I have a Sears Bathtub Faucet and I need to repair it. It’s been in there since 1967 and Sears told me they no longer make anything I have in the plumbing of this house. I have attached a picture and the parts diagram.
I can’t get the valve unit assembly out to replace the back O-Rings, part #’s S2497 and S2498 in the parts diagram. I pulled the handles, unscrewed the cap but I am afraid to force the assembly out. It appears to have a notch at the bottom and top of the #15105 housing where the valve unit fits. Should the assembly just pull straight out or is there a tool. My outside shower unit just pulls straight out not sure if this one does because I’m afraid to force it.
If I decide to replace everything with a newer unit can I still use the same housing? Everything is in rough shape.
If you can recommend a replacement and give me advice on getting it out I’d appreciate it.
Unfortunately the picture of the valve you sent was of too poor a quality to be sure of anything. To me it appears as though the #S2493 cap has not been removed yet, if that is the case it should unscrew and come off allowing the stem to pull straight out. The notch that I see in the picture looks like it is for a spanner socket to be used for unscrewing the cap. I for one do not have such a spanner socket in my tool kit and probably would not bother to buy one. I would simply grasp it with a good pair of curved jaw vice grips on the front section of the cap. The reason I say front section is that further back you would run the risk of squeezing it and the threaded portion of the #15106 body into an egg shape ruining it.
Once you manage to get the stem out you will face another obstacle and that is finding the replacement parts you need. As you noted Sears no longer supports this item but that does not mean it’s the end of getting parts. Sears does not make their own faucets, they buy them from other manufacturers and have their brand label on them. Unfortunately many of them were obscure manufacturers such as Milwaukee Faucet, Federal Huber, Universal Rundle, Elkay, and Bradley some of which no longer exist. You may be able to take the stem you pull out and match it to pictures of stems on on-line faucet parts suppliers such as New York Replacement Parts Corp. or, Alfano Plumbing Parts to find what you need.
You indicate that the trim parts are in bad condition and I doubt that you would be able to find any replacement parts for those items. The trim parts are not generic and only trim parts made specifically for your valve would work. In addition many times in a home there are no shut off valves that isolate just the tub so unless you are able to reassemble this valve and turn the water back on you home will be without water until the parts arrive if they ever do.
What I recommend is simply replacing the valve and staying mainstream with your selection to avoid parts procurement problems in the future. Moen Posi-Temp and the Delta R-10000 valves are a couple of excellent choices that are very popular and parts availability are ensured for long into the future. They also offer pressure balancing, which will ensure that your water temperature remains constant even when the water is used elsewhere in the home. Because your valve is relatively small in size you may even be able to install the new valve and have the trim plate of the new valve cover the existing hole. If the new valve’s trim is not able to completely cover the hole in the wall a Smitty Plate or, “Goof Plate” as they are sometimes called can be used. Most of the time I am able to open a wall on the opposite side of the tub wall and replace the valve from the backside without cutting the tile walls surrounding the tub. Many times it turns out bathroom closet is there.
Whether or not you can do the valve replacement I cannot say. I do not know what your plumbing skills are involving the sweating of copper pipe. The valve will be inside the wall and access will be difficult. The valve will have to be set square and plumb at a fairly precise depth so the trim and knobs will install and operate properly. It is not an easy job for the novice DIYer to take on.
I hope this adequately answers your questions,