How to Repair a Leaky Delta Shower Faucet

by Michael on April 26, 2009 · 156 comments

For the past year or so we’ve had a leaky shower head. It hasn’t been a huge problem, as I could usually get the dripping to stop if I turned it off just right. Unfortunately, my wife didn’t have the magic touch, so it was pretty aggravating for her. The good news is that I fixed it.


We actually had a plumber take a look at it one time when he was out to repair something else, but he was totally useless. He opened it up, cleaned a few things off, re-assembled things, and went merrily on his way. Unfortunately, it was still leaking. Today, I decided it was high time to fix it myself. What follows is a rundown of the process, complete with pictures.

As an aside, this was such an easy fix that I can’t believe the plumber didn’t nail it — I’m guessing he either didn’t have the right parts, or couldn’t be bothered to walk out to his truck to get them. Either way, this was a quick and painless repair. I only wish I’d done it sooner.

What you’ll need

Before you get started, you’ll need to have a few things on hand.

  1. Allen wrench. In order to get the handle off the faucet, you’ll need an allen wrench to loosen the set screw. In our case, this required a 3/32 inch allen wrench.
  2. Strap wrench. Depending on how tightly things are assembled, you may need a strap wrench. It’s possible that you’ll be able to get away with your bare hands, but there’s a good chance that you won’t.
  3. Faucet repair kit. The most likely cause of your leaky shower head is that the rubber “seats” (small, cup-like rubber washers that rest on top of a spring inside the faucet assembly) have worn out. These will need to be replaced. You’re looking for the Delta faucet repair kit RP4993, or the generic equivalent. Lowes didn’t have the authentic Delta parts, but they did have some made by Danco that were intended for Delta/Peerless faucet repairs. They actually had multiple versions but, as near as I could tell, the rubber seats were all the same size. The springs do differ, however, so I got a pack that had two different types of springs.
  4. Towel or blanket. The last thing you want to so is chip or crack your shower, so grab a towel or blanket and put it on the floor of the shower. This also protects you from losing any small parts down the drain.

Disassembling the faucet

First things first. Before you start taking things apart, be sure to turn the water off. Unfortunately, we have no way to shut off the water for just the shower. Thus, I had to turn it off for the entire house.

Once the water is turned off, you’re ready to get started. Pictured below is the faucet handle prior to disassembly. Pardon the water stains, they’re a byproduct of the dripping.

delta shower faucet before disassembly

The read arrow points to the set screw in the side of the handle. Use your allen wrench to loosen this screw and remove the handle.

Next, you’ll want to remove the grey plastic disc (if your faucet has one) as well as the silver (metal) sleeve. These two pieces, labeled with red arrows below, should just slide off.

delta shower faucet during disassembly #1

You should now see something similar to what’s pictured below.

delta shower faucet during disassembly #2

Next, you’ll need to remove the brass ring (indicated with the red arrow, above) that is holding the “guts” of the faucet assembly in place. Before you do anything, double-check to be sure the water is off. Once it’s safe to proceed, loosen the brass ring either by hand or using the strap wrench. After you’ve removed the brass ring, you should see something like what’s pictured below.

delta shower faucet during disassembly #3

You can now remove the faucet assembly. It may be kind of stuck in place, so apply even, consistent pressure and ease it out. Even though the water supply has been turned off, you’ll likely have some water draining out of the pipes.

Opening up the faucet assembly

Once you’ve removed the faucet assembly, you should be holding something like what’s picture below in your hands.

delta shower faucet assembly - outside

The parts that you’re after are located on the inside (sandwiched between the blue and white halves). To open the assembly, press in on the blue half and twist. Once it comes apart, you should see something like what’s picture below.

delta shower faucet assembly - inside

The parts that you’re after (the rubber seats) are indicated by the red arrows. You can simply pull them out (along with the springs, if you wish) and replace them. In the picture above, you can also see the faucet repair kit that I purchased — Danco DL-17 for Delta/Peerless faucets. Note the two different spring sizes. The original springs were most similar to the shorter, fatter springs in the repair kit. They were, however, ever so slightly shorter. I decided to use the new springs to give a slightly more snug fit.

Reassembling the faucet

To put everything back together, simply reverse the steps listed above. Put the springs and rubber seats in place, compress the blue and white halves together and twist to re-join them. Next, re-insert the faucet assembly into the brass sleeve and secure in place with the brass ring (I re-tightened with the strap wrench, but I was careful no to overdo it). Now all that’s left is to slip the silver sleeve back over the assembly, put the grey plastic disc back in place, and re-attach the handle.

That’s it. I’m pleased to report that the dripping has stopped.

