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My dishwasher started leaking over the weekend. I turned off the water at the shutoff in the basement, it's a standard faucet type in the copper piping.

I then replaced the rubber heater hose used to feed water to the dishwasher, which had sprung the leak.

Trying to turn the water back on, I realized that the valve isn't opening. It turns repeated, and I've turned it many many times, but no water is flowing.

Is it possible that while turning off the water I stripped the thread, broke a washer, etc, stopping it from opening?

How can I fix this? Is it like a normal faucet that I can turn off the water to it, remove the packing nut, and replace the valve or whatever has broken underneath?

The valve itself looks something like: http://i.ehow.com/images/a06/6q/tm/plumbing-water-stop-valve-installation-200X200.jpg http://www.brass-plumbing.com/productsimages/brassneedlevalve_95381.jpg

Looking at those, what I'm wondering is if I can just remove the handle (which is broken anyway, I got a little rough), remove the packing not, emptying out the body, and replacing the contents with the header, nut, etc from a new valve. So I don't have to unsolder, the whole thing.

Also, valve and shutoff are new tag, so I can't create them, but would probably be relevant.

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can you post a picture of the valve? or a link to a picture of a similar valve? – longneck Aug 10 '10 at 14:10
Done - edited and added links. – Alex Aug 10 '10 at 14:44
up vote 8 down vote accepted

From the way you describe it, it sounds like it's a regular gate valve. You might be able to repair it as you describe by removing the packing nut and replacing whatever is broken or stripped out inside.

The only exception to that would be a ball type valve, but those will just have a handle that makes only a 1/4 turn. Those generally aren't repairable, but then again they almost never fail either.

Personally, I would just remove and replace the gate valve with a good ball valve. Gate valves have a tendency to rot out or seize up from lack of use. I actually had one once that disintegrated in my hand when I tried to turn it off (spraying water everywhere and making a nice mess). Ball valves are just much more reliable.

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it might also be that the handle is turning but the shaft isn't. if it has a screw, you can try tightening it. or use a pair of vice grips on the shaft and turn it that way. be prepared that if the valve fails, you know how to turn off the water to the house. ideally, you should replace with a ball valve. – longneck Aug 10 '10 at 20:39

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