Removing Handle From Bathroom Faucet

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EricK

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I'm looking for some good advice on removing a handle from a bathroom faucet. Typically, you just need to remove the set screw with an allen wrench and the handle pops off the valve. I've run into a few faucets that have dripped and the water evaporating on the set screw has cause the screw to soften so when I insert the Allen wrench it just strips out the head of the set screw. Does anybody have any good tips on removing a set screw that is damaged from a bathroom faucet handle?
 

oldognewtrick

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Spray the screw with some PB Blaster. If you don't know what that is, it's like liquid wrench. Let it soak overnight and gently try turning the screw tomorrow.
 

EricK

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I've used left hand drill bits.
Yes I thought of that. I had a screw extractor set on me but they didn't fit inside that tiny little hole to access the set screw. I will invest in a set of left hand bits. I bet that will do the trick. Thanks!
 
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EricK

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Spray the screw with some PB Blaster. If you don't know what that is, it's like liquid wrench. Let it soak overnight and gently try turning the screw tomorrow.
Thanks. That's good advice for a stuck screw. I love PB Blaster, always have it on me. In this case, and whenever I come across a faucet handle that has leaked, the set screw has actually gotten a little soft/corroded. So when I place the Allen wrench into the set screw and turn, the head of the screw rounds off and there's nothing for the wrench to grab onto. It's very frustrating and I'm looking for a good solution so I don't have to replace the entire faucet just because I can't get to the leaky valve. In the past I've actually taken a drill bit and drilled through the set screw but then I find I can't put a new set screw in place and the handle won't stay on the valve.
 

Snoonyb

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They act like an easy-out, just don't use with a drill motor.
 

Johnboy555

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I've been in the same day position before, and have used a Torx bit. Use the PB blaster first, as Eric said. Find the closest size and gently tap it into the setscrew. The "fins" of the torx bit will cut into the setscrew and usually provide enough grip to back it out. This has saved me many times.
 

EricK

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I've been in the same day position before, and have used a Torx bit. Use the PB blaster first, as Eric said. Find the closest size and gently tap it into the setscrew. The "fins" of the torx bit will cut into the setscrew and usually provide enough grip to back it out. This has saved me many times.
I like this! Thanks for the advice. I'll be back at my customer's house in a couple of weeks. I'll try this idea first and then if it doesn't work I'll do a left hand drill bit
 

billshack

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when i had this problem, i would cut off the handle with a hack saw . then replace the handle and cartridge . a picture of the faucet would give me a better idea .
 

EricK

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when i had this problem, i would cut off the handle with a hack saw . then replace the handle and cartridge . a picture of the faucet would give me a better idea .
It would give me great pleasure to cut off that handle! However, I would not be able to easily find a matching handle. Plus, there's a second matching faucet in the same bathroom. So everything should look the same when I'm done. I'll be back at my customer's house in a week or so to do a few other things. I'm going to try the torx bit and the left-handed drill bits. This is got to be a common problem with an easy solution. I'm confident one of those two will work
 

EricK

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It took a while to get back to my customers house because they postponed the appointment. I want to thank Johnboy555 for your recommendation of using a torx bit. It was genius! Worked perfectly on two set screws for two different handles. Got the job done rather quickly and saved the customer a lot of money by not having to install a new faucet plus a second one to match it
 

EricK

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This is an old post but another shout out to JohnBoy555! had a customer contact me because they could not for the life of them remove the handle from their shower while trying to replace the cartridge. The set screw was stripped deep inside the handle. I grabbed a torx bit tapped it in with a hammer and then turned that thing right out! Made a quick buck thanks to some great advice. Probably my favorite piece of advice I've learned since starting my handyman business.
 

Flyover

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Spray the screw with some PB Blaster. If you don't know what that is, it's like liquid wrench. Let it soak overnight and gently try turning the screw tomorrow.
Would this also work for removing a washing machine hose from a pipe where the connection is completely rusted/corroded/limed over and won't budge?
 

EricK

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Flyover That is frustrating! Try this. The PB blaster is great stuff. Really soak the area that is stuck. Then try to tighten the connection. I have found that a connection breaks a little more easily when tightening it. Once you can get it to move then you can start backing it off. This approach has worked for me several times
 

Bob Reynolds

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Would this also work for removing a washing machine hose from a pipe where the connection is completely rusted/corroded/limed over and won't budge?
It might. But Channel Locks will usually get that hose off. Be sure to replace the hose with a new one. Most folks are using the stainless steel hoses these days.

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Flyover

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@Bob Reynolds I tried channel locks. And channel locks + hammer. It just started knocking the pipe loose from the wall and not loosening the connection so I had to stop.
 

EricK

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You can try heating the area with a propane torch. The heat will expand the metal and break the bond. Once it cools off try the method I mentioned above
 

Bob Reynolds

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@Bob Reynolds I tried channel locks. And channel locks + hammer. It just started knocking the pipe loose from the wall and not loosening the connection so I had to stop.
I had one of those last year on a 40 year old home. Ended up have to cut off and replace the valves because they were so corroded. Make sure you turn of the water before applying pressure on stuck washer hoses.
 
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