I'm trying to replace a tub drain, and as far as I can tell the replacement piece is the right size (same diameter and thread spacing, and nearly the same height as seen in pics)

However, whenver I attempt to screw in the new one, it always goes crooked (see third pic). Worse yet, it's now difficult to screw the old one back in, and I fear that my attempts may have affected the threads on the inside of the drain :-(

Does anyone have experience dealing with a similar situation or have any advice on solving it?

EDIT: adding photos of access panel behind tub. Not sure I can get the overflow water tight and the drain threaded in :-( still fiddling with it but it’s seeming impossible to get them both straight :-(

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  • 1
    what is the material of the drain pipe below? Most likely the pipe is crooked, its connected to the overflow and then down below the tub which probably wasn't lined up from the beginning. You might be able to force it flat by continuing to thread it in, and might have an easier time if you loosen the overflow connection first.
    – redlude97
    Nov 5, 2021 at 20:09
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    @redlude97 - Yes - I believe you are right, that loosening or completely removing the overflow faceplate will provide enough wiggle room to thread the drain onto the pipe. OP, before screwing it down, apply plumber putty under the flange. Nov 5, 2021 at 22:01
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    I suggested loosening vs completely removing in case that then throws the overflow off center as well ending up with a similar issue. In this case I'd also use silicone instead of plumbers putty as there will be some tension and flex as the assembly is threaded together that might cause a leak that silicone may seal better
    – redlude97
    Nov 5, 2021 at 22:16
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    You don't want to rely on plumber's putty or silicone here. There should be a thick rubber gasket under the tub. That's what does the job. If anything, putty would help eliminate mildew in the microscopic gap, but that's not terribly important.
    – isherwood
    Nov 5, 2021 at 22:29
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    This is not a task you should approach lightly without having access to the drain shoe under the tub. That might mean cutting a hole in the ceiling below, or it might mean cutting through the wall at the head of tub. If you are incredibly fortunate it might mean opening an access panel in one of those locations put there by someone who understood that you might need to do this, some day. The drain shoe (if on a drain slip joint, as is common) can slip, slide, and twist when not clamped in place by the drain.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 5, 2021 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


Access panel is good. As usual, your call on "I need a plumber now" or "I can tackle this myself."

I [expletive redacted] hate glued in tub drains, as they have to be exactly perfect, and rarely are. This one was evidently quite wrong, and somehow man-handled into place under stress. So, I'd cut the pipe, install a slip joint drain adapter, and fit a drain shoe and overflow with slip joint tailpieces to match. Obviously the overflow is easier to work on than the drain itself, here, but there is access.

Image from todaysdesignhouse.com no endorsement implied

As usual with sliding tailpiece connections, you can cut the inner part to make it shorter if needed. You can also get extensions if needed. Just don't cut it too short, there's typically several inches of sliding play, so leave most of that when trimming.

You could also cut the pipe, insert a glued coupling, and get it lined up properly before the glue sets, and hold it there until the glue sets, if you prefer.

I suppose you could even use a couple of Fernco-style rubber couplings, for that matter. They would allow for the bit of adjustment needed to get things lined up.

You can spend a lot more on brass/copper ones, but I've yet to see a plastic one corrode away until it leaks, so I'm not convinced they are better.

  • 1
    The brass ones generally have nicer covers and sometimes better plug mechanisms so would be the only reason to spend the extra
    – redlude97
    Nov 7, 2021 at 16:31
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    Thanks so much for the thorough answer @ecnerwal! Really helped me understand the situation. We were able to cut the pipe, install a slip joint assembly, and get the drain to fit in nice and snug finally :-D
    – aknodt
    Nov 8, 2021 at 0:23
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    Glad it helped. Here's to no leaks! And another to the nameless hero that left you an access panel!
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 8, 2021 at 0:29

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