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American Standard Elite Kitchen Faucet Disassembly

Once again, the faucet O-ring seals are leaking. This happens about every two years, perhaps due to mineral buildup in the spout body despite the water softener. Fortunately, it’s a dribble rather than a spurt, so it’s not an emergency.

This is a Home Depot (or was it Lowe’s?) faucet, but they do not stock repair parts. Go to FaucetDirect.com, order these parts:

  • 060366-0070A SPOUT SEAL KIT (on the main column)
  • 060343-0070A SPACER WITH O-RINGS (below the valve cartridge)
  • 030126-0070A BUTTON AND SCREW KIT (if you booger the button)
Popping off the button

Popping off the button

Of course, order two or three of each, because FD has punitive shipping rates. Ten bucks for a few envelopes of O-rings? Sheesh… but the last time I tried to get ’em locally, they were No Stock. If I’ve got to wait around, I’ll have ’em delivered to my door.

[Update: that comment suggests you can now get ’em from Amazon.com]

The first puzzle is how to get the faucet apart. After making a mess of it the first time, it turns out you poke a small flat screwdriver inside the handle and pop the red-blue button out. It’s held on by two small tabs, one on each side, and if you can just push one then it’ll ease right out. It is not a screw head, despite the recessed slot down the middle.

Poke a 3/32″ hex key in the hole, back out the setscrew a few more turns than you think it takes, pull the handle off.

The plastic cap retainer has two arms holding the escutcheon ring in place. Push inward, remove the escutcheon. The retainer is probably hopelessly jammed into the top of the faucet spout, so if it doesn’t come out, that’s OK.

Loosen the three screws holding down the valve cartridge, pull it straight up and out. You did turn the water off first, right? Remove the plastic spacer plate and three O-rings below it if you can; the plate may not fit through the retainer.

Faucet column

Faucet column

Now, get comfortable on the sink. Pull-and-twist the spout straight up with far more force than you think necessary. It will suddenly fly off and bloosh the water that’s been standing in the faucet column all over the place.

You’re left with a rather grody column and the two offending O-rings. Note the orientation of the silver flange ring at the bottom and the lower white plastic bearing ring. There may be three O-rings stuck to the top surface; they belong inside the spacer plate.

Remove all that hardware and scrub the grodosity off the column.

Hint: if you’re weak of stomach, never look inside your drinking water fixtures, because you’ll never drink tap water again.

I generally soak the spout in vinegar for a bit, scrub it out with a toothbrush, ease the remaining deposits off with a small screwdriver, then scrub the whole thing down with a ScotchBrite pad.

I apply a very very very thin layer of silicone lubricant to the bearing surfaces inside the column, which makes the next step possible.

Put the flange ring, the new O-rings, and plastic bearing rings in place, then slide the spout assembly straight down over the column until it bottoms out with a thump.

Install the new spacer plate & its O-rings, then reassemble all the other doodads in reverse order, turn on the water, and you’re done.

Then forget all the crud you saw in there that you couldn’t clean out.

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  1. #1 by Tom on 2010-01-08 - 20:31

    This was an exact match to my problem and the O’rings fixed my problem as well.
    Thank you for posting this solution. People like you make the world a better place.

    • #2 by Ed on 2010-01-08 - 21:59

      Thanks kindly…

      I must write this stuff down so I remember it the next time around… and there will be a next time, I’m sure!

    • #3 by Bob B on 2013-08-21 - 16:03

      get the O-rings on exactly as in foto above, or else faucet won’t go back on right. when I followed the foto, it went on with ease. use cooking oil if u lack silicone oil or grease. if u have to replace cartridge, while ur at it look at cartridges in your bath. I got free shipping on Amazon by ordering three cartridges (two identical for the shower, one of which is shot, the other will go bad sooner or later, and a new cartridge of the sink). and those f’g O-rings that keep it all from leaking, that cost so much to replace! thanks for this foto. there is also another foto showing problem with rotation (under the sink) of whole assembly, which makes the hot or cold water side out of center, easily fixed while ur at this task.

