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90 year old tub faucet leaking.

PC7060
PC7060 Member Posts: 319
edited May 2 in THE MAIN WALL
I noticed my boiler was firing to heat the indirect tank more often than normal and traced it to a very slow leak in one of the original tubs faucets in the house. I remove the first two nuts but I am now struggling to get what I think is a 1-3/8 nut off the assembly.  My biggest socket is 1-1/4 so no joy there.  

The first nut holds the cosmetic trim in place. The second nut (around 7/8”) I thought it would have been the one holding the shaft assembly against the valve seat. 

The large nut is recessed into the tile so unable to get at it with large crescent wrench and it too stubborn to break loose with channel locks.  I’m current spraying the large nut a couple times with WD40 and PB blaster to see if I can get it to break loose.  

In a perfect world I’d use a really deep well 1-3/8”; any other suggestions?
 

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,470
    PC7060 said:

    In a perfect world I’d use a really deep well 1-3/8”; any other suggestions?

    A deep-well, six-point socket is the proper tool for this. You will need to remove the handle- be careful, these can break easily- and may need to grip the outside of the socket with a Vise-Grip if the stem is too tall to leave room for the ratchet handle.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
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    PC7060
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    Thanks @Steamhead! I'll hunt one down and give it another shot.
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 2,784
    edited May 3
    Plumber's cowbells.

    The largest one is 1-7/16" and may be the one you need.
    The first nut holds the cosmetic trim in place.
    It's also the packing nut that keeps the packing tight. It stops water from coming out of the stem.



    https://www.amazon.com/General-Tools-188-Shower-5-Piece/dp/B000I1QAU0/ref=sr_1_29?dchild=1&keywords=plumber's+ballcock+removal+tool&qid=1620002557&sr=8-29
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
    mattmia2PC7060
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,008
    It sounds like yours has a separate packing nut that the tube for the escutcheon screws in to, but the shower valve socket above is what you need. i think there are some odd sizes available individually that aren't in the sets.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,008
    if you match up the broach(the splines that the handle attaches to) to a replacement faucet part catalog, you can probably figure out what brand it is, they are mostly unique to a brand.
    PC7060
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    thanks @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes @mattmia2 - I’ve ordered the cowbells ( :D).  

    I can easily get to the reverse side from access panel for the tub but no brand marking on the castings. Definitely old school and pretty basic. 
    I’ve got another original tub with an exposed faucet and plumbing which I’m using in a new part of the house.  It’s very high-quality and similar drain concept to the in wall unit. It’s only partially assembly in the picture below. 



  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 2,784
    edited May 3
    I have a couple of those that I removed years ago when I still did plumbing. Couldn't bear to scrap them as they are absolutely beautiful.

    And I don't think I've even seen a tub that has a finished corner at the head. It's usually at the foot, but I guess that's what you need with that kind of drain mechanism.
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,008
    I suspect that tub is meant to be freestanding other than along the back wall and both ends are enclosed with an apron.
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    edited May 4
    @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes thanks; my boss likes it a lot so basically designed new master bath around it. :)

    1/2 right @mattmia2; fits into corner with the one exposed corner. I’m building a short wall at the end to enclose the tub which will include shelves for towels and such. 
    The faucet spout also acts as the overflow so had to plumb in a check valve system to meet code. Restoring the valve assembly was a bit tricky but working out well.  




    mattmia2
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    Found this picture of the tub in original location (and walpaper ;) )




    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,317
    Your tub faucet repair reminds me of the first plumbing repair I attempted at 17.
    Our house tub faucet was dripping around the stem.
    I got it apart down to the stage you are at.
    I tried to unscrew that part you are looking at with a bad wrench.
    I egg shaped/crushed that bushing. If I had left the insert in it then it may not have happened.
    The insert would not go back in to stop the water flow around the shaft.

    Just a heads up on what's possible.

    I was in the dog house for months until the entire faucet got changed
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    edited May 4
    Good food for thought @JUGHNE, I’ll be sure to thread in the second nut before wraslin’ out the large packing nut. 
    Especially since it’s the only working tub / shower in the house!!
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    JUGHNE said:
    Your tub faucet repair reminds me of the first plumbing repair I attempted at 17. Our house tub faucet was dripping around the stem. I got it apart down to the stage you are at. I tried to unscrew that part you are looking at with a bad wrench. I egg shaped/crushed that bushing. If I had left the insert in it then it may not have happened. The insert would not go back in to stop the water flow around the shaft. Just a heads up on what's possible. I was in the dog house for months until the entire faucet got changed
    Perfect example of “good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment” ;)
    JUGHNECanucker
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,008
    If you use a 6 point socket like a shower valve socket it shouldn't distort. A socket or a line wrench is a good idea on the packing nut for the same reason.
    PC7060
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,295
    I very much enjoy repairing/rebuilding this type of valve. It was made in the days when things could be repaired.
    When I do tackle one of these jobs I always say, "How far do I go until I've gone too far?"
    It is always A tough call when starting one of these. Because of its age, the fear of it breaking is always on your mind. I try to have any and all repair parts in hand before I begin.
    And then I keep in the back of my mind what I might use to replace the whole darn thing.
    PC7060Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    edited May 7
    @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes -The cowbell (second largest size) fit the large nut and was able to break it loose with the help of a large crescent wrench.  B)

    I replaced the washers on both the cold and hot valves. Determined the slight leak on hot size was caused by casting defect in valve body which prevented screw from being able to tighten fully.  I replaced it with stainless screw that is 3/32” longer which allowed it to fully engage the rubber washer.   

    During the rebuilt process I found the manufactures was Speakman. The quality of the old units are certainly much better than the new Speakman products. 

    All is good now with minor issue that the Hot valve is not aligned horizontally when closed. May have been like this when I started. 

    I noticed the mounting hole in the two handle are 180 out from the other; no way I can see to adjust since the metal is fused into the porcelain. 

    How did the skilled dead men who installed this get the labels to align properly?

     
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbesmattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,008
    It isn't a multi spline broach that allows you to install it in several orientations? It is going to go out of alignment as the washer wears anyhow. The stem may be several intertwined threads that threads in to the cartridge in several orientations. That is how they make stems that open and close with less of a rotation.

    You might want to get a new setscrew for that while it still comes apart or maybe get a stainless allen setscrew. I'd dope everything threaded up with ptfe pipe dope so it doesn't seize together the next time someone needs to take it apart.

    It being speakman i bet most of those parts are still available.
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    @mattmia2 - The handle is a square mount with one threaded section through two side so limited to two positions. Could drill and tap the other face which would solve the problem but not my first choice. 

    I think you are correct about the rotation of the intertwining threads; I pulled apart and could have easily rotated off by 90.  I’ll pull the hot side apart again and see if I can realign the stem.  
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,008
    So it is like a doorknob from before they threaded the spindle?
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    mattmia2 said:
    So it is like a doorknob from before they threaded the spindle?
    Very similar but spindle has shoulder like a socket drive connection.  I’ll post a picture later this am.  
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    edited May 9
    @mattmia2 - The valve has a single thread with a “square broach” (example below) so handle alignment is limited to two positions . 



    I noticed the Hot is oriented vertically in the original photo I posted so this is nothing new. Valves shut off easily with no leaks so best to declare success and move on!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,008
    the thread on the stem itself, inside the bonnet? Is that a whole new cartridge?
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 319
    Yes, you are correct.  The picture is a example of a similar Speakman part with square broach.  I located a rebuild kit on eBay with splined spindles and new handles for a Speakman tub control and shower diverter which may fit. No use for shower diverter and the boss likes the old handle and thinks I should “leave it alone”. :) 
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