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My house is like 10 years old, and I have one pivot rod already snapped (not the one in picture) and replaced from Amazon (for $10 CAD). I happened to be cleaning another sink and found that this Pivot Rod will inevitably snap sometime in future. I have few questions (hope they make sense).

  1. What is the life expectancy of it normally? (I believe it also depends on flow of water)
  2. Can I use little piece of duct or electrical tape around the rusting part? (Sounds cheap I know)
  3. Why don't they simply make it of plastic, at least the pivoting part?
  4. Can I buy somewhere cheap in US/Canada? ($10+ to me is expensive for this small piece)

Rusting Pivot Rod

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    Is your drain popup made of sharp metal? That's not something I've seen before across many bathroom sinks. Does your home or bathroom have extraordinary vibration? It looks like this was ground away.
    – isherwood
    Oct 12, 2022 at 14:49
  • @isherwood popup is made of simple plastic. I do have laundry room next to it and I do feel vibration across when washer is spinner. Oct 12, 2022 at 15:09
  • Well that's just bizarre. Plastic wouldn't do that, and rust will be spread more.
    – isherwood
    Oct 12, 2022 at 15:10
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    There's a slight chance it's a tough enough plastic and a soft enough metal, but agreed, this is very strange.
    – KMJ
    Oct 12, 2022 at 22:34
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    1) You just found out. 2) No. 3) Even worse (but yes, sort of ) 4) Off-topic. - Anyone with a bunch of points that's never seen this (not even once? I lost count. These fckn things, man) ... probably shouldn't have that many points ;)
    – Mazura
    Oct 14, 2022 at 5:09

6 Answers 6

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This failure is mysterious. I would suspect chemical damage, such as from drain cleaner. If you would like to replace with one that has a plastic rod rather than metal rod within the drain, the Danco 88532 is available with that design. It has a plastic ball molded to an internal plastic portion, with only the external portion of the rod being made of steel.

When you do this replacement, also check the bottom of the trap for damage if it is metal. When those rust out it is no fun. Anything causing this damage seems likely to damage other similar metal parts nearby.

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I've never seen one wear out like that. Might be the condition of the water or the chemicals you use to clean the drains or sink. The drain stopper could be made of metal and rubs hard. Tape won't work because there's lot of force on that piece to pull the drain stopper down tight and then break the seal to open the drain. Plastic would just snap or bend. You're lucky you found a place to buy just that piece so be done with it and fix it right.

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  • We use regular Lysol cleaners to clean sink and stopper bottom part is made up of plastic. Are you suggesting to change pivot rode now or wait for it to snap? Just curious if it would have snapped in future, and goes down drain then is it a big deal? Oct 12, 2022 at 14:05
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    It's metal so if it snapped, it would probably just sit at the bottom of the trap and collect hair. I would get the part now because it might be unavailable in the future. When you change it out would be up to you. Worse case, you leave it be, it snaps, drain stopper drops, you remove it temporarily, something big falls down the drain or a piece of jewelry... now you're removing all the stuff under the sing and removing the trap.
    – JACK
    Oct 12, 2022 at 14:12
  • Lysol is a brand not a chemical compound - what's the actual product you habitually use? Do you use it very frequently?
    – Chris H
    Oct 13, 2022 at 14:25
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Cheap parts can be expensive when they fail.

I've never had one do that, in far more than 10 years.

Good ones are brass or stainless steel, not cheap plated normal steel where the plating fails and the steel under it rusts. Good ones don't rust out. Amazon may not have good ones...they like cheap.

This would appear to be a classic case of someone saying "I can make a part that looks like the right part cheaper" which does not mean it works like the right part.

Edit to add: You might be able to extend the life by rebuilding/coating the in-drain part with epoxy. If you count your time as free, the materials don't cost much. If you value your time, it's not likely to pay off.

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    This isn't just rust. The wear is highly localized and specifically shaped. Even mild steel shouldn't look like that.
    – isherwood
    Oct 12, 2022 at 14:50
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What is the life expectancy of it normally? (I believe it also depends on flow of water)

10 years doesn't sound unreasonable. Your issue seems to be caused by excessive use or poor metal quality.

Can I use little piece of duct or electrical tape around the rusting part? (Sounds cheap I know)

Tape would just introduce more issues like clogging. Regardless, tape is certainly not stronger than the metal that's been worn down.

Why don't they simply make it of plastic, at least the pivoting part?

Lack of strength.

Can I buy somewhere cheap in US/Canada? ($10+ to me is expensive for this small piece)

Correct, it costs roughly $10 for a new one; considerably cheaper than having a plumber do it.

$10 for 10 years sounds terrible to you? Buy 5 and you will thank yourself in 10 years when you avoid paying $25 for a new one.

If you have a welder then you could probably bridge that gap for like $0.56 in material+electricity.

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  • Thanks for the explanation. I didn't want to sound cheap, I was asking specifically that $10+is a real markup for that piece. You are right. I will probably buy few of them and have them handy for future. If you know a better place and price, then you can recommend that too. Oct 12, 2022 at 15:04
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    @programmerboy I see. Shopping recommendations are off-topic. If you find something cheaper than $10 then I would question the quality; you get what you pay for.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Oct 12, 2022 at 15:08
  • @programmerboy A lot of the seeming high price is that it is likely unique and making and stocking ones of items costs money. Perhaps in another ten years we will be able to just 3D print a perfect replacement without having to mass produce and store them.
    – Armand
    Oct 12, 2022 at 18:58
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This has happened/is happening to all the sinks in all the houses I've owned. I've also seen it in other people's houses as well (ie, if I'm asked to assist with a home repair). I live in central Texas, in case that differentiates me from other people answering this question.

The only thing I put down these sink drains is liquid soap and water. They have never had any sort of chemical drain cleaners or anything else.

My suspicion is that the metal in these rods is similar to the type of metal used in shower caddies and dishwasher/draining racks. I believe that there is a chrome plating around a much cheaper, weaker metal. Once the chrome has worn off, the underlying metal is exposed and rusts away quickly. I can sometimes find the chrome flaking off of the rod as well.

I tend to solve this problem by replacing the rod. It is overly expensive, yes, and it just begins the cycle anew.

I have tried some other solutions - but they haven't been installed long enough to really say they've stood the test of time. My current experiment is if I can catch one of these early enough (where there is still substantial rod left) then I fill the missing rod chunk with a binary epoxy putty (ie, Waterweld) and then cover it with heat-shrink tubing.

My overall goal is to reinforce the chrome plating with something that will stand up to the rubbing of the sink stopper, and also resist rust/reaction with soap residue.

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Do you have younger kids using it? They often spit toothpaste and never run enough hot water to flush out the trap - this gunk builds up and rots the metal. If no kids, it likely just isn't flushed enough to remove the gunk and bacteria which becomes acidic. Flush drains some after each use so gunk won't build up. We have 8 identical faucets in our home - the only rods that get destroyed are used by the kids...the others have been no problem.

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  • I never run hot water after brushing my teeth. [citation needed].
    – FreeMan
    Sep 13, 2023 at 17:13

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