How To Replace a Moen Shower Valve Cartridge

by Josh on February 25, 2009 · 138 comments

in Bathroom,Projects

A little while back, I was experiencing signs of a worn out valve in my main floor tub/shower.  The knob was getting  difficult to turn and soon I started noticing evidence of a small leak that was damaging the ceiling of the basement below the valve.

I opened up as much of the plumbing as I could get to through the access panels and confirmed that the valve, not the pipes were leaking.  It turns out that the Moen shower valve in the main floor bath uses an easily replacable cartridge insert.  In about an hour, including a trip to the neighborhood hardware store for a new cartridge and a new energy efficient water heater (old one was running poorly), my shower valve was repaired and working better than ever.

Here’s how it was done:

Shower faucet before & after

Start by turning off the water supply to the tub.  Pry the decorative cover from the end of the knob with a straight screwdriver, then unscrew the knob and remove it.  With the knob gone, it should now be possible to remove the large trim ring against the wall by pulling a couple more screws.

Exposed shower valve

Using a small pliars, pull out the small retaining clip protruding from a slot in the valve body near where the knob attaches.  (As an aside, check out the weird blue fiberboard on the back side of the wall.  It was soaking up the leaking water like a sponge.  I don’t believe this is a code-compliant building material for a wet area…)

Handle temporarily reattached

Once the clip is removed, reattach the knob and pull straight out until you have removed the valve cartridge.

Old Moen cartridge removed

Then remove the knob from the old cartridge, attach the knob to the new cartridge, and reverse the removal steps to finish the installation.

Moen cartridge old and new

Before reinstalling the trim ring, I replaced the gasket around the edge because the old one was worn out.  Adhesive foam weatherstripping was just the right thing for the job.

Shower faucet trim


Shower faucet before & after

With the new cartridge, the tub and shower valve work like new.  I finished this repair six months ago and I’ve had no evidence of leaks or trouble throughout that time.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Felipe H. January 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm

PS. How to make sure the Hot and Cold are on the correct side.

Easy, just look at the new cartridge, the end gold tip thta faces out toward you will have a grooved line in the metal above the hole opening tip. The groove side up is the proper way to install a Moen cartridge so that Hot is on the Left & Cold is on the Right. You’ll notice the unjderneath oart of the tip has no grooved line on it.


jps January 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm

It took me less than 15 minutes thanks to this article.


Don Schwerin February 9, 2012 at 11:27 am

Thanks a bunch. This was just what I needed. No fuss – no muss.


Cindy February 9, 2012 at 11:42 am

Here’s my problem. We installed a Moen 2 handle tub faucet with a handle in the middle to turn on for the shower about 4 years ago. This is a tub that is not used often and now I can’t get the shower knob to turn. I’ve tried W D 40 now what? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks


Pete C July 17, 2015 at 1:33 pm

I had the same problem. The stop tube had become bent and “the teeth” had been getting caught on the inside of the knob. I simply went and bought a new stop tube at a specialty plumbing place. U S Plumbing & Heating Supply Company in Elk Grove Village, IL and they got me a new one for $5 and works great now.


charles mckenna March 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm

bathroom shower and tub fixture:i am to the point of removing the brass clip. with clip removed the stem will not come out so i bought a puller tool from home depot ,the puller pulled stem was pulled out about 1/16 and is locked ,will not retrack .NOW WHAT DO I DO ? thanks charie


Shelley Miller March 10, 2012 at 9:31 am

That exact thing happened to us and we ended up paying a plumber on a Sat. 400.00 to fix it! What I learned? Check the internet first!


S. Levin April 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm

My Moen controller was for an “old” shower. As in the picture, it had two screw holes side by side on the outer flange, when I went to Home Depot for a replacement, they said I could only get such an “old” flange directly from Moen. They only sold the outer decorative piece with screw holes at opposite angles. Not true. Went to Barton Plumbing Supply. Though the decorative flange was about $20 and the “clear knob” was $20. Barton did not give me the correct clear knob, obviously there are several different styles, so bring your old knob to compare. Moreover, my cartridge did NOT match the one pictured, AND to get the cartridge out I had to remove a clip that was not easy to get out without losing it down the back of the wall. So I tied a piece of wire to it in case it dropped. I got the cartridge replaced at Home Depot, again about $20 and it HAS to go in straight up and down so that the clip not only holds the cartridge in place, but also prevents the cartridge from moving in and out. That was not the “tough” part. Aligning the screws through the new decorative cover through some sort of plastic yellow “template” and finally into the screw holes for the connection to the pipes behind the yellow piece was nearly impossible! I had to get a 5″ screw that was close to the same width of the screws to be used to hold all the parts together, had my wife pull the whole assembly out so I could get the regular sized screw through the other hole and get it started. Then unscrewed the too long screw, put the normal sized screw in, and tightened it evenly, not OVERLY tight! With going back and forth to all the different stores, blew through at least 3 hrs.


al hernandez June 5, 2012 at 10:40 am

my pullout moen faucet doen’t stop on either hot or cold, it does a complete 360, is this normal.


Ed Manner June 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm

GREAT QUESTION………..mind also rotates 360! I was wondering myself and probably trying to ignore the fact that I may have a problem. Actually, I did notice a leak coming from the stem and will look to replacing it soon…. I believe it takes a 1225B (?) valve……I will check at Loews. Bottom line, is it normal for the handle to rotate 360 or is it defective? Thanks and have a wonderful day!


BM August 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm

If it rotates 360 that means you have the wrong knob on there. Mine stopped properly at each end until I put a new knob on it, then it started spinning all the way around. A plumber was over for a different issue and when checking the water supply noticed the issue. He replaced it with the proper knob and all is back to normal.


Paul Solis August 30, 2012 at 10:24 am

When pulling out the defective cartridge, the stem assembly came out separating from the outer part which is still stuck in the valve. So any suggestions on how to remove the remaining cartridge from the valve?


Paul Luczak September 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

…..that happens sometimes, I just drill it out, clean up the chips, lube housing and new cartridge and that’s it, about an hour Cartridge runs about $55 at Home Depot……..unfortunately my lady had the rental with the bad catridge fixed by a local plumber because I was busy elsewhere to the tune of $9oo………..Lou


Marilyn September 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

I’m not getting any hot water in the shower. All other fixtures in house are working properly. Do you think it’s a bad cartridge?


Russ Pope August 9, 2013 at 11:02 pm

replaced cartridge but still no hot water


Carla October 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I can’t get my cartridge out. I got the retaining clip out and put the handle back on but it won’t budge. What am I missing?


Steve Johnson October 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm

There is a gasket on the back side of the trim ring, which should press against something firm (usually the plaster ground) to create
a good seal. My 20 year old shower valve started leaking just recently, and I discovered that no plaster guard had not been installed. Perhaps the accumulation of calcium deposits finally channeled enough water past the gasket to cause the moisture problem under the tub.


bob November 11, 2012 at 12:30 am

One possible reason knob can turn 360 degrees is if you forgot to put the stop tube back on.

Here is a site you can see what the stop looks like.

Website for this image

Moen, Kohler/Bradley Type Shower Faucet …
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360 × 360 (Same size), 27KB
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Ron Gamble January 31, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I had to replace the stem assembly on the valve which you pull out to turn on and push in to turn off. I was able to get the retainer clip out but couln’t pull the assembly out. When I bought the new assembly it comes with a small plastic tool that fits into the assembly so you can rotate the old one to loosen it. I had the old one out in seconds!


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