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Old 06-07-2007, 04:06 PM   #1
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


In my upstairs bath (tub/shower and new copper installed late last year) the shower head stopped working. Tub spout still works fine but when you pull the knob up to get the shower on instead of the tub it amkes a loud machine gun noise. I called my tech support dept (2 crafty friends) and they said to replace the tub spout. So I went and picked up one that looked just like it. Directions said "unscrew the set screw on the bottom then unscrew the whole assembly" basically. Looked for the set screw, none. I can see copper pipe through a hole in the bottom of the spout. I called Tech Support again and they said unscrew it anyway. I stopped trying when I noticed the on/off/temp lever up on the wall moving from side to side. That's where I'm at now.

Is it possible is sweat on one of these on? I can't see how they could. The gentlemen that installed it are long gone and unavailable (story of my remodel) so that option's out. Maybe it's just really tight and I need to persuade it a little harder? I'll take pics if that will help.

Thanks in advance

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Old 06-07-2007, 04:34 PM   #2
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


There are two different ways they can attach, depending on the spout: 1) Threaded, or 2) "Slip fit" (with a set screw). If you can't find a set screw up there, chances are it's just threaded on. Sounds like they cranked it on super-tight, and if they used some type of pipe dope, it makes it even harder to back it off. Since you're not concerned with "saving" the old spout, you could heat up the end of it (near the water outlet) with a torch - NOT red hot...just enough to heat that threaded connection. That will expand the metal a little and melt some of the pipe dope. Then use pliers to unscrew it.

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Old 06-07-2007, 05:06 PM   #3
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


I might be able to get someone to hold the shower head and lever steady while I bear down on it one more time. I was worried about breaking or bending something inside the wall so I stopped. Thanks for the clarification. I won't be breaking out the torch until all else fails, but good idea.
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Old 06-08-2007, 09:32 AM   #4
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


what tool you use to do the unscrewing... if it is a hex screw or philip screw? ... may be you need to use a better tool to do unscrewing if it is so hardened.... but normally, it is a tiny screw which can be easily unscrew as it shouldn't be installed heavily as it might break a hole in the copper pipe if screw in too hard...
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Old 06-08-2007, 10:43 AM   #5
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


Normally, if there is a slot under the spout where it meets the wall, there is a set screw. If no screw, it must be screwed on. I would suggest using channel-locks or a pipe wrench as close to the wall as possible (to prevent twisting on the pipe) and on a horizontal position. Slowly apply pressure downwards (if it is on the left hand side of the tub) , do not jerk the wrench.
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Old 06-08-2007, 12:41 PM   #6
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


Torch would be my last resort. Too much damage possible not too mention the possibility of an explosion. If you do try the torch, try to have the shower head open to vent the pressure that might build up. You don't want that thing to blow up in your face. Torch would not be an option here. Another thing is some of these taps have plastic threaded inserts that screw onto the water supply nipple coming from the wall that will melt in the threads if heated too much
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Old 06-08-2007, 06:42 PM   #7
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


KUI, no set screw i was twisting the spout with my hands. I'll try a pipe wrench tomorrow, maybe that will be the ticket. Thanks majak, great advice.

boman, I didn't even think about the fact that (and probably wouldn't have until I got the torch up there) that the tub/shower is one of those plastic prefab jobs. Torch is out for sure.
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Old 06-08-2007, 09:01 PM   #8
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


Don't rule out the torch just yet, there keyser. If the old spout is on there THAT tight, and the rest of the valve is poorly supported/anchored, you'll want to give yourself every advantage at removing it you can get so you don't break something in the wall. Putting the pipe wrench as close to the fiberglass as possible (as suggested above) makes no sense since the threads are at the end of the spout near the outlet; the copper tubing coming from the wall to the threaded outlet is going to get torqued no matter where you put the wrench.

As far as "blowing somtehing up"...please! We're talking about a little propane or mapp torch on a pipe where there's no water under pressure. If the copper spout stub ends up looking like a cork screw when you're done, you're going to wish you had heated it up a little first.

