I have a faucet from an old house (Over 20 Years Old) and am having issues with the sink leaking. This isn't a problem because I'm familiar with how to fix it (Replace Rubber Washer) and have diagnosed (By turning the water valves at the bottom of the sink) that the leak only happens when the hot water valve is open, and doesn't when the cold water valve is open.

Everything was going great until a couldn't get the nut for the stem off. It requires a lot of force, and makes the entire faucet assembly shift in response to the required force. I figured that I should find out if I'm doing anything wrong first before going full primate on it. The faucet (Minus the handle and underside of the sink are posted below.)

Top Bottom

On the underside of the sink, there appear to be threads and that white thing there. Should I loosen them first?

  • maybe you have left-handed thread
    – jsotola
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 20:53
  • @jsotola That's an interesting hypothesis. It doesn't appear to want to move in either directions though. Commented May 14, 2018 at 21:07
  • Why haven't you removed that metal clip? Commented May 15, 2018 at 2:23
  • @A.I.Breveleri I did, the picture has not been updated. Commented May 15, 2018 at 16:31

2 Answers 2


As I look at the pics, it appears s if there is pitting and corrosion. Maybe it is time for a new faucet. To use the current one, I would saturate it with a corrosion cutter, repeat about every 30 minutes. There is a clip in the top picture that needs to be removed. A screwdriver will generally remove it. This will allow the stem to be removed. I would soak the nut again, and use an adjustable wrench, an open end wrench or a box wrench. Then go primate on it. I suspect once it gives you will be on your butt wishing you only went half primate. Good luck, hope this helps. I bought a plastic faucet at Lowe's 20 years ago for less than $10 for an apartment that I owned. It still works, never have had a repair done to it!

  • Yeah, I tried getting the but to turn again, and again it wouldn't budge, this time, the crescent wrench started actually stripping off the steel corners, trying to make the shape more circular. Unfortunately, sockets don't fit on it either. How do you think I should proceed? Commented May 14, 2018 at 23:05
  • It's hard to tell from the picture, but the usual tool is something called a stem wrench. It boils down to a set of deep sockets and handle carried by plumbers. It might be worth a google. Commented May 15, 2018 at 1:48
  • @MatthewGauthier I obtained the stem wrenches (Or sockets) (This Item Basically: homedepot.com/p/HDX-Shower-Valve-Wrench-Set-UWP0001J/204284870 ), and the smallest socket almost fits, but is slightly off. I'm going to try removing the faucet tomorrow and see if I can get a better grip on it. Commented May 16, 2018 at 4:21

The copper underneath connects the supply lines to the faucet. The white plastic rings fasten the faucet to the sink. As a last resort removing both and disconnecting the drain linkage will allow you to remove the faucet and beat on it in a more convenient location.

If you have an extra set of hands available have your apprentice lie under the sink and firmly hold the brass threads to prevent the faucet from moving around while you work on it. Just be careful not to bang the threads up too much, if you need to use a wrench or pliers wrap a bit of cloth or something around the brass.

A budget set of stem wrenches may very well simplify things. One bonus is that they actually run in the oddball sizes found in faucets, which normally forces people into adjustable wrenches. If you find one that fits you can combine it with removing the faucet for more leverage but holding the wrench in a vice or on a bench and rotating the fixture.

If that doesn't work and there are no plastic portions then removing the faucet and judicious application of a propane torch may be fruitful. It will ruin the washer, so you'll need to do some cleaning once you get the valve open. Definitely the last thing to try though, since if things go wrong and you can't get it apart you'll be replacing the faucet. Removing the faucet is highly recommended so you don't damage anything else with the torch.


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