3-handle shower valve tailpiece

Users who are viewing this thread

DIYorBust

Active Member
Messages
727
Reaction score
88
Points
28
Location
Long Island, New York
Hi Folks. After some pause due to covid, I'm trying to pickup an old project I am working on with a very old 3 handle tub valve body. I think I posted on this a few years ago, but didn't get much traction during the lockdown, but I thought I'd give it another shot. It has union like tailpiece connectors like the common price pfister 3 handle shower body. My question is, do these units have a standard tailpiece and coupling nut, or does it vary by brand? Since the brand is no longer made, I'd have to have a custom piece machined, find a salvage piece, or find another solution to repair the tailpiece, none of which seems economical or easy.

I did not damage the part, it was in that condition since before I was around. Scald protection exists upstream of the assembly. It would be fairly complicated to replace the valve body, which includes a remote waste and some other odd features, and there is some nice historical tilework that would be impossible to match. However I do have access from behind.

Thanks all,

DIY
 

Mr tee

In the Trades
Messages
343
Reaction score
143
Points
43
Location
Montana
When it comes to faucets my father used to say, "The only thing standard is everythings oddball."
 

DIYorBust

Active Member
Messages
727
Reaction score
88
Points
28
Location
Long Island, New York
Thanks folks. This is a picture of the same assembly, but it's not mine, I don't have the blue isolation valves underneath, mine are ball valves further away, but otherwise it's the same hardware. I have some pictures, but they are terrible, it's a difficult spot to take a good picture, I will work on that.

One hope I have is that since the shower valves are above the tile and I know they accept the same stems they may have the same tailpiece. It could be the same valve bodies with the same tailpiece, but there's really no way to be sure, if one was made in 1920, and one in 1950 would they mate?

I guess worst case I could try to change the valve body, but it's not an easy task here. Mine are not soldered but threaded red brass joints. At least 3 pieces would have to be cut and brazed or soldered back together since I doubt there's room to unscrew the valve body.

I know what a lot of folks are going to say: do a new tile job and a new tub. A lot of effort has been expended to preserve the tile and tub it's a valuable feature of the house, so I'm willing to expend some time and funds to save it if I can.

Could a new fitting be brazed directly to the bottom of the valve body by a skilled plumber or welder?

Thanks,

DIY

speakman old.jpg
 

Mr tee

In the Trades
Messages
343
Reaction score
143
Points
43
Location
Montana
If your problem is the tailpiece and not the nut it is remotely possible you could use/modify the tailpiece from a meter nipple and get it to work. Undoubtedly some kind of washer would be needed to make it seal.
 

DIYorBust

Active Member
Messages
727
Reaction score
88
Points
28
Location
Long Island, New York
If your problem is the tailpiece and not the nut it is remotely possible you could use/modify the tailpiece from a meter nipple and get it to work. Undoubtedly some kind of washer would be needed to make it seal.
This sounds fairly genius. I think I can live with a washer seal. It seems much better than a leak. What are the odds the threads would match the threads where the union nut attaches?
 

John Gayewski

In the Trades
Messages
2,689
Reaction score
699
Points
113
Location
Iowa
I'm not clear as to what your problem is. The last time I took one of these apart it all seemed very serviceable. Perhaps an arrow pointing to where your leak is. The bottom of those valve bodies is npt adapter with a union built into it.
 

Mr tee

In the Trades
Messages
343
Reaction score
143
Points
43
Location
Montana
I am saying the meter nut won't but it is POSSIBLE you could make the tailpiece work if there is something wrong with the origional. But, as John noted above it isn't clear what the problem is.
 

DIYorBust

Active Member
Messages
727
Reaction score
88
Points
28
Location
Long Island, New York
I'm not clear as to what your problem is. The last time I took one of these apart it all seemed very serviceable. Perhaps an arrow pointing to where your leak is. The bottom of those valve bodies is npt adapter with a union built into it.
Thanks John, the problem is the tailpiece, or "adapter" that is npt on one side and union on the other, is split/cracked and has a slow leak. I couldn't get a good angle for a picture, but I'll try again next time I'm there. However it's covered in scale from years of leaking.

The split/crack extends up to the area covered by the union nut, so I don't know how far up it goes, but the leak appears to be at the NPT joint, not the union. I considered attempting to solder it, but I think heating it would make the joint worse, and it looks like it would very difficult.

I'm hesitant to take it apart without a good repair plan. I do not know how the fitting became damaged, I suspect it may have existed and slowly worsened over decades and now leaks enough for me to want to fix it. It looks like the joint has not been disassembled since it was made in the 1920s. The NPT joint was made with something that looks like fabric, perhaps lampwick?
 

John Gayewski

In the Trades
Messages
2,689
Reaction score
699
Points
113
Location
Iowa
The nut itself probably won't repair.

Your going to have a very tough, it not impossible time repairing it in place. Your best bet would likley to get it apart and removed. Then see what can be done, if it rotted you'd best look really hard for a replacement. Too bad you didn't post about 8 months ago I could've got you a used one.
 

DIYorBust

Active Member
Messages
727
Reaction score
88
Points
28
Location
Long Island, New York
The nut itself probably won't repair.

Your going to have a very tough, it not impossible time repairing it in place. Your best bet would likley to get it apart and removed. Then see what can be done, if it rotted you'd best look really hard for a replacement. Too bad you didn't post about 8 months ago I could've got you a used one.
Thanks John, I've been hunting for a used one for a while. It's part #09-0059 in the old catalogue picture below, but hasn't been in production for some time. The large nut itself I think is okay, it's a piece speakman calls a swivel, and other brands call the tailpiece. If I could get the valve and tailpiece to a specialty metal shop, they could probably make the part for me. If I took just the tailpiece, I'd be skeptical they could make it perfectly without having the other side of the union, but it might be possible.

I can take it apart, but I'd be remaking a lot of really old joints. I could cut the whole thing out, but since the pipes are threaded brass, it would a tricky to put it back together, probably I'd try to transition to copper and solder it back together. If I can make it that far, I could try to bring in a pro to help me make the joints. But I'd guess this is not a dream job for most experienced plumbers who could do it nicely. I could use sylvan's trick and try to sweat on TP couplings to reassemble it, but I've never done that before.

If I could get the assembly out, it might be possible to replace the valve body with a modern volume control cartridge valve and try to find an adapter to attach the handle. I couldn't find any such valves that connect at a right angle though, making it tricky to get everything lined up in a small space, and I'd have to probably support the escutcheon with adhesive caulk since it normally gets bolted to the stem.

If anyone does encounters any of these parts, I believe this valve was made for 50 years or more and used in many different assemblies, I'd appreciate you reaching out. Thanks.

1658500498575.png
 

John Gayewski

In the Trades
Messages
2,689
Reaction score
699
Points
113
Location
Iowa
I think a machinist could make you a new swivel. You'd have to get it to them though.
 

DIYorBust

Active Member
Messages
727
Reaction score
88
Points
28
Location
Long Island, New York
FWIW I think I found a matching assembly on ebay, it wasn't cheap, but probably cheaper and easier than trying to get a part custom made on a lathe if it works.

Now when I go to disassemble the union to take take out the damaged swivel, are there any tricks I can use to get it out without cutting the supply line? It's currently a piece of brass threaded pipe that's been bent into shape, so it would save me some time if I could reuse it.
 

DIYorBust

Active Member
Messages
727
Reaction score
88
Points
28
Location
Long Island, New York
Ok thanks again for those who responded! I obtained the salvage unit, and it looks like a match. The cost was $300, so it was a gamble, but now that I have it, I can see it has speakman markings on it, and uses speakman stems. So I have two swivels/tailpieces, with what looks like an ancient npt to sweat adapter, see pic.
below.

1. Should I make any attempts to clean or polish the face of the tailpiece, or use it as is? Is this a situation where I might want to dope the union faces?

2. I obviously don't want to damage these out of production fittings, is there a gentle way to remove the threaded side?

Thanks! DIY
 

Attachments

  • x20220805_004427.jpg
    x20220805_004427.jpg
    68.6 KB · Views: 29
Last edited:

Jeff H Young

In the Trades
Messages
5,719
Reaction score
1,281
Points
113
Location
92346
i guess you just have one union that drips? it has a mating surface the way they seal is both the male and female side must match .
tinkering around the house What I would do is take the "new to me" union solder an adapter on. turn water off at supply ball valves. remove existing union pull to side install new put air compressor on pump pressure and hit with soapy water or put your garden hose whatever you want on there, verify befor you start cutting parts out.
I wouldnt bother unscrewing the adapers or cleanning them up unless they are proven to hold in your valve. If I did want to unscrew Id heat them some
 

John Gayewski

In the Trades
Messages
2,689
Reaction score
699
Points
113
Location
Iowa
I use antisieze on union threads and mating surfaces. If they are brass I use the copper antisieze. Npt I use tape and dope
 

Jeff H Young

In the Trades
Messages
5,719
Reaction score
1,281
Points
113
Location
92346
Antisieze perfect for threads on a union. I never do that just dope small amount
 
Top
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

It looks like you're using an ad blocker. We get it, but (1) terrylove.com can't live without ads, and (2) ad blockers can cause issues with videos and comments. If you'd like to support the site, please allow ads.

If any particular ad is your REASON for blocking ads, please let us know. We might be able to do something about it. Thanks.
I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks