Removing cover from a Bristan SINGLE CONTROL shower mixer


15 May 2011
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United Kingdom

I'm trying to change the seals of a recessed Bristan 1901 shower mixer. This is a SINGLE CONTROL version, installed in 2000. Bristan now only make a 2 control version, which has a flow control lever. Mine has just the one knob for heat control - behind this is a chrome cover which needs to be removed before I can get at the cartridge to change the seals (it started dripping when turned off a few days ago).

Bristan customer service tell me that this is a N SHX C - but looking for this on the net only turns up the two-control version. I can find no information on it at all. I ASSUME that the front just unscrews (there is no indication of any other way for it to come off), but I can't shift it.

Has anyone out there got one of these and successfully got into it to change seals? Has anyone got a reliable answer what the product ID is, as Bristan themselves don't appear to know.

Thanks for any help.

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dont know the shower valve but if you unscrew the small chrome ring holding in the white ceramic disc you should find a screw under the disc, this holds on the crosshead, remove the crosshead and the cover should either unscrew or just pull off.
Sorry, should have said - yes, I have removed the cross head with no problem. I left it on in the photo to help with identification. Am I really the only person with one (actually two) of these?

Most enquiries on this forum are about seized cartridges - I'll worry about that when I have something to put a spanner on...

The cover appears to be smooth chrome finish all round. No hexes, flats, grub screws or anything else that might give a hint of what to do. I have put tape round it and tried a filter wrench, but it is not shifting, either unscrewing or pulling off.

No reply from Bristan yet.
To take the chrome shroud off you need to undo a grub screw on the underside.

Once undone you can get the shroud off by pulling, the seal kit on this unit was SK1600-1 and a new cartridge is SK1600-2.
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Thanks for that. The grub screw is a very small hex socket head. It was obscured by sealant. As it is right back at the rear end of the whole cover, it had been built into the wall (as you can see from the picture, I've had to remove tile & dry wall). Presumably the installation instructions tell people not to do this, but putting the grub screw that far back is going to lead to many/most installations being like this.

Of course, If I'd had a diagram, I'd have known where to look.

Still no reply from Bristan.
I don't understand why Bristan CS were unable to help you, I rang them gave them the shower code and they emailed me a copy of the instructions which includes a breakdown of the shower.

Everything you required was given to me by Bristan.

Hopwe this helps you out
Several hours after your reply, Bristan did indeed email a scan of the original fitting / maintenance instructions.

We are suffering from the problem that the original installer didn't leave the instructions and the paperwork we do have doesn't include any product ID. That installer also recessed the valve way too far back into the wall, so that most of the chrome shroud is obscured - and the hex for the cartridge is actually beneath the level of the tiles.

Obviously, none of this is Bristan's fault, but as a company they don't really seem to have got the idea of efficiently providing information. I originally asked them to identify the unit from that photo and help me with instructions. The first reply came with an ID - but no instructions. It's as if no-one read beyond the first line of the email. You were kind enough to help (thanks very much), but why can't I just look up older 1901 showers on their web site and download all the documents without having to phone them? I'm sure that part of the reason is that this unit predates desktop publishing (at Bristan). Other equipment in the house is of the same era and I've had the same issue with that manufacturer.

Oh well. I just have to find a spanner for the SK1600 hex. Which the instructions helpfully describe as "large". It appears to be 1 13/16 or 46mm. Anyone know for sure?
I'll be honest i seem to recall it being 46mm and the socket i have was hard to come by (many hours on the internet) if you can get the shower out the wall and large adjustabel spanner should sort it too.

I know what you mean dealing with older products is always difficult, even more so when they predate the computer system a company is using.
i am going through the same process of trying to change the seals in exactly the same model of Bristan 1901 shower. however, i am struggling to remove the chrome ring that holds in the ceramic cap. anyone got any tips? is it screwed on or clipped on? does it screw on clockwise or anticlockwise (i've tried both but with no luck). i am wary of being too forceful for fear of damaging either the chrome or any other part of the valve. any advise much appreciated.

to remove the indice you need to unscrew that chrome ring, its a standard thread but i'll be honest, I suspect the problem your having is a build up of scale and grud on the thread it may take some force to shift is
Thanks, after a few more attempts i managed to budge the thing (build up of limescale on the thread to blame as you predicted).

I am now struggling to remove the actual cartridge - previous owners of our flat weren't the best when it came to general upkeep of things so no doubt this cartridge hasn't been serviced/moved since the shower was installed - so once again expect limescale etc to be the cause. Do you have any tips as to how to remove/loosen the cartridge?

any advise is much appreciated.
Advise I can only really think of is to use a socket wretch rather than a adjustable, better grip.

If you giving some buff an its not moving I'd try taking it off the wall and trying again with a padded vice.

Failing them i'll be honest i'd be either talking to Bristan see if they will service for you or looking at new shower sorry.

Let me know if you get any joy.
afraid i dont have a manual for the shower (previous owners failed to leave it behind). i would suggest calling Bristan customer services - they are generally pretty helpful.

fyg - Bristan currently offer a service whereby it is cheaper to buy a replacement cartridge and have one of their engineers come round and install it (£125 all in), than it is to simple buy a replacement cartridge on its own (£165).
good tip about Bristan engineer service.

After many attempts I managed to fix my shower and stop it dripping.
My advice is:
Always get the manuals before you start.
Bristan can provide manuals, videos and how to guides.
Take photos as you dismantle to help you put it back together.

The medium sized O ring right at the heart of it needs a thick washer which appears slightly too big.

I have added a diagram to my images

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