When my hot water disappeared in a shower I went online, and after seeing how hard these are to replace hired a plumber. After an hour or so he came down with the broken stem and said he will have to replace then entire brass rough in plus cut through our hall wall and charge us $580. Based on the internet I tapped the cartridge with a 1/2 x 13 thread per inch tap, rigged up device with a 1/2 x 4/1/2 bolt, a short piece of 1 1/2 copper pipe, some washers and a nut and, while it was coming out without much physical effort, it also broke. Now I have about 1/2 of the plastic housing, plus the binding rubber gaskets still in the pipe. Based on warnings about scoring the brass and ruining the rough in, what is the best way for me to remove what is left.
Drill or dremel it out. If you can drill/dremel from the center, almost to the outside edge in a few spots you can probably crack it with a big pliers and not risk damaging anything.
I thought of that but did not trust myself to not screw it up. I will dig out my dremel and let you know how it went.
If it’s half way out, another option may be to find something you can get behind it with. A small toggle bolt or a pick might work. But if it were me, I’d give the dremel a shot. Since you’re already looking at the possibility of replacing the entire valve body, you can’t really make it too much worse.
I’m assuming it brass, right? If it’s plastic, between a dremel and chipping away at it with a screwdriver, it shouldn’t take too long.
Something else, and this is a long shot, if you can drive a bolt into it, well enough to be somewhat watertight, you could turn the water on and see if the pressure will (help) push it out. 60psi from the back might work pretty well.
I worked very carefully and the dremel tool worked like a charm. Fished out all the old rubber and plastic bits and pieces. Bought a new moen branded 1222 from home depot. Now I have a new problem. I can get it almost all the way in but the last 1/8 of an inch or so, just enough that I cannot get the retaining clip on, and that seems a fairly important piece. I looked inside and are no stray bits of plastic or rubber. The end of the inner cartridge is flush with the plastic end. Clearly I am doing something wrong, but have no idea what.
Push harder, there may be an o-ring fighting back that needs to snap into a groove, you might need some plumber’s grease (or vaseline) to get it to slide in, especially if the o-rings are coming out of their grooves as you push the cart in. Also, if there’s a pressure balancer behind the cartridge, make sure it’s pushed in all the way.
If it’s possible to put that cart in 180 degrees off, make sure you didn’t do that.
Sounds like it’s too late for this time, but for the future FYI that Moen will send a free replacement if you just call them up and say yours is broken.
This wouldn’t help in an emergency, as it takes about a week for it to get to you. What I do is keep an old leaky-but-serviceable one on hand. This way if one of mine ever seriously malfunctions I can replace it with that one while waiting for Moen to send a replacement.
The cartridges come with a plastic packet of grease. This helps slide it in and also (I think) helps the handle turn easier once it’s installed.
We have hard water. My best guess is that rock hard deposits, which I can feel at the base of the hole for the cartridge, is causing the problem. Is the best way to remove these deposits mechanical or chemical? Will vinegar work? What would be the best thing to spray on it to remove the deposits?
I don’t believe that valve body has seats at the back that could be removed (since IIRC, the water comes in from the sides). Vinegar may work, some CLR or Simple Green may also work. If you can physically feel the deposits, you might be able to scrub them off with a cheap brass brush or scotch brite pad. Of course, if you are going to scrub any of these, make sure you’re not going to be scrubbing any rubber parts (o-rings, diaphragms etc).
I think vinegar in a spray bottle will be a good first choice. Spray it in there, let it sit for a while and see what happens. The deposits might dissolve and wash away or they might soften enough that you can pick them out. But I’d start with vinegar since whatever you spray in there will end up spraying out the shower head the first time you turn it on, so it’s best to work up to the harsher chemicals rather than starting with them.
Yes, vinegar will work, but if it turns green, it is because it is taking some copper out of the brass. Don’t worry, a little isn’t going to hurt much (it is going to take a whole lot to do anything bad, like leave it soaking in vinegar for a month), just be sure you rinse it well when you are done.
So the deposits themselves are green, I figure a combination of the copper in brass plus our pipes, but I assume they are calcium based and died by the copper salts. Anyway, I am currently spritzing in vinegar and then working on it with a (baby) bottle brush, and it seems to be working, stuff is coming off.
Using the bottle brush I got the valve pretty cleared out. I greased up and pushed in the new cartridge and while adjusting it one of the rubber gaskets tore. Traded that in for a new one and the same thing happened. I guess it should go in in one smooth motion, without adjustments. I will try to grease it up even more but don’t really see how that is even possible.
There shouldn’t be any adjustments necessary, those carts generally just push right in. Run your finger around the inside of the valve and make sure there’s not something sharp in there that it’s snagging on.
I have the cartridge in ALMOST far enough. There are still minimal deposits, particularly in the crease in the valve where the wall meets the end. I am going to use some dental picks to try to remove the last of what is basically tartar. I am also thinking about getting a file to file down the base of the cartridge just the tiny bit necessary to allow me to put the retaining device back. I have even toyed with not putting the pin back at all, it is hard as hell to pull it out, but figure in 5 years I will be wondering why water is leaking into my ceiling.
If you don’t put that clip in, the cartridge is just going to fly out of the wall as soon as you turn the water on. I’d also strongly recommend against modifying the cartridge. That’s asking for leaks. Just keep working at that gunk, and make sure you’re not using so much grease that it’s taking up space. Just coat the surface.