hello all.

Since I bought my home we’ve been missing a handle for our tub faucet diverter. I went out and bought this handle replacement

Everything looks to be a match and would fit but when screwing in the handle using the provided screw into the stem it goes in under halfway before I can’t screw any further.

Anyone have any idea what’s going on? Is it possible water has gotten in the stem and caused some sort of buildup preventing it from screwing in properly?

Do I need to replace the stem, seat, etc?

Hopefully I’m using that terminology right - I’m fairly new to this stuff.

Here are pics of the stem and how far I can get the screw in for reference (I know the replacement handle isn't on, I just took pics with it off to better show the issue)



Staff member
Jan 5, 2010
Reaction score
Southern California,
How about either cutting that screw (chase the threads afterwards) or buying a few shorter screws which will fit your handle better?


Currently in the Lab conducting research
Feb 9, 2021
Reaction score
United states
I might be wrong but from what I see it looks like a Gerber.

Like Arctic Bill says, just buy all new original chrome parts for it.

We would need to see more of the parts before we could positively identify the brand you have.

Fit-all handles like you’re installing are crap.


Well-Known Member
Sep 10, 2016
Reaction score
It could be that the screw threads are gunked up further in, or it could be that they sent you a screw that is generic and too long for that stem. You can gauge the depth of the hole in the stem with a straightened paperclip or similar bit of wire. Just go straight down the center so it doesn't hit the threads.

If it bottoms out at roughly the depth the screw is going in then most likely the screw is too long. If you have a pair of lineman's pliers they generally have holes for cutting screws. Or go to a hardware store and get a shorter screw. The latter might be better since the threads on the cut point might be a bit mangled.

If it goes in roughly as long as the screw, most likely the threads are fouled. You could clean it out with a tap, if you have one the right size. Alternatively, since it is probably just calcium deposits, squirt some vinegar in the hole and scrub inside with something like an interdental plaque brush. Like one of these:

Or put the screw in and out with some vinegar in there, it is likely to grind off the calcium if it has been softened some. Or once again, get a shorter screw.

The screw just keeps the handle from pulling out (parallel to the stem), as long as the splines on the stem are fully engaged with the handle it will turn normally.

Latest posts