Can this old shower valve be repaired or replicated?
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  1. #1
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    Default Can this old shower valve be repaired or replicated?

    Can this valve be repaired or replicated?

    Hello all. I wanted to run this by the experts, and the beginners here at Practical Machinist. I'm interested in repairing an old shower valve and while the parts are mostly available, the valve body seems to be obsolete. A diagram is available on page 3 here: http://www.kissler.com/OEM_PDF/SPEAKMAN.pdf. The problem is the threads aren't sealing well against the seat threads(part #05-0451 in the diagram). I have access to remove the valve body for repair if necesssary. Material is brass. Is there any practical way to either repair the threads, or replicate the part? Was thinking maybe a custom thread repair insert might be easier than reverse engineering the entire part, but I'm not sure it could survive installation. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you.

    DOB

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    A bit off-the-wall here, but......

    I suspect it would be impractical to fix threads, and doubt there is enough meat to rethread larger. Body is almost surely bronze, not brass.

    I think I would remove the seat, coat ir with a sealant, and re-install.

    That is if the threads really are leaking. I have an old shower setup, which is now totally illegal due to scalding hazard, but is grandfathered... 4 valves, 2 for shower, 2 for filling tub. Many years ago I had the shower stems reproduced, to avoid replacing the lot. So I have been into the valves a few times, for mine and at neighbors.

    I have never seen leaky threads in one of these. The usual problem when the valve leaks is that the seat develops a tiny groove cut in it by the water, due to not being shut off all the way. That can be cut down to be flat again with a reasonably inexpensive tool, so that the groove is eliminated and the washer can seal on it. I'd replace the washer also, they harden and fail to seal.

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    I agree I would buy a new seat and coat the threads with teflon pipe paste before installing it.
    Bill D.

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    There are numerous faucet "inserts" on the market--have you tried to see if anything else will fit. The
    two important things are the threads of the insert and the depth. I've kept some of our old faucets
    working by using different inserts. I even had to modify a couple to make them work but it's still much
    easier than trying to make a whole new insert.

    Just in case you don't understand what an insert is look closely at any of the faucets in the PDF you
    linked to. If you look closely you can see that there is an entire assembly that threads into the main
    body. That's the insert...

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    "The problem is the threads aren't sealing well against the seat threads(part #05-0451 in the diagram)....

    That part is the actual seat. It's typically brass and is threaded into the valve body using a special tool which
    is either square or hex section.

    Just to be sure, it looks like you are saying the threads in the body are somehow disturbed so the the seat does
    not thread into the body correctly, or leaks when it is threaded in there. Is this correct?

    1) are you trying to install a brand new seat into the valve body?

    2) are you certain the new seat is the correct size, ie thread dimension and overall size?

    if these things are true, do you have the thread spec for the correct thread in the valve body, either from
    the original (worn) removeable seat, or from the new seat that does fit correctly? In most cases the
    actual water seal is not formed by the threads but rather by the metal-on-metal contact between the
    flat on the seat under the threads, and the flat in the valve body surrounding the threads.

    If the threads in the valve body are worn or otherwise not allowing the seat to thread in (is this the case?)
    it might be possible to re-tap the threads to allow the new seat to thread in. If there enough threads
    left, the metal on metal seal will still be effected.

    If the actual seating area in the valve body is disrupted then it can be possible to place a flat, thin fiber
    washer under the seat when you thread it in place. Teflon tape wound into a round section can work
    on this. Likewise some yarn that has been waxed using a candle will form a thin flat sealing washer.

    Pictures of the actual offending parts would be helpful.

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    If you can get it apart and dry, loctite thread sealant works good in my experiance, even better there hydrulic red - purple like pipe sealent, like most good things its not safe to drink, eat and causes cancer in california, so you can be certain it will work.

    Other option is clean, flux and just soft solder the seat in there!

    I too have played the rebuild the shower valve rather than replace do to the simpler effort levels so know that game well!

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    Oh good lord why
    Go buy a thermostatically balanced valve and wonder you didn’t years ago
    Set the temp on my shower nine years ago

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    Oh good lord why
    Go buy a thermostatically balanced valve and wonder you didn’t years ago
    Set the temp on my shower nine years ago
    Apparently "Extreme DIY" can't unsolder the old one.....

