I've had a shower that drains extremely slowly. I added an air admittance vent. After doing so, apparently I was too rough on the connections b/c the shower started leaking like crazy the next day. Luckily the floor in the bathroom was already ripped out b/c of the toilet leaking 2 weeks previous! Behind the shower,the water was evident at the top of the elbow. It did not leak from the work I did the previous day. Apparently it's been leaking just slightly for a while (as you can see all the rust on the concrete below) and I aggravated it just enough to open the flood gates.

Now I've gotten new ABS pieces to replace the old ABS and that old iron(?) elbow. However, I can't get the elbow off AT ALL. I've been using an extremely large set of channel-locks and WD-40 Rust-Release Penetrant but no-go. Additionally, the brass(?) drain assembly it's all connected to shifts as I attempt to twist the elbow off.

It also doesn't even look like I've got enough clearance to get an ABS elbow in there in the first place. Is there going to be a way to do this without taking the entire tub out?

Shower drain from behind

EDIT: With the old work still on:

Before the work I did

1 Answer 1


Yes there is a way to do this with out removing the tub. You will need to be very careful doing it though as you could end up doing more work if you do not use care.

Get yourself a 3 inch cutoff wheel and cut a slot on the outside of the elbow perpendicular to the threads, take care not to cut all the way to the threads - you only want to get CLOSE - like a 1/16th or 1/8th away from the threads of the inner pipe. You will need to do this in at least 2 places but given that elbow (thanks for posting a picture) - most likely 4 places. Once you do that you can use a pry bar or screw driver to push the lip of the elbow away from the threads - this will break it free enough to allow you to remove the elbow. Kind of like peeling back an onion ...

Remember when you are close to those going through the elbow to the threads - STOP. That way you do not harm the threads on the other pipe. A small nick will not be a problem but cutting those threads might create a leakage issue.

  • 1
    I realized that replacing the entire assembly is actually fairly trivial (and only $27). I'm accepting b/c you did answer the question. However, I decided it made more sense to skip it and just remove the elbow. Thanks!
    – McAden
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 4:18
  • @McAden Sometimes we get surprised by the price for complete replacement and it is actually faster and cheaper than trying to piece meal - I have been down that road once trying to fix something later after I had spent my time fixing - found out that I could have just replaced the whole thing for less money. (an Aaaargh moment..) :-)
    – Ken
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 18:06

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