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SOLVED - Shower faucet problems

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:59 am
by WildIrish
We have 2 bathrooms--a shower in one, shower/tub in the other.

The hot water in the shower/tub lost pressure until it was a trickle, so I hired a handyman to fix it. He didn't turn off the water, so scalding water was spraying everywhere for several minutes, until he shut off the water to the whole house.

Despite this, the fix worked...for a while. Figuring I couldn't do any worse, I shut off the water and took off the knob to see what was beneath. He stripped the nut pretty badly, but with a vice-grip covered in duct tape, I was able to get the stem out.

I drove 30 miles to the 2 nearest hardware stores, neither of which had a stem like ours. The guy at Ace put new washers and an O-ring on the stem for me, so I prayed it would work. At home, I carefully screwed it back in...still no water coming out!

I noticed that it didn't even sound like water was trying to come out, so I wondered if it was the stem or something else causing the problem. I slowly started unscrewing the stem--while the water was still on! But even when I removed it, no water came out.

So it has to be more than just the stem...maybe some sort of blockage? It only affects that hot water faucet, so far.

I say "so far" because I can feel that the hot water knob on the shower in the other bathroom is starting to feel funny when I turn it off. It's looser and spongy, and sometimes the water pressure gets lower.

I took off that knob, and there was a lot of gunk that I carefully cleaned off. It's working for now, but I know I'm showering on borrowed time. Unlike the shower/bath, I know it's the faucet itself, not any blockage or whatever, that's the problem on the shower-only shower.

Here's my problem--that shower has the same kind of stem as the shower/bath, so I can't replace it before it gets worse!

I've attached a picture of it. The left side is the part that goes into the hole, and the right side is the nut that you use to screw it tight.

Some quick bullet points....

* Our MH was built in 1975, manufacturer unknown.
* The hot water works fine everywhere else in the house, the cold water is OK, too.
* Is this type of stem common in MH's?
* The guy at Ace measured it--it's size G, 5-inch (but its actual size is less)
* Why is it considered a 5-inch style, when it doesn't measure 5 inches long?
* Does anybody know where I can get replacement stems like this?
* If replacements aren't available, can a plumber put a new style in...and is it costly?

I want some input before I call a plumber out here, because I don't want them messing around with it unless they can finish the job the same day. The showers don't have separate shut-offs, and we can't go without water if a plumber has to special-order these stems.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Re: Shower faucet problems

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:26 am
by hhb
just my amateur $0.02, but if you have that removed, and the water is not spraying out of your faucet with the rest of the water in your house on, the problem is further up the line so to speak.

Re: Shower faucet problems

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:11 pm
by Greg
There is a blockage somewhere. You need to go to the next closest faucet, if the hot water is fine there the blockage is between the two. It sounds like you will need to open the wall behind the shower, If you have an access panel great if not you may be able to remove the whole panel. I would go shopping for a new faucet and change that as long as the wall is open.

But, shut the water off first!!


Re: Shower faucet problems

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:07 pm
by WildIrish
The plumber I called pretty much says the same thing as you guys are--and yes, we're getting a new faucet and spout since the diverter valve is pretty much shot.

For future reference, though...any help on identifying the type of stem in that picture I posted? Because I would like to replace the stems in the other shower at some point, before they fail completely.


Re: Shower faucet problems

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:55 pm
by Greg
As you found, a good full service hardware store can be much more helpful when it comes to parts like you are trying to find. I personally have never gotten into faucet parts, I found that by the time you run around trying find the right parts you could have replaced the faucet. There are some good low cost faucets out there, it just take some looking around.


Re: Shower faucet problems

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:32 am
by bobfather99
Might not be a bad idea to install shutoffs on each line while you have things taken apart.

Re: SOLVED - Shower faucet problems

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:40 pm
by WildIrish
I've updated this, in case someone else might search this forum for a similar problem they're having.

The plumber discovered that the blockage was caused by the washer getting jammed into the valve. It apparently came off the stem and got forced in there, to the point where no water came out.

A new faucet and valve, and everything's fine now!