How to Remove a Stuck Moen Faucet Cartridge Fast!

stuck-moen cartridge

To remove a stuck Moen faucet cartridge quickly, follow these steps:

  1. Gather Tools and Materials:
    • Replacement Moen cartridge.
    • Adjustable wrench or pliers.
    • Penetrating oil (such as WD-40).
    • Screwdriver.
    • Rag or cloth.
  2. Turn Off the Water Supply:
    • Locate and turn off the main water supply valve to the faucet.
  3. Access the Cartridge:
    • Remove the faucet handle by finding and taking out the screw securing it.
    • If there’s a trim plate, unscrew it to access the cartridge.
  4. Attempt to Remove the Cartridge:
    • Use an adjustable wrench or pliers to grip the cartridge stem.
    • Try turning the cartridge counterclockwise to loosen it and remove it from the faucet body.
  5. Use Penetrating Oil:
    • If the cartridge is stuck, apply penetrating oil around the base and threads of the cartridge. Allow it to sit for at least 15-30 minutes to help loosen any corrosion or buildup.
  6. Try Again to Remove the Cartridge:
    • After letting the penetrating oil work, use your wrench or pliers to grip the cartridge stem.
    • Gently but firmly turn the cartridge counterclockwise to attempt removal.
  7. Apply Pressure Gradually:
    • If the cartridge remains stuck, use a screwdriver or a piece of wood as a lever to provide additional leverage while turning the cartridge. Be cautious not to apply excessive force, as it may damage the faucet or cartridge.
  8. Continuously Turn and Rock:
    • Apply consistent, steady pressure while gently rocking the cartridge back and forth as you turn it. This can help break the bond between the cartridge and the faucet body.
  9. Remove the Cartridge:
    • Once the cartridge begins to move, continue turning until you can completely remove it from the faucet body.
  10. Clean the Faucet Body:
    • After removal, clean the inside of the faucet body to remove any remaining debris or residue.
  11. Install the New Cartridge:
    • If needed, replace the old cartridge with a new one, following the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation.
  12. Reassemble the Faucet:
    • Reattach the trim plate (if applicable) and the faucet handle, securing them with screws.
  13. Turn On the Water Supply:
    • Gradually turn on the main water supply to the faucet.
  14. Test for Leaks and Functionality:
    • Turn on the faucet and check for any leaks or issues. Make adjustments if necessary.
  15. Cleanup:
    • Clean up your work area and ensure that the faucet is functioning correctly without any leaks.

Related: How to fix a leaking Moen shower faucet cartridge.

4 Ways to Remove a Stuck Moen Cartridge

There are 4 ways that I know of that can be used successfully to remove a stuck Moen faucet cartridge. Some works seamless well in some faucets while some don’t. You will need to try what will work out well for you.

I will start with the easiest and most effective method. Here they are:

1. Use the Moen Cartridge Puller

If you have the new Moen cartridge replacement kit with you, look for a small plastic piece. That is the cartridge puller although you can also buy another one which comes with a handle.

Again, it is important to make sure that you have removed the cartridge retaining clip before trying to pull out the cartridge.

If you look at the cartridge puller, there are 2 shoulders that need to engage the 2 shoulders on the cartridge.

  • Slide the cartridge puller inside the cartridge until it properly engages it.
  • Grab the flat sides of the puller with a pair of pliers and try to twist it left and right.

The idea here is that as you twist the cartridge inside the shower valve, it will free up making it easy to pull out.

If the cartridge starts to rotate freely inside the shower valve, remove the puller, grab it with the pliers and pull it straight out.

Stuck/corroded cartridges will however not come out that easily. They will need more persuasion to free up.

Tip! What happens if you don’t have a cartridge puller?

Do you know that you can use your faucet handle as cartridge puller? For both shower and kitchen faucets! How you ask?

After remove the cartridge retaining clip, reattach the handle and use it to twist and even pull the cartridge? Try this if you do not have a cartridge puller.

2. Warm the Cartridge with a Hairdryer

To be honest with you I don’t know the Physics behind this trick but it works pretty well. Applying constant heat on the cartridge loosens it up making it easy to pull out.

The tool of choice for heat application is the hairdryer. Put it to the highest temperature settings then start blowing hot air on the cartridge for 5 to 10 minutes.

My guess is that the heat softens the O-rings while at the same time helps the valve expand a little therefore detaching the cartridge.

  • Connect the hairdryer to a power source and adjust it to the highest heat settings.
  • Start blowing hot air all of the cartridge for 5-10 minutes.
  • After the 5/10 minutes, put the hairdryer away and put back the cartridge puller.
  • Grab it with the pliers and again twist it right and left.
  • Check if it is easier to rotate the cartridge after the heat treatment.
  • Apply more heat if need be.
  • Once the cartridge feels free enough, pull it straight out with the pliers.

3. Douse the Cartridge with Vinegar or WD-40

WD-40 and vinegar are 2 readily available products at home that have been successfully used to loosen corroded connections by dissolving the minerals. It is the same thing with a stuck cartridge.

  • Grab a can of WD-40 or put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it all over the cartridge.
  • Try to twist the cartridge as you spray the WD-40/vinegar.
  • Give it about an hour to penetrate the cartridge and work out its magic.
  • Keep spraying more of the WD-40/vinegar say after every 10 minutes.
  • After the one hour, use the cartridge puller to twist and free up the cartridge.

4. Thread the Cartridge Sleeve with a Tap

This method is used for pulling out a stuck Moen cartridge sleeve. Sometimes if you have an old cartridge that you are desperate to pull out, you may pull it out forcefully only to end with the cartridge shaft with the sleeve still tightly held inside the valve housing.

That is where this method becomes useful.

You need to get hold of a ½-inch tap and use it to make threads inside the cartridge sleeve. The inside of the cartridge sleeve is made of brass which is easy to thread.

As you thread through the sleeve, you want to hear it squeaking which tells you that the bolt you are going to use will grab the cartridge tightly as well.

After making sufficient threads, remove the tap.

You will then want to use an equal size of bolt (1/2-inch) to remove the cartridge. You need to make sure that the bolt is long enough.

Apart from the bolt, you will need 2 nuts of the same size and about 3 or 4 washers.

  • Screw in the 2 nuts on the bolt all the way to the middle then slide in the washers.
  • Screw in the bolt inside the cartridge until it is hand tight.

As you will notice, the washers are very important in this task. Since they are bigger in size that the shower valves housing, they will wedge against the housing and as you tighten the bolt the cartridge will be drawn out.

  • Once the bolt is hand tight, use a wrench to tighten it further. The more you tighten the bolt the more you push the washers against the valve housing and in the process pull out the cartridge sleeve.

And that is how to remove a stuck Moen faucet cartridge. I hope this post was of help.

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