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Thread: Stripped drop elbow HELP

  1. #1

    Unhappy Stripped drop elbow HELP

    Made a stupid mistake...

    I installed a new shower valve, used the old brass drop elbow for the shower head, enclosed the wall, and now have discovered the old drop elbow is stripped!!! The are some threads towards the back of the elbow but I can't get the shower head arm started.

    Is there any way to rethread the elbow or connect the shower head arm without cutting a hole in the wall??

    Please advise.



  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Not that I know of. Are you sure the threads are stripped and that the old shower arm didn't break off?

  3. #3


    No it is stripped

  4. #4


    Whatever you do, I wouldn't try to solder an extension or coupler into the stripped elbow. I tried it (no laughing, please), and it was the biggest waste of time and solder. If it were me, I'd open the wall and do it right.
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

  5. #5


    I'm not sure this is good advice so take it with a grain of salt. I'm sure an expert would cringe but...

    On several occasions when I've been in a similar situation I've taken a dremel and carefully cut off the end of the offending threaded piece as well as cleaned up the threads as much as I was able to with the cutting bit. As long as there's enough thread left that the head can be screwed on tight this let me get it started and solved similar problems for me. If you're going to open the wall anyway it might be worth a shot first. Just also make sure you haven't damaged the threads on the showerhead if you tried to force it at all. You can rethread things. My father-in-law has created a custom threaded piece for me in the past but it's a little tough if it's already in the wall so I don't think that's an option here.
    Last edited by karsc01; 06-28-2006 at 07:33 AM.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    New Hampshire


    It is more likely cross threaded than stripped. If you can get a dremel tool in you might be able to clean up the first thread or two. Then try a cleanly threaded steel nipple.

    If you can get a 1/2" NPT tap, you might be able to restore a partially stripped thread.

    First clean the threads with a metal brush.

    Then, try to screw the tap in by hand. Don't apply a wrench until you can start the tap without cross threading. Use some lubricant as a "cutting fluid".

    Then, gently work the tap until you get a clean thread.

    You might want to try a steel nipple to form the threads a bit. Use some dope for lubricant.

    Then is the time for tape and dope on a cleanly threaded nipple.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    With the quality of some of the stuff available today (often Chinese), I've had to go through 4-5 nipples that would actually thread into something. You sure the threads are good on the arm?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014


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