Valve Stems

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    • #277487
      MasterPlumbers
      Keymaster

      My tub hot water fill valve started dripping after 10 years. I found the shut-off valve and figured out how to pull the valve stem. I didn’t understand why it was leaking, so I just bought a new valve stem (Renovators’ Supply – they were pretty good about helping me identify the proper valve). Replacing the valve stem cured the problem. A few months later, the cold water valve started dripping. My question is, can these things be fixed without replacing the valve stem? The washer seems to be permanently bonded to the stem – I don’t see how you could change it.

      Thanks.

    • #296369
      nicktheplumber
      Participant

      Make sure the valve seat is not gouged (look inside with a flashlight and feel the stem with your finger). If its damaged you may be able to smooth it with a special valve seat refinishing tool. Otherwise, you may need to pull the whole valve and replace it. Also, I’m not sure what type of fill valve you have. Most of the modern tub/shower sets are “washerless.” Actually the do have replaceable gaskets, but you usually just swap out the “cartridge.” Since you mention the problem is only with the cold water side, I presume you have an older style set with separate hot and cold water valves.

      NtP

    • #296370
      AKPlumber
      Participant

      Wanted to add, that on some valve manifolds, you have a brass or steel seat which must be pulled, inspected and replaced if worn or gouged, as is often the case with such leaks, and you can’t always just run your finger over them or take a peek inside at it to tell if it’s worn or not, you have to pull it and look at it, and if it needs changing, then change it. This requires a special seat pulling tool that you can buy in any HD or Lowe’s, just a steel wrench that unscrews the seat from the threads. I don’t recommend trying to resurface or “smooth out” the seat, if it’s damaged then REPLACE it, they only cost a few bucks at most. If this is not possible or the threads the seat screws into within the valve stem cavity are bad then replacing the entire manifold is the smartest option. Some older valves took different seats, some like the old Kohler valves took small plastic sleeves that simply pull out from the cavity once the stem is removed. Without knowing your specific model/brand I cannot give specific advice, I am using a typical 3 handle Price Pfister model as an example. Also want to add that your case is a prime example of why I never just replace one valve stem…..when I encounter leaks such as yours, despite whether it is a leak on the cold or hot side or even the divertor if applicable, assuming you have the older type 3 or 2 handle manifold with separate cold/hot stems, I always recommend changing out ALL of the stems and seats, basically rebuilding the entire valve, while you are already working on it and have the water shut off, so that you can avoid repeating the process in the near future, as since if one stem or seat has gone bad it usually means the rest of the parts are more than likely getting old too. And I don’t recommend monkeying around wasting your time trying to find and replace o-rings, washers, etc etc ad nauseam….just replace the entire darn thing (stem and seat) and be done with it and you then know it won’t cause any more headaches! Most plumb supply houses sell entire stems and some like the Price Pfister sell the entire rebuild kit in a package complete with new shiny trim. Beleieve me, it’s worth the few extra bucks.
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      » This message has been edited by AKPlumber on 09 January 2005

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