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washer, valve seat, valve, and stem replaced but still dripping

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  • washer, valve seat, valve, and stem replaced but still dripping

    Hello, I've combed the other responses to fixing shower faucet leaks but I couldn't find another scenario that was just like mine.

    Basically a newbie here but I've replaced braided hoses, backyard faucet washers, and sink tap single catridges.

    The latest challenge is a leaky shower spigot in my 87 year old house. So far I've changed the flat compression washer (and valve gasket) on both the hot and cold taps, as well as the removable valve seat, and entire valve/stem/handle on the cold tap (brand new hardware from Ace).

    Problem is I'm still getting a slow drip out of the spigot, and to really slow it down I have to tighten the hot and cold taps/handles super tight after a shower to get it to slow down, not to mention that turning the new cold stem seems too stiff, even though it came coated with plumber's grease out of the box/brand new. Is the packing nut too tight? I did a half turn on the packing nut after hand tightening, but water was still coming out through the stem so I had to tighten the packing nut another 1/2 turn, which did stop the stem water.

    One thing to mention is that I didn't use any pipe compound or tape on the valve seat when I put the new one in on the cold side. Is the compound (or tape) absolutely necessary for the valve seat or anywhere else (I didn't put it on the new valve threads either)?

    Also, when I used the valve seat wrench I tried to give it a little extra tighten and the wrench slipped a bit but I re-examined the seat and there wasn't any damage to the seat itself, but some slight damage to the inside square where the wrench fits.

    So to summarize I guess have five questions:

    1 - How can I adjust the stem so it's not so stiff to turn, without allowing water to leak out the front of it?

    2 - Should I use pipe thread compound (or tape) on the valve seat threads?

    3 - Should I change out the new valve seat on the cold side I just put in, based on the wrench damage to the inside?

    4 - Should I change the valve seat on the hot water side as well just to be safe, even though I'm fairly certain the cold tap is the main culprit?

    5 - Is it ok to replace original flat washers with conical ones, or should you always replace with the same type?

    Thanks for your time and for answering. Man, this has been a serious learning project for me!

    -Frank (phranklee)

    Btw, this is the basic setup I have (just older).

  • #2
    Re: washer, valve seat, valve, and stem replaced but still dripping

    [quote=phranklee;79546]
    So to summarize I guess have five questions:

    1 - How can I adjust the stem so it's not so stiff to turn, without allowing water to leak out the front of it? use a little graphite packing behind bonnet nut

    2 - Should I use pipe thread compound (or tape) on the valve seat threads? neither...goes in dry. Be sure exact same seat. The tape may be your leak.

    3 - Should I change out the new valve seat on the cold side I just put in, based on the wrench damage to the inside? yes to be sure ...seats are cheap

    4 - Should I change the valve seat on the hot water side as well just to be safe, even though I'm fairly certain the cold tap is the main culprit? always do the same repair to hot and cold. How you know the cold is the problem?

    5 - Is it ok to replace original flat washers with conical ones, or should you always replace with the same type? 87 year old faucet?...prolly had beveled washers originally. Never mix and match
    [quote]


    Sometimes Ace Hardware stores have some imported stems that are just junk. Never assume the new part is working as it should.

    Hope this helps,

    ~Bill

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: washer, valve seat, valve, and stem replaced but still dripping

      Thanks so much for the quick reply, plumberscrack. A few more clarifying questions and I'm off to the store in 30 mins.

      1 - How can I adjust the stem so it's not so stiff to turn, without allowing water to leak out the front of it? use a little graphite packing behind bonnet nut

      So in addition to the prefitted packing that came with the new valve/stem combo, you're saying add some additional packing?

      5 - Is it ok to replace original flat washers with conical ones, or should you always replace with the same type? 87 year old faucet?...prolly had beveled washers originally. Never mix and match

      I'm not sure if the faucets are the originals of 87 years, but when I took the original taps out, they both had flat washers, and even when I put a beveled one in there and tightened the washer screw, it didn't stretch/compress to the edge of the lip (size was 3/8"). Is that ok? Sounds like it's ok to put in beveled ones, as long as they match on both hot and cold?

      Thanks again. Great site here.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: washer, valve seat, valve, and stem replaced but still dripping

        yes add a little graphite packing to what you have now. The new washers should fit snug to the lip before tightening screw. Try flat washer 1st. Beveled washers arn't needed much anymore.

