View Full Version : New Tub Drain Won't Shut Off

10-26-2004, 09:32 AM

I searched the forum and can't seem to find where this has been discussed before. If I missed it, just please reply with a pointer.

I just installed a new tub. After some consideration, I decided to use a Watts brand ABS drain unit. It is a trip lever type with an internal stopper.

I am familiar with the brass units but didn't understand how the plug worked since they don't seem to have any rubber parts. Perhaps just by a good fit. I was encouraged that the plastic unit has "O" rings on its stopper. However, I was discouraged by the instructions that warned me not to remove the "coating" from the stopper or the drain would leak. The "coating" appeared to be some sort of grease. I figured how long would that last before the drain started leaking, but I went ahead and installed the drain anyhow. Well, I was wrong. The drain leaked immediately.

The folks that I have talked to about this say that the plastic drains work great. However, mine doesn't, and if I have to go through the trouble of replacing this one, I want one that will work for 30 years.

So, do plastic bathub drains work? Do all brands rely on this "coating?" Can I do something to repair mine? Will I have to repair it again in a few years? And, how many years will that be?

If my drain is simply defective, is there some way that I can test the drain before going through the effort of installing it?


10-26-2004, 02:31 PM
I was not impressed with the one I had until recently. There may be many designs, but the one I had used a tube inside of the overflow, moved up and down with the trip lever. There is an adjustment on the rod that attaches to the trip lever. When it is in the closed position, the tube covers the outlet hole, keeping the water in the tub. By adjusting the tube height, you ensure that it covers the hole when it is closed. If it is adjusted too far one way, it drains slow, too far the other way, and it doesn't cover the drain all the way, and it leaks. Try taking the lever assembly off, carefully pulling up the assembly, and make sure that the adjustment is not loose, and then if it is tight, try lowering it say maybe 1/4" and see what happens. You may have to go the other way.

A pro may have other suggestions, these are from my own observations of the one I had in my old tub.

10-26-2004, 04:01 PM
Before putting the screws into the cover, slide the unit down the drain as far as possible. Then turn on the water. If it holds then your adjustment is off. If it does not hold, then there is no way you will ever get it to seal and need a new drain.

Bob's HandyGuy
10-26-2004, 04:02 PM
In my opinion, plastic drains are inferior to brass in all respects except price. The simulated chrome finish deteriorates after a very short time.

10-28-2004, 07:50 AM
Thanks for your replies.

re: jadnashua: I think that this is the way all of this type work, whether they are plastic or brass. My family prefers this type of drain over the the ones that look like a large sink popup drain and they prefer the trip lever rather than directly manipulating the stopper.

re: hcj: I did exactly as you suggested and the drain still doesn't close completely. Pressing down on the linkage does appear to stop the leak, but it takes a lot of pressure. I came to the same conclusion. I need to replace the drain.

re: Bob's HandyGuy: I shopped around a bit before I bought this drain kit. I chose it because all of the external parts such as the trip lever and plate were chrome plated brass. The trip linkage was brass. It seemed to use plastic where it made sense to. As I mentioned before, the presence of "O" rings on the stopper cylinder looked like a good plan to me. I don't know whether the unit was defective, or whether it is a design flaw.

I was hoping that someone has experience with this same Watts unit and could advise me whether to replace it with a similar model, or move to brass. Watts hasn't answered my email. So, I have decided to go the brass route. With any luck, I'll get it installed tonight and I'll report back.

Thanks again for you advice,

10-29-2004, 03:04 PM

Well, I had more difficulty intalling the brass unit ... things didn't exactly line up and its slightly larger size required me to do some cutting. But, it works and that's what counts.

Thanks for your comments,

12-30-2009, 02:46 AM
I had the same problem. I bought the Watts drain system for my new tub. Install per instruction which is barely adaquate. The plastic stopper is not working. The water would leak regardless of the linkage setting. I realized the water is leaking from the top rubber ring from the sound it makes. So the bottom one works fine. So I was trying to find a fatter rubber ring but was unsuccessful. So I put some teflon plumbing tape, rolled it up, and insert it between the upper rubber ring and its grove. So the diameter of the rubber ring is increased. I also lubed the whole stopper with lots of vasoline. It seems to be working now. I hope it would last a long time.

06-06-2010, 12:27 PM
How did it hold up? I have the same problem. When I take it off the tub and look up from the bottom, I can see the water is getting thru around the bottom ring. I tried similar approaches as you mention (wrapping some plumbers tape around the o-ring groove to make the fit a bit snugger and the diameter a bit larger), including with a larger o-ring. It seemed to work at first, but not reproducible -- sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Perhaps the problem is the downtube -- a manufacturing defect in the plastic? I'll try another unit...