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ASmith 01-16-2011 08:19 AM

Changing showerhead supply pipe (unsure how to proceed)
I am fairly new to plumbing so bear with me. My problems is I am trying to change/modify my showerhead supply pipe so that I can use a more modern showerhead on it. Currently the pipe that comes from the wall protrudes out about 2-3in. and has a male threaded end on it. I have attached two pictures below. The problem is that the, unless I do some weird Frankenstein action with different connectors, I can't get a normal shower arm or showerhead on the pipe. The shower unit is a one-piece fiberglass deal so getting behind it is not really an option. Lastly the pipe can be pulled out (1-2 inches) and pushed back into the wall (1-2in.) as well, although I am not sure what stresses this places on the other end of the pipe.
My plan is to pull the pipe out as much as I safely can, cut the threaded section off and put on a female threaded fitting. Next, I'd like to have the copper pipe and fitting sit behind the shower wall, like I think most modern showers are. The problem is that hole in the shower that the pipe comes through is so narrow that it wouldn't clear the fitting, so plan is to use a hole saw to cut the fiberglass and to give the pipe about .25 inches of clearance all around it.
My question is...does this even make sense? Is there a better way to do this? Will it even work, does the copper pipe need to be braced or supported behind the shower wall? Should I call a plumber for this, and how much might I expect to pay? Any tips of suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
The supply pipe coming from the wall.
Standard shower extension arm.

kok328 01-16-2011 03:15 PM

I can't clearly see the old pipe but, have you tried to unscrew the old supply pipe?
If it comes out it's just a matter of screwing in the new one. Use some teflon tape around the male threads of the new pipe.

eokhuijzen 01-16-2011 05:19 PM

I agree with kok328.

havasu 01-16-2011 06:30 PM

I sure hope it is not soldered because if it is and you try to twist it off, be prepared to open up the wall!

Redwood 01-16-2011 08:03 PM

That is some interesting plastic pipe hackery...

I left my fix suggestion on one of the other forums you posted it on....

I don't think I'd try to unscrew anything....

joecaption 01-16-2011 09:02 PM

That pipe should not move at all back and forth in the wall. There was suppost to be a piece of wood to nail or screw a dog leg elbow behind the wall. What we do when redoing a bathroom is install the board and dog leg then scew in a 4" long nipple to locate the hole and still be able to slip a piece of sheetrock over it.
What you have there is completly wrong. It's the whole pipe and fitting and it should not move at all. The wall needs to be cut out and redo it right.

joecaption 01-16-2011 09:24 PM

The pipe should never move inside the wall, and that's the wrong pipe to have there in the first place. There should have been a piece of 2 X 4 behind the wall to attach a drop leg elbow to then the new piece you bought can screw right into it.
drop ear elbow - Google Search
Drop legs come many differant ways to be able to connet up to what ever is behind the wall for supply piping.
Your going to have to cut of the sheetrock in a streight line across the ceiling, down the inside corner and across the wall in a straight line way below the hole you have now to make the needed repairs.

dacquery 02-02-2011 07:52 PM

Hey - I have the exact same problem! Who makes the shower arm?
2 Attachment(s)
I have a shower with dual shower heads (each on opposing walls) with the same type of weird plumbing.
This must be a Massachusetts oddity?

The supply pipe sticks out about 3" from the wall with a fitting on the end.
Each pipe is solder in place and in my case they seem to be held firmly in place (that is, it can't be pushed in or pulled out).

The chrome shower "arm" (looks almost like a bathtub faucet) has a female fitting which is recessed by 3". Then a standard shower head attaches to it.

Unfortunately in my case one of the chrome shower arms has a crack in it (the one pictured)... Anyone know who makes this shower arm?

I'd hate to rip apart my wall to change the supply line fitting....

(Note, the closest I found is a Grohe 28535 Movario shower arm but the female fitting isn't recessed by 3" (manual says 1/2" to 11/16") -- this may work in your case (asmith) since you can pull the supply line out a bit. You can cut off the old fitting and put on a new fitting and pushing it all back into place with the fitting sticking out by 1/2". Yea, I know -- a bit hackery.)


joecaption 02-03-2011 06:39 AM

I'm sorry but that looks like a DIY hack job. Cut out the sheetrock install the propper backing for a drop leg elbow and just use the shower arm you bought.
I've been in the repair business for over 39 years and I've never seen such a botched up simple job.

oldognewtrick 02-03-2011 06:44 AM


Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 53751)
I'm sorry but that looks like a DIY hack job. Cut out the sheetrock install the proper backing for a drop leg elbow and just use the shower arm you bought.
I've been in the repair business for over 39 years and I've never seen such a botched up simple job.

Joe, American Ingenuity at its finest.

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