Replacing a wall mounted Mira Excel shower mixer unit

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Hi,

I'm replacing a 12+ year old Mira Excel wall mounted shower mixer unit and am looking for some advice. The existing unit was in the house when I bought it and has worked well with only a cartridge change 6 years ago due to regular high pressures. Now the second cartridge has gone along with the pristine whiteness of the casing. The casing has also cracked and so the unit tends to leak when in use.

With all these negatives I thought it was high time that I invested in a new unit but I'm a little unsure what to look for.

Due to the age of the tiles I doubt I'll be able to get replacements and so I'm reluctant to remove them to access the pipes. I know that the pipes are not fixed to the studwork as I replaced them 8 years ago when I installed AquaBoard and used the remainder of my spare tiles.

The existing shower is fed from a pressure reduced (3 bar) cold water supply and combi boiler. The pipes enter the rear of the unit. Hot is on the left and cold is on the right. I hope the new shower can use the same supply.

The current pipes are approximately 150mm separation on 15mm pipes. These protrude approximately 18mm from the tiles. The are connected to the existing shower via compression nuts.

My main concerns are that I don't know if the existing pipes are in the correct alignment for modern units and I don't know if modern units require a more supportive mounting method than older models.

If anyone can help here are my questions:-
1) Should I be able to get the existing unit off and leave the pipes in a state suitable for fixing a newer unit? (I appreciate that my own skill level has a significant effect on the actual result, but is it technically possible)
2) Will modern units fit my existing pipes?
3) Will the modern shower alignment components (those off centre connections used to aid alignment with wonky pipes) be of benefit or hindrance to me and do I have to use them?
4) Do I require a mounting plate to stabilise/support the new installation (may also make future changes simpler)?
5) Is there anything else I should consider before embarking on this project?
6) Anyone care to recommend a suitable replacement for this family shower unit?

Thanks for your time,

Mike
 
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Second vote for another Excel.
They're about 98% identical on the fittings/backplate!
NB you might want to check your electrics are up to date, it should be on an Earth Leakage breaker.
 
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