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Moen shower handle leaks when turned on - how to remove?
Old 04-18-2010, 04:56 PM   #1
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Moen shower handle leaks when turned on - how to remove?

Our shower has a single handle that you pull towards you to turn on, and rotate left/right for hot/cold. It's a Moen, possibly a Moen Monticello T3132 but not sure of the exact model. The problem is - when you turn the shower on, water leaks out of the bottom of the handle. Lately, I've also noticed a gurgling/sucking noise while the leaking is occuring (maybe it's getting louder). While the shower is off, there aren't any leaks.

I did some googling and thought that maybe I can replace a washer or tighten a nut to solve the leaking. Or maybe I need to replace the entire cartridge. Either way, the first step is to remove the handle. I found a screw at the bottom of the handle (6 o'clock position) and removed it with a hex wrench. But I still can't get the handle off. Tried applying hot vinegar but no luck. Even with the screw out, the handle still seems to be attached - you can use it to operate the shower as normal. I thought the handle would pull off towards me, or lift up, but neither seems to work. Not sure what direction I should be pushing/pulling it. Not sure if there's another screw or clip I need to remove first.

Can any of the "handy" members of the forum assist? Do you know how to get the knob off? And once I do, is there a simple fix to solve the leaking? Thanks for any ideas!

This might be the Moen manual (download: 6MB), although it could be for a similar but slightly different model. Either way, I can't tell from it what direction force should be applied to get the handle off, or if there's another screw I need to remove first.

http://www.moen.com/shared/pdf/instr...ts/ins007g.pdf
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
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We have the identical Moen shower fixture. It also has a problem but not the same one - it just drips.

When we had some plumbing work done a couple of weeks ago (new granite in the kitchen and master bath along with new sinks) I asked the plumber how difficult it was to change the cartridge in our shower. He looked at it and said it wasn't a problem at all but to be sure to use the little tool included with the new cartridge and described how it (a small rod) was inserted into the old cartridge, then rotated 90 (?) degrees to remove it. I thought he was referring to removing the cartridge once the handle was off, but perhaps not.

Hope this helps. Please let me know how things work out.
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:48 PM   #3
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I'd give Moen a call. I've heard they have great customer service and will send you a new cartridge.

Warranty Information for Moen Faucets
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Old 04-18-2010, 06:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I'd give Moen a call.
I agree.

After replying to your post I tried to remove my handle. No luck. Please find out what we're doing wrong and let me know.
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Old 04-18-2010, 06:12 PM   #5
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From the diagram and the photo, it looks like you unscrew part "H" (as you've done) and then pull firmly outward. You could grab the base of the handle and wiggle it around in all directions to try to break up the mineral deposits.

The sucky thing about this faucet design is that they seem to expect you to shut off the water at the bathroom supply or even at the house valve before you start yanking on that valve stem. Because otherwise the direction you need to pull is the same direction needed to blast water from the piping.

That handle's metal trim seems to render its innards impervious to lubrication. If you have a long & flexible straw on a can of WD-40 then you might be able to squirt 180 degrees around that bell housing. But again you'd have the faucet stem pulled all the way out from the wall to get enough room to do that.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:50 PM   #6
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This might sound stupid and obvious, but if you try to fix the leaking make sure the water line to the shower is turned off. All, I can say is once upon a time a guy (ok, I'll fess up, me) tried that without turning off the water shutoff. Well, to say the least, I have a memory of a lifetime
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:58 PM   #7
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I tried squirting some more vinegar on it but no luck. As Nords pointed out, you can't really try to pull the handle off without turning the water on, and it's too late to shut off the main. I may need to put this aside until next weekend when I can do that.

When it comes to taking things apart that are stuck, I've learned the hard way that there is a fine line between "putting the muscle to it" versus "snapping things off so as to permanently break them and require the involvement of a professional to repair".
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by soupcxan View Post
When it comes to taking things apart that are stuck, I've learned the hard way that there is a fine line between "putting the muscle to it" versus "snapping things off so as to permanently break them and require the involvement of a professional to repair".
I'm still learning that fine line between "mechanical agitation" and "mechanical percussion"...
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:02 PM   #9
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I'm not familiar with the fixture but:
- Might Liquid Wrench help convince the metal parts to dis-unite? It has done well for me in getting reluctant fasteners to release. It might not be good for rubber/plastic parts, so that might be a downside.
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
This might sound stupid and obvious, but if you try to fix the leaking make sure the water line to the shower is turned off. All, I can say is once upon a time a guy (ok, I'll fess up, me) tried that without turning off the water shutoff. Well, to say the least, I have a memory of a lifetime
Hmmm... OK, I will fess up.... mine had a 'U' clip... which I removed... but the thing was still stuck... turned it a bit and "WHOOOSHHHH"... the cartridge hit the back wall of the shower.... AND, I was surprised how much pressure there was in the water line... the water also made it all the way to the back wall like a big hose... and then was splashing all over the place...

At least I had a normal faucet that I could use to turn off the water... at my mom's old house.... you needed one of those "T" handles and it was hard to turn...
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:01 PM   #11
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An earlier poster is correct--Moen has great customer service. They will send you any replacement parts needed as they warrant their faucets for life. I have talked with their techs and they are very patient and can send any diagrams you need. Do give them a call as some of the disassembly and replacement process is not exactly intuitive for a "first-timer"
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:09 PM   #12
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Hmmm... OK, I will fess up.... mine had a 'U' clip... which I removed... but the thing was still stuck... turned it a bit and "WHOOOSHHHH"... the cartridge hit the back wall of the shower.... AND, I was surprised how much pressure there was in the water line... the water also made it all the way to the back wall like a big hose... and then was splashing all over the place...

