The Kohler Rite Temp Tub & Shower Valve is a very common single handle pressure balancing shower faucet that requires a cartridge replacement to repair a drippy shower. The Rite Temp stands for the anti-scald pressure balancing design of this shower faucet that is a safety and comfort feature to prevent wild temperature fluctuations.
The Kohler model # for this valve is K-304. There are however a wide variety of trims available for this same exact valve! So even though your shower valve doesnt look the same as the picture, if it is a single lever faucet, chances are the k-304 rite-temp valve is hiding underneath all the different fancy trims.
Some of the trim designs that are available for this shower faucet include: Antique, Bancroft, Coralais, Forte, George IV, Devonshire, Pinstripe, Purist and others. This is the part that confuses some people doing repairs, is that there are so many different models of Kohler single lever shower faucets, and yet they virtually ALL share the same valve parts underneath!
So, you are probably saying to yourself, ok, great, but:
How do I fix the leak on my Kohler Shower?
Well get to that, but it is important to clear up the wide variety of Kohler faucet trims, because I have seen even many repair plumbers get frustrated, not realizing how simple the repair can be with the right knowledge.
First, the K-304-K consists of two main Kohler rite temp replacement parts. The mixer cap #GP77759, and the pressure balance repair kit #GP500520. Together these two parts can be purchased as a mixer pressure repair kit #GP77759 for around $100. A HUNDRED DOLLARS! you are probably screaming. Yes, unfortunately the Kohler Rite Temp parts are fairly complex and fairly expensive. In fact, it is often cheaper to just buy a whole new k-304 rough-in shower valve and pull the parts out of the valve and install them in your new valve!
Ok, moving on. So,
How to repair a Kohler single handle shower faucet?
First, you must turn the water off to the house. Then remove the handle. This is one part I cant explain, because there are SO MANY different trims available as I said before, and each of them is slightly different. Most of them will go on using a philips screw screwed straight into the mixer cap. Simply remove the screw cover plate, and unscrew the screw and pull the handle off. If your trim doesnt have a screw, then it probably has an allen key locking the handle on from the side. In this, case you will need a DIFFERENT MIXER CAP! There is one other type of mixer cap, that is rectangular, instead of a spline, for these specific trims.
Kohler Rite Temp 304 K Shower Valve Repair Guide
Once you have the handle trim removed, remove the two screws holding the escutcheon cover plate on and pull the small sliding cylinder off of the mixer, this is what you should see on the right. – >
Remove the two screws on either side of the metal plate holding the mixer on, and pull the mixer off. Make sure not to lose any of the screws down the drain! Underneath the mixer cap pictured is the pressure balance cartridge. It looks like a small, black, squarish box with two ports going through it and o-rings to seal the ports. After you pull the mixer off, you should see the pressure balance cartridge, as pictured at the bottom left of this guide. Use needle-nose pliers to pull the cartridge out of the shower valve body.
Now, install the new pressure balance cartridge with the o-rings greased and in the proper position! Then install the mixer cap on top of the cartridge and install the screws, and put the trim back on.
Kohler Rite Temp 304 K Shower Valve Repair GuideYou may also have to do an adjustment on the mixe cap, so the temperature is right. The Kohler rite temp mixer cap adjusts the mixing of the hot and cold water, and if you don;t adjust it, you will usually find that the shower wont get hot enough, or if your hot water is really hot, you may have to turn it down to limit the temperature and prevent scalding. If in doubt, as always, buy the parts and hire a professional to install them.