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    If he has the same setup I have, there are 4 holes in the tile wall for faucets that would be replaced (and the tiles for mine have not been available since 1938).. Replacing with a nice brand new valve would need to be put in yet another place, so at least 3 and maybe all 4 of the old holes in the tile would have to be filled up with some ugly stuff, since the tiles are not available.

    That would look ever so nice.... no wonder he prefers not to go that route unless and until required to. I figure I can avoid scalding the skin off myself, I have so far. If the next owner wants to have the plumbers do the usual bash job on the tile wall, let them. I certainly don't want that, and possibly he does not either.

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    My FIL is an 'old timer'...he restored his house very nicely, using NOS shower valves from the 1940's. They look very fancy, top shelf. They also rotate with almost no resistance. That, coupled with the fact that he runs about 211 Deg. F water in his house, means that when you take a shower* there, you most likely will bump the valve at some point and give yourself a good scalding.


    *Of course, he and his wife are unable to fathom why anyone would take a shower when there is a bathtub right there....

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    If he has the same setup I have, there are 4 holes in the tile wall for faucets that would be replaced (and the tiles for mine have not been available since 1938).. Replacing with a nice brand new valve would need to be put in yet another place, so at least 3 and maybe all 4 of the old holes in the tile would have to be filled up with some ugly stuff, since the tiles are not available.

    That would look ever so nice.... no wonder he prefers not to go that route unless and until required to. I figure I can avoid scalding the skin off myself, I have so far. If the next owner wants to have the plumbers do the usual bash job on the tile wall, let them. I certainly don't want that, and possibly he does not either.
    They make trim for this

    Or you could remove the tiles from the center and use them to fill the right and left holes

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    They make trim for this
    Seriously "dude"

    If thats your idea of a fix, yeah great, IMHO i would rather stink than have shit repairs like that. In my case my thermostatic shower is let into a solid brick wall, its what thoes of us in nations that don't build houses out of matchsticks use. Then buried in nice tile and all into a nice shower tray properly sealed. Would take me 2-3 solid days to strip and replace the thing, takes me about 2 hours to rebuild it in place every 3-4 years do to the hard water here.

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    I was wondering why this thread got a dozen replies, April 1 being past and all.

    Having repaired lots of old faucets in various youthful renovation projects - practically never see one where the threads are bad. Between refacing (or replacing) the valve seat, installing a new washer, and replacing the packing material (all of which show up your PDF) - that solves most problems. These are all quick jobs, with the right materials at hand.

    Sometimes the screw holding the washer is corroded. That you could drill and re-tap to hold a washer.

    Failing that, any further attempts at rebuilding the valve body are likely a clinical diagnosis for "anal retentive." The cool way will be to pull the valve out, spend days on a made-from-measurements solid model, make a casting pattern, cast it, learn CNC machining and machine it, replace, discover you've missed something . . . and repeat.

    Or, get that nice new thermostatic valve? Or add your own "steampunk" version??

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    Agree the OP is likely barking up the wrong tree, the old faucets just do not leak where he shows. None I have ever seen, anyhow.

    The OP may have something like the picture below, which means he really would prefer to have the old one working, instead of a nice new shiny gimcrack made as cheap as possible single handle unit plopped in yet another hole bashed in the tile. One CAN , if desired, get a retrofit valve setup that will do thermal, or in some cases, pressure, compensation.

    The pic shows a couple replacement tiles, well put in, but nothing like the originals from nearly a hundred years ago. They stick out enough as it is, and likely even those, which are maybe 50 years old, are likely not available. I;d not want more of them, and doubt the OP wants similar, if he has that.

    Plumbers are not well-known for care in removing old tiles, or other things. There is another place they were at work here, by the sink. I had wanted to put in a pedestal sink, but luckily never found one I liked. Luckily, because when the old vanity was taken out, there was a big hole bashed in the basketweave tile and concrete floor (and of course no extra tiles), as well as shattered wall tiles where the plumbers decided they needed a hole for a pipe.

    Example of old style faucets.... and, no, the house is not "matchsticks", but brick, the wall to the right in the picture is around 350mm thick. Floor of the room is 3" concrete and tile, laid over the floor joists.


