How To Replace A Symmons Shower/Tub Spindle and Diverter

Below is a video of a symmons shower/tub spindle and diverter being replaced.

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This is how you can fix that dripping or leaking bath tub or replace that sticky diverter. Its also a way to update or give your bathroom a new look for not a lot of money by replace your discolored shower valve trim.

First place a towel or face cloth over the drain to keep small parts from falling into the drain.

Next you will want to shut off the Hot & Cold water to the Shower Valve. Helpful tip: If you can turn on a facet below the level of the tub, the water will drain from the tub to that facet. So you don’t get wet while you work on the shower valve.

Once it is turned off you should double check by turning the handle to the hot and then the cold.

Next take a flat screw driver or take a utility knife and remove the center cap hiding the screw that secures the handle in place. With the cap removed you can now remove the flat or philips screw with the appropriate driver to remove the Handle.

With the screw removed you can now remove the handle. If it won’t come off you can take a medium size set of Channellock and put them onto the handle and bring it straight down and then back up to snap off the end of the spindle letting you remove the handle.

Next Remove the two flat or philips screws on each side of the spindle to remove the faceplate and Diverter/Volume Handle.

With the faceplate out of the way you can now remove the packing nut. With the packing nut removed you can now remove the spindle/cartridge.

Now with the Spindle/Cartridge removed. It is time to take your seat removal tool and remove the outer seat and then remove the inner seat. With them both removed you can now reinstall the new seat set. First let’s install the inner/ smaller seat. Next install the outer/ bigger seat.

Alright with the new seats installed inner and outer. We can move onto replacing the shower Diverter. You will want to remove the cover that holds the diverter some will have two flat or Philips screws or like this one will use the 4-way wrench (the A wrench side). Next take a flat screw driver and remove the brass colored key way. Next remove the Diverter using the twisted part of the 4-way wrench or Symmons also recommends using a 5/16″ X 3″ Lag bolt. Insert the wrench or the lag and turn it into the diverter and pull it out. BE CAREFUL not to turn it to far in as it will cause the diverter to expand causing it to hit the housing and will stop the diverter from sliding out. Sometimes the diverter can be stuck. You can drill it out going one bit at a time and trying to pull it out in between and only drill 3/4 of the way in. Another method is to use a torch to lightly heat around the diverter to soften the o-rings to get it to slide out. Be Careful as to what is inside the wall.. for example insulation, spider webs, news paper that could catch on fire.

With the diverter out you will want to use a ½ wire brush to clean inside to make sure when you install the new diverter the o-ring has a smooth surface so it can seal. Next put plumbers grease on the o-ring on the diverter so it will slide in easier. With it greased slide it back into the diverter hole pressing it in till it bottoms out. Next take a flat screw driver and reinstall the brass colored key way. Next reinstall the cover back over the diverter using the 2 screw or the 4-way wrench.

Next remove the old gasket from the front of the spindle housing. Then install the new one. With the new one installed next put the spindle into the front of the housing or the 12A-Cap spinning it all the way in. Next reinstall the spindle and front housing into the shower valve. Next reinstall the packing nut. Just snug it down with channellocks. Now the spindle and diverter have been rebuilt.

Next take the handle and put in on to the spindle and shut the shower valve off. Next take a flat screw driver and turn the brass colored key way so it points up and to the right. That will put in on tub so you don’t get wet when you turn the water back on. At this point you can turn the water on and check for leaks around the spindle. It’s also a good idea to turn it from tub to shower quickly so you can also check for leaks around the diverter.

Next we can clean the shower/tub wall where the faceplate mounts. After that we can start to put the valve back together. They do sell the handle, faceplate, diverter/volume handle, or the entire shower valve if any part of yours needs replacing. First put the inner cover on over the spindle. Next reinstall the faceplate. Make sure you have the gasket behind the faceplate to seal it to the tub wall. If you have that gasket in place you can reinstall the face plate. Make sure that the diverter is set to tub. If it doesn’t slide into the diverter turn it back and forth slowly until it lines up. Once it’s lined up tighten the 2 screws that hold the face plate to the shower valve.

Alright now with the faceplate reinstalled you can now reinstall the handle and tighten the screw to secure it in place and then put the cover on that hides the screw.

That’s it your done. You have just rebuilt your symmons shower valve.

 

 

Disclaimer

8 comments

Hi,
I can’t recognize the 4-way wrench you used in the symmons shower rebuild. Where can I get one ? thanks
By the way, the video is superb !
/vu

Hello, The 4-way wrench is made by “Raven tool inc” or at least that is what the logo on the side says. I have yet to find another one.. As I would like to have a replacement for this one when it wears out but I got this one out of my grandfathers plumbing tools. They do sell them separately.. Thank you.

DIYguy,
Ever heard of this? I have a Symmons Tempetrol shower faucet. It puts out hot water to the shower for about 5 minutes, then it start to cool off dramatically. However, if I turn on the hot water in the sink in my bathroom, the shower stays warm forever and the water coming out of the sink is dead cold. I’m thinking there’s a problem with the shower valve, but don’t really know.
Any suggestions?
By the way, this seems to happen with the other shower in the house as well.
Thanks.

Hello. The Symmons shower valve spindle is a pressure balancing valve. Meaning it balances the hot and cold water to be even. When the spindle goes bad it will either just have hot or cold water come out or do what you say start off with great hot water and then taper off to warm then cooler water. I would start by replacing the spindle but why it have it apart you might as well replace the diverter.

To remove the diverter if you don’t have the 4-way wrench you can use a 5/16’s 3″ long lag bolt and thread it into the diverter with a ratchet and socket and then grab it with a pair of pliers or vise grips and pull it out. I just added a link to the 4 way wrench -> http://amzn.to/2tiGab4 .

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