Assuming that you have everything that you need, the entire repair should take 15 minutes tops, and the parts cost about three dollars. Like I said above, quick and painless — and way cheaper than paying someone to fix it. Totally worth the trouble in my book.


{ 156 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken May 5, 2009 at 7:35 am

Great information. I have been trying to fix such a leak for a friend of mine. Now I know what to do.. You did a great job simplifying the process for those who are not that handy around the house.

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Michael May 5, 2009 at 8:47 am

Ken: Glad to be of service. :)

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robert May 11, 2009 at 12:14 pm

if you’re like half the other delta owners, the set screw won’t come out and it becomes a major job to remove the set screw because of all the crap that falls in the set screw hole. bad design.

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Murphy May 23, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Info was great, and helpful… but the brass ring
holding the ‘guts’ in on mine are frozen.
What a crappy design, the body is not mounted well enough
to take any real torque, and even with an 18″ pipe wrench to hold body in place I still can’t get it loose.
The factory should have used grease on the threads when they assembled/made the damn thing.

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W May 26, 2009 at 10:25 am

Very helpful article that worked out nicely for me. The brass ring was pretty tight but did come off with some hand power and a towel for grip. The faucet assembly took a little wiggling and pulling but alo came off once the water pressure was overcome. Luckily there was no need for a hand strap any other special tools. Thanks for the tips.

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david June 1, 2009 at 7:04 pm

WHAT ABOUT DELTA 17T SERIES BREAKDOWN?????????

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manny June 6, 2009 at 3:25 am

Jammer 6: Awesome instructions and pictures. I was about to blow a gasket and kill my nagging girlfriend about the drip from hell. Job finally done, thanks!!!!

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chris June 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm

I followed all these steps….and it still drips!!!
I am loosing my mind!
Any other suggestions????

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charley June 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH! Just perfect for my situation. Thank you for taking the time to help folks like me. I had been dreading getting into this project, and thanks to you and the PICTURES, I knew exactly what to buy and what to do when I got it. You saved me from having to get a plumber to do this, and it was a really easy fix. No drips!

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Hugh June 30, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Identical problem with one difference. My handle does not had a set screw, it has a screw that runs straight through the top of the handle into the brass shaft in your (outstanding) photos. Everything is back together, but the original screw broke during the process and I need a new one. Any idea where I can get one of these? It looks like it’s about 1 and 1/8 inches.

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Matthew July 1, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I have almost the exact same faucet, but I can’t get my faucet assembly back in after taking it apart. It almost goes back in, but the little rubber stoppers at the end (not the ones pointed to by the red arrows above) are preventing it from sliding in. If I remove those two stoppers, it slides in great. Any suggestions?

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Alfredo July 9, 2009 at 2:33 pm

This was so helpful, my biggest problem was getting the handle out, since the allen type screw was washed out.. so i went and bought a jigsaw and spent like 30 hours trying to get to it.. eventually, i was able to break the whole thing and the handle came out, after that the other challange was getting the brass ring out, i grabbed a hammer, started hitting it, a screwdriver, pulling it up from the sides, eventually it came out and after that everything else was a piece of cake :D now i need a new handle haha

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Wendel July 18, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Awesome instructions. I followed your examples and all went well except I needed a shorter screw for the handle. Thank you so much.

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Daren August 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm

You the MAN! First time I have fixed a shower leaking. Your instructions were to the point and with great pictures to follow. My assembly is 10 years old and was all white, no blue, with some other minor differences. But the pictures and instructions were close enough to get the job done! Thanks for saving me lots of money! Life is Golden now!

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Elli August 10, 2009 at 10:41 am

Wow, I’m so glad I fell into your website. I have TWO leaking showers (both Delta) and a hubby who refuses to do plumbing! While I am very good at replacing the seats and springs on Delta sink faucets, I have never tackled the shower. But it doesn’t look any more difficult (in fact it looks a little easier). I’m going to give it a whirl tonight. The only difference is that mine has a temperature limiter plate on it, but I assume once I take that off, everything else will be the same. THANKS, you are awesome and the pictures are excellent!

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Debbie August 10, 2009 at 11:52 am

Turning which direction to lossen the brass ring?
It is very tight. Our faucet is about 17 year old.
Thanks!

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Lee August 23, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Debbie said: “Turning which direction to lossen the brass ring?
It is very tight. Our faucet is about 17 year old.
Thanks!”

Thanks Deb. thats right, some of us have no knowledge of this and need to know minute details. Like how do I turn this clockwize or counter clockwize?!?!?!?

