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Old 08-23-2016, 07:37 AM   #1
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O rings and uneven flanges


I screwed up my project and now I need some help.

The plan was to remove the Kohler Pressure Balancing Unit (PBU) from the copper valve body and replace it. This video is almost exactly what I was trying to do. The PBU removal is at 1:09. Note the image of the two inlet flanges at the back of the valve body at 1:19 Ė thatís where (Iím pretty sure) my problem is.


When I removed the old Kohler PBU the two flanges in the back of the valve body were all grimed up. I decided to clean them. To do that I (stupidly) attached a wire cup brush to my power drill (see the link below for a pic of the brush), inserted it into the valve body, and spun the hell out of it.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Avanti-Pr...D01G/202831065

That worked great in that is shined the copper up nice and bright. The problem was that the wire brush carved grooves into those copper flanges. Because of the grooves, the O rings on the back of the Kohler PBU wouldnít sit flat against the flanges, and the whole thing leaked like crazy. (Which is to say, when I turned the water supply back on at the main, without opening the shower valve, water just poured out of the bathtub spigot). You can see the O rings on the back of the PBU at 1:40, below.


So I took the whole thing apart, got a small piece of sand paper, and sanded those flanges down, trying to sand out the grooves. I put the whole thing back together, turned on the water, and found the leak improved but was still there. Over the course of the next six hours, I did this over and over and over again until the leak was reduced to a small, slow drip. But I just canít get it to completely seal.

Iím worried that the problem is that even though the flanges are now smooth from all my sanding, the wire brush took out enough copper so that the flanges are now SMOOTH, but no longer PERFECTLY FLAT. And if one or both flanges are not perfectly flatÖwill the O rings on the back of the Kohler PBU ever seal correctly?

Iím desperate to find a way to get those O rings to smash tightly against those flanges. Iíve tried different grits of sandpaper. Iíve tried large amounts of silicone grease (which, to my surprise, seemed to make things worse) and small amounts of silicone grease (which seems to help a little). I tried tightening the screws that hold the whole thing together as tight as I could, then I tried backing them off for fear of overtightening (Iím not sure either approach made a difference).

Does anyone have any ideas how to get those O rings to smash tightly against those copper flanges if the flanges are not perfectly flat? Putty? Grease? Pipe dope? Teflon Tape? Some kind of super awesome O ring? Anything at all? Iíd prefer not to use plumberís goop as thatís an adhesive Ė if it doesnít work, there can be no plan B because I wonít be able to get the PBU out again. And I really, really, donít want to have to replace the entire valve body.

Thanks!
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:41 AM   #2
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Re: O rings and uneven flanges


Sorry for the bad news but O rings are way more forgiving than those brass seats in the body you've probably screwed up.

I could be viewing this wrong but unless you have a precision instrument that will lap the seats back to original I feel that valve body is history.

I really hope I'm viewing this incorrect.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:54 AM   #3
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Re: O rings and uneven flanges


I am not familiar with this valve or with what you are doing. I am familiar with making a 30 second error that takes me 3 days to correct. I am also familiar with getting so wrapped up in a concept that I stop thinking.


Some thoughts, only some thoughts..

Is the leak hot or cold? If you are not sure turn off the hot at the water heater and see if you still have a leak. That might help locating the problem.

By copper flanges I assume you mean the ports in the brass body that the "O" rings of the PBU press up against. I also assume that you are trying to get them to extend outward toward the PBU an equal amount. I guess that is what you mean by getting them flat.

However you said

Quote:
(Which is to say, when I turned the water supply back on at the main, without opening the shower valve, water just poured out of the bathtub spigot).
From here it looks like the small "O" rings between the PBU and the ports in the brass body of the are there to prevent water leaking at that connection. A leak there should show up as a leak around the PBU, not coming out the spout.

Perhaps the problem is not between the PBU and the valve body. Perhaps it is between the PBU and the mixer assembly (large "O" rings).
Or some other problem in the mixer assembly.

Just some thoughts.

Last edited by hkstroud; 08-23-2016 at 10:02 AM.
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