I recently discovered that the overflow drain that is supposed to be connected to the overflow outlet on my bathtub is...well, not. Taking off the cover of the overflow outlet, I see the pipe freestanding and disconnected, a couple of inches away from the hole.

This explains that strange waterfall sound I heard while taking a bath a few months ago, but more importantly I want to fix it now that I know about it. There is no access panel (which, since the whole bathroom was renovated by a big box store right before we bought it, is yet another item on the list of "You've Got To Be Kidding Me").

To complicate matters, the pipe is offset from the tub hole by about an inch. The drain pipe is sitting higher than the hole of the tub. This is probably why they didn't hook it up to begin with.

What I need is to fix this; reattach the drain pipe to the overflow hole in the tub. What I want is to fix this without cutting an access panel or basically any plumbing of any kind. Any ideas?

  • 4
    Can you post a pic?
    – Steven
    Jun 4, 2012 at 22:58
  • 5
    Wait... You want to fix a plumbing problem, without doing any plumbing? If you fix this without gaining access to the plumbing, and without doing any plumbing. The next person to come along will add this to their "You've Got To Be Kidding Me" list.
    – Tester101
    Jun 5, 2012 at 11:50
  • The pipe assemble in a "few inches away"? Wow..... please tell me you're exaggerating? If it's a few inches away then I don't think you have any choice but to open the cavity (unless it's flex-tube)
    – Matthew
    Sep 13, 2012 at 17:36
  • 1
    The only solution to not cutting an access hole or doing any plumbing is to disconnect the drain trip so the tub always drains and thus can only be used as a shower ;)
    – bcworkz
    Sep 15, 2012 at 2:22

3 Answers 3


All you need is a thick wire that can be bent into a U-shape at one end. Place the cover back into the outlet hole, insert the U-shaped wire into the outlet pipe and try to grab the outlet pipe to hold it in place. Lift the outlet pipe and slowly screw the top cover to the outlet. Tighten the top cover to the outlet pipe with a pair of pliers.


Is there any flex in the overflow pipe? You may be able to pull it to the opening, but don't force it. Install a gasket between the tub and the pipe, and re-attach it.

I guarantee you that this will be frustrating and annoying, but it is possible. An extra pair of hands will help.


A series of screws, the first one long enough to reach the tube, each one 1/4 inch shorter than the next, until you get to the correct length screw.

First install a new gasket and then starting with the long screw, screw it down until it bottoms out. On the other side, use the next shorter screw, pulling the tube just a bit closer. Alternate between the left and right sides until snugged.

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