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I'm trying to replace the valve stem of a 2-handle bathroom sink faucet. All the instructions I've found online say to unscrew the nut atop the valve stem.

But my nut, when it turns, also turns the entire assembly. I assume the stem has gotten stuck to its housing.

UPDATE: I ended up removing the entire valve assembly. Then I wire-brushed off lots of gunk to get a closer look at the parts. But I still can't remove the valve stem from the rest of the assembly. I'm starting to wonder whether it's supposed to be removable.

I don’t know the model number because the faucets were installed long before we moved into the house, but the markings on the outside of the valve assembly say this: "GROHE A 98 01 R 90". A Google search yielded nothing useful about replacement parts or service info, nor did Grohe's website.

Question for anyone with experience with Grohe faucets-- are the valve stems removable? Know any tricks for unsticking a stuck stem?

I attached a new picture.

enter image description here

Here's the old picture from before I removed the valve assembly from the sink:

enter image description here

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Take a pair of vice-grips and grab the bottom threads (not too tightly so that you damage them, just enough to hold them) and with another wrench, try to remove the valve. – Steven Jun 9 '12 at 23:01
I'd worry about damaging the threads. Perhaps you can clamp on to something below? You may need to remove the entire thing or this may be a 2 person job. – BMitch Jun 10 '12 at 0:01
What is the make and model? could you link to some of the instructions you've already found? – Tester101 Jun 11 '12 at 11:28
@Tester101 - Make is Grohe (assuming based on markings on the valve assembly) but don't know model number. Haven't been able to find any instructions online. I updated my question with more info and a new picture. – Justin Grant Jun 11 '12 at 16:27
I did remove the clip but that didn't do anything helpful. I ended taking it to a plumbing supply shop and they clamped it and were able to finally loosen it with a monster-size crescent wrench with massive torque. – Justin Grant Jun 12 '12 at 19:14
up vote 3 down vote accepted

As Steven says, hit it with some penetrating oil first (WD-40 should work for this). Give it some gentle whacks against a piece of scrap wood in all directions to help break any bonds. Then clamp on to the bottom square part and try to torque the nut on top with a socket. If you still can't get it, you may find it easier to replace the entire thing.

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Yep, clamping it was the key-- otherwise I couldn't get enough torque to get the nut to budge. – Justin Grant Jun 12 '12 at 19:15

Screw on a pipe coupling and a 2 foot pipe nipple to the side outlet. Put the top hex nut in a vise. Use the pipe nipple and unscrew the valve body and valve stem.

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I just encountered exactly this problem myself! I tried using PB (rather than WD-40), but that didn't help. What I ended up doing was inserting a thick allen wrench (any sturdy metal bar will do) into the hole on the side and using that as leverage against the wrench. With the additional force that I was able to apply, I was able to get that cartridge/stem part unscrewed.

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