Bath tub trip lever/ bath tub stopper replacement or adjustnment

Below is a video of a bathtub trip lever or bathtub stopper being removed, adjusted, and installed.

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This is an easy way to update or give your bathroom a new look for not a lot of money or to replace a discolored or non functioning trip lever or bath tub stopper.

First a good idea is to cover the drain with a towel or face cloth to stop parts from entering the drain.

Next remove the two screws either flat or Philips that secure the trip lever face plate to the tub.

With those loose pull the face plate up and away from the tub with the linkage and plunger. You maybe need to jiggle the link around to get it completely out.

Once it is out well take needle nose pliers and remove the cotter pin that holds the face plate to the linkage. They do make replacement face plates in whatever finish you would like and also have linkages. Everything you need to install a new set up if yours is damaged.

Next we will install the new face plate to the linkage using the new cotter pin. Make sure to bend the ends of the cotter pin to secure it in place.

While you have it out it is a good idea to adjust the linkage if your tub drains slowly and the drain is clear it might be because the plunger is too far down so you might want to raise it up. If your tub does not hold water you want to lower the plunger.

Next insert the plunger and linkage back into the overflow drain and jiggle it down until the trip level is flush against the tub wall as before. Keep in mind you want the thicker part of the face plate on the top as the open end is where the water goes into to enter the over flow.

Next install the two screws either flat or Philips and secure the trip level face plate back to the tub. Make sure they are snug as these screws are what pull the gasket on the overflow pipe towards the tub to make the seal.

Next remove the cloth covering the drain and fill the tub with about 2 inches of water to see if the stopper is correctly adjusted. If it does not hold water or drains slowly you will need to take it back out an readjust the plunger in small increments until you have it functioning correctly.

That is it you have replaced or adjusted your tub trip lever or tub stopper.



bath tub trap2








If the plunger is stuck you can use PB blaster and spray that into the over flow hole and let it sit for an hour or so. Then try again to pull out the linkage/ plunger with a pair of needle nose pliers. If it will not come out you will need to remove the trap. If your house is newer like the one in the picture (trap /w a slip joint and a hub) above you can just remove the two nuts that the BLACK ARROWS are pointing towards and then remove the trap. If you have an older house or your trap is a glue up style you will need to take a hacksaw and cut it out. Once you have the trap removed next take a long 3/8 inch extension or long round punch and slide it up into the brass part WHITE ARROWS. Next take a decent size hammer and tap the end of the extension upwards into the brass part. It should pop the stopper loose, you might have to hold the extension up and have someone grab it from inside the bath tub. Once you have it out you will want to clean the corrosion off the barrel or replace it with a new tub linkage/ plunger. Once you have the cleaned/ new linkage installed an all set you can then reinstall the two nuts and the trap or re-glue the trap back into place. If you can’t use the old one will need to buy a new glue in style trap and glue it in. Test it for leaks and adjust the linkage if you need to and you should be good to go.





I saw you video on trip lever repair and it was very good. What do you do if the weight has rusted off and fallen down? How do you get it out?
Thank you for ANY information on this

hello sandy,

that is a very good question. I had one last week that was this way but it was in a dark crawl space so i couldn’t film it. so now if you go back to the post about the stopper i have added to the bottom with what to do if its stuck and if you have broken the linkage.there is a picture with arrows to give you an idea. Next time i am able to film one i will re-do the post. hope this helps. here is the link to the post


My stopper rusted off and I see where you listed removing the trap. Is there any way to fish it out from the overflow or from the drain its self? I have a tub full of water and removing the trap if I can get to it would be a mess.

Also, when try the link listed in your reply to Sandy, isn’t working for me. When I click on it I get an error “You do not have permission to view drafts” message.

Thanks for you help!

Hello Nora,

Can you use a set of long handled needle nose pliers and grab the linkage? Or did the barrel fall of the linkage? If it was working and the stopper is not stuck you could try and take a metal coat hanger and make a tight hook at the end of it and try and hook the barrel and pull it though the overflow. You could pump the water out and then remove the trap or remove the trap and push the barrel up slowly and catch the water in 5gallon buckets. The link was just back to the website for the Updated part at the bottom.

The hardware in my tub is really old. I can pull out the mechanism most of the way, but there is a small brass nub sticking out from the hardware behind the plunger that is blocking it from being removed. There is no corresponding notch in the plunger, so twisting it doesn’t help. How do I remove the plunger without disassembling the entire tub? It doesn’t seem to be corroded and I wiped off the “gunk” on the plunger, but there isn’t enough clearance to raise the plunger more than about an inch.

