Disassembly and Reassembly of a Post-WW2 Crane Diana Lavatory Sink

So, your plumber just walked away from the job saying, “that sink is too old, no parts are available, you should just replace it” but all it needs is a bit of care and a couple washers. We’re here to help! We see many homeowners in your situation, and we’ve been burning the midnight oil while recreating many obsolete parts and pieces. Crane fixtures have become our mainstay as of late, and we are planning to keep reproducing many of the more common items.

The below pictures are of a 1954 Crane Diana console lavatory sink, but the below instructions are applicable for the Crane Criterion, Elayne, and Westland. They Also are very similar for the Crane Drexel and Marcia. The remainder of Crane sinks made during the postwar period are of a more “familiar” type and should not stump your plumber. One thing, you might want to consider removing the sink from the wall. This will make removal far easier.

“But all I have to do is fix the leak around the drain!” Okay, if you are lucky, you can carefully remove the nut off the bottom of the drain, praying the whole while that the top part does not loosen up. If you are successful, all you’ll need to do is replace the rubber with our part # 62-OCDW and snug the nut back up. (This really isn’t realistic, but there’s always hope) More than likely the drain assembly will spin, and you’ll need to start below.

Diana cap

Jim, our stunning hand model is pointing at the “cap” on top of the spout. Before removing the drain, one must remove the cap, spout, and “fork” (lifting mechanism for the stopper). All these must come out first, the fork will interfere with the removal of the drain assembly and in order to get the fork out, you MUST do this in sequence. Read on for a complete description on how to accomplish this. Whatever you do, do not attempt drain removal without removing fork.

(Note, Drexel and Marcia sinks do not have metal spout, but you must still remove the drain operator in the same method BEFORE trying to remove drain)

Remove cap by unscrewing counter-clockwise. Sometimes a strap wrench will get it, sometimes you’ll need something with teeth. When the cap gets destroyed, relax, this isn’t unusual, we have replacements, they are our part # 86-F11619. Don’t get discouraged yet!

diana cap off
diana wrench

Now, you’ll have to remove the flip lever. Firmly grasp it and pull straight up. Don’t worry, it’s not going to come flying out and it’s not unusual for these to be quite stiff. Get the flip lever up high enough to disengage it from it’s cam. Now, put a wrench on the top of the cam as shown in the picture on the left. Turn counter-clockwise. You’ll go through many revolutions (just like the government of Italy) and eventually you’ll be able to pull the top of the fork out. This will allow you access to the bolt that engages the hidden keeper discussed on the previous “tips” page. Break out the checkbook, you’re going to be needing some “special” tools.

Before the spout comes off, you have to disconnect it from what we call the “bