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Moen Bath Sink Faucet: A “Laying On Of Hands” Repair

Moen faucet parts

Moen faucet parts

The Moen sink faucet in our black bathroom (so named because of its black tile, white trim, and gray floor) began piddling a few days ago, which seemed odd: Moen says it has a good-for-your-lifetime ceramic valve. So I took it apart, extracting an impressive vector of internal parts in the process.

The “notch” that indicates the hot-cold alignment isn’t particularly obvious, but evidently forward corresponds to the usual hot-on-the-left plumbing:

Moen valve cartridge alignment notch

Moen valve cartridge alignment notch

The retainer clip holding that white stop sleeve in place requires a bit of tweaking from a small pointy probe, but after you expose the hole in that notch the clip comes out easily enough:

Moen faucet retainer clip

Moen faucet retainer clip

With all the frippery out of the way, then “Using pliers, pull the cartridge out of the body by the stem”, which simply did not work for me. No matter what, the cartridge body didn’t budge:

Moen faucet cartridge top

Moen faucet cartridge top

There’s nothing about turning / unscrewing the transparent (looks black here) shell around the stem, so I didn’t try.

Putting enough of the parts back together to keep the cartridge from blowing out in my face (even if I can’t remove it, it’ll certainly blow out on its own), the faucet valve worked fine. You’re supposed to turn the gray pivot retainer 1/4 turn beyond hand tight, which compresses a wavy washer under the retainer. The retainer had been quite loose when I dismantled the faucet, which suggests that either it hadn’t been tightened at the factory or had worked itself loose. That would tend to hold the handle up just a bit, perhaps enough to prevent the valve from completely closing.

After snugging that retainerĀ  down tight and reassembling everything, the faucet worked perfectly: happy dance!

I removed the nozzle aerator and found a surprising amount of grit for something that’s downstream of the whole-house water filter and softener:

Bath faucet nozzle grit

Bath faucet nozzle grit

Cleaned that out and it’s all good again.

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  1. #1 by smellsofbikes on 2011-11-27 - 13:28

    I’ve had luck soaking faucet guts in vinegar overnight — suddenly everything works again. The hot/cold antiscald valve in the shower seized, and once I dug out the cartridge and soaked it for a while it was happy again.

    My wife saw the title of this article and said, “well, really, a simple laying-on-of-hands is the very best of fixes.”

    • #2 by Aki on 2011-11-27 - 15:13

      “…vinegar…”

      Add 2 tablespoonful of baking soda and children clap their hands.

      http://www.vinegartips.com/scripts/pageViewSec.asp?id=7

    • #3 by Ed on 2011-11-27 - 18:35

      soaking faucet guts in vinegar overnight

      Works for me, too, despite the fact that the water is allegedly softened to a fare-thee-well. The mineralization must be something else, but whatever it is that accumulates inside the kitchen spout responds well to acetic acid.

      My buddy dBm calls such fixes “zero-dollar repairs” and we all agree they’re the best kind!

      (If they don’t require dismantling the whole thing, they’re even better, but …)

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