Help id the manufacturer of this c.1963 shower cold water valve stem!
April 25, 2010 7:29 PM   Subscribe

We have a drip drip drip in the shower and had the plumber look at it when he came to service the furnace. Unfortunately it's not just the gasket; the actual valve stem is broken. House was built in 1963 and length of stem is ~3.25" (pictures at

We've been putting off fixing it but now it's started getting worse. We'd like to replace the valve stem if possible because the alternative is ripping out the wall and replacing the entire assembly. I've found a couple of good sources for parts online but have no idea how to figure out who made my valve stem.
posted by saritonin to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Congrats on removing the stem, they can be a gigantic pain to get out. Take the stem to a plumbing supply place, the counter guys will be able to have one. Home Depot might have them, but a supply house is your best bet. Get some teflon tape while you are there. You might want to pick up a set of Stem Socket Wrenches as well. Make sure the stem comes with a washer.

When you put the new one in, wrap some teflon on the threads.
posted by Marky at 7:41 PM on April 25, 2010

Before you reassemble with a new washer, consider replacing the valve seat as well, it is usually threaded in the valve body and has a hexagonal hole, it is the part that the washer seals against.
posted by hortense at 8:07 PM on April 25, 2010

I could be wrong but it looks a lot like the Price Pfister valves that I recently replaced in our 60's era shower. If it is you'll be able to purchase the valve body, stem and all of the other bits as one unit. No demolition of the wall needed! I avoided a horribly leaky valve for months thinking that I would have to rip the shower apart. But I took a pic, ventured down to the plumbing supply and one of the old heads took one look, disappeared in the back for a few moments and returned with the golden bits. Go to a plumbing supply store (avoid Lowe's and Home D for vintage stuff like this like the plague, as they'll be clueless) and seek out the oldest person at the counter. They'll know exactly what shelf in the back holds all of the parts for the old fixtures. Replace both hot and cold valves at the same time. I spent $15 and the entire swap took less than 20 minutes. Good luck!
posted by chosemerveilleux at 8:44 PM on April 25, 2010

Just a side note that "ripping the wall apart" may lead to a whole slew of problems you didn't consider. You house may have galvanized pipe (ours, also built in 1963, did) and it's not all that easy, if not impossible, to remove the old valves from the now heavily corroded pipe. We ended up replumbing our house when all we wanted were some new valves.
posted by Big_B at 1:48 PM on April 26, 2010

Replaced the valve (Indiana Brass) and valve seat by going to the local plumbing supply store. The first place had no idea, but they knew where I should go. The second place knew right away when I walked in - matched it up and even lent me a specially ground square head screwdriver to work on replacing the valve seat. Thank you!
posted by saritonin at 6:48 PM on June 7, 2010

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