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Thread: Shower arm adapter question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Nytileguy's Avatar
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    Default Shower arm adapter question

    Hi all,

    First, I'm new here so I would like to say hi and thank the owners of these boards. I know it costs time and money so I appreciate it!


    Ok, here is my issue:

    I am an intermediate DIY'er and I want to swap out a shower arm. The current shower arm has a female connection so it seems there is a male to male adapter to the elbow in the wall. It also appears that this adapter has an internal hex ring so it seems that I am supposed to use a hex wrench to unscrew it. Has anyone seen this before? Is this correct? I have posted 3 pics so you can see. I would greatly appreciate any help.

    Thanks!
    Dan
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    To me, that looks like a form of sharkbite fitting that's been threaded into a drop ear fitting in the wall. The drop ear will be a 1/2" Female thread,.
    Is what you have there spinning and spinning?

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Nytileguy's Avatar
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    Name:  p_SCP_182_07.jpg
Views: 242
Size:  36.3 KBHi Terry,

    It does not spin. It is solid and doesn't move at all. I actually put a pipe wrench on it to try to unscrew it from the drop ear. However, it was really tight, wouldn't budge, and it was hard to get a grip on the round part and I didn't want to ruin the threads. I then noticed the inside looks like it's designed to take a 1/2" hex wrench so I thought I would try that next. The shower arm, with the female end, screws on to that and always ends up in the right position, facing down. I wish I took a picture of the shower arm as well. The shower arm has a female fitting so it needs this male to male to connect to the drop ear. I hope I am describing this correctly. Quite frankly, I just learned from your post that those threaded elbows are called "drop ears." (on a side note, thanks for that!)

    It seems like it is some version of the picture I attached here.

    Again, thank you for your fast reply and sharing your expertise!

    Dan

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Normally a shower arm is threaded on both ends, going into something similar to your "n the wall" picture but without the air chamber to the side.
    If you have a 1/2" allen, I would try that.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Nytileguy's Avatar
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    Great, I will try that. Thanks again!

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That piece is not a Sharkbite, the red "ring" is similar to an "O" ring to seal to the head, but must be part of the old shower arm since it is not a conventional connection. Someone didn't know why you install air chambers otherwise they would have known that one was completely useless. I hope it didn't come from some "I am an expert so do things the way I show you" guru's web site. You may still have to use an internal wrench to remove the nipple from the drop ear elbow if it does not come out with the "brass thing".
    Last edited by hj; 10-28-2013 at 08:06 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member Nytileguy's Avatar
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    From this discussion and looking at it again, I think it's a proprietary nipple. The shower head is attached to the arm and there is an escutcheon that fits perfectly around it. The shower head/arm then screws on to the nipple.

    As for the air chamber pic, I found that online and posted it just to illustrate what I was talking about for the drop ear and nipple. However, I am fairly new to this so thanks for tell me about it. On a related note, the information I get here is why I love these boards. I can tell it's full of pros who really know their stuff and have a lot of respect for the trade and doing things right.

    I will get a hex wrench and try to unscrew it. I saw somewhere else that it may be a good idea to spray WD40 where the nipple goes into the drop ear to loosen it up. I am worried that it may be frozen in, is this a good idea?

    Thanks again!
    Dan

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member dj2's Avatar
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    If you are unsuccessful in unscrewing the "nipple" off the drop ear, cut the drywall in the back of this wall and remove the "nipple" working from the back side.

  9. #9
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You "cut the drywall on the backside" ONLY if the drop ear elbow snaps off. That "piece" is probably the shower head adapter. It was designed to be installed flush with the wall using the proper sized brass nipple between it and the adapter elbow.
    Last edited by hj; 10-29-2013 at 07:12 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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