Shower Faucet Handle Tightening

Some years back I replaced the shower stall faucets; they’d lasted about half a century, which is good enough. The new faucets were American Standard Cadet/Colony (their choice of name, the current Colony valves seem similar) with a nice, smooth exterior. Of late, both handles had become slightly loose and I finally got around to tightening them.

Shower faucet valve stem
Shower faucet valve stem

The handle setscrews accept a 5/64 inch hex key and pop easily off the stems, revealing the splined plastic (noncorrosive!) mount on the valve stem. The Philips screw in that is what’s loose and allows the whole handle to wiggle just a bit; tightening the setscrew doesn’t help.

Of course, tightening the screw in the cold water stem tends to open the valve, so you must firmly wedge the splined mount. I’m sure there’s a special wrench for that, but I just held it tightly; next time I’ll try a strap wrench.

One would ordinarily dose the screws with threadlocker, so as to never have to endure this dance again, but these screws have coarse threads that engage another plastic doodad that engages two wings on the splined mount. So I guess I must retighten them twice a decade or so.

The handle interiors sport a bit of corrosion (which does not respond to vinegar, so it’s not hard water mineralization), but nothing terrible. The setscrew, mirabile dictu, seems to be stainless steel…

Shower faucet handle - splines
Shower faucet handle - splines

5 thoughts on “Shower Faucet Handle Tightening

    1. A 5 minute timeout applied to my shower is taking things too far!

      That said, I’d like touch-free faucets in the utility room sink: my very dirty hands tend to smudge the handles. But I don’t want them enough to pay the stiff surcharge…

      1. We got a cheapish single-lever faucet for the sink, that can be operated with the wrist or elbow when the hands are covered in (blood, oil, sap, and/or mud). Thus far, it’s lasted well.

        1. I don’t understand why people even buy anything else (OK, I suppose there are cheaper options). It’s a piece of cake to operate them with the back of your hand, your wrist, or elbow if need be. Touch-free faucets, on the other hand, always turn off while I’m trying to wash my hands, plus temperature control is rather absent.

          1. I’ve always wanted the kind of foot-operated faucets you see in hospitals, but …

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