I am trying to remove a stuck shower fixture -- photo below. This fixture has two handles (bottom for temperature, top for shower/wand selector).

I was able to remove the bottom handle using strategies I described here, but that hasn't worked for the top handle yet. I'm confident I have the set screw loosened enough for the top handle, but it's still not budging.

I'm assuming there are mineral deposits in the top handle where the cartridge meets the handle (like there were for the bottom handle), but I haven't found a good way to get vinegar squirted inside there yet. Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated...

photo of stuck shower fixture

  • Have you tried something like a 3-jaw puller?
    – Huesmann
    Aug 6 at 16:36
  • I haven't, but I'm not sure how I'd use one for my situation. Based on videos I've looked at, I think I'd need something in the center of the handle to push against, and I don't have that here. Unless I drilled a hole in the handle to push against the cartridge, which I suppose could be an option of last resort.
    – Andrew
    Aug 6 at 17:37
  • 1
    No, a puller with a slide hammer. Something like this: amazon.com/OTC-Reversible-Slide-Hammer-Puller/dp/B000O809QI If you don't want to buy, you can borrow tools from AutoZone (you pay for the tool, then get your money back when you return it). Also, did you remove the set screw entirely?
    – Huesmann
    Aug 7 at 12:11
  • Ahh, brilliant, thank you for the explanation on a slide hammer, and for the pointer to the autozone Loan-A-Tool program. Yes, that looks like the next thing to try!
    – Andrew
    Aug 7 at 19:55
  • I'm guessing I need to be somewhat cautious with how much force I'm using so I don't damage the connections behind the wall, right? Tried at 5-10% effort with a 5 lb slide hammer -- several solid knocks -- but no luck. Set screw was removed entirely. Further ideas welcome...
    – Andrew
    Aug 16 at 5:14

1 Answer 1


Try spraying with a can of CRC-556 or WD-40. Leave for a few hours, try tightening it teh smallest amount, before trying to remove it.

Then repeat a few times. The aerosol can will deliver the liquid deep inside.

If you do want to use vinegar then put it in a squeeze bottle of any sort, with a small nozzle. Even a small plastic coke bottle with a hole in the cap will do. Just aim and squeeze the bottle.

  • I definitely tried the spray bottle with no luck (yet). I even tried to use a piece of vinyl tubing to aim the spray, but the set screw hole is so small I'm not sure how deep it's going. I hadn't tried WD-40 -- will give that a try next...
    – Andrew
    Aug 6 at 17:41

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