      • #4 by Ed on 2013-08-21 - 16:29

        it went on with ease

        You must have the magic touch: it’s always been a sit-on-the-sink-and-shove adventure for me! [grin]

        Glad it worked out in the end…

  2. #5 by Todd on 2010-02-21 - 13:21

    Worked for me too, thank you! I was stuck on removing the spout. Seemed like it would break if I used more force but your advice verified that more force is what it required. Also appreciate the advice about cleaning the deposits. Wife is happy…you Rock!

    • #6 by Ed on 2010-02-21 - 13:50

      Glad to help…

      I spent quite a while sitting on the counter, wiggling the spout back and forth, before deciding that there just wasn’t any other way to get it off.

      The next time should be easier, if only because you know what to expect!

  3. #7 by russelle brandom on 2010-03-24 - 13:27

    “Remove all that hardware and scrub the grodosity off the column”

    The quote from your american standard faucet disassembly was great right up to the above line. I am trying to replace the spray diverter and cant get the “the column” out. I doubt you will respond before I find another source of info but thought yu should know.

    • #8 by Ed on 2010-03-24 - 16:53

      If you’re having trouble removing the spout, then … just wiggle it back & forth, pull really hard, and swear under your breath. I don’t know of any other way to do it.

      As I recall, the diverter valve is a little dingus in the back of the column just above the sink deck, so after you’ve managed to yank the spout off, the diverter should just pop right out. Might have to pry it out, but that’s in the nature of fine tuning.

      You certainly don’t need to remove the column, unless it’s so close to the backsplash that there’s no maneuvering room. In that case, I’d crawl under the sink and loosen the screws on the mounting ring, which should let you tilt the (still plumbed) column forward enough to get the diverter out.

      Good luck!

  4. #9 by Stuart Weitz on 2010-04-03 - 12:37

    Hey, thanks for the great advice. I changed all of the parts suggested and also changed the cartridge since it was leaking both at the bottom and pouring out of the handle area. I soaked the spout and cleaned and lubed the column. My problem is the spout swivel is very tight and will not turn. The more I tightnen the 3 screws on the cartridge the harder it is to turn. If I leave the screws loose then it leaks around the handle area. What does tightning the screws have to do with the swivel? How can I get this to work again? The swivel worked fine before I changed all of the parts.

    Thanks

    Stu

    Model 4453 elite from Home depot.

    • #10 by Ed on 2010-04-03 - 22:25

      What does tightening the screws have to do with the swivel?

      Nothing, as nearly as I can tell.

      Perhaps you have the chrome trim ring (the one at the bottom) upside down?

      IIRC, the two plastic bearing rings are different heights, so if they’re interchanged you’ll squash one of the O-rings flat and bulge it outward.

      Either of those would bind the spout. Some careful swapping should reveal the problems.

      That’s why I lug around a pocket camera: I take pictures of everything as it comes apart. Most of the time I don’t need the pictures, but every once in a while I get down on my knees and kiss the ground the camera walks on…

  5. #11 by Steve on 2010-04-26 - 10:18

    I started down this road — my faucet has the hose that allows one to pull the spray head out, but as far as I can tell is pretty much the same (except instead of a button I have an allen screw). Everything else looks/reads the same.

    I’ve tugged on the spout, fairly hard but not all my strength — sounds like I need to really wiggle and pull hard?

    • #12 by Ed on 2010-04-26 - 15:05

      sounds like I need to really wiggle and pull hard?

      I’m reluctant to apply the usual assortment of penetrating oils, for what should be obvious reasons. If the Official Manual doesn’t show any hidden setscrews or locking pins, then there’s nothing for it but to get primal on that sucker.

      And if it breaks you’ll have all the pieces right there beside you.

      The O-rings get all mushy and act as glue to hold the spout in place. You’d think that would be a solved problem by now, but they last just a few years.

      Good luck!

  6. #13 by Noel on 2010-06-27 - 19:06

    Our’s was leaking from the base of the handle/top of the faucet area. I found it easier to remove the whole faucet for repair. Makes it easy to clean the area of calcium/limescale as a result of leak too. We have a shutoff on each supply under the sink so removing the faucet is easy. Undo 3 screws, the supply lines, the retaining ring/clamp & lift the whole thing out. Removing the handle from the faucet was a pain. Even with two of us pulling, tugging & twisting it wouldn’t come free. Eventually I found that the plastic disk sandwiched between the metal valve & the handle’s lever mechanism could be gently forced out the top, leaving the bare metal of the valve exposed. A couple of increasingly firmer taps with a hammer and it popped out.

    Since I had all the main sections apart I used the opportunity to replace most of the O-rings including the ones between that plastic disk & the metal valve face, as well as clean the parts. For re-assembly I used some plumber’s silicon grease to aid inserting the valve. With the grease the internal bit cold be slid in & out of the housing quite easily

    • #14 by Ed on 2010-06-27 - 20:18

      a shutoff on each supply under the sink

      That’s the only way to go! I put ball valves in the basement when we overhauled the counter & sink and have never regretted it.

      We have a stainless steel sink that seemed awfully flexy. I epoxied a 3/32-inch aluminum sheet below the deck and it stabilized the faucet just fine. Maybe that’s why I have more success in yanking the spout off than some folks: it’s not quite so scary.

      But, frankly, I’m disappointed with the overall design of that thing… it shouldn’t chew up O-rings the way it does and it should not be all that difficult to disassemble.

      Glad to hear you got it aparts and together again!

  7. #15 by JB on 2010-12-28 - 21:42

    ALL American Standard faucets have a lifetime warranty so you could just call them & they will send the parts to you for free. Seems a bit easier. You’ll need to know the model.

    • #16 by Ed on 2010-12-29 - 09:25

      As nearly as I can tell, that type of warranty doesn’t include any of the consumables that wear out in “normal” use. When the spout breaks off, maybe you get a new faucet, but when the O-rings turn to slime, you get to buy your own replacements.

      Assuming that American-Standard warranty applies, then the money quote is:

      AS America, Inc. (“American-Standard”) warrants this product to be free from defects in materials or workmanship for as long as the original consumer purchaser owns their home.

      Now, of course, maybe they take pity on anybody who actually manages to find their phone number (it’s at the bottom of that page) and call ’em up, regardless of what the warranty says… which would be a nice gesture.

  8. #17 by Johm Stevens on 2012-08-23 - 19:24

    HI – just surfed here. No one posed the question, but after buying this faucet for about 100 bucks wouldn’t we expect maybe 5-10 years before a major overhaul would be needed? For most people, this is a major overhaul. Not to mention the big box store doesn’t even stock the parts for the repair. So after two years, people can expect wood damage and mold, and that isn’t exactly a design flaw. Wow.

    • #18 by Ed on 2012-08-23 - 19:40

      expect maybe 5-10 years before a major overhaul would be needed?

      Those old faucets with washers weren’t very stylish, but the repair parts (pronounced “washers”) cost essentially nothing and the faucet itself would last just slightly less than forever. I bought three or four sets of the repair parts and I’m down to the last one… time to stock up again.

      the big box store doesn’t even stock the parts

      Given that the faucets are custom-made for Home Depot & Lowe’s (so you can’t do price matching even though it’s an “American Standard” faucet) you’d think they could at least stock the parts. Is it that a store catering to do-it-yourselfers assumes you can handle a DIY faucet installation, but not a DIY faucet repair? What’s wrong with this picture?

      Grumble!

  9. #19 by Eric Martin on 2012-09-19 - 03:58

    Thanks for posting this. The problem though is the stupid cartridge now is sealed. You can’t grease them easily. They did this to gyp people. Make more money off us.

    • #20 by Ed on 2012-09-19 - 06:39

      the stupid cartridge now is sealed

      I’d expect the spout would still swivel around the cartridge in the central column, so there must be O-ring seals involved somewhere. If they’ve improved the O-rings out of the design, that certainly sounds like a step forward, unless whatever they use now fails just as rapidly and can’t be replaced.

      But we certainly shouldn’t have so much trouble keeping it working!

  10. #21 by Rebecca cantu on 2012-11-01 - 07:57

    We had our water heater replaced and for some reason the kitchen faucet will only put out only small amount of water do u think maybe something clogged it up we found small white stuff coming from the filter like the putty the guy used to repair the water heater.

    • #22 by Ed on 2012-11-01 - 10:11

      small white stuff coming from the filter

      Any time I’ve messed with the plumbing, all the faucet filters catch a remarkable amount of grit that’s been shaken loose, so it may not be thread sealer. Check the aerator screens on the faucet, too, as I mentioned there to see what they’ve collected.

  11. #23 by ayhan calis on 2012-11-17 - 10:58

    Can you please tell me the exact position of the two white and two black plastic rings on the spout column to install correctly. The larger plastic ring has an upside and downside. I did replace these seals and the leak got bigger.

    Also, the IIRC, the larger one, does not entirely wrap around, there is 2 mm gap.

    • #24 by Ed on 2012-11-17 - 13:43

      Click the picture of the column and you’ll get a larger view that shows as much as I know… [grin]

      I think the white plastic rings serve as bearings to hold the column in alignment around the rubber O-rings, with the gap expanding them enough to fit over the column; the spout won’t fit if they’re not in the right position. The narrow part of the silver ring at the base goes upward to fit inside the spout.

      Most likely, one of the O-rings ended up around the central section of the column (the part with the bulge), where it can’t seal correctly, when you pushed the spout down. Given the amount of force required to install the spout, it’s impossible to tell if a ring rolled away. Pull the spout off and check where the O-rings ended up and whether they’re still in good condition; if they’re now damaged by being pinched, they just won’t work right ever again.

      Good luck!

  12. #25 by KoolChinChilla on 2012-12-11 - 17:47

    This was outta site! Still took me forever to do the work but if I hadn’t come across the information you have here, I’d still be trying to figure it out … thanks for your help this was perfect help!

    • #26 by Ed on 2012-12-11 - 21:49

      Glad to be of assistance!

      Now, remember to hang the bags of spare seals under the sink so you can find them the next time… [grin]

  13. #27 by Jeremy Wenisch on 2013-02-06 - 19:38

    Thank you so much for this post! It was incredibly helpful and spot-on (special kudos for the bit about how much resistance the spout would give), and I doubt I could have fixed my leak without it — certainly not as easily or cheaply.

    Also, something that other readers may find helpful, I found the replacement parts on Amazon with free shipping for Prime members:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002J3HWM0/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i02
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00279IPB8/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i04

    • #28 by Ed on 2013-02-06 - 20:44

      replacement parts on Amazon

      Judging from the traffic this post gets, many people have this problem, so I guess American Standard sees a better way to get the parts out. Of course, it’d be nice if the seals lasted longer. [sigh]

      Glad to help; next time we’ll both know how to do it… and where to get the parts!

      • #29 by Ayhan on 2013-02-07 - 14:35

        I had trouble with this issue and the replacement parts American Standard sent under lifetime warranty did not help. When I called American Standard for a second time about this issue, they offered me a free replacement (entire faucet set) instead. I recommend your audience to contact American Standard as well. No warranty registration or original receipt questions were asked at all surprisingly.

        • #30 by Ed on 2013-02-07 - 16:03

          That sounds like a plan…

          Perhaps they had a not-quite-recall-level problem with some of the faucets, so if you pursue the issue you’ll get a replacement.

  14. #31 by hawaii2000 on 2013-03-21 - 00:02

    A million mahalos for this. Exactly what I needed to do this repair myself. found the O-rings I needed at the local Ace.

    • #32 by Ed on 2013-03-21 - 07:42

      Your local Ace has an impressive stock of O-rings! Must be one of the benefits of living in Paradise. [grin]

      Glad to help…

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