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darsunt 08-27-2012 06:36 PM

Can't get snake down tub overflow
I have a slow draining shower/tub. I ran a snake down the overflow pipe but it does not go through the p trap. When I turn it right it always binds on something, and I don't want to crank it in case it jambs in there and I can't get the snake out. If I turn the snake left it just spins forever and I can't get it to go down.
The snake is 1/4". I've plumbed out another shower through the overflow pipe and the snake went through the trap okay. What do you guys think? Could there have been a plunger stopper in there, and it broke of and is blocking the entrance to the trap? There was nothing attached to the lever when I removed it.

joecaption 08-27-2012 08:26 PM

Is this house on a slab? If not then access the trap or any clean outs from under the house.

darsunt 08-27-2012 08:59 PM

Bath is on second floor, would have to cut out the ceiling.

Alan 08-27-2012 09:14 PM

Can you run the lavatory in the same bathroom without it backing up into the tub?

Have you tried pulling the stopper out and clearing the hair from the drain of the tub?

DannyT 08-28-2012 08:16 AM

i used to have to run the snake backwards and push harder than normal to get through an 1-1/2 trap on a tub but that was with a 5/8 cable.

darsunt 08-28-2012 11:09 PM

The drain to the tub is clear, but that does not help.

Since it is just draining slowly, I think I will delay cutting out the ceiling until it gets really bad.

oh'mike 08-29-2012 04:50 AM

What kind of stopper/pop up does the tub use? Some have a leaver that enters the over flow tube and might interfere with your snake.

Others have a piston in the tube that frequently drop off the linkage.

Some homes use 'barrel traps' that can not be snaked.

NEED: Age of house---picture of your drain stopper mechanism----Is there an interior wall backing up to the tub drain?

darsunt 08-29-2012 11:59 AM

When I pulled off the lid of the overflow tube, there was no mechanism there, although there was a lever. I'm guessing either they took off the stopper on installation, or the chain rusted off and it fell down into the trap.
The house was built in 1969.
There are showers back to back, so interior wall on the other side is a fiberglass shower wall (sigh)

DannyT 08-29-2012 01:03 PM

if the lever is there but no linkage it might have fallen off. with a coat hanger or piece of wire you should be able to snag it and lift it up if its in there. it may take a few tries. if you have a tiny mirror you could look down the overflow and see if anything is down there. i had to get a shampoo bottle cap out of one once.

drtbk4ever 08-29-2012 01:11 PM

I have used this through the drain to pull out the hair/gunk.

plummen 08-30-2012 04:14 AM


Originally Posted by DannyT (Post 998188)
i used to have to run the snake backwards and push harder than normal to get through an 1-1/2 trap on a tub but that was with a 5/8 cable.

If you can get a 5/8 cable around an 1 1/2" trap youre a better man than me! :laughing:

Alan 08-30-2012 09:38 AM


Originally Posted by plummen (Post 999605)
If you can get a 5/8 cable around an 1 1/2" trap youre a better man than me! :laughing:


I didn't even catch that. Normally I fight with a 3/8 cable to get them around those darn durham traps.

plummen 08-30-2012 11:49 AM

I think he met 5/16 cable :)

notmrjohn 08-30-2012 06:34 PM

"in case it jambs in there" been there, well, if I'd been IN there I coulda un jammed it. Can you go down the vent stack from the roof? But it's pro'lly behind the probably back to back toilets.
Ran the snake backwards, I struuggled and struggled half day to get rented 3/8 through a clogged branch line, cutters, coils, spades tips ( I even sharpened the spade with dremel; gave up, called plumber expecting him to show up with massive 3/4 machine. He carried his little 3/8 to the clean out in wall, no tip at all, cut off right behind knuckle(?) ran it backwards, punched right thru in 5 minutes. Ran the whole cable thru let it warble around in there 15 mins, since he was gonna charge me for an hour NE ways he sez. Those sprung out kinks in electric drill 1/4" snakes are good places to cut.

darsunt 11-10-2012 01:07 AM

Let you guys know what it was. The stopper had fallen off the lever and jammed itself down in the trap. With a mirror and flashlight I could see it.
I attempted to remove it with coat hanger hook, but it was really stuck in there. I did not use force because I had these shower/tub drains leak before, I fear they are fragile and I didn't want to use too much force. I will leave the damn thing until it is completely clogged and I really have to tear out the ceiling.

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