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I had to replace my valve stem on my shower, it was an older style with the 3 knobs (hot, diverter, cold). I have the valve stem out and replaced but trying to re-attach the Flange is for some reason overly difficult.

Now I believe it's due to the buildup of whatever is inside the Flange (image below) because I can't get it to attach to the valve stem even when it's not attached in the wall.

Before I purchase a new Flange, the issue seems to be the "threaded piece" inside the Flange... is there something else I can try to get this to work?

Flange

EDIT
I forgot to post also that my googling seems to show pieces that do not include the "threaded" part...for example this link

https://www.chicagofaucetshoppe.com/90-268-Plumbing-Fixtures-p/ger-0090268.htm

  • The chromed plastic piece is called the "escutcheon" ("flange" is also fine, or "trim ring"). Are you sure that the center, brown-colored part is part of the escutcheon? Or did it come off the faucet assembly that's still in the wall? – whiskeychief May 21 at 10:11
  • Specifically, another supplier states that the escutcheon is tapped with a 5/8" inside diameter and 24 tpi (threads per inch). So you should see screw threads from the view in the picture. Maybe it's my screen, but I cannot see any threads inside the brown piece. Is it possible the threads are in the plastic and the metal piece originally pressed onto the faucet (or was welded/soldered/brazed there)? – whiskeychief May 21 at 10:14
  • @whiskeychief - the center brown colored part (at lest for this setting I have in front of me) seems to be soldered to the flange and the other end is threaded and screws into the valve stem. Works perfectly for the old valve stem (that leaks), but for some reason it will not screw into the new valve stem (and I have verified that it is the correct replacement piece) – user2676140 May 21 at 12:13
  • @whiskeychief - interesting the other supplier you linked to shows that the threaded piece is a separate piece. Maybe it's just due to the age of the fixture I'm working with an it's just that "stuck" together. In your opinion would it be easier to attempt to disconnect the "threaded" piece and thoroughly clean it, or just purchase new. – user2676140 May 21 at 12:15
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    The cheapest next step I can think of is to get a 10-cent nut from the hardware store with the same 5/8-24 threading — and attempt to spin it on. You can also bring the escutcheon to the hardware store and attempt to screw a male bolt into it – you don’t need to buy it. If one or both fit, then it’s probably just a cleaning job with calcium – lime – rust removing solution. If neither fits, it might not be the right part. – whiskeychief May 21 at 12:22
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The chromed plastic piece is called the "escutcheon" ("flange" is also fine, or "trim ring").

According to a supplier's website,[1], the "90268" escutcheon from Gerber is "tapped"* with a 5/8" inside diameter and 24 tpi (threads per inch). So you should see screw threads from the view in the picture.

However, I cannot see any threads inside the brown piece. Is it possible the threads are in the plastic and the metal piece was originally part of the faucet (welded/soldered/brazed there)?

From the photo, it looks like the center, brown-colored part is not part of the escutcheon, but part of the faucet that has come off and become stuck to the plastic, due to all the mineral deposits that have accumulated over time.

Next steps

If the trim ring (and therefore, the faucet) is supposed to have a 5/8-24 thread, then you can check if the threads are in good condition:

  • get a 10-cent nut from the hardware store with the same 5/8-24 threading — and attempt to spin it on the faucet.
  • bring the escutcheon to the hardware store and attempt to screw a 5/8 (male) bolt into the escutcheon -– you don’t need to buy the bolt.

If one or both fit, then it’s probably just a cleaning job with a descaling solution. If neither fits, it might not be the right part.

  • Original poster @user2676140 mentioned that soaking the part in warm, soapy water for 24 hours did not remove the scaling (minerals). The minerals have built up over time (in the presence of soapy water) so this is to be expected.

  • @Eric Simpson noted in the comments that you can use white vinegar -- it's a mild acid, less likely to damage the chrome finish, and inexpensive; it just takes a little longer than a commercial descaling product.

  • If the vinegar doesn't work, you can use a stronger calcium - lime - rust removing solution such as "CLR" which is widely available. [2] or [3] You can dilute the CLR product with water.

⚠️ Caution -- CLR is acidic. It can burn your skin and etch metal. Read label directions for safety.

Then what?

If you are able to separate the metal from the plastic escutcheon again, your next challenge will be to reattach the metal to the faucet.

I would suggest looking at the opposite handle. If you can remove the chromed plastic escutcheon from the other faucet, and the brown metal stays with the faucet in the wall, then take a look at how the brown metal spindle is attached to the faucet.

If you see a way to reattach the brown piece to the faucet (i.e., it is a press fit), then go ahead and do that.

If you determine that the brown metal piece in the photo has become permanently separated (broken off) from the faucet, and there is no way to reattach it, then you have a serious repair job.

  • Maybe a plumber or an advanced amateur can solder or braze it back together, while protecting the tile.
  • If not, and the metal part of the faucet is damaged, you probably need a new faucet.

* The supplier's website says "tapped", but the threads are probably molded into the plastic rather than tapped. That doesn't matter for the purposes of this Q&A.

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