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Old 11-10-2014, 08:18 AM   #1
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Cold but only a trickle of hot in shower, valve?

Greetings,

Out camping right now. Yesterday I discovered that there is little to no hot water in the shower- have hot water at kitchen and bath sink. My thought is that the shower valve is stuck. Any ideas aside from replacing the shower valve? When the lever is put all the way to hot, there is only a trickle of hot water but full spray on cold and, no mixed "warm" water. If a replacement is in order, any suggestions on type, brand or upgrade?
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:25 AM   #2
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What brand is it? If it is a problem with the "guts" of the fixture, both Moen and Delta have "cartridge" inserts as well as bits and pieces available. I found a rather large selection at Ace.
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:36 AM   #3
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First assumption would be dirt in the valve from the hot water heater. You can open the valve and clean it or replace the cartridge.
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Old 11-10-2014, 10:00 AM   #4
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Great, thanks for the tips- both of you. It is the OEM valve. I assume that this valve is from the shower stall side removing the handle? I see the back of the valve under the vanity. I believe the brand is Moen.
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Old 11-10-2014, 10:08 AM   #5
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If you remove the handle, you will see the cartridge right under it. It is nylon (or something plastic). Mine is also a Moen, but I can't quite remember the retention methodology for the cartridge. I wanna say it is a threaded collar. If you get into it, post pics if you have trouble and maybe we can walk you through it or find the manual online.
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Old 11-10-2014, 10:09 AM   #6
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To take the handle off, does the water have to be off or will the valve closed be enough?
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Old 11-10-2014, 10:12 AM   #7
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You can take the handle off with water pressure on, but don't try and remove the cartridge retainer nor the cartridge with water on.
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Old 11-10-2014, 10:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodsterinfl View Post
To take the handle off, does the water have to be off or will the valve closed be enough?
Leave it open (message from satan).

Seriously, turn off the pump, disconnect or turn off the hose, bleed some air into the line, then disassemble.

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Old 11-11-2014, 02:37 AM   #9
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This assumes it's a bog-standard Moen Cartridge valve:

IMPORTANT: Place a cloth or something over drains in the shower and wet bath lav to prevent losing dropped small parts (experience)

Moen repairs are done from the handle side, inside the shower stall. Locate the screw holding the handle in place--its usually under a plastic plug in the center of the handle. Pry out carefully so it does not break. Remove the screw and pull the handle off the valve stem it is on. Remove the trim sleeve surrounding the valve body by sliding it off--its usually a metal tube that has a bump on it near the top. This is bump thingy retains the 'fork' you need to pull out in the next step. TURN OFF ALL WATER PRESSURE FIRST (unless you like violently launching valve parts and water into the shower or your person...)

On Moen cartridges, there is a (usually copper color) metal 'fork' that holds the guts in place. There is a little tab with a smallish hole in it sticking out the top of the valve body near the front edge. After verifying dumping water pressure and shutting off the pump, use a pair of needle nose pliers or something that fits into the little hole to carefully lever and pull the 'fork' up and out. Don't drop or launch it down the drain... Then use a pair of locking pliers applied to the valve stem to carefully to pull the cartridge completely out of the valve body. It may take considerable but careful force to get it out. Real plumbers have a cartridge pulling tool, but I've never found one...

Once out, you can clean the valve cartridge innards by flushing with water while you gently turn the valve stem back and forth with the pliers while holding the outside with fingers only. Check the seals and o-rings on the surface of the cartridge for damage, cuts, nicks, or loss. If they are intact, just clean and reassemble, otherwise, replace with a new one. Bring the old one with if you need to replace it--there are several shapes and sizes. Older cartridges were all metal, many new ones are plastic. Plastic works fine. Just match the size and shape.

Activate the pump briefly to flush the valve body passages if this is a shower valve. If its a faucet, this trick may be messy when the water sprays out (Don't ask me how I know this ) Clean the valve body opening with a soft cloth or paper towel--don't scrape the inside of the valve body with anything sharper than a fingernail.

To reassemble: Add a bit of plumbers grease or vaseline to the cartridge exterior to allow it to slide back in. New ones have appropriate lube with them. Line up the cartridge stem end so the 'fork' will slide back in, seat it fully, and then push the 'fork' in until it seats. The fork shoud slide in easily--don't force it so it bends. If it does not go in, turn the cartridge with the needle nose pliers tips open and against the ears on the front of the cartridge until they are aligned properly. The ears should be at top and bottom of the valve body, as I recall. The fork slips into the slots and around the ears when it fully seats. Re-install the trim sleeve and handle.

When you put this back together there is a good chance the valve innards are 180 degrees out of line. This hurts nothing, but will reverse the hot and cold positions of the handle. If this happens, remove the handle, rotate the valve stem--the part that fits into the handle--180 degrees, and put the handle back on. Then it should work correctly.

They are reliable, last a long time, but they do get "junk" in them and act funny.
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Old 11-11-2014, 06:19 AM   #10
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Glad you got it worked out, and thanks for the "tour". It had been awhile since I was in one.
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Old 12-02-2014, 06:07 PM   #11
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Excellent instructions rmkrum. Having done this a couple of years ago, some of the "experience" is still fresh in my mind. One thing I would mention is that one should try to determine the model number of the faucet first, because when you get the new cartridge it comes with the cartridge tool you need to remove the old one without damaging anything. That tool should be safely put away as you will in all probability need it again.
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Old 12-02-2014, 08:11 PM   #12
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Thanks. I tried to be clear and specific. I've never had a cartridge removal tool with replacements but it would be something to keep track of if you get one.


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