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How to fix a bathtub faucet that leaks only when the shower runs?

Our bathtub faucet leaks a steady stream of water. Sometimes this will temporarily slow to a drip if I am a little more firm in tightening the valves or switch the water flow from faucet to shower head but it eventually comes back.

Here are some pictures to illustrate the setup:

Leaky faucet

Leaky faucet

I saw a wonderful response here: How to fix a bathtub faucet that leaks only when the shower runs? It's not quite the same but I can see the similarities. I'm still confused though.

  • Do the symptoms I'm experiencing suggest a faulty valve? If not, how should I troubleshoot?
  • Is it possible to replace the valve with minimal damage to the wall? I'm wary of having to tear down the tile/wall to get access to area.
  • Since this is likely a very old setup (40-50 years old) are there any "gotchas" I need to be careful for? Are parts going to be harder to find? Will I need special tools (in addition to the Shower Valve Socket Wrench)?

marked as duplicate by Tester101, Mike B, ChrisF Mar 30 '12 at 10:32

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  • 1
    What is on the other side of the wall? You may be able to access it from there. You might even get lucky and find an access panel (I've seen this a lot when a closet from another room is on the other side). – Tester101 Mar 23 '12 at 16:48
  • @Tester101 unfortunately there's a bathroom shower on the other side. Thankfully, the plumbing for the other shower doesn't share the same wall. So there's basically just tile in the place I'd need to be. Hope that makes sense. =) – Mike B Mar 23 '12 at 16:56
  • 1
    You should be able to repair the valve without opening up the wall. You'll only have to open the wall if you can't repair the valve, and you have to replace it. Follow the steps in the link you supplied, if that doesn't fix it (or you can't find replacement parts) you'll have to replace the valve. – Tester101 Mar 23 '12 at 17:09