A plumber I hired to replace the cartridge in a dripping Moen shower faucet at home said that he couldn't pull the cartridge out and so will need to replace the entire valve.

The leaking faucet is in a tiled stand up shower, so he will need to access the valve from the other side of the wall to not have to break the tiles, which in turn means this work will entail opening up the drywall and fixing it afterwards. He said he would fix the drywall with an access panel so we can access the valve easily if this happens again. The plumber said he tried different ways to pull the cartridge out but stopped because he was worried that he would break the pipes/valve.

I'm still hesitant to jump into all the extra work he recommends because he didn't seem to use the Moen puller, which makes me question his competence.

Has anyone had or heard of a scenario where the cartridge couldn't be pulled out even with a puller? Is it worth it for me to try to replace the cartridge myself after getting a puller and following Youtube videos, or is a stuck cartridge common enough that I should trust the plumber?

3 Answers 3


Maybe it's me but I would try to pull it myself. Sometimes they're difficult due to corrosion and scale buildup.
Once you have the cartridge puller and with the water supply turned off spray some Limeaway or other decalcifier on the cartridge. Let it sit for a bit then give it a shot. I haven't had to use a Moen puller but I doubt that if used according to instructions it could hurt the valve.

  • Thanks for the tips. I have successfully replaced the cartridge myself with a puller. I almost gave up midway through the process as it was apparently not budging even after tightening the puller a lot, but then I realized upon closer look that it had indeed moved like 1/16". I kept at it though I was terrified that I would break the valve, but it eventually came out. Mar 13, 2020 at 2:18
  • Glad you were successful.
    – HoneyDo
    Mar 13, 2020 at 15:42

Although it was not a shower valve, my kitchen sink cartridge was real difficult to pull. Here is a video by Moen on YouTube on how to remove the shower cartridge you may have. It is very simple once you see how it is done.

The plumber may have not had the cartridge handle turned to the on position. But I would not let that guy touch my shower or anything I have again. To me it is a ploy for more work.

  • Thanks for the tips and encouragement. I have successfully replaced the cartridge myself. See my comment on the accepted answer for more details. Mar 13, 2020 at 2:21

You're better off hiring a new plumber. If he can't remove the cartridge then replacing the valve from the backside will be your best bet.

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