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Successful cartridge replacement--but a mystery!

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Quote Originally Posted by korkiley View Post
My Moen shower faucet was leaking and I followed the instructions here and easily repaired it. At first, I was confused by the black plastic removal tool that came with my genuine replacement cylinder. Since the instructions didn't describe the part, I thought it was part of the cylinder and, until I realized it's purpose and used it to turn the old cylinder a bit (I guess it just loosens things up a bit because there are no threaded parts.) I was unable to remove the old cylinder. But once I turned the cylinder a bit, I screwed the faucet handle back on and easily pulled the cylinder out.

OK. That is all common, but here comes the interesting part. I live in a condo and have been plagued by a vibration in the cold water supply line (I feel/hear the vibration in the pipe that supplies the water heater) for two or three years. It can happen when you turn on a faucet (about any faucet in the place) or it can happen in the middle of the night when we aren't using the water at all. I have been very suspicious of a relationship with the use of water in the neighboring condo.

My Moen faucet began leaking two days ago when I was replacing a washer in the outside sill cock. I had opened all of the faucets to drain the pipes. When I had finished my washer replacement I first turned the main shutoff back on and then proceeded to turn off all the faucets beginning in the upstairs bathroom. But when I tried to turn off the Moen shower faucet in the upstairs bathroom, the faucet would not shut off. I kept turning it back and forth and pushing in and out and eventually I was able to push it in again. This was interesting because I suddenly remembered that the same thing had happened a few years ago and I now wondered if this could be related to the vibrating pipe, and maybe it had all started a few years ago after this incident.

But back to the present--I have no idea what happened this time, but for a peaceful day after this, the vibration seemed to be gone. However, yesterday morning I discovered that the Moen faucet that had stuck was leaking, and that is what brought me to find this excellent thread and easily repair the problem. The sad news is that the pipe vibration is back--but there is more!

I was showing my wife the old cylinder and how it worked. While doing so, I noticed some white material in the water inlet area and after prying and tugging a bit, I extracted a piece of plastic. I knew immediately what it was!

About two years ago and after the vibration had plagued us for about a year, we replaced our water heater. When the plumber disassembled the hot water outlet pipe, he discovered several pieces of white plastic jambed in the copper pipe. He determined that the white plastic cold water inlet tube (or hot water outlet tube--I forget which) had disintegrated and gotten forced out into the hot water line. I can now see that pieces of this tube must been forced much further from the source and perhaps that was causing the vibration somehow.

Perhaps I shouldn't have gone into all this detail with this problem in this thread but I couldn't resist because of the chain of events and the possible cause and effect. Hopefully there might be an enthusiastic plumbing sleuth that will read this and shed some light on what is threatening to become a cold case!

Kor Kiley

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  1. aoser331's Avatar
    You can purchase a moen removal tool for under $20...they work fine
  2. aoser331's Avatar
    I didn't know the story continued..sorry...
    Very interesting.
    Try to isolate which faucet is being used when the noise is noticed? Since you turned the water off and worked on the outside faucet, it's possible that a small piece of rubber from the moen cartridge became dislodged when you opened the faucets with the water off, and then found someplace to go when the water was turned back on. If it's on the cold line to a faucet, turn the shut off to that faucet off and take the supply tube lose from the valve and check there...or see if all the shut off valves are turning all the way off when you close them...if not I'd turn water off at (meter) and check 'that' shut off valve that wouldn't shut off...it's a starting point...
  3. aoser331's Avatar
    The reason I think the rubber came from the moen cartridge is because you were able to turn the cartridge with the 'black' pc that came with the new cartridge but didn't actually remove and replace the cartridge, right? by turning the 'old' cartridge, you may have cut a small chunk off of it..this would also explain why the shower now 'leaks' drips?...hope this helps...
  4. aoser331's Avatar
    ok...I must be getting old...
    You worked on your outside faucet first, then the problem began !!!
    Sounds like maybe a chunk of rubber came free from the sillcock stem???
    Geeze...good luck
  5. aoser331's Avatar
    If you can isolate where the noise is coming from, you will have to bleed that line somehow...if the noise is heard during the night when knowone is using any water then it may be wise to check the toilets first? if a flapper is not sealing, letting water in the tank run out, making the ballcock operate calling for water..this may explain that portion of the problem...but the moen shower faucet was difficult to turn off heh?...A piece of the washer could be hung up in the valve?..ok, i'm dodne...good luck...