How to Change Shower Spindles

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Some older showers use a spindle instead of cartridges or compression seals to adjust the rate of water flow. Usually, spindle shower faucets are two-handle faucets without a diverter. Over time spindles wear down, requiring replacement. Changing shower spindles does require taking the old spindle out first so you can find a new one that matches the current one exactly. Replacement spindles are available at plumbing-supply houses and from the faucet manufacturer.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel or sheet
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Hex wrench
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Plumber's tape
  • Shut off the water supply to the shower. There are cut-off valves for the hot and cold water behind the shower wall. The shower wall usually has an access panel in the adjoining room.

  • Place a towel or sheet over the shower drain to prevent losing small parts down the drain and to protect the shower floor.

  • Remove the screw securing the shower handle to the faucet assembly. The set screw requires either a hex wrench or Phillips screwdriver for removal. Pull the shower handle away from the faucet assembly.

  • Pull the dome cover away from the faucet spindle. Some dome covers have a nut on the top, requiring an adjustable wrench for removal. Once the dome cover is off, the spindle cap with the two flat sides is visible.

  • Turn the spindle cap counterclockwise with the adjustable wrench, and remove the cap and spindle from the faucet. Shine a flashlight inside the threads of the faucet cavity, and clean the threads with a soft cloth.

  • Wrap the threads of the spindle with plumber's tape. Thread the spindle back into the faucet cavity. Tighten the spindle cap with the adjustable wrench.

  • Push the dome cover over the spindle cap and secure with a nut, if your dome cap uses a nut. Place the center of the handle over the end of the stem and secure with the retaining screw. Turn the water back on to the shower.

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