I had a dripping faucet, so thought to replace the O-ring in it. I removed the stem very easily. And changed the O-ring to one looking similar. I install the stem back and tried turning on the water.

The problem now is that faucet handles are so tight that I cannot turn them and I cannot even remove the stem now. Everything seems to stuck, no matter how much pressure I apply to remove the stem. I have attached a photo for reference.

Any idea what is the problem.

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  • 1
    Can you please explain further about what you have done? Did you remove the entire valve assembly (the "stem" is just the chrome thing sticking out, that the handles attach to). Did you turn off the water supply to do it? When you say "o-ring" what exactly are you talking about (these valves typically do not have any "o-rings", they have bibb washers and packing washers). Mar 17, 2021 at 0:29
  • @JimmyFix-it , I removed the whole assembly. It had a black washer at the end, please have a look at the photograph. Yes, I turned the water off before doing anything.
    – NIT_GUP
    Mar 17, 2021 at 3:06
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    I know it’s a bit late now, but open the faucet before screwing everything together. Mar 17, 2021 at 5:32

1 Answer 1


There are a couple common reasons why the valve(s) might be locked up:

  1. You reinstalled the valve in a position other than wide open. If the valve stem is in the closed or partially closed position (see pic below of valve that is not in the fully open position) when installed, the stem could strike the seat before the valve-body is fully tightened. This could destroy the new washer you replaced, could bend or otherwise damage the stem, could damage the seat that the washer seals against, and could destroy the worm threads on the stem and/or inside of the valve body that drive the stem in and out when you turn the handles. SOLUTION: remove the entire valve again and inspect for damage and proper operation prior to reinstalling with the stem in the fully retracted/wide open position.

enter image description here

  1. You inadvertantly tightened the packing nut during your repair efforts. The packing nut is the smaller brass nut just outward from the valve body where the stem protrudes from, you can see it plainly in your first picture. Over-tightening the packing nut can make the stem difficult to turn (but undertightening it will cause a packing leak).
  • Thank you for the response. I understand the problem. I did not check if the value is in a fully open position before tightening. As you mentioned that remove the entire valve and check for damage. I shall I remove the stem again? The stem is so tight to remove from the faucet body and so it handles. Is there a way out of this situation? Thank you
    – NIT_GUP
    Mar 17, 2021 at 14:12
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    The stem is the shiny silver thingy. You need to remove the whole valve (like in the picture you posted; using a socket). With the valve out, use the handle to test drive the stem in and out to make sure it works properly, and look for signs of damage. If all looks ok, replace the valve using the socket, but make sure the stem is retracted to the open position this time. Mar 17, 2021 at 22:15
  • Thank you so much again. I tried what you said, I could not get the valve out with any amount of force and could not even move the stem to open or close the valve. Is there any solution to not able to remove the valve out?
    – NIT_GUP
    Mar 17, 2021 at 22:49
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    If you are using a socket such as the one in your picture, you may need to put a large wrench on it, rather than just that little drive bar pictured. be careful, any lateral force (as opposed to strictly rotational force) can break things. It may be that you are at a point where breaking things is going to happen whether you like it or not. Start thinking about how you would change out the entire valve unit in the wall... Mar 18, 2021 at 4:55

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