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  #1  
Old 02-25-2007, 09:47 PM
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Stubborn Shower Pipe! Tips?

I'm trying to replace my shower head, but to do so I have to remove the stubby pipe that comes out of the wall that you mount your shower head on. You know the one I'm talking about?

Well I can't get that darn thing off for the life of me. I've tried vise grips and channel locks but that sucker is really on there.

How can I get better grip on that slippery little pipe (it's chrome and perfectly round)??

What's the tool I'm looking for?

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  #2  
Old 02-25-2007, 09:51 PM
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pipe wrench.
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:52 PM
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http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS/EN_US/diy_main/pg_diy.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@0046591279.1172458308@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccfladdkfgmjfedcgelceffdfgidglm.0&CNTTYPE=PROD_META&CNTKEY=misc/searchResults.jsp&MID=9876&N=2984+3116&pos=n10
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:56 PM
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Gee, thanks. Don't you think I've already been to Home Depot, twice?
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  #5  
Old 02-25-2007, 09:56 PM
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Firstly, why are you removing the shower arm to be able to remove the shower head? The head is certainly removable from the arm. Most of them are plastic and don't really grip the shower arm very tightly. A pipe wrench will certainly loosen it.

On the older heads, which may be all brass, you might need two wrenches.......one on the shower head and one on the arm.
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  #6  
Old 02-25-2007, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton View Post
Firstly, why are you removing the shower arm to be able to remove the shower head? The head is certainly removable from the arm. Most of them are plastic and don't really grip the shower arm very tightly. A pipe wrench will certainly loosen it.

On the older heads, which may be all brass, you might need two wrenches.......one on the shower head and one on the arm.
Well the shower head I'm replacing uses this little chrome ball that threads onto the shower arm/pipe. That little ball thing is about a 100 times harder to get a grip on, so I figured replace the entire arm instead. Didn't think it was going to be such a PITA.

I guess I'll try a pipe wrench, don't have one of those. I figured the vise grips or channel locks could grip better than anything.
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by justinperkins View Post
Well the shower head I'm replacing uses this little chrome ball that threads onto the shower arm/pipe. That little ball thing is about a 100 times harder to get a grip on, so I figured replace the entire arm instead. Didn't think it was going to be such a PITA.

I guess I'll try a pipe wrench, don't have one of those. I figured the vise grips or channel locks could grip better than anything.
Something isn't right. Those chrome balls allow the head to swivel. They live inside the threaded portion. You remove the threaded portion on the head and the ball will come with the head. The ball is not installed as a separate device.

Nothing beats the grip of a pipe wrench on a pipe without flats. You might want to put a piece of material under the jaws.........they can do some real damage to the chrome...........unfortunately.
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton View Post
Something isn't right. Those chrome balls allow the head to swivel. They live inside the threaded portion. You remove the threaded portion on the head and the ball will come with the head. The ball is not installed as a separate device.

Nothing beats the grip of a pipe wrench on a pipe without flats. You might want to put a piece of material under the jaws.........they can do some real damage to the chrome...........unfortunately.
See for yourself and decide. You can see I've already scratched through the chrome. Let's see how long it can go without "the comment"
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:31 PM
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i hate to say what that chrome penis looks like.... a chrome penis.

yeah, try a pipe wrench. they are the most powerful up to the point they start crushing the pipe.

you may need heat.

tom w
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  #10  
Old 02-25-2007, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by justinperkins View Post
See for yourself and decide. You can see I've already scratched through the chrome. Let's see how long it can go without "the comment"
Yep, that's the old style arm and the ball is not removable from the arm.......it's all one piece. The ball is now damaged, so, you've got to remove and replace the arm........and it's probably been in there for 40 years. Not a terrific task.

You probably have iron pipes coming up the wall to the shower head. If so, they can take the torque that you're going to have to use to get that arm loose. You'll definitely need pipe wrench, and, hopefully, you won't break the fitting in the wall. But, at that age, nothing is certain. Can you remove the one tile around the arm and get to the fitting? A good bit of heat from a propane torch will make short work of getting it out without damage.
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by justinperkins View Post
Let's see how long it can go without "the comment"
.......made it for three minutes........not too bad........heh?
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  #12  
Old 02-25-2007, 10:38 PM
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Have you looked behind the escutcheon to see what the fitting in the wall looks like? You could always spray a penetrating oil into those threads.
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  #13  
Old 02-25-2007, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton View Post
Yep, that's the old style arm and the ball is not removable from the arm.......it's all one piece. The ball is now damaged, so, you've got to remove and replace the arm........and it's probably been in there for 40 years. Not a terrific task.

You probably have iron pipes coming up the wall to the shower head. If so, they can take the torque that you're going to have to use to get that arm loose. You'll definitely need pipe wrench, and, hopefully, you won't break the fitting in the wall. But, at that age, nothing is certain. Can you remove the one tile around the arm and get to the fitting? A good bit of heat from a propane torch will make short work of getting it out without damage.
Ok, great. Yes it's almost a 60 year old home. My wife and I just bought it two weeks ago and we've got one of those detachable shower head things and I need to get it hooked up. All the plumbing in the house has been updated to copper, but I think they might have bypassed the shower head based on what you're telling me.

The ball may look damaged but the shower head that is there works fine for the most part. It's funny, nobody at Home Depot knew there was such a thing as a shower arm with the ball fixed to the arm.

I have a torch too and I was thinking about using it today, but then I got worried that the wall behind the tile would catch on fire. I'll try to pop that center tile out and get a better look.
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Last edited by justinperkins; 02-25-2007 at 10:41 PM. Reason: added torch part
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  #14  
Old 02-25-2007, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t walgamuth View Post
i hate to say what that chrome penis looks like.... a chrome penis.

yeah, try a pipe wrench. they are the most powerful up to the point they start crushing the pipe.

you may need heat.

tom w
im dyin' over here
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  #15  
Old 02-25-2007, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by justinperkins View Post

I have a torch too and I was thinking about using it today, but then I got worried that the wall behind the tile would catch on fire. I'll try to pop that center tile out and get a better look.
In the old days of plaster, the hole might be large enough behind the chrome plate to get a torch in there. If not, you can open it up a bit........or you can remove the tile and open it up more. But, be careful that you don't destroy the tile.

Yes, you can catch the inside of the wall on fire. The old houses have wood lathe behind the wall. So, be ready with a fire extinguisher that has a hose.......or be ready with a garden hose.......just in case.

If you do get the torch in there, heat the outside of the fitting........do not heat the chrome pipe at any time.

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