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Weekend warrior here. Watched some YouTube videos, but my set up looks different and don't want to mess it up.

The handles to my tub faucet use a plastic connection. This got stripped. So I believe I need to replace the valve stem and get a new handle.

In the picture below I've taken apart as much as I could. I don't see how to remove the stem. There is no access behind the wall unless I open something up. Anyone know the best way to proceed?

enter image description here

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've done exactly this, including stripping the valve stem. You can remove it!

Most valves require a special wrench to unscrew. This is a cheap single-purpose tool; you probably won't be able to use an adjustable wrench or general purpose socket. Here's an example.

You'll slip this wrench over the valve stem and onto the valve body, then unscrew using a screwdriver stuck through the other end of the wrench. Make sure you have a snug fit with the correct size; there are two sizes in common use in the US and most valve wrenches have both.

As an alternative, it is possible there's a retaining nut holding in the valve. If this is the case, there would be a small ring just on the inside of the outer valve body. It would have notches to allow you to unscrew it using snap ring pliers (though you might be able to manage with a pair of needle nose pliers held at an angle). If this is the case, you should be able to see and move the locking ring. On the other hand, if you see a hex outline when you shine a flashlight down past the valve stem, you'll need the valve wrench.

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Thanks for the help! I ended being able to remove the stem just by grasping it with a set of adjustable pliers After two turns the entire thing popped right out. Unfortunately I have found that none of my local suppliers carry a replacement. Oh well, at least I learned something. – mrtsherman Sep 23 '13 at 19:54

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