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Old 09-09-2013, 12:42 PM   #1
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Possible to replace old (1967) diverter stem and other valves with modern ones?


My Speakman diverter stem, circa 1967, trickles water into the faucet when diverting water to the showerhead. There are no gaskets/o-rings/etc. that I haven't already replaced (the only other thing I haven't tried is to smooth out with steel wool the conical shaped stem seat that it backs into the housing to cut off the water to the faucet), so I am told that I just need a new diverter stem. Price at a local store for a Kissler replacement is $32. I am wondering if I shouldn't just replace all 3 valves - hot, cold, and diverter - with something of today's engineering standards.

I'm not extremely well versed in the construction of the shower plumbing, so my questions are...

Are the pipes that these valves are screwing into of a universal thread pitch/size that all valves will fit, or no?

What measurements/parameters should I be looking for here - starting with the pipes in the wall that the valves are threading into? I hope I don't have to do any rough plumbing or replacing the elbows that supply the water to the valves...

Thanks so much!


Last edited by genEus; 09-09-2013 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 09-09-2013, 04:27 PM   #2
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Possible to replace old (1967) diverter stem and other valves with modern ones?


Best thing to do is remove all 3 stems and seats. Go to a good supply hose and match them up.
There are 100's if not 1,000's of different stems.
A lot of people try to short cut this and used the old seats,there is a good chance they will leak.

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Old 09-09-2013, 04:54 PM   #3
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Possible to replace old (1967) diverter stem and other valves with modern ones?


my problem is not with the seats... all the seats are brand new. my problem is with the diverter valve itself.

when in normal position, meaning water to the faucet, the valve presses against said seat in the pipe, and directs all of the water into the faucet. to switch to the shower head however, you rotate the handle counterclockwise, at which point the internal stem of the valve retreats and supposedly cuts off the water supply from going into the valve body. it appears that the place where the stem is supposed to seal off the valve, there is not a tight seal. I am Not sure if there was supposed to be a gasket there of some sorts or if its just metal to metal...

in any case, I would be fine replacing all three handles and all three valves, my question is whether with any shower kit that I pick up the valves will fit into my existing pipe...
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:59 PM   #4
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Possible to replace old (1967) diverter stem and other valves with modern ones?


Chances are a new modern shower kit from HD or Lowes won't work for you. You might get lucky.

You have replaced all seats, so your good there. As suggested above take all three with you to a hardware or plumbing supply store and have them match them up. You can try big box stores, I have better luck with basic hardware and plumbing supply stores for older stems/diverters/seats, etc.
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:07 PM   #5
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Possible to replace old (1967) diverter stem and other valves with modern ones?


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Chances are a new modern shower kit from HD or Lowes won't work for you. You might get lucky.

You have replaced all seats, so your good there. As suggested above take all three with you to a hardware or plumbing supply store and have them match them up. You can try big box stores, I have better luck with basic hardware and plumbing supply stores for older stems/diverters/seats, etc.
I definitely have found replacements at a local supply store; they're just a lot more expensive than the $14 Price Pfister units I saw at Home Depot. I may be remodeling the bathroom in a couple years so I don't feel like spending $30 per valve if I may change from a 3-knob control shower to a single handle mixer type unit later... I'll do some more research online though, looks like I'm gonna have to experiment.
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:49 PM   #6
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Possible to replace old (1967) diverter stem and other valves with modern ones?


Yeah but a more expensive direct replacement done now will undoubtedly be less expensive (and quicker) than all the other work that'd have to go into swapping everything else out. Like tile, plaster on the wall behind, etc. Various trim escutcheons can be had to hide how old valves came through the tile, but I think most of them just make it look like an obvious shortcut was taken.
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:15 PM   #7
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Possible to replace old (1967) diverter stem and other valves with modern ones?


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Yeah but a more expensive direct replacement done now will undoubtedly be less expensive (and quicker) than all the other work that'd have to go into swapping everything else out. Like tile, plaster on the wall behind, etc. Various trim escutcheons can be had to hide how old valves came through the tile, but I think most of them just make it look like an obvious shortcut was taken.
Unfortunately the remodel that is planned is going to be a complete gutting. It would be great NOT to have to redo the plumbing but I'll have full access to it after I rip out all the original tile, plus the moisture resistant drywall behind it, to replace it with hardibacker. I just wanted to make sure I didn't have a leak again like I found this weekend, and had to re-drywall a huge chunk of ceiling that got wet on the first floor...
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:22 PM   #8
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Possible to replace old (1967) diverter stem and other valves with modern ones?


Shouldn't be that much more expensive to redo plumbing. You'll have everything opened up, that would be the time to do it. Also remember to put in an access panel for shower if possible, they sell all sizes at the box stores. Then you can go all new fixtures.

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