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Michael August 23, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Hi all: It’s been awhile, but I’m pretty sure that it loosens by turning counter-clockwise. (Left loosy, righty tighty…)

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Patrick August 29, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Nice job. It took me about 25 minutes. Great pics.

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Bill September 7, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Thanks for the useful information. I replaced the rubber seats and springs but it still leaked so I bought a complete new assembly and installed it. It ended up a $40 fix instead of a $4 fix. No leaks yay! Thanks again.

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carl stocker September 8, 2009 at 5:30 pm

i followed all instructions and it’s still leaking,
What now besides a whole new valve.

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Scott Byler November 2, 2009 at 9:35 pm

I read your article after replacing the whole assembly. I got the dripping to stop but do not have the same amount of water pressure through the shower head that I had before making the change. Any idea why that might be? I took it apart and reassembled it twice to make sure I had it assembled correctly and I have the same amount of “less pressure” each time.

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Louis November 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Thanks for the great step by step instructions with pictures.
The only problem, it still drips. Is there another set of rubber seals I can change?

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Andy Y. November 14, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Thanks. Nice job explaining and the pictures are worth an extra thousand words.

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James November 22, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Thanks, much appreciated your how-to on fixing our pesky leak!!!

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Michael November 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Concur with everyone about the quality of your explanation. The fix seems to have worked and cost me $4.00 at Lowes. The most challenging part of the fix for me was the loosening and removal of the screw which holds the handle on (Step 1). That took about 20 minutes and destroyed 3 Allen wrenches. However, once the handle was removed, it took about 10 minutes.

For those of you that still have a leak after completing this procedure, the next step is to replace the entire faucet assembly valve (the blue/white component). The cost of this valve was about $40 at Lowes and Lowes has a “decision tree” book on how to address most Delta repairs with cross reference to part numbers so that you purchase the proper components.

Thanks again!

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Wayne November 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I was able to get the brass nut off but it took some time. My problem now is that I can not get the assembly out. I have tried to use two screw drivers to work back and forth but I can not get it to come. I got frustrated and nervous that I was going to break something and quit, and put it back together. I am not sure what to do.

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Buddy December 5, 2009 at 10:33 am

Great information. I wish I had found it before I took the beauty plate and everything apart. :-) I got it now though. Thanks

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Robert (Tuc az.) December 6, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Great info! That brass ring was tricky for me also. Folks should also note the placement of the scald guard.

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Joey December 12, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Wayne,,
Yeah i had the same problem but after a little work it came out. I just got a flat head screwdriver and stuck in between the white and the brass and twisted it a little while pulling it at the same time. Dont worry it takes a lot of pressure before it breaks out of the seal.

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Miller December 15, 2009 at 5:27 pm

What great instructions. That was an easy job! The brass ring came off easy by hand. I did have problems breaking the seal on the housing…I had to wear leather gloves, and use pliers to pull straight out.

I went to a local plumbing shop in town, and they gave me a copy of the assembly drawing, which helped when I realized I didn’t know which way the seals were supposed to be.

No more complaints from the wife! Thank You

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Patti Neeley December 27, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Thanks so much for the pictures and the detail about how to fix my faucet. Saved me some bucks to not have the plumber come out.

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Roger Lackey December 28, 2009 at 10:00 am

Thank you very much, all of my leaks has the same seat gasket.
I will try to help somebody in some way because you help me.

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Phil January 3, 2010 at 5:36 pm

great explanation and the photos really helped. I had a stuck brass ring nut but used a propane torch to heat it a little which helped break the seal. Definitely counter-clockwise to loosen. Once that was done it took a bit of coaxing to get the housing out but then the rest of the repair went quickly. One thing that confused me a bit at the store was the diagram on the back of the Danco seal & spring package was for a sink faucet. But your photo confirmed it was correct. I appreciate you taking the time for the explanation and photos.

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Andrew January 16, 2010 at 12:33 am

I have a Delta faucet but my problem is that the handle doesn’t turn completely around towards the hot side (it doesn’t get as hot as it used to). I talked to some people about it and they said that there is some sort of clip that prevents it from turning completely. Do you know anything about this or have any tips on how I can fix it?

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Kate January 17, 2010 at 5:43 pm

helpppppppp!!!!!!!!!!!! somebody… :( …I took the white part of the cartridge out but the blue is still inside the valve and I cant get it out…gave up after 3 hours but now I cant get the white part in..looks like the “key” on the cartrige is not engaged whit the slot in the body…OMG…anyone???? I will never complain about leaks, not will I try to fix faucets by myself….

