I'm trying to clean my sink's pop-up stopper.

I was able to remove the pivot rod nut with no problem. I removed the spring clip and clevis strap from the pivot rod.

But the pivot rod won't budge. When I look at videos, the pivot rod should slide out easily, and mine won't move at all. It unscrews, but after a long time of trying to unscrew it, I gave up. I can still hear it unscrewing but don't know what it's doing and nothing seems to change.

I tried grabbing pliers and yanking on it but it's in there tight.

Any ideas?

Picture of ball joint:

enter image description here

  • 1
    So... the pivot rod port appears to be externally threaded for the pivot rod retainer nut, as is typical. Assuming you removed the nut, there would be no other retention device and the rod should pull out. I bet it's just stuck. Spray it with penetrating oil and let it soak, tap the housing and rod a bit with a hammer. It should pull out. Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 3:38
  • How would I get the oil to go into the join and soak the ball? It seems like it would all just drip down and out. Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 19:50
  • 1
    soak the exposed part of the ball, wriggle the ball around and tap on it to get the oil to penetrate. Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 1:59

3 Answers 3


I wouldn't waste a lot more time with it. You can pick up an entire pop-up assembly kit for less than $30. You can have it repaired in about an hour and have all new parts.

Pop Up Assembly Kit

  • You should post the source links for pictures that you use here.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 9:26
  • The source link is already in the description, "pop-up assembly kit", above. Just click on it and the picture is on that page. Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 12:42
  • I like this idea, except that my pop-up seems to be pretty tightly screwed in to the bottom of the sink. I'll play with it more soon and see if I can get them separated. Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 19:49

The pivot rod comes assembled with a spherical nylon ball compressed around the rod. And there is usually some kind of concave nylon washer which holds the ball in its seat when the nut is tightened. Is it made of nylon or metal? If metal it could be rusted or 'fused' in place. The picture you've provided is dimly lit, so I'm not certain if its rust.

  • This is likely the problem. Any easy solutions? Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 17:13
  • 1
    A few drops of a product like 'Liquid Wrench', or some similar sounding substance. WD-40 may also work. Give it time, let it sink in for a few hours. Give it a few gentle taps to see if it will easily dislodge from the assembly. You may have to take more drastic measures and gently grab it with a pair of small slip joint pliers to convince it to move. Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 17:29

I was in the same situation, a pair of locking vice grips on the stem and a hammer to the vice grips were what got mine unstuck.

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