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The hot water faucet in my bathroom sink turns in circles instead of stopping at the fully closed/open positions. It gives slight resistance at some points.

This annoying as I can't tell where the shutoff point is and it inevitably ends up dripping.

I haven't delved into plumbing at all so I'm not sure what to do or how bad this is.

  • Per @UNECS suggestion doubling up on the washers worked well enough for me on a 32 year old Kohler 8" spread cold washer stem. The pot was plastic and presumably someone stripped it a fair amount when trying to tighten the faucet hard enough to get around a failed seat washer to stop a drip. Thanks for the idea. Hopefully, it works for a couple months until I replace the original cultured marble vanity and sink. :-) – Trevor Jun 15 at 19:59
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If the tap is working at all, it must be a cartridge type, rather than a washer (screw down) type.

Fix #1 - It is possible that the cap nut (the big nut below the handle that the stem goes through) has risen to allow the handle to spin above the stops (which limits the minimum and maximum positions). If that were the case, you would probably have a leak around the tap handle. If so, you should be able to screw the cap nut down, in which case the handle will re-engage the stops. You may have to giggle the handle as you wind the nut down.

Fix #2 - The next possibility is that the stops that are broken off. If this is the case, you may need a new piece in the faucet that incorporates the stops (if it is separate). The maunfacturer's site may offer replacement parts. I

Fix #3 - If there is not a separate part available, and if the tap is separate (a three hole unit) you may be able to get a replacement of just the broken one from the manufacturer.

Fix #4 - If all else fails,(or if you want a fast and probably cost effective fix), it may be worth getting a whole new faucet set.

Fix #5 - Given that you say you haven't delved into plumbing, unless fix #1 solves the problem, you probably should call a plumber.

  • It could be a washer type tap and the thread on the spindle is stripped or the spindle length is to short for the breaching piece which can be fixed by placing a washer rubber on the stem side of the new washer to pack it down into the breaching piece and press fully against the seat – UNECS Sep 7 '12 at 2:59
  • @UNECS I guess so, but I've never seen a stripped spindle that kept on working. – bib Sep 7 '12 at 3:09
  • It does happen but being a plumber I see a lot of taps lol – UNECS Sep 7 '12 at 7:12
  • It looks like there is a plastic washer that initially failed and caused the faucet to drip. Then it looks like the stops have broken off due to overtightening of the tap. It looks like Fix #2 is in order however I'm beginnning to suspect that the same problem may occur on the cold water tap as well so I may just go get myself a new faucet set. Thanks for your help! – Biff MaGriff Sep 11 '12 at 15:19

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