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    And the OP WILL NEVER BE HEARD FROM AGAIN.

    He wants someone to fix it for free.

    He’s retired, on limited income, just trying to sell the house, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adama View Post
    Seriously "dude"

    If thats your idea of a fix, yeah great, IMHO i would rather stink than have shit repairs like that. In my case my thermostatic shower is let into a solid brick wall, its what thoes of us in nations that don't build houses out of matchsticks use. Then buried in nice tile and all into a nice shower tray properly sealed. Would take me 2-3 solid days to strip and replace the thing, takes me about 2 hours to rebuild it in place every 3-4 years do to the hard water here.
    seriously dude

    he is talking about a useless old shower valve that is 30 years past its lifespan

    enough

    and once a thermostatically balanced valve is installed it will take 20 minutes to replace the cartridge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    ...
    he is talking about a useless old shower valve that is 30 years past its lifespan

    .....
    Do you know the exact "lifespan" figure in years, months, days, hours, and minutes?

    Things work until they do not... and then, if they were not made in the more recent "throwaway economy", they can be repaired. I'd not toss and replace a piece of equipment that works. just on account of a fix that would take a few minutes of time.

    Especially if it entails a bunch of compromises and less than optimum results in terms of appearance that have to be "accepted" because of "progress"..

    Some people would, of course, regard it forever more as being an old, tired, thing that has "been fixed".... and is therefore no longer "as good as new"..... Those folks would be best off in an apartment, or assisted living.....

    people, maybe even you, do nuttier things when restoring old cars, or other "useless old stuff" that has far less day-to-day utility than a shower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    Do you know the exact "lifespan" figure in years, months, days, hours, and minutes?

    Things work until they do not... and then, if they were not made in the more recent "throwaway economy", they can be repaired. I'd not toss and replace a piece of equipment that works. just on account of a fix that would take a few minutes of time.

    Especially if it entails a bunch of compromises and less than optimum results in terms of appearance that have to be "accepted" because of "progress"..

    Some people would, of course, regard it forever more as being an old, tired, thing that has "been fixed".... and is therefore no longer "as good as new"..... Those folks would be best off in an apartment, or assisted living.....

    people, maybe even you, do nuttier things when restoring old cars, or other "useless old stuff" that has far less day-to-day utility than a shower.
    The fact that it may need machining means it is past the end of its useful life

    It does not work

    Old faucets are not something to revere

    They are something to replace

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    The fact that it may need machining means it is past the end of its useful life

    It does not work

    Old faucets are not something to revere

    They are something to replace
    Of course, in many cases, we are not talking about just a faucet.... "replacing" it may not be possible without bashing another hole in the tile, and glomming some sort of plastic "trim" over the full set of holes that will be empty.

    I suppose it looks "just wonderful", if you have the visual equivalent of a "tin ear"..... I know very few people who would accept the appearance. Perhaps if it is a rental... I had a landlord who "repaired" a plaster wall in the shower that was falling apart, by gluing over it a sheet of that green corrugated fiberglass that used to be put around pools.... it did not close the holes that went through to the basement, and it was certainly a "well ventilated" shower. With that as an example, I suppose your solution might be no worse....

    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post

    Especially if it entails a bunch of compromises and less than optimum results in terms of appearance that have to be "accepted" because of "progress"..

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    Of course, in many cases, we are not talking about just a faucet.... "replacing" it may not be possible without bashing another hole in the tile, and glomming some sort of plastic "trim" over the full set of holes that will be empty.

    I suppose it looks "just wonderful", if you have the visual equivalent of a "tin ear"..... I know very few people who would accept the appearance. Perhaps if it is a rental... I had a landlord who "repaired" a plaster wall in the shower that was falling apart, by gluing over it a sheet of that green corrugated fiberglass that used to be put around pools.... it did not close the holes that went through to the basement, and it was certainly a "well ventilated" shower. With that as an example, I suppose your solution might be no worse....
    Why is it that you assume that replacing it must involve some level of hackery?

    Or be visually off putting?

    If you cannot safely remove tile without making a mess of it, I understand, but that is not a universal limitation


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