Hello, If you can take a picture or two that way I can get a better idea of what your describing and what brand overflow you have. I made it so you can now add photos when you post a comment. Hopefully seeing a picture I can help you properly remove it. What was the original problem you were having?

I have an old 1970 house with the tub sandwiched in between two closets. The tub would not drain, so I took off the stopper lever plate following your excellent video. When I tried to pull out the barrel, it came all the way to the top but cannot clear the outlet due to some cement type substance that was apparently put in at the time the tub was installed. I suppose I could take a chisel to get this out, but that is not my real question here. BTW, I also noticed the spring was corroded and broken making replacement mandatory of at least the top section.

My real question is; Why is the tube still not draining when the barrel has been pulled all the way to the top? Is there still something else causing the drain stoppage? Hopefully I won’t have to access the trap as it is totally inaccessible short of blasting the whole tub out, as viewed through a door cut through the sheetrock in the closet on the fixture side.


Hello, Maybe someone added some kind of sealant to seal the overflow because the rubber gasket failed. There could still be something in there such as hair or sludge. Have you tried a strong drain opener or clog remover after removing the stopper? That might just do the trick.

when i try to drain i cant keep the lever down without manually holding it down to drain >.< i took out and put the equipment back in a few times, whats causing the lever to not drain by itself when i try to flip it down?

I installed a new trip lever for the bath tub, however when I flip the lever up, it doesnt stop the water. Any suggestions?

Your video is very informative. I want to try PB Blaster technique because the plunger is stuck in the down position and I can’t budge it. I have WD-40 on hand and will have to order PB Blaster. Will WD-40 work? Thanks

WD-40 could work but since I have started to use the PB blaster I have never went back to using WD-40. It just works that much better for getting things to loosen up. Good luck with getting it free.

Thank you so so much for replying! I do appreciate it. I will upload a photo so you can see. I thought there would be holes for screws after it slid off and I tried to tighten the screws and the plate fell off. I pulled the triple lever out and now I have no idea how to make sure the screws stay.

Ya the screws either were rusted off and the cover glued on or they broke when you tried to turn them. What is on the other side of the wall where the tub controls/ drain is? Or can you get to the bottom side of the tub? like a basement or crawl space? The correct way to repair it would be to replace the top half of the tub over flow and that rubber gasket between it and the tub. So if there’s nothing important on the back side of the tub controls / drain you could cut the sheet rock to make an access panel. Would be the easiest way to replace the top half of the over flow and the rubber gasket.(Most of the time the controls have a closet on the other side) You can also do the repair from underneath as well its just a lot harder. As you will have to reach up and undo the slip nut, lift the overflow out and then bring it back down and out the hole though the plywood/ sub flooring. The problem is just siliconing the cover back on will allow the trip lever to work but will not pull the overflow to the tub to crush the rubber gasket and give you a water tight seal. So if the tub were to be overfilled and the water went into or down the overflow it would surely create a leak.

Thank you! Would you like to repair it, lol? You sure know what you are doing. You are awesome. I will have to get someone like you that knows what the heck they are doing. I do
appreciate all your expertise. Again, thank you for responding, did not know if someone would.
Have a nice evening.

sorry the photos need to be rotated clockwise. The pointy screws that exist are of course in the 3 and 9 0’clock position

It could be that the new screws are a little bit longer then the ones you removed. Match them up to see. Try the old ones and see if you can get them to go all the way. Sometimes the new plate is a bit smaller then the original one and when swapping it out the new screws will hit a 2×4 or backing behind the overflow.

I just watched your video on replacing the overflow cap and drain plug dated Nov. 2012…wish I had found it before I watched seven other videos that were not what I wanted or were TERRIBLE. Anyhew, thanks for posting, such a good vid. It was free of background noise, you spoke clearly and explained each part well. And I am hoping you’re still online and get this message, cuz I need help! Please!
I can’t seem to get the new plug at the end of the linkage to sit all the way in, causing the linkage to partially stick out of the hole. I’m afraid to force it too much because according to many of the vids I watched, it should just sit all the way down drawing the plate flush with the tub wall.
Should I force it? Or should I maybe put a snake down it- could something be blocking it?
Any suggestions or direction you can provide will be greatly appreciated!

Hello, Thanks for the nice comments on our video. If your talking about the barrel stop and getting it to go all the way down. It could be because of build up of corrosion on the barrel itself you can take some sand paper and clean it up. It could also be corrosion on the inside as well not letting it go all the way down. For that I use a metal furnace brush something like and cut the handle end off and then put that end into a cordless drill and then put it down the overflow and turn the drill on and move it up and down to knock off the corrosion. It also could be that you just need to adjust the linkage upward as sometimes the new ones are set to long. Hope That helps or at least points you in the right direction.

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