Plumbing help on a shower isolation valve seat replacement

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4,432
Location
Connecticut
Been playing with this early 1960's or 1970's 1" shower valve for several days now to stop seat leak by....a gallon every couple of hours at first. Then after several attempts to fix it's up to around 1 gallon per hour. Probably an Eljer brand valve though not labeled. 4 spokes on the hand wheel. I have 2 in the shower and 2 in the tub - all identical.

Finally decided I had to get a new valve stem assembly. While it fit in fine, the leak only got worse. So at that point had to get the valve seat out as well. Unfortunately, the ACE hardware valve seat tools offered are just too fat on the rounded shaft portion and won't go into the initial round opening. It's a fairly deep seat. I searched around the hardware store with the owner looking at Allen keys and square stock. Nothing was a tight fit. It would seem a 9/32" square fit would do the trick. No one carries that size around here. They stop at 1/4". Picked out a square door handle shaft at the store that was close. But with the threaded grips on either end couldn't get a good enough hold on it w/o tearing it up. Nothing was budging.

So what "magic" tools do plumbers have for such a job. Can I get one? You'd think popping a valve seat would be easy enough? The valve seat internal itself is 4 sided but with slightly rounded corners.....sort of "6 sided." One other thought is that the valve might be so old that it came with an integral valve seat? I'm still using the old valve stem because it leaks less than the brand new one. Side by side they looked like perfect matches.

Thanks going forward.

Thread seat assembly on top with my make shift vale tool inside it.

plumbing valves bathroom.JPG
 
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2,188
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WY
IIRC they used to make hones for cleaning and shaping the seats, sort of like a valve job. I'm thinking maybe that technology has changed over the years but I'm no plumber.
Home depot sells a stepped wrench for different square drive seats....may check there.
 
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69GTX

Thread starter
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4,432
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Connecticut
Those same stepped or slowly tapered valve seat wrenches are sold at hardware stores, many of them are ACE. Problem, is the center shaft of the tool is too thick. Before the stepped or tapered section can make it past the seat to the "wrench" point, the fat shank of that tool gets stuck on the opening of the valve seat. Not well thought out. The owner of the ACE store I went to couldn't believe the valve seat tools he stocked couldn't get touch this particular valve.

Thanks for the thought on honing. Maybe that's an option for a plumber. Though the seat does sit in about an inch inside the 1" pipe opening.

Another option is to tear the wall apart and replace the entire dual valve assembly and all the associated piping. I can see that $500-$1000 plumber's bill now......ouch.

Photo of typical tool that doesn't fit in properly when the seat itself is more than 1/2-3/4" inside the pipe.

plumbers valve seat tool.jpg
 
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JC1

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5,162
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Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Did you try to contact a plumbing supply store?

Would an option would be to convert the shower valve to a new one by cutting out the wall behind if that's possible?
 
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1,004
Location
Arizona
Did you look at square drive bits? they have a taper so as long as one fits in the bore it will be tight in the seat for removal.
 

69GTX

Thread starter
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4,432
Location
Connecticut
LOL. I went to a plumbing supply store first to find a replacement valve stem. They were not helpful. Told me they couldn't do anything w/o a brand name stamped on the valve. I went to the ACE hardware store and they found a replacement stem in the catalog in short order.

Yeah, I could cut out the wall and all the supporting wood beams holding up the piping. That might be a challenge breaking apart 60 year old unions. Would rather hold of on a complete upgrade for now. Rather just give this one valve tight for under $100.

I did look at various drive bits w/o much luck. But maybe another look is warranted. Thanks K454.

Most valve seats are fairly short at 1/4" or so. The standard valve seat tool fits those easily. My seat is quite long with many more threads. Those tools are not designed to go in that deep.
 
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2,188
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WY
Here's a thought, check your 1/4" ratchet extensions for fit. Get one long enough to reach and see. If it's too small maybe some shim material glued to the square faces.
 
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7,742
Location
MI
Grind the shaft down (L shaped tool) on a bench grinder? Or, maybe you can find a long shank screwdriver bit of the correct size and grind that shaft down - it would be much stronger.
IMG_0909.JPG
 
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69GTX

Thread starter
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4,432
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Connecticut
I'm going to make another run at various stores today for possible long shank or tapered tools. I need about a 2 inch length at 9/16" or less to reach inside the vale seated piece.

Grinding down shafts occurred to me. Though currently don't have a working bench grinder. Would have to do it with a file.
 
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