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Patricia January 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Our single handle shower faucet has been leaking for a few months. Knowing that Delta does a lifetime warranty, I phoned them they sent the cartridge to us. My Husband has been working on this for over 7 hours today. Now we’re at a stage that we do not get ANY water from our shower. The water is turned on, all the other faucets work…but we’re unable to understand why no water in our shower. Please help.

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jeff January 27, 2010 at 8:44 pm

cant get brass ring off any suggestions ?? tried strap wrench… tried praying… tried strap wrench again… seems like if i turn it any harder the thing seems like it will turn everything and break…need somebody to answer prayers

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Merryweather February 7, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Jeff, we had the same problem with the brass ring. We used the rubber strap wrench along with some silicone spray to break up the calcium deposits that practically glued it on. After 7 hours and replacing every spring and washer possible and put it all back together……..still leaking. Calling a plumber in the morning. We also thought of just replacing the whole thing with a new faucet set up. Did you know you have to replace EVERYTHING, the brass water connectors and all, just to change your shower faucet. Son of a B I am done with this!

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sfb February 9, 2010 at 12:29 am

This is regards to murphy’s comment about getting the brass ring off the vale. First you don’t want to just turn the brass ring without holding the cartridge body,because it is connected only by those little tubes behind the cartirdge body which supplies the water(they twist easy). Second, brass is soft… So when you put your channel locks on the brass ring don’t squeeze so hard, what you are doing is squeezing so hard that the brass ring won’t turn. For example: a mason jar has a lid similar to the brass ring, right? right. My wife was squeezing the lid so hard trying to get if off,and she could not do it. I told her not to squeeze so hard and it came right off! My name Is Ross and I have been a Plumbing sevice tech for more than 15 years…Hope this helps everybody.
P.S Launching my soon!

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sfb February 9, 2010 at 12:38 am

Jeff: STOP, everything is turning and you will damage the valve. Use channel locks on the brass ring everybody. Don’t squeeze the ring so hard! but you should squeeze hard on the cartridge body with the other set of channel locks. Use 2 pair of channel locks… I have repaired 100′s of these valves.

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Arthur February 9, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Outstanding information. This was the best information I found on the net. I was able to complete the repairs in 10 minutes.

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Rob D February 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Thanks so much for the very detailed/informative guide…extremely helpful – I leak no more :)

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David February 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm

The detailed information was a lifesaver. I was able to step through and repair the problem in less than a half hour. I certainly appreciate the help!

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Rick March 28, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Worked like a charm! Thanks.

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TonyT April 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm

GREAT Documentation with photos!

I just finished up my leaky shower faucet and it took no time at all. However, my solution was not the springs or the seats. For me, replacing the o-rings on the opposite side of the seats and springs is what cured the leaking for me.
Just thought I would mention this if replacing the setas and springs doesn’t work for anyone else.

Many thanks for the detailed instructions.

Thank you !!!

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P.C. Warn (Lansing,IL) April 20, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Thanks for the info. You saved me having to call a plumber. I fixed my shower and my wife’s bath/shower in about 45 minutes. Mine was different in the way I had to disassemble the first part. I got that far before but did not know that the brass ring twisted off. The ring took a little muscle to get off but after that it was like “butter”. Thanks again.

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Ron April 27, 2010 at 7:02 am

I would advise to add one extra step to this process. Once you have everything out and before re-installing, turn the water on for a few seconds to clean out any debris. This may eliminate any problems in the future if there was some build-up or anything else lurking behind. I have come across wood chips caught in screens in several faucets. Sometimes they get in pipes during construction.

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Sharlene April 27, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Our shower has been dripping for a month now and I was dreading calling the plumber and spending all that money, then I found your site and decided to try it myself. Your pictures were excellent and the detailed instructions were so easy to follow. My husband and I completed this in 20 minutes and the leak is gone! Thank you so much for posting!

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Margie May 6, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I thank you for posting this with pictures. I’m a single mother of three teen age boys but none of my boys want to tackle this leaky problem in their bathroom. It drives me nuts. I went to OSH hardware store and talked to someone there to find out what I needed to fix my leaky Fauce. I was given a small Single Handle box which is $2.69. The person said, that is usually needed when the leak start or else I need to buy the whole package which is too expensive for me. I went on line and google leaky faucet but when I add Delta leaky faucet I saw your post. But I guess the Delta Shower Faucet in your sample is older than mine. Mine doesn’t have that blue halves. It’s just the white but I pick in I saw the two hole in the metal part of the pipe. My 15 year old son remind me that I don’t need to remove the pipe. I put a flat screwdriver and I found the OLD Seats and Springs. I replaced both Seats and springs. Put back all the parts. Turn back the water from the main. No more leaky Faucet. thank you….Thank you…thank you… God Bless You!!!!

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