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Old 02-06-2013, 11:29 AM   #1
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


Greetings, all.

I have a Jetta whirlpool tub with a drain problem. The original drain in the tub was a simple pull-up stopper that started to leak, and my wife wanted the plunger style, so I thought it would be no big deal to remove the former and put in the latter.

The new one went in, seemed to be good to go, until we started realizing the thing was leaking. I thought I'd not used adequate plumber's putty on the underside of the new drain, but I actually discovered it was leaking where the gasket meets the underside of the tub. And there's my problem.

No matter how I try to reseat/rescrew/rewhatever the drain back into the shoe, I note that the shoe isn't making even remotely enough contact from the underside to compress the gasket to the bottom of the tub and provide a proper seal. If we hadn't lived there the last 14 years, I'd have wondered how the thing EVER sealed properly. Its almost as if the thing needs an extra thick gasket to even begin to mate properly. Would "sandwiching" two thick gaskets even be a good idea??

I then began to wonder if some bizarre x-factor was at work - do any of these Jetta tubs have some sort of, for lack of a better term, a drain collar on the underside of the tub that might have broken off? Or is there some general, special process I should be undertaking to get this drain basket replaced?

As it sits, the tub is unusable, and when I put a drain basket in, it seems to catch the threads in the shoe and get snug, putty squeezes out from the top, all looks right, but when I feel from underneath I can tell there's absolutely no compression of the shoe gasket, and water gushes through. I don't know how to fix this problem. If someone could offer some guidance, I'd be most appreciative.

I have only awkward, angled access to the drain through an offset side panel because the tub is mortar-set to the floor.

Apologies in advance for having probably stated the problem imperfectly, but hoping I got the basics across.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:05 PM   #2
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


The shoe may be connected to the trap with a compression fitting. It will allow the shoe assembly to move up/down. If you can reach the shoe from below, see if you are able to move it up to the bottom of the tub, then screw in the drain.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:42 PM   #3
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


Thanks djlandkpl. The shoe will move laterally, but not vertically. My access to the drain is really goofy, but I might be able to "wedge" the shoe up some if a put a short stick under it and just use it as a lever. Will give it a try.

I put in a call to the tub manufacturer to see if there's any unusual fittings drain connections that should be there, but might have broken off...said there shouldn't be. He said it should be a fairly standard drain install.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:36 PM   #4
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


Something doesn't add up----how far down does the top threaded piece screw into the shoe when its off of the tub----you may have a defective part----

Are you using a basket wrench to tighten it?
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:23 PM   #5
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Something doesn't add up----how far down does the top threaded piece screw into the shoe when its off of the tub----you may have a defective part----

Are you using a basket wrench to tighten it?
Yes, using a basket wrench, but its a little hard because the corners of the teeth are rounded off some and the wrench tends to slip. I can't tell how far the drain goes into the shoe off-tub because I can't take the shoe out its still attached to the waste pipe. The waste/overflow/drain is all still physically installed. I had just removed the old drain basket and intended to replace it with a new one when this "Pandora's box" opened up...

Is there a chance I got some oddball shoe or drain with unusual threads??!? I assumed those things were standardized..?
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:38 PM   #6
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


Oh, mystery solved---the new piece is not the same as the old one----

No they are not 'standardized' I suspect you are trying to fit a Chevy strainer into a Ford shoe---

Compare the old to the new----
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


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Old 02-06-2013, 07:04 PM   #8
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


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Oh, mystery solved---the new piece is not the same as the old one----

No they are not 'standardized' I suspect you are trying to fit a Chevy strainer into a Ford shoe---

Compare the old to the new----
Well, since I can't remove the shoe, the best thing I could to was to take some plumber's putty and make an impression of the threads inside the shoe, and then compare those to the threads on the basket I'm trying to install. They seem an exact match to me.

Now, as far as the standardization goes, help me understand where I've gone goofy - I go into a local plumbing store and see tons of generic/"universal" tub drain replacements, and since these are just drains, not shoes, I can't fathom how they couldn't have standardized threads, or no such "universal" drains could ever be sold. Is there some other identifying characteristic that distinguishes one from another? The only difference I've seen are some adapters for differing diameters of openings.

Please understand I'm not disputing what you're saying at all - I just don't understand how they could all be so different, but sold "universally" without some other way of matching the correct drain to the right kind of shoe...?

Thanks
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:13 PM   #9
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


Where is the one you removed? Are they the same--length and thread count?

If the old one is identical then the problem is in threading--or cross threading --or not tightening enough.

As to universal or not? I've seen several different ones---but I see a lot of tubs---
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:10 PM   #10
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


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Where is the one you removed? Are they the same--length and thread count?

If the old one is identical then the problem is in threading--or cross threading --or not tightening enough.

