I have a trip lever mechanism on my old tub and want to replace it because the water stop lever is faulty and the tub drains and leaks slowly. I removed the cover plate from the overflow opening and pulled the linkage assembly out, but the connected plunger will not exit. It looks as though the plunger is longer than the opening will allow. In other words, while looking through the overflow drain, the vertical pipe appears to extend about 1/2" higher than the opening, preventing the plunger from being removed. This plunger moves freely and does not appear corroded. I've not seen this issue on any of the how-to videos out there.
Is it possible to remove this plunger so I can snake through the overflow drain to unclog the tub, or will this involve access from behind the tub wall?