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Old 12-10-2015, 10:32 AM   #1
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Looking for advice re low flow from shower cold faucet


The flow from the cold water faucet in our shower is very weak, while that from the hot water is quite strong. I would normally think that it's due to rusting from the inside out of our old galvanized supply pipes, but those same pipes serve the sink, toilet, and tub in the same bathroom, as well as the same on the floor above, and the cold water flow in all of those is quite good.

I think the existing faucet stem is an original type of Standard Re-Nu stem, because that's what I replaced in our upstairs bathtub a few years ago. Pic attached of that old stem. I replaced it with an American Standard 16762-0200 ReNu stem assembly.

The cold faucet acts odd. When opening, it first only turns about a 1/4 turn, with little flow. If I then first back it off a little, it then opens many turns further, but the flow doesn't increase.

Is the problem likely with the stem? If so, I know how to remove and replace it, but I'm concerned about stressing the joints on the old pipes that lead to it. There is no access behind the faucets. If there was a way to fix the stem without having to fully remove it that would be great. Thanks.
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:17 PM   #2
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I agree, sounds like the stem is the issue. Easy fix if it is. Turn off water, remove stem, take it to a local hardware or plumbing supply store to match it up. Use some pb blaster, vinegar or wd 40 .

The 2d picture you posted looks like washer at end has deteriorated. Is that the actual stem in question.

Last edited by jmon; 12-10-2015 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmon View Post
I agree, sounds like the stem is the issue. Easy fix if it is. Turn off water, remove stem, take it to a local hardware or plumbing supply store to match it up. Use some pb blaster, vinegar or wd 40 .

The 2d picture you posted looks like washer at end has deteriorated. Is that the actual stem in question.
Thanks, jmon. The stem in the picture is the one I removed from the bathtub hot faucet a few years ago. I was just including the picture to show the type of stem I think I will find if/when I remove the stem from the shower faucet.

I'm concerned about the amount of twisting to the old galvanized pipes (and joints) that feed the valve if I try to remove the stem. I have Kroil Oil, which I used recently for the first time to free up two old washer shutoff valves, and it definitely helped, but I still had to apply a lot of elbow grease, and I had room to use a backup wrench in that case, which I don't here (it's recessed into the wall so I'll be using valve socket wrench). Do you think if I apply it multiple times over a day or two that I have a chance the stem will unscrew relatively easily? I'm not sure, of course, but this could be the original valve from when the house was built in 1930.
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Old 12-10-2015, 01:43 PM   #4
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Yea, i agree don't want to mess around with old galvanized pipe. See if the kroil oil helps . it's good stuff, give it time to work.
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Old 12-12-2015, 08:17 AM   #5
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This is from a hazy memory, but I think a loose washer was one problem when turning the handle and water flow doesn't change or not as expected.
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