As to universal or not? I've seen several different ones---but I see a lot of tubs---
Which brings up an even worse thought - let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the threads match and the depth is OK, but if I've cross-threaded the thing, I've probably damaged the shoe, have I not? I don't even want to think about replacing the entire thing (overflow/shoe). I'm not even sure its possible given the configuration of the tub.

The interior depth of the shoe is a bit over 1-1/2", and the depth of the strainer is about 1-1/4". So, adding the thickness of the gasket, that tells me I should have sufficient depth to tighten the drain enough to cinch up the shoe and tighten the gasket, doesn't it?
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:02 PM   #11
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


How much of a gap are you talking about? You are correct, unless you have a very old tub shoe the threads should be the same, probably 1 1/2" OD. Are you sure you didn't drop a washer/gasket when the old drain was removed?

You should be able to tell if the threads are damaged (I am assuming the shoe is plastic) by looking at them with a flashlight. If they don't look screwed up you should also be able to screw the new piece in pretty far by hand. I am not familiar with the Jetta brand but if the old drain wasn't leaking i would doubt if the tub is the problem.

If you can get the drain snug and there is just a small gap I would try a second gasket but with a twist. My company has totally moved away from putty for about the last 5 years. We now use clear 100% silicone caulk exclusively. It seals much better and won't dry and crack the way putty does. We use Acetone on a rag to clean up after the drain is installed. We have installed literally thousands of tub drains this way and it has almost eliminated call backs for tub leaks.

I hope this helps.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:35 PM   #12
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mstplubmer,

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply.

I can only turn the drain perhaps one, maybe two revolutions at most by hand, then I have to enlist tool help. And it becomes a stranglehold very quickly. I've had to resort to the pliers because the teeth on the drain puller wrench have rounded off and won't stay in position, which suggests maybe I've also spoiled the crosshairs on the drain basket I'm trying to install.

My best observation of the threads within the shoe are that they don't appear to be significantly scored or damaged, but keep in mind I'm looking at them with DIY'er's eyes

The drain is, in fact, the 1-1/2" inside diameter variety.

Given that I've lost track of how many times I've tried to get this drain in, I think I might just grab a new one to eliminate the possibility of damage being the problem.

Silly question: Is the overflow pipe/shoe assembly typically cemented into place? Reason I ask is that if I can move the shoe laterally, it might imply that if I removed the overflow plate and wrestled with it enough I might be able to pull out the whole thing and put in a new one with a known-fitting shoe-drain combination.

Its frustrating to think you're *this close* to solving what should be a pretty simple problem, but simultaneously *this close* to giving up and calling a plumber.

I very much appreciate the help of all who have and are continuing to follow this thread and post their suggestions.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:38 PM   #13
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GOOD grief...I've flown past this post a dozen times thinking it was an ad, not realizing it was a picture of a different style of drain puller wrench. It has *precisely* the kind of teeth I need. As I looked at my "barbell" style wrench after rounding off the notches, I wondered "why on earth don't those teeth have a notch to grab the crosshairs," but then I figured in the hands of a "real" plumber it wouldn't matter. I'll see about picking one of these up tonight now that I know they exist.

Not giving up.

Yet.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:53 PM   #14
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


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mstplubmer,

Silly question: Is the overflow pipe/shoe assembly typically cemented into place?
You could try loosening the screws on the overflow. The overflow and shoe are connected.

There's got to be some vertical movement in the shoe or you'll never be able to get a snug fit.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:15 PM   #15
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Tub shoe won't mate with whirlpool tub drain


I am DELIGHTED to update this thread with what, at least for the moment, appears to be a SUCCESSFUL REPAIR!!!!

I finally decided to get angry with the overflow/shoe combination , and decided if I ended up having to call a plumber, I was going to get my money's worth. I removed the overflow faceplate, reached in to the overflow pipe, and discovered the entire assembly was one of the hand-tighten (non-cemented) variety. I started loosening connections and managed to free the entire assembly from the tub.

I tried to screw in my drain into the shoe, and there was no way it would go in at all. I took the entire unit (for reference) up to the plumbing department at Lowe's, and the VERY helpful (and knowledgeable) staffer there showed me that the threads in one portion of the shoe were completely chewed up. He suggested that the drain had been screwed in with the shoe not quite flat, and yours truly forced the issue and caused the "lopsided" thread damage.

They did not have just a shoe, but I was able to take a new kit with a shoe and toe-operated stopper and use it to replace the bad shoe. The drain screwed in almost effortlessly. I'm now testing the water-tightness of the tub, in stages, and right now it's holding about 1/3 full for 20 minutes, and the area under the drain is bone dry. So, barring unforseen disaster, I think I can tentatively declare victory here!

Thanks to all here who helped, and put me on the first clue that something was awry with the threading problem. That clearly was the first step to a successful resolution of the problem. No doubt I've saved myself a couple-hundred-dollar plumber bill, although I do notice that I've got a leak directly under the tub faucet..but that's a different battle

Many thanks again!

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