We just got back from a short trip to Vienna, Virginia to visit my family for the holidays. When we arrived, my mom had left me a note in the bathroom we were using.

Here it is:

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

My mom, she’s so cute, doesn’t she know that this sign taunted me the whole visit?

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

Besides, what kind of daughter would I be if I left this minor repair to a plumber? Puh-lease!

So, here was the deal with the hair clip in the sink. It was her way of holding the stopper up because the rod inside the sink had rusted and broken off. (Pretty creative in my opinion.)

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

But not the real fix for a sink stopper that would not stay up.

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

Let’s back up before I show you how to repair the stopper. Thank you to Dvorty Girl for the excellent illustration above that she posted on WikiHow.com.

Sink parts:

  1. Drain Down Rod
  2. Joint Clamp Clip
  3. Horizontal Rod
  4. Nut
  5. Ball, Rod, Nut & Gasket
  6. Stopper Notch
  7. Pop Up Drain Stopper

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Universal Pivot Ball Replacement Kit
Pliers (maybe)

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain Instructions:

1. Clear out enough room so you can work under the sink. (Okay, my mom is going to kill me for showing you her cluttered sink vanity. But, who’s sink vanity doesn’t look like this?! Please leave a comment and tell her that she’s not the only one!)

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

2. Lay down some towels to cushion the edge of the vanity (or your back, rib cage or hips will be in screaming pain.)

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

3. Locate the (3)horizontal rod and (5) nut at the back of your drain that holds the (5) ball, rod & gasket.

4.  Unscrew the (5) nut with your fingers or use pliers if it is really tight. Pull out the ball and gasket.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
5. To release the (3) horizontal rod from the (1) down rod, squeeze the (2) joint clamp clip between your fingers and slide it off the end of the horizontal rod.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
6. Lay out your old pieces to assess the damage. You may or may not need a new gasket (which is sold separately.) This one was broken and needed replacing.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
7. Match the old pivot ball with the new ones in the kit. Be sure to choose the one that is exactly the same size. Thread the (5) new ball onto the new (3) horizontal rod.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
8. Next thread the new gasket onto the horizontal rod and then the nut.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
9. Next feed one end of the (2) joint clip clamp (the kit I bought contained two white stoppers instead of a joint clip clamp). Only add one side or one stopper at this point.)
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
10. Feed the (3) horizontal rod into the (1) down rod.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
11. Line the other end of the (3) horizontal bar up and slip the ball joint into the hole at the back of the drain. Ideally the horizontal bar will be parallel to the floor, but you may have to make some minor adjustments at the end.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
12. Screw the nut back onto the drain making sure the ball joint and gasket are lined up properly.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
13. Now add the second stopper or the other end of the (2) joint clamp clip to the back of the (3) horizontal rod.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
14. Look inside the drain, and notice the post end of the (5) ball joint inside the drain.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
Pull up on the (1) down drain rod and make sure that it moves up and down freely and the post in the drain moves as well.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
15. This next step requires a little patience, so put your patience cap on. Feed the drain stopper back into the drain. You want the end of the stopper to be at a 90 degree angle from the ball joint post as show below.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
Gently rotate the stopper 90 degrees until the end of the stopper hooks the post.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
16. Once the stopper has been properly rotated and hooked onto the ball joint post, test your sink by pulling up and own on the (1) drain down rod.
And you are done!
Pretty Handsome Guy thought it would be funny to re-arrange the letters in the sign.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
And just to prove to you that my Mom can also be handy, this is a photo I found of her from the 1970’s when my parents were building my childhood home.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
Next time your drain stopper is broken, I hope you will put off calling a plumber and fix it yourself!
133 replies
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  1. Amy Thompson
    Amy Thompson says:

    Unfortunately, this repair kit didn’t come with the washer that is included in this post. Our washer is broken, too!! My husband is now so frustrated that he’s going to ask our plumber to do the work!!

    Reply
  2. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I spent several hours struggling with posts by men about ‘how the drain works’, when all I needed was your post about how to fix a broken drain. If it’s broken, I couldn’t care less about how it works- just how to fix it!

    Reply
  3. Udi Levy
    Udi Levy says:

    Hi,

    Thank you for the information. I installed a new faucet with the horizontal ball and cap (picture 9).

    My question is that the ball & cap part is dripping after hand tightening. There was never a plastic washer with the ball (between the ball and the cap).

    Would you know where I can purchase one?

    Regards,

    Reply
  4. Dani
    Dani says:

    Thank you so much for this guide!!! In a college apartment where the drain in the sink isn’t working but somehow no one broke it this was a life saver. Just need to pick up a ball and metal stick and It’ll be as good as new. Thank you so much!!!! Literally fixed the sink in less than 5 minutes

    Reply
  5. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    Brittany, thanks for the step by step instructions , including photos! I fixed 2 broken sink stoppers in 15 minutes. Your tutorial was a (minor) life saver. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Michele
    Michele says:

    So the hubby has been out of town for a few weeks. One drain has been broken for 6+ months and I “broke” the second one a week ago in the same bathroom. Through this tutorial I learned that both were actually rotted just like the one in your mothers bathroom. I fixed them both and hubby isn’t home yet. Feeling pretty accomplished. Thanks for excellent tutorial!

    Reply
  7. Robin
    Robin says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! My husband & I would have had to call a plumber if not for your very detailed instructions. We saved enough money on the plumbing call to buy a new grill for father’s day….you’re awesome!!!

    Reply
  8. Theresa
    Theresa says:

    I’m the oldest of 2 daughters and I was the one handing tools to my dad while he worked on our cars daddy always told me I can do anything and there’s no need to wait for a man when you can do it yourself. Thank you Daddy. And thank you pretty handy girl because I am truly a girl yet not at all helpless.

    Reply
  9. Anne
    Anne says:

    Excellent! Being a single home owner often presents these little problems that seem too silly to actually call a professional in. These instructions were great and it took no time at all!!

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain – Pretty Handy Girl – Wow! I am SO impressed! We had a plumber here to fix a clog in our sink (among other things) and he took our stopper out when he did it, that was over a year ago, we … […]

  2. […] Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain – Pretty Handy Girl – Besides, what kind of daughter would I be if I left this minor repair to a plumber? Puh-lease! So, here was the deal with the hair clip in the sink. […]

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