Shower diverter turns but doesn't divert

Home Improvement Asked on January 5, 2022

I just bought a house with a bathroom that has 3 spouts: bath, shower, and hand-held shower. There’s a diverter knob (circled in red in image) that’s used to control which spout the water goes to.Diverter knob

Well the knob wasn’t working very well – I couldn’t get the bathtub to work at all – so I played with it a bit. I turned it one way and I turned it the other way and I turned the water on and off. And that process seems to have made it worse. Now the water is stuck coming out of the hand-held shower and turning the knob does nothing.

Actually, as I turn the knob it feels like the knob isn’t fully engaging. That same feeling you’d get if it were stripped just enough that you feel the pressure as you turn but then you feel a slight bump as the knob turns around over the nipple it’s attached to. Well both the knob and the stem (is the image below called a stem) and nipple (what the stem actually goes into way inside the wall) looked good to my naked eye but to test I took a knob from another shower and tried it here and had the same effect.

So my question is what do I do now? Is it possible this issue is deep inside the wall? I mean I want to redo this bathroom eventually but I’d rather not right now. Is there any way to fix this?

Is this called the stem2?

Does not look stripped?

Here's the diverter behind the wall/tile

One Answer

Over time calcification builds up on valves affecting their ability to function properly. Sometimes you can repair it by replacing the cartridge or possibly just cleaning it with a de-calcifying agent. Three or four-way valves seem to be more susceptible to this especially if they've been left in one position too long. It's always a good idea to occasionally rotate them through their different functions to keep them operable.
At this point I would replace the cartridge if there is one and if you can remove it. If you can remove it try to clean the inside of the valve body with a de-calc product and a stiff brush to remove any build-up. Be careful of any o-rings that might be there although they should come out with the cartridge.
If this doesn't work you might have to replace the diverter. Hopefully, you can get access through the other side of the shower wall. You wouldn't want to mess up the attractive tile you have. Good luck.

Answered by HoneyDo on January 5, 2022

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