        ~Bill

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: washer, valve seat, valve, and stem replaced but still dripping

          Well replacing the hot water valve seat was a great suggestion, and once I got it out and saw just how damaged it was, I thought for sure that that was the main problem... however, (sigh), it is still dripping after following all the suggestions!!! (about 2in. of water in a 2 gal. bucket overnight.)

          Man, this is depressing, not to mention time consuming. I'm just about resigned to calling in a pro, but if there's anything left I can do I'll certainly try.

          At this point I've:

          1 - put in new valve seats and flat washers on the hot, cold, and diverter (the washer on the diverter was completely dissolved... I'm surprised it was working at all).

          2 - put in new valves/stems on the hot and cold, with a little extra graphite packing as suggested, to keep the stems from being too tight.

          Is there anything else I can try before calling a pro in? (which I think I need to do regardless because in the process of taking the diverter out, a couple tiles popped out which revealed badly damaged sheet rock, so this might be the right time to rip the wall down and figure out what's really going on... prolly the right time to replace the entire faucet since none of my standard fixes have seemed to work.)

          Is it worth trying beveled washers?

          Could some other piece of the system behind the wall be the cause of the problem?

          Does the tub spigot itself have a washer and could that be the cause of the leak?

          Nothing comes easy in this life.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: washer, valve seat, valve, and stem replaced but still dripping

            Well you have done everything any pro that comes in to repair it would do. New stems, seats, washers and packing not much else to do with that faucet. Now you need to make a tough decision. Throw out all that time, money and effort spent on that faucet and break down to get a new one installed. Only you can make that call. It is fustrating trying to stop a small drip and ends up taking a whole weekend to do it.

            I have to assume you have the proper seats installed correctly (not over tightened and stripped) Alot of seats look similiar and may fit in your faucet but will leak ever so slighly if in the wrong faucet. The new stem should have a washer preinstalled on it. Check and be sure it was tightened down. Be sure the stems are in the open position before inserting them into the body of the faucet. The washers can bind against the seats during tightening causing damage.

            And sometimes you can do everything right and it still leaks. No obvious reason why it just does. Service plumbing makes me pull my hair out.

            ~Bill

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: washer, valve seat, valve, and stem replaced but still dripping

              Also, I've gotten a recommendation from a different forum (craigslist fixit) to use "pipe dope" on the valve seats. Ace also recommended using some kind of sealant (or "dope" I"m assuming) so the seats are easier to remove next time.

              What are the pros and cons of putting compound on the seat threads?

              With the rotted drywall back there, though, I think the wall has gotta come down which would be the right time to replace the faucet.

              And Bill, regarding your last post, I'm almost 100% that the seats are the right size, #38 price pfister. It's funny though, putting them in, there's a very fine line between getting them tight enough so they don't slip out, and the wrench slipping. Not sure if it's the quality or just the softness of the metal. Or maybe I am tightening too much.

              And I did make sure to have the stems in closed position before inserting so I think I'm ok there. Thanks again for feedback.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: washer, valve seat, valve, and stem replaced but still dripping

                Originally posted by phranklee View Post
                What are the pros and cons of putting compound on the seat threads? The threads are too fine for teflon tape they will just strip out. Some pipe dopes will actually make it harder to remove next time. If anything I use a little stem grease thats all you really need.

                I'm almost 100% that the seats are the right size, #38 price pfister. It's funny though, putting them in, there's a very fine line between getting them tight enough so they don't slip out, and the wrench slipping. Not sure if it's the quality or just the softness of the metal. Or maybe I am tightening too much. The Price Pfister looks alot like the Gerber I get them mixed up all the time. If its a Price Pfister faucet you should be good.

                And I did make sure to have the stems in closed position before inserting so I think I'm ok there. Hope that was just a typo they need to be in OPEN position Thanks again for feedback.
                Sometimes if you just leave it alone the leak will fix itself
                Why isn't anyone else chiming in here?....HELLO????...anyone home?
                Last edited by plumberscrack; 05-25-2007, 05:09 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: washer, valve seat, valve, and stem replaced but still dripping

                  That would explain why they were so hard to get out. Looks like whoever was there before me used compound.

                  And yes, typo. I had the stems all the way open. :-)

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