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Thread: Can't get knobs of stems. Any ideas?

  1. #1

    Default Can't get knobs of stems. Any ideas?

    I need to fix a faucet drips in my shower/tub. I assumed that these faucets take standard neoprene washers.

    I removed the screw from each knob, but I can't for the life of me get them off the stems. I've wiggled them; I've tried heating them with a hair dryer; I've even tried to pry them off with a couple of small wrecking bars (I stopped prying when I thought I was in danger of cracking a tile).

    Is there something special about these fixtures (click here for photo)? Any suggestions about how to get the knobs off.
    Last edited by TigerDriver; 12-10-2007 at 11:01 AM. Reason: add url to photo
    Thanks,
    Joe in Virginia

  2. #2

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    Buy a handle puller for $10.00 at the hardware store. They'll come off in ten seconds.

    While you're at it buy some plumbing sockets for those stems.
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  3. #3
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Default

    There's also some magical loosener-upper called PB Blaster or something like that that's been highly recommended for situations like this. Available in any auto parts outlet. Works.

  4. #4

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    I'm not sure that this is the right application for PB Blaster, since the handle puller is made exclusively to pull handles. And it works everytime.

    The PB Blaster may or may not loosen them up. But it will definitely stink up the bathroom.

  5. #5
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    I agree he needs the puller, but I squirt some of this stuff on stuck parts whether or not I've got fancy tools. Smells even better than WD-40 in the morning...

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    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    Smells even better than WD-40 in the morning...
    MMMMM

    I would give it a good spray. I had a handle puller break.
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

  7. #7

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    You guys must have a rare sense of smell. I've had customers complain to me for a week after I sprayed that stuff indoors.

    BTW, was it a "good" handle puller that broke or a cheapie?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Verdeboy View Post
    Buy a handle puller for $10.00 at the hardware store. They'll come off in ten seconds.

    While you're at it buy some plumbing sockets for those stems.
    Bought both puller and sockets. Like you said, the puller yanked 'em off in seconds, and the sockets made quick work of extracting the stems.

    Thanks for fast/good advice.
    Thanks,
    Joe in Virginia

  9. #9
    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verdeboy View Post
    You guys must have a rare sense of smell. I've had customers complain to me for a week after I sprayed that stuff indoors.

    BTW, was it a "good" handle puller that broke or a cheapie?
    They were the same as in that pic. Then again I bought them at the HomeCheapo, so not good by default.
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Verdeboy
    BTW, was it a "good" handle puller that broke or a cheapie?
    They make good ones?

  11. #11

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    I think the best is the "Big Yank Senior." I think the major difference is the center rod that goes through the screw hole. If that rod is too thin, it will bend.

    Of course, if the handle is really fused on, there's always the tried and true method of using a channel locks to snap off the handle with the top part of the stem.
    Last edited by Verdeboy; 12-12-2007 at 10:03 AM.

  12. #12

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    I wish they'd make one with real tool steel so the angled grabbers don't bend on a hard-to-remove handle. I've got one that's essentially a sliding hammer, like a body repairman's puller, and that's good for yanking the faucet loose in the wall.

    I've got a couple of relatively new ones, and one came with a ferrule puller, which was a good bonus since my tool box with the ferrule puller had been stolen.

    And you don't have to break the end off the stem - you can drill out the center. Your way may be faster, though.

  13. #13
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herk View Post
    a sliding hammer, like a body repairman's puller, and that's good for yanking the faucet loose in the wall.




    I've had much good luck with this...always use Free-All lubricant minutes before to help release the splines from the pot metal handles. I always put plumber's grease on the splines/holding screw in any rebuild.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  14. #14
    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    I always put plumber's grease on the splines/holding screw in any rebuild.
    I do the same. It is best to think of the next time.
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

  15. #15
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Of course nobody suggested a seat wrench set to pull out the old corroded seats that chewed up the washer... Next time soon!

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