At least I had a normal faucet that I could use to turn off the water... at my mom's old house.... you needed one of those "T" handles and it was hard to turn...

The cartrdige of your shower handle hit the back wall of the shower..looking back now, that's hilarious, I bet . I'll share my story, but can't help but feel embarrassed to this day.

Well, this was at my old condo. I was trying to fix a leaky handle, so I used the tools (screwdriver, wrench, pilers, etc.) to undo the handle. Tap, tap, tap, I hear a rush of air, then WHOOSH, water starts gushing out like Niagra Falls in my bathtub. It filled almost 3/4 full and wouldn't stop. I had no idea how to shut it off, so in a panic I call 911. 911 goes ahead and sends a firetruck and police officer. By this time, the whole building knows about it. I guess they know it's not a prank as they can tell by my voice. When the firemen and police arrive, they say (all the while as water is still gushing out), you really should have called a plumber.

Well, each unit didn't have a shut off. There was one main shutoff in the building but they had to wait for the maintenance man to turn it off.. Eventually after about an hour, they finally shut it off as I fess up, say I was trying to fix it on my own.

The good news is the water bill wasn't by unit so I didn't need to pay for all the water wasted, and the new condo they built now has water shutoffs in each unit -- thanks to my experience, I bet . When I called 911, I had feared I'd flood the whole darn condo building.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:15 AM   #13
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OP:

Call up customer service. I've changed a few moen cartridges. Once you do it, it is very simple.

My problem is, I do it so infrequently, I forget how to do it.

Just be sure to buy an exact replacement cartridge, metal is better than plastic, and follow the instructions that come with the replacement cartridge.

You may find the plastic cartridges are cheaper than the metal ones.
I was told the metals ones cost more but are better.

You may check out, "you tube", someone may have the procedure on video.

hope this helps.
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:45 PM   #14
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The descent into madness.

Called Moen, they were friendly but the warranty only applies to the original purchaser. They said there was only the one screw, and that the handle should just come off. If not, they suggested cutting through the covering. Eek. Turned off the main when I got home and tried to pull the handle off. No luck.

Went to Home Depot and they also said the handle should just come off. I bought some "PB Blaster" to see if it would do a better job of loosening up the corrosion than the vinegar and WD40. Sprayed in the PB, waited. The handle still won't come off.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE.

Now the entire handle assembly turns side-side and moves in-out without actually turning on the shower, even though the main water is on. So despite the fact that the handle is still stuck, somehow the internal connection between the handle and the cartridge has disconnected. Until now, you could at least turn the shower on and deal with the leak. Now the entire thing is non-functional. The optimist in me says: at least it failed-safe, instead of failing in the "hot-water-spraying-everwhere-dear-God-where-is-the-shutoff" position.

My first phone call tomorrow will be to a plumber. Sigh. At least we have a spare bathroom.

House 1, Soup 0.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:08 PM   #15
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15 minutes later:

Feeling that I had nothing to lose, I went back to the handle and tried to wiggle it some more. Noticed that there seemed to be a little play it in. Maybe the PB Blaster just needed some time to work. Worked it back and forth and YES THE HANDLE IS OFF! Now I can see the screw that attaches the mounting bracket to the cartridge.

Still no idea why the control is loose and doesn't operate the water anymore. It doesn't bode well.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:34 PM   #16
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OP:

Don't quote me on this, but I think there is a small "horseshoe" shaped clip that needs to be taken off before you pull out the cartridge.

Also, I seem to remember, you have to pull the cartridge "straight" out. If a shower faucet, you'd pull "horizontal"....straight back.

A Sink moen faucet, more difficult, because you have to pull "vertical".

I think I used "vise grips" to pull out the cartridge. I remember, I had to use a lot of force.

At orchard supply, you should ask a salesperson (old guy), how to pull out the cartridge. Also, ask if you could open a replacement cartridge and loot at the instructions.

Also, you could go to a "plumbing house", where plumbers get their parts. and ask the part's guy how to remove the cartridge.

One thing to remember, when installing the new cartridge, if you install in 180 degrees off, the hot and cold will be backward. No big deal, just remove cartridge and install again, 180 degrees.......

hope this helps, like I said, it's been a look time......the easy way is to call a plumber.....after he pulls out the cartridge.....you will kick yourself because it is so easy.....

let us know your results and what the plumber charges.....
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:24 PM   #17
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I think getting a plumber in sounds like the thing to do.
Someone at the Terry Love plumbing web site forums would probably be able to provide some help. I've seen some pretty helpful responses to questions posed there.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
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A Sink moen faucet, more difficult, because you have to pull "vertical".
Did one of those once and that is my recollection -- vertical -- kneeling over the sink.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:43 PM   #19
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ok, you got the handle, thst was the toughest part. now pull the chrome surround - what the heck - pull the 2 screws and the chrome escutcheon as well. now. see the brass valve the cartridge slips into? see a 1/4" wide metal tab sticking up maybe 3/16" a bit back from the opening on the valve body? that's the clip you pull straight up. Then, using handy vice grips, grasp the stem and pull out. Maybe clean inside the valve body before installing the new metal cartridge.
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Old 04-20-2010, 12:16 PM   #20
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Or you can go to the store and buy a cartridge puller... they grab the cartridge and pull it out slowly...

The first time I did mine... the local hardware store just lent it to me... since most of them have disappeared because of the big boxes... you have to buy your own... not very expensive... since my friend has one, I do not...
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