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Old 12-22-2015, 07:53 AM   #1
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how difficult to replace tub/shower valve set?


We have an issue at my mom's house with this old Delta single handle tub valve leaking by. It is the one that has the delicate copper connector pipes in the valve body so really easy to break it trying to open it up to repair. It is in a fiberglass tub/shower enclosure in a 4" studwall that backs to to the vanity on the other side. The tub faucet handle is right about the height of the vanity counter. Also, there are no shutoff valves, other than the house main.

So, what are my options? Cut open the enclosure and do all the work from the inside? How big an opening would I need to do that work? I am pretty good at soldring and such but not used to working in very confined spaces. Then how to cover the opening? Or is the only real way to do this to remove the vanity and work from the back side? Heck, maybe we should just have the whole bathroom remodeled...



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Last edited by raylo32; 12-22-2015 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 12-22-2015, 09:10 AM   #2
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If your just trying to stop the dripping and not replacing the whole valve then there's no reason to cut anything.
It can all be repaired from the tub side.
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Old 12-22-2015, 09:17 AM   #3
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I tried that once but the thing didn't want to come apart and there didn't seem to be a good way to use a backup wrench to hold it against the required torque. I spoke to a plumber that told me those valves are delicate with the 2 pieces of the valve body connected by soft copper tubes. I just didn't feel comfortable with it.... The last thing I need to do is break that since there are no shutoff valves. Was thinking the best solution would be to replace it once and for all with something better. I think I am going to recommend that she get a plumber to try that but it is apparently hard to get them out here for some reason or other.

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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
If your just trying to stop the dripping and not replacing the whole valve then there's no reason to cut anything.
It can all be repaired from the tub side.
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:16 AM   #4
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Raylo, did you try some penetrating oil like kroil or pb blaster. Twisting hard on those soft copper tubes would be trouble as you say. I know the problem will still be no way to get to it.

Anyway to put an access in from that vanity side? I'm afraid if you cut that enclosure, that will be the end of the fiberglass.

Your suggestion of a plumber may be the best solution especially since there are no shutoffs for it. While he takes care of that, he'll probably suggest putting some shut offs in and access panel at the same time. It will drive up the bill a little more, but imo would be a good idea for future repairs.

Good luck and hope you and your mom get it figured out soon. Have a nice Christmas.
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:42 AM   #5
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Do not cut the shower enclosure. Is this a valve where you need a puller to get the cartridge out? I had a single handle valve that I needed a special puller for and it popped right out. Not sure if your valve is the same or not, maybe someone on here will know for sure. If you do need to cut then remove the vanity and cut out the drywall. Fix the valve and then patch drywall and reinstall the vanity.
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Old 12-22-2015, 04:16 PM   #6
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Try applying a bit of heat to that chrome thing your suppose to unscrew under the handle. Then use a Rubber gripper to open jars.
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Old 12-23-2015, 06:36 AM   #7
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Hmm, I like the idea of a little heat. I guess it'd have to be just a little so as not to damage internals... Have to try that along with the penetrating oil that alone was not sufficient. But the dripping has stopped for now. Might just have needed to be exercised or had some grit on the seat that got flushed away.

Otherwise when the leak returns for good and if the heat trick doesn't work we might have to do as suggested above: remove the vanity and open the wall that way. Another wrinke is that the room is done in wallpaper so we'd have to be careful to avoid disturbing that above the vanity.

Another thought, is there a plumbing specific anti-seize compound that is OK for potable water systems? Maybe these things should be assembled with that? I use antiseize a lot on my automotive work but I suspect that stuff would not be appropriate for water systems.
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Old 12-23-2015, 06:53 AM   #8
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If you do choose to replace the valve--I would think that removing the vanity to gain access would be the least disruptive---

Moen makes huge ugly cover to hide the cut in a tub surround--but as mentioned, they are huge and ugly.
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Old 12-23-2015, 07:42 AM   #9
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you could cut the bonnet nut off with a dremel. Buy the replacement nut first so you can see how deep to cut without screwing anything up.
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Old 12-27-2015, 08:32 AM   #10
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Don't put off to the later just because the leak stopped. If it leaked, it will come back, sooner than later. Since you bought some time, keep researching and see if you can find the replacement washer assembly, cartridge, etc. Delta is known for its ball/washer stem, but the shower may be something else. I have the same valve, at least the handle and the diverter push rod look the same. Probably from the 70's renovation.

If you find it, always flush the piping before you install the new washer and a light film of plumbers grease or silicon paste. If you find that the valve body is corroded and pitted, you will have to replace the whole thing.
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