This step-by-step tutorial shows how to replace a bathroom sink pop-up drain. The sink pop-up stopper wouldn’t raise when the lift handle was moved, preventing water from draining. Something in the pop-up mechanism was broken.
Sink Drain Repair – Broken Pop-Up Stopper
I used the tip of my pocket knife to lift the edge of the pop-up stopper and grab it with my fingers and pull it out of the drain. I shouldn’t be able to simple pull out the stopper unless something was broken. The plastic loop at the bottom of the stopper was OK, so it must be a problem with the pivot rod that engages the pop-up stopper.
The next photo is the view of the sink bottom and pop-up drain inside the vanity cabinet. The lift handle on the faucet is connected to the extension bar which moves the pivot rod (also called a “ball rod”) to actuate the pop-up stopper. I suspect there’s a problem with the pivot rod.
The metal spring clamp is pinched to slip it off the end of the pivot rod and disconnect it from the extension bar:
The pivot nut is unscrewed to remove it from the sink drain. Found the problem: The end of the pivot rod rusted off where it engages the pop-up stopper.
I took apart the sink drain P-trap and found the end of the pivot rod in the bottom of the J-bend. The chrome finish wore off the rod where it engages the pop-up stopper, ultimately rusting in two after 11 years of service:
Pop-Up Drain Repair Parts
I took the rusted pivot rod and nut to Home Depot to buy a replacement part.
- Home Depot had replacement part for the pivot rod with the ball & nut for couple of dollars, but it wouldn’t fit my drain.
- My next option was the Danco Universal Fit Ball Rod Assembly #88532 for about $7. This would work, but I preferred an original single piece part.
- For only $7.29 I could buy a new Dearborn Brass 1-1/4″ Pop-Up Drain, model #H756-1, made of plastic with a chrome finish. I liked getting a whole new drain for less money than just the ball rod assembly.
- I had minor reservations about the durability of an all-plastic drain, so I also bought the chrome plated brass Dearborn Brass 1-1/4″ Pop-Up Drain, model H759-1 for $16.98.
Update: I found the plastic drain to be unreliable and prone to leaking. I believe the plastic drain flange warps when tightened. Best to use the more expensive and sturdier metal brass drain.
The two Dearborn Brass Pop-Up Drains are shown here:
The H759-1 chrome plated brass drain is heavy with a brass lock nut compared to the lightweight economy H756-1 plastic pop-up drain with a plastic lock nut. Since the drain plumbing in the house is all PVC plastic, I thought I’d try a plastic pop-up drain. I kept both the brass and plastic drains – just in case I have a problem with the plastic drain.
The Dearborn Brass 1-1/4″ pop-up drain assembly is illustrated in this next photo. I’ll keep the old Lift Rod, Clevis and Extension Rod because there’s nothing wrong with these parts and replace only the Pop-Up Drain, Pivot Rod and Spring Clip.
How to Replace a Pop-Up Drain
To take out the old pop-up drain, I first removed the slip nut and slip washer that connected the drain tail piece to the J-Bend on the P-Trap by sliding these off the of the tail piece. Put these aside as they will be reused.
The old drain has a plastic tail piece that is screwed on the metal drain body. The threads are sealed with pipe joint compound to prevent leaks. Unscrew the tail piece by hand.
The large brass lock nut is unscrewed with a 12-inch adjustable wrench. You can also use a pair of Channellocks (adjustable pliers) if you don’t have a large enough wrench.
Once the brass lock nut is loose it’s faster to spin it off the drain body by hand. I needed the wrench again to work the nut past the pipe joint compound on the pipe threads:
The old pop-up sink drain body is pushed up and into the sink after the brass lock nut is off. No need to remove the sink flange. Lot’s of Plumber’s Putty in the sink drain hole to clean up:
This project is continued in How to Replace a Pop-Up Sink Drain – Part 2.
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