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Thread: Tub faucet stems an odd size - how to remove?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member salitt's Avatar
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    Default Tub faucet stems an odd size - how to remove?

    My very old house has decided to spring a leak in one of the shower faucets. Unfortunately, it's the hot one - when you turn on the hot water, more water comes out the faucet handle then out the tub spout! (Probably an exaggeration, but that's what it feels like.) I went to pull the stem valve to replace it or the washer only to discover that the 21/32 tub socket wrench is too small and the 27/32 tub socket wrench is too big. I've not been able to find a tub socket wrench in between. The local plumbing supply store tells me that some manufacturers have their own specific tools, but I can't find a name printed anywhere. From the looks of it, the bathroom was probably renovated last in the 50's (all pinkish). It's up for a gut job hopefully mid-next year, so I don't want to damage too much in the process, but I would like to stop burning my hand on the faucet. Any suggestions on how I can get the faucet stem out?

    thank you!

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    IT would be a lot easier to answer the question if we had a picture of the faucet. What about a deep 3/4" socket and use pliers or a wrench to turn it, because the stem would be poking out of the square drive opening?
    Last edited by hj; 12-07-2012 at 03:38 PM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    17 mm, 11/16, 18 mm, 19 mm, 3/4, 20 mm, 13/16, 21 mm deep sockets should be available wherever a good
    selection of tools is sold. Those "tub socket" sets are usually none too accurate in their size markings.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Actually, sometimes the faucet castings are not "accurate". I have had faucets where the "standard" socket for that model is to loose to turn it. Then, I hit the side of the socket with a hammer to make it smaller, then remove the stem.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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