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My first thought was to pull and reinstall the original tub. Two contractors said that can be done but a third is concderned that it will be damaged in the process and that I be prepared for a new one. He likes the BootZCast. Does this suggest that he is unsure of his skills or does it sound like he simply is being honest and wants me to be prepared for the additional cost of a new tub?
I think your 3rd guy is being honest. Pulling a tub is not easy. At some point you need to turn it on it's end and that requires more then 5ft. Easy to bend or chip the tub.
Should the BootZ be bedded in mortar, even though it has what appears to be a styrofoam levelling pad? I read the current thread on the same question but concerns a resin tub. BootZ warranty is voided if the self leveling pad is removed.
Best to follow man. instructions- with that said- I avoid steel tubs when I can- It's a personal thing
How is the overflow and waste connected to the drain? Is it done via the hole in the subfloor, by reaching down between the studs, or should I expect to have to cut an access hole in the back wall (on the other side of which is a closet)? Alternatively, can it be connected to the drain before you set the tub in place and then you connect the overflow and shoe?
You can unscrew all the connections from inside the tub before pulling it.
Rebuild the drain with new parts after the tub is set from the end wall- cover the hole with an access cover when done
Should the valve be replaced? If we get the tub out and there are no signs of the studs having had water running down from the valve, should it be replaced, now? As is, the plan is not to remove tiles up to the level of the valve. My thinking is that if the valve later goes bad, we won't know until we see water damage. Contra argument is I may be opening another can of worms.

Thanks for any advice you can give.
The valve body itself should be OK. You can replace the cartridge and trim. If you have an access door you can check for leaks in the future
 
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