Last edited by Ishmael; 06-08-2007 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 06-09-2007, 07:21 AM   #9
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


I have seen some spouts with the threaded part at the very back. They are not all toward the front of the spout. If you knew the threads were toward the front, a little heat might help. If this is the case and the the threads are plastic like and melt on the threaded nipple, you might be able to reheat and clean with a small wire/brass brush to clean the threads. Have to be sure and not get the wall surround too hot. Might be able to do this by placing a wet rag on the spout at the wall end to act as a heat sink and not placing the flame of the torch directly on the spout making the flame flare out. There have been cases of painters removing paint with torches. They leave for the day, come back and the house has caught fire because something behind the wall smouldered and and caught fire. Maybe you could cut the spout off behind the part that goes down and see where the threaded part is and tell more about the configuration of the nipple and the spout. Then if is hard water deposits or rust, you could get something up in there to help loosen it. Penetrating oil or clr might work. Just don't expect it to be instantanteous, let it soak. Reapply a few times and tap it with a hammer pretty good. A strap wrench or chain wrench might work well with slow even pressure.

The spout itself should have no water in it if the shower knob is down, but the watre faucets themselves have rubber or plastic parts in them and will not tolerate too much heat, not to mention any sweated joints nearby. I would hate for you to "fix" this problem only to discover you have a rotten floor or wall later from a leak where a sweated joint had been overheated and leaked. Do you have an access panel behind the wall to get to your pipes for the tub and shower? If you are replacing the spout anyway, maybe you could spray a penetrating oil through a straw into the spout a few times and help loosen whatever is making it hard to remove or whatever is not allowing the shower control to function properly. If you are a novice at this kind of thing, I repeat,torch should be the last resort. May be time to bite the bullet and call a pro. Let them be responsible for any other problems that may arise from this. A novie could be jumping out of the pot into the fire.
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Old 06-09-2007, 07:51 PM   #10
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


I do not have any access to the other side of the wall (exterior). I will try one more time (very gently) to loosen it. With my experience with loosening VERY stubborn bolts, tapping always helps (well in the bolts case slamming it with a 3lb sledge). Would tapping be a bad idea here? Maybe a constant pressure with a wrench while tapping with a deadblow or something? Not hammering, tapping. I imagine the shock might break joints if it was severe.

Maybe another dumb question... These spouts are in no way repairable? It is less than a year old. I'm fairly sure the only problem is the rubber grommet that seals off the lower spout (when the know is pulled up) is letting just enough pressure by to keep water from coming out the top spout. No way to try and replace the grommet first? I think I tried this way back when (guest bath and I never have guests) but it was about 3 months ago when I tried to fix it so I can't remember if I tried that or not.

Thanks for your advice and patience. I might try a few things tomorrow and if it doesn't work then I'll have to get out the phone book.
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Old 06-09-2007, 08:50 PM   #11
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


slow but firm pressure might do it without collasping the spout. There is a penetrating oil called Baster that works pretty good on stubborn bolts and nuts. The instructions say to spray it on lebrally and tap whatever you are trying to loosen to activate the penetrant.
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Old 06-11-2007, 08:16 AM   #12
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


calling in a plumber is very wise choice in this situation...even you can do it yourself,...as the plumbers have special tool to handle this... and if they break it ... they will fix it at their expense (unless they said they are not responsible in the beginning)....
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Old 06-11-2007, 08:42 AM   #13
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


Slip spout or not, if you see copper, it's slip, easy enough, take a hack saw and cut the front of spout off off, your replacing it anyways, this will release the housing and allowing you to see the insides, now you set to finish what you have started. You might not even cut the copper it connects to.
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:04 AM   #14
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


cutting the steel spout by hand saw is itself a challenge ... all these making calling a plumber make sense....
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:13 AM   #15
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Shower head not working, having trouble with replacing the tub spout


Glad to see a plumber reply. I am not a plumber.

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