View Full Version : Clogged Bathtub -- Difficulty With Shaft in Overflow Tube
01-13-2005, 10:56 AM
Hi, I have a severely clogged bathtub. After proper plunging (with the drain stopper removed and with the overflow airholes covered) failed to fix this, I decided to hand auger the blockage.
I removed the flip-lever switch on the overflow, intending to send the auger down the overflow tube, however the linkage is seemingly solid and so it will not pull out through the overflow in the way all bathtub drain FAQs I've found online indicate.
Someone on another board insisted the piece should be pliable, but I can't understand how a piece this solid should be able to bend (I've gone in with pliers with absolutely no luck).
Without removal of this piece, my attempts to send the auger down the drain just meet solid resistance and re-direct the snake into the area beneath the drain stopper hole.
I'm assuming there has to be a way to get around whatever mechanism is blocking the auger from accessing the lower areas of the pipe, but no amount of wrestling with this has led to any success. Is there some trick to removing the shaft in the overflow tube that I'm unaware of?
Any advice on this would be appreciated. Many thanks for any tips you can share.
"...I'm assuming there has to be a way to get around whatever mechanism is blocking the auger from accessing the lower areas of the pipe..."
No. The mechanism blocking the auger is the part that actually keeps the water in the tub when the drain is closed and is connected to the other end of the rod. They come out together. The other end of the rod where it connects to the stopper mechanism has some play and is much smaller than the overflow so you can get enough of an angle on it to pull the rod up and out with the stopper on it. If you cannot, you have some other problem going on and you will probably want to call a plumber.
Do NOT use drain cleaning chemicals like Draino and Liquid Plumber.
01-13-2005, 02:36 PM
I agree with Deb. Do NOT use caustic drain cleaners.
However, this IS the place to use a non-caustic enzyme-based drain cleaner like DrainCare.
It won't harm the tub finish, drain or pipes, but it will cling to and eat out all of the organic gunk (hair, soap scum, body oils, etc.) that tends to clog tubs and showers.
All that you do is run warm water, pour in the DrainCare, let it work overnight and then flush it down with very hot water the next morning. If the clog is really bad, you may have to do it more than once. Just follow the easy directions on the jug.
It is far easier than trying to snake a tub drain trap through an overflow assembly.
01-13-2005, 03:34 PM
"The other end of the rod where it connects to the stopper mechanism has some play and is much smaller than the overflow so you can get enough of an angle on it to pull the rod up and out with the stopper on it."
Thanks for the reply. All of the advice I've found online mentions one of two things:
1. a stopper connected to a wire that pulls out quite easily
2. a stopper connected to two flat pieces of brass
However, what I'm seeing when I remove the overflow cover is a solid bar of metal (copper?) that runs downwards. It doesn't bend in the least (although you can move it up and down by grabbing it with fingers or a wrench). Here's a picture:
That hole in the center of the rod's top is where the flip-lever attaches, although you probably know that already.
Any clue what this is all about?
01-13-2005, 04:49 PM
I lifted this image from Peter Hemp's book (and used without permission I might add...) "Installing and Repairing Plumbing Fixtures" - Taunton Press.
It may help.
01-13-2005, 07:36 PM
Thanks for that diagram.
I managed to truly muscle the rod with a pair of pliers and finally get it out -- it's thick brass, maybe 3 inches long. The problem is that whatever was attached to it didn't come along for the ride. If I reach into the overflow hole, I can touch it -- it's thin brass or something, seemingly with screw threads on it.
Does anyone have advice on getting the rest of this out? Or is this now past the point where a novice like me can repair it?
01-13-2005, 09:56 PM
Unless the lift bucket is stuck, you probably can fish the rest of the assembly out with a piece of coathanger wire with a hook bent on the end.
If the lift bucket is stuck, you may need to pour some non-caustic enzymne-based drain cleaner like DrainCare down the overflow and let it work overnight to loosen any organic crud buildup that may be sticking it. If that doesn't work, spray a lot of WD-40 down it to loosen metal corrosion.
Wiggle it to lift it up and out.
01-14-2005, 01:14 PM
Thanks for the tip. Now, because it's the pop-up stopper variety, I'm assuming I have the spring at the base. Will that come up with a coat hanger, or is it fastened in a way that requires unhinging first?
Thanks for all the help.