Substituting a Carbon Fiber Rod on a Sink Plunger Lift Rod or Pivot Rod and a DIY Seat Extractor




Introduction: Substituting a Carbon Fiber Rod on a Sink Plunger Lift Rod or Pivot Rod and a DIY Seat Extractor

About: “There's always something.” - Violet Baudelaire:

About every four years, the lift rod (also known as a pivot rod) on one Peerless sink set rusts and the end falls off. That means the plunger doesn't go up and down and you have to put something under the edge of the plunger so the sink drains.

If you are the original owner, you are in luck, Peerless faucets “are warrantied to the original consumer purchaser to be free from defects in material and workmanship for as long as the original consumer purchaser owns their home.” Just use their "Get Support & Repair Parts for Your Product" page Peerless Support. I gave them the model and described the problems, which also included dripping and weeping valves. The replacement parts arrived in under a week and it didn’t cost me a thing!

Now back to the end falling off. The OEM chrome plated stock rod is 3/16” OD and about 7-1/2” long. About 1-1/2” of the long end isn’t needed on my install. Since carbon fiber is touted as corrosion resistant, I bought a rod for under $3.00 USD and swapped the ball from the old rod.

It is an under 10 minute job, including removing and reinstalling the rod.

I will know in about four years if this works better than the stock part.


Just as a sidebar, if you have a dripping Peerless faucet set, get the Peerless replacement Stem Cartridge Kit. The non-OEM seats that I got at the big box store were harder and too wide at the base to seat, even with silicone grease. After spending an hour-and-a-half on what should have been a 30 minute job, I put the old parts back in and figured out that I could get Peerless to send me the correct replacement parts. Yep, it was a 30 minute job, just like I thought. Amazon also has the Stem Cartridge Kits for under $7.00 USD.

If you have a problem removing a seat, see Step 2 for a DIY extractor.



Three small deep sockets (7 mm, 8 mm, and 9 mm in this case)

Non-marring hammer

Locking pliers


The old lift rod with ball

One 3/16” x 6-1/2” carbon fiber rod


Edit: 2016-10-15

This would also work well with stainless steel. I would go with 304 stainless.


Step 1: Disassemble and Reassemble

1. Slip the sockets over the long end of the rod.

2. Put the short end down on a hard surface (one you don’t mind if it gets marred).

3. Tap the sockets to move the ball down as far as it will go.

4. Grab the rod with locking pliers and twist the ball off with your hand.

5. Mark the back edge of where the ball needs to be on the carbon fiber rod (in my case a piece of tape).

6. Slip the ball onto the rod the same direction it came off. The ball is slightly countersunk on the side that goes onto the rod.

7. Tap the ball into place and finish using a deep socket.

8. If you used tape, remove it,


If anyone is interested, these are the dimensions of the OEM rod.

Rod OD 0.184" (3/16”)

Ball OD 0.705” (abt 18mm or 11/16”)

Ball injection site at 90 degrees to rod

Ball width 0.645” (abt 18mm) countersunk at the long leg

Short leg (to ball) 1.4”

Long leg (from front edge of ball) 6.072”

Long leg (from back edge of ball) 5.421”

Total length 7.480”

Step 2: Seat Extractor

If you can’t just flick the seat out with your fingernail, take a few seconds to make a seat extractor. Bend the tip of a heavy paperclip or a piece of coat hanger. The lip needs to be about 1/4” from the tip to the back of the wire. Don’t unroll the paperclip and add a bend to the coat hanger. A straight wire will slide right down into the supply line and you will end up having to disconnect the supply line to get it out. Save yourself some trouble.

I use the straight end of the coat hanger to help position the seat and spring.

NOTE: The seats picture are the one's that don't work. As you can see, they flair at the base. The Peerless seats are straight sided.

Be the First to Share


    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Build a Tool Contest

      Build a Tool Contest



    5 years ago

    I finally got smart and pulled out the lifter mechanisms in my sinks, they simply trapped too much goo that should go down the drain, eventually causing slow draining and more maintenance work. It seems stupid to me that the ball joint rod is simply plated steel , which is constantly in the water stream and thus will absolutely rust and fail, and yet the pop- up lifter rod is stainless steel, never seeing much moisture if any since it resides outside of the piping and would last forever if it was the ball rod.


    Reply 5 years ago

    I did consider not replacing the lift rod, pretty much the same thing as you removing them. However, I like being able to stopper and drain the sink easily. It is too useful of a function to do without, in spite of the "goo" that forms. I set up all of the plungers to be removable, instead of "permanently" fixed, to facilitate maintenance.

    I did look at stainless steel and it would have worked just fine. I would go with 304 if I did it that way. I also looked at naval bronze but that was way too expensive. However, I wanted to do it cheaply and without leftover stock (AKA "clutter"), Peerless doesn't stock the lift rod as a separate SKU so you get an entire drain assembly. You don't want to throw an entire drain assembly away and it also becomes clutter.

    As to the plated rod, it seems strange to open the package filled with plastic parts and find a bright chrome rod that ends up with one end buried in the drain and the other hidden in the vanity (in most cases). The only way that this makes sense to me is that "plating" is what they do, it is still cheaper to make the plated steel part than replace it with stainless, their replacement rate is still low, and the injection molded plastic they use would not handle the leverage created by the rod. Their conversion to almost all plastic in the drain assembly demonstrates that they are not adverse to changing material to save money. Or it may be as simple as the part is a "make work" part that is used to smooth the schedules.