Sink Drain Pop-Up Lever: The Rot

Rusted Drain Rod
Rusted Drain Rod

The drain in our black bathroom(*) stopped working: the pop-up drain seal didn’t pop up.

I finally wedged myself under the sink, with my feet in the shower stall, and removed the operating rod. Turns out that we replaced the countertop and sink (nine years ago; nothing lasts) and the drain used plastic pipe.

Except, of course, for the operating rod that sticks out into the drain. That’s chrome-plated steel, evidently with a few plating imperfections, and the end had simply rotted away. I suppose there’s a small chunk of steel decomposing in the trap.

How much would it have cost to use stainless steel in this corrosion-prone application? Or good old brass (“contains an ingredient known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects”)?

After a brief moment of consideration, with my feet still in the shower, I pushed the rod through the bearing ball so the other end stuck out by about the right amount and replaced it in the drain.

Swapped Rod
Swapped Rod

Yeah, there’s an icky rusted end hanging out there in mid-air, but the next person under that sink will understand exactly what’s going on…

(*) It’s the size of a large closet with wraparound black ceramic tile, a white tile shower stall, and a wall-sized mirror over the sink. We painted the walls and ceiling white, installed an ersatz gray granite counter top (it’s laminate, not anything spendy) with a shiny white sink, and it’s all good. The original half-century-old grout is in fine shape: some things really do last!

2 thoughts on “Sink Drain Pop-Up Lever: The Rot

  1. Good idea. Tried the same thing today… Tried to push the ball down the pole with a hammer. The ball cracked in half. :( Used epoxy to hold it together. I’ll look for another ball/stick piece, otherwise its off to the hardware store for the entire popup assembly.

    1. push the ball down the pole with a hammer

      Seems like that was a bit too much persuasion… but the epoxy might work, because the ball is mostly in compression inside the seal.

      Good luck!

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