I have a non-standard bathtub drain flange that I'd like to replace (and also clean up the rust) that has a pair of interior nubs. The drain is 1.75 inches in diameter, and the nubs sit about 0.5 inches down from the top of the flange.

Drain flange

I saw two previous questions (one and two) that describe removing a flange with no crossbars/spokes, but can I take advantage of these nubs and use common tools to remove the flange? I'm concerned that the nubs will even disallow the use of an expanding plug.

EDIT: Also, it would be very difficult to remove the drain with channel locks due to how it's seated in the tub.

  • I would just grab a piece of steel flat bar and use it like a big screwdriver, but I have tons of scrap metal to use. There is a universal tool that most plumbing or big box stores have it will lock onto cross bars or nubs in this case.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 21:11
  • Universal tool: amazon.com/Superior-Tool-Wrench-Dumbell-Ratchet/dp/B000AO193S (absolutely not an endorsement of that particular one or amazon) Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 22:40
  • @EdBeal Good idea -- I just don't have the appropriate scrap metal lying around; most everything I have is sheet metal scraps. Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 23:43
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate I actually bought one of those to put in the new drain, which has crossbars. When I tried it on the nubs it barely caught, and I fear that the tool and/or nubs will be damaged if I put any torque into it. Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 23:45
  • 1
    @AloysiusDefenestrate with a generous amount of penetrating oil the tool you suggested did end up working! Bits of the handle broke off where the breaker bar contacted it but eventually it gave. If you provide an answer I'll mark it accepted. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


You CAN use Channellock type pliers, just not the way in the linked picture/answer shows. You use the handles of the pliers, adjusted to the width of the throat of the tub drain, as spanners. Insert the handles into the drain so they are against the nubs, then turn those pliers by putting a pipe wrench, large adjustable wrench, or another set of pliers on the jaws of those pliers (which are pointing up) and turn counter-clockwise.

I have removed numerous tub drains using this method.

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