Converting handles and/or valves on old pfister price bath/shower faucet

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Don Merlin

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Hi All,

I have a single-piece shower/tub with a very old (20+ years) Pfister Price faucet assembly. It's a 3 handle setup, 2 for hot and cold, and 1 diverter. The handles are chrome verve handles. The issues I want to resolve are:
  1. The handles require multiple turns to fully open the valve, prefer a single turn option.
  2. When shutting off the water, if the handles aren't given a lot of torque, they do not turn off completely (slow drip). I would like my kids to be able to turn off the water easily (currently I have to follow-up after everyone to turn them off).
  3. The current handles are old and butt-ugly. Would like a nicer set of handles.

I'm looking for a solution that resolves all these issues. However, the order of importance is as follows:

Resolving the issue of having to turn the handles super tight to stop water dripping is most important. I suspect this would require removing the stems and replacing washers, or perhaps some sort of rebuild, replacing stems, and perhaps the seats as well. I also see this as an opportune time to replace the handles.

If I were only replacing the handles, this should be relatively simple if replacing it with like handles. I'm looking at other options, such as Windsor handles, or even lever handles. What kind of changes in the assembly would be needed to change the handles to a different style?

Is this even an option? My sinks have single turn faucet handles, and I've been switching out the valves feeding sinks and toilets from multi-turn (compression) to quarter-turn (ball) valves; however, I've never seen a bath tub with single turn separate hot and cold handles. Is there a reason that is uncommon? If it's a doable project, can it be done with just a rebuild kit, or would it require plumbing changes that require getting into the wall? If the latter is true, I will cross this need off the list, as I cannot do anything in the wall without tearing out the entire tub/shower (the opposite side of the wall also has a single piece shower unit).

Thanks for any help. If I was not clear on anything, please let me know and I'll do my best to clarify.

Attached is a picture of my current handles.



Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx
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New England
You owe it to your children to trash that valve and replace it with a modern one that meets the current safety standards. Pretty much all of the manufacturers offer a 'renovation' plate that will cover the holes of the existing, old-style valves, and let you install a new valve. Most of them would also use a diverter on the tub spout, but some valves have that function built-in.

You MIGHT be able to find new stems and replace the valve seats with new to enable them to shut off cleanly. If they had a cartridge, you might be able to swap it for a ceramic one that would give you 1/4-turn, but I do not think there are any for those old style. YOu might be able to update the handles, but there's no guarantee. Have you tried calling Pfister (no longer Price-Pfister).


Master Plumber
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Cave Creek, Arizona
If I were there, I would convert the valves to 1/4 turn ceramic seated stems, with modern handles and trim, but it is not something I would recommend for a DIYer, because you could destroy the valve body and then you would have to replace it. Call around to some plumbers and ask if they know how to modernize your Pfister valves.

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