How to install a trip lever on a bathtub

Written by robert sylvus
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How to install a trip lever on a bathtub
A bathtub's trip lever handle mounts against the tub's overflow hole. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A bathtub's trip lever assembly controls the water flow down the tub's drain. The trip lever's handle covers the bathtub's overflow hole, the hole on the tub's wall above the tub's wastewater opening. The trip lever's handle connects to a linkage assembly. The linkage assembly holds the trip lever's plunger in place at the drain tee. When activated, the plunger lowers into the drain tee and blocks the water's path. Once the trip lever's handle releases the plunger, water empties down the drain.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Trip lever assembly
  • Tape measure
  • Open-end wrench set
  • Phillips screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Attach the trip lever's linkage to the plunger. The plunger slips onto the linkage's loop.

  2. 2

    Thread the trip lever assembly's locknut and clevis partway onto the linkage. Lay the assembly on a flat surface.

  3. 3

    Measure from the bottom of the bathtub's overflow hole to the top of the tub's wastewater opening with a tape measure. This measurement equals the overflow's height measurement.

  4. 4

    Measure from the top of the plunger to the top of the U-shaped clevis with the tape measure. Compare this measurement to the overflow's height measurement. If the assembly's measurement exceeds the overflow's height measurement, thread the clevis onto the linkage in a clockwise motion. If the overflow's height measurement exceeds the assembly's measurement, spin the clevis in a counterclockwise direction.

  5. 5

    Tighten the linkage's locknut against the clevis with the correct-size open-end wrench

  6. 6

    Attach the top of the clevis to the trip lever handle. Lock the clevis to the handle with the handle's pin. The pin slides through a hole in the handle and a hole in the top of the clevis. The pin snaps into place.

  7. 7

    Slip the plunger into the bathtub's overflow hole. Work the plunger, linkage and clevis down the overflow pipe.

  8. 8

    Secure the trip lever's handle to the bathtub's overflow hole with the two trip lever screws. Tighten the screws with a Phillips screwdriver.

  9. 9

    Pour water into the tub and test the trip lever. If water drains from the tub with the trip lever activated, remove the trip lever assembly and turn the clevis counterclockwise. If the water will not drain from the tub with the trip lever deactivated, remove the trip lever assembly and turn the clevis clockwise. Reinstall and retest the trip lever assembly.

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