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I have a Kohler Flipside handheld showerhead (K-17493), rated at 2.5 gallons per minute. But the actual flow from the showerhead is under 2 gallons per minute. The problem seems to lie with the showerhead itself: when I remove the showerhead and hose from the shower wall and turn on the water, the flow is much stronger.

I've checked for debris, and it doesn't seem to be a problem. (The showerhead is new.)

I would like to remove or adjust the flow restrictor in the showerhead to permit a stronger flow. But the instructions that I've seen online that apply to other showerheads don't seem to apply to this one -- or, at the least, I can't see how those instructions apply to this showerhead.

Here is a picture of the inside of the showerhead: Inside of Kohler Flipside handheld showerhead

Many online instructions suggest that an O-ring be removed. In this case, is the O-ring the yellow disc? It is protected by the metal ring above it; is there any danger to breaking that metal ring so that I can remove the yellow disc?

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I have a Kohler shower head. Different model but the flow restrictor assembly is likely the same. There's actually a series of parts behind the steel retention ring in your photo. The yellow that you see is the top of a cartridge that contains a spring-loaded nylon stopper (white part in the photo) as well as an orange plastic flow restriction disc. Remove the retention ring, remove the yellow cartridge. In mine, there was also a purple part behind the yellow cartridge which is also removable. Once you've taken all the bits out, you should be able to re-connect the hose and try the pressure again.

In my mixing valve, I also discovered two 'service valves' which control water flow into the mixing valve. I found that in my case, the plumber who installed them had them turned to 1/2 and not full. So my shower head and my rain shower both had very low flow. I turned the service valves to full open which gave me the flow I expected from my rain shower head. I then had to put all the flow restriction parts (yellow cartridge) back into my hand shower because the pressure was uncomfortably high.

Hope this helps!

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. Oct 26 '19 at 19:23
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That toothed metal ring is a one-way fit. You could try to remove it by making a small hook and pulling each tooth - but it may still damage the surface.

Also, the parts underneath may not be standard so if you do get that ring out, how will you hold it all together after.

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Can't drill it out. The parts just spin. No need anyway.

I have a Kohler Purist handheld. I removed the toothed ring with a small screwdriver by pulling up the teeth, pulled the restrictor out, put the handheld back on the water line...

Profit!

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know the details of contributing here. Jun 8 '20 at 10:59
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This might help you. Watch this guy remove it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD_-QWTnZr4

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  • Thank you. Yes, that is a helpful video. The showerhead about which I asked is discussed starting at 1:55.
    – user697473
    Oct 21 '20 at 18:49
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Honestly... take a 1/8th drill bit and drill through. If that's not enough then go to 1/4"

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    Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Seems like a great way to trash the shower head; have you tried this? And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. Oct 11 '19 at 18:26

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