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Just bought a new house where the master tub drain doesn't seal. I pulled the drain out for comparison at a hardware store, to find one of same size and similar style. Online, my wife found the identical drain, and we discovered that the gasket just needed to be flipped back down in order to seal again, so we're hoping to use the same drain and not need to replace it.

I go to put the drain back in again (which is a center drain) and discovered that, being a center drain, there is a lot of flexibility in the under-tub pipe, so that the pipe bend down when I put any weight on it. This is coupled with the fact that the pipe isn't exactly centered on the tub drain hole, so there's a lot of friction between the drain and the tub when I go to push the drain through the tub hole. The sum total of all of this is that when I try screwing the tub drain in, I end up just pushing the drain pipe down so far that I can no longer screw the drain in, but the drain never ends up threaded for me to be able to twist things together. (Hopefully what I'm trying to say makes sense.)

I have access to some of the under-tub stuff through a small opening in a wall positioned close to one of the corners of the tub. However, there's only a couple inches of clearance between the tub and the floor, and I can't get low enough to see if I even have access to the pipe through this hole (to maybe use a yard stick to try to push the pipe up).

How can I get the drain to screw in to the pipe when the pipe is so flexible?

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  • If you can't use a phone camera directly to see, you can get a camera on a wire that will connect to a phone or computer or tv and allow you to see in small spaces. And sometimes you have to cut more access (often from below, for tubs) to fix things correctly. The drain is positioned improperly as it's that far off-center, and that needs to be corrected - might be adjusting a slip joint, might be cutting and coupling pipe, depending how it's assembled.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 17, 2021 at 20:45

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What I've done in the past is to loop a thin wire down under the drain pipe with both ends coming up through the hole in the tub on either side. Use the wire to pull upward on the drain pipe until you get a few turns on the drain cap. Once it's a few turns in pull the wire out and finish sealing the drain.

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  • I am thinking if you can’t get under it, you could get around it with a wire rebar tie. Twist it down snug and use that to hang on to that bottom pipe. Or a catheter with an inflatable balloon on the end could be used to grip the pipe from the inside, if you happen to have one of those around.
    – Willk
    Jul 18, 2021 at 3:24

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