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Delta Shower Cartridge Stuck: DIY Techniques That Work!

Delta offers an innovative shower cartridge that maintains the water at a consistent temperature. When trying to replace the cartridge, it may get stuck. What do you do in this case?

This article will guide you in dislodging your stuck delta cartridge. You’ll learn the reasons why cartridges get stuck and solutions if it doesn’t come out.

Shower Cartridge Stuck

Delta shower cartridge stuck? No need to worry, the problem is not serious. Oftentimes, the cartridge gets stuck because of solidified mineral deposits. Perhaps a little force with pliers may be all you need. There is also a special tool provided by Delta for easier removal.

Why is My Delta Shower Cartridge Stuck?

The shower cartridge is held together by several small parts including O-rings. There is rubber in some of these parts that can accumulate mineral deposits ( The minerals harden and bind to the plastic and rubber components of the cartridge assembly. It acts like glue that sticks to the shower valve’s metal components.

By keeping the O-rings lubricated, you can prevent this from happening. However, this is not guaranteed to always work. You do have a good shot at preventing this issue with regular maintenance.

Usually, cartridges become stuck from years of neglect. The mineral deposits can occur more quickly, however, if you have hard water in your home. A water softener will help demineralize your water, thus preventing mineral deposits.

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How to Remove a Delta Shower Cartridge That is Stuck

To remove the stuck shower cartridge, begin by gathering the following tools:

1. Delta Cartridge Puller (this tool is brand specific)

2. Pliers (must be needle nosed)

3. Phillips Screwdriver

4. Flathead Screwdriver

5. Boxcutter or Construction Knife

6. Adjustable Wrench

7. Allen Wrenches

8. Vinegar

9. Spray Lubricant

Keep in mind that Delta’s cartridge recommendations ( include finding the Rotational Limit Stop (RLS) to serve as guidance.

The Rotational Limit Stop (RLS) is adjusted at the handle limit stop. It can increase or decrease the maximum water temperature.

Here is how you can set the RLS:

1. Allow the water to run while fully mixing the hot and cold water.

2. Rotate the handle counterclockwise until you reach the position of maximum heat.

3. Use a thermometer inside a plastic tumbler. Hold the tumbler in the water stream for an accurate reading.


4. Check if the water temperature reaches above the allowed local plumbing code in your city. It may either be 110º F or 120º F depending on where you live.

If you’re dealing with the 1300/1400 series, remove the handle. For the 1700/1800 series, you will remove the temperature knob.

Then, rotate the RLS counterclockwise for the 1300 or 1400 series model. For the 1700 or 1800 series model, you will rotate clockwise.

Be sure to check that the cold water from the valve flows first. Also, ensure that the water during the hottest flow does not reach a temperature above the allowed maximum.

As always, reach out to a licensed plumber if you feel you don’t have enough experience with this task. A professional can ensure industry safety precautions are practiced. This will ensure the project is completed in the best manner.

Consumer safety is our number one concern. If you do not have experience with plumbing repairs, we recommend that you contact a licensed plumber for tub/shower issues.

Here are the steps you need to follow to remove a cartridge:

Step 1

First, turn off the home’s main water supply. You can test to see if you have indeed shut off the water by keeping a faucet open.

Step 2

Remove the hex bolts of the shower handle. Use an Allen wrench to perform this step.

Step 3

Once you remove the hex bolts, you’ll be ready to pull the shower handle off. You can do this with your bare hands. If it’s too difficult, try using a screwdriver with a flat head. You should just be able to pop the handle off by force.

Step 4

After removing the shower handle, pull off the trim sleeve. You probably won’t need tools to perform this step.

Step 5

Find the bonnet nut that secures the cartridge in its position. You will be able to release the nut with your hand. If the nut is stuck, try using the lubricating spray. Then, use the adjustable wrench to help dislodge it.

Step 6

After you have removed the bonnet nut, you will be able to access the shower cartridge. If your Delta cartridge puller is available, use it to remove the cartridge.

Step 7

If the cartridge still won’t come out, there are other tricks you can try. Attempt to wiggle the cartridge until you can pry it off with a screwdriver that has a flat head.

Step 8

Finally, if your attempts to remove the cartridge have failed, try to dissolve mineral deposits. Soak the whole assembly that houses the cartridge and keeps it in place. Submerge it in a vinegar solution for eight hours.

The vinegar acts as a dissolvent. It eats away the mineral deposits that are making the cartridge stick. After soaking, the cartridge should easily come out with a screwdriver. Remember that you may also remove it by hand or use the Delta cartridge puller.

When Your Removal Attempts Fail

What happens if you tried all the steps above and your Delta shower cartridge is still stuck? If you performed all the steps mentioned above and the cartridge can’t be removed, there’s one more thing you can try.

As a last resort, you can try another method, but it is risky. You can damage the shower valve and cartridge. However, it is an effective method if all else fails.

You may follow these steps:

1. Use a tap that measures 1/2″ to drill threads into the upper portion of the cartridge sleeve.

2. Be sure the drilled threads reach the cartridge sleeve at least half way in.

3. Gather washers, two nuts, and a 1/2″ bolt.

4. Attach the washers and screw the nuts until you reach the center of the bolt.

5. Screw and tighten the bolt to attach it to the cartridge sleeve.

6. The cartridge should pop out after pressure is applied at the bolt and washer.

7. Continue to tighten the bolt until the cartridge can be removed.

In case this method is not successful, there is one final option. This is a harsh technique, so it’s not recommended. However, you may have to consider it as a last-ditch effort.

You may use a saw to cut the valve stem located on the upper portion of the cartridge’s sleeve. Although this method may work, you will have to perform some repairs afterward. It is an unconventional method that causes some damage, but it is effective if all else fails.

Ready to Enjoy Your Shower?

As you can tell, a Delta shower cartridge that is stuck can be dislodged using various methods. My personal favorite is soaking the cartridge assembly in vinegar for 8 hours. By doing this first, I find the other steps much easier.

Sometimes, you’ll need a combination of techniques to get the job done. Regardless of how you get your cartridge unstuck, be sure to keep up with maintenance. A little routine care goes a long way!

Keep your cartridge assembly lubricated to prevent mineral deposits that can make removal tough. Once you have a new cartridge in place, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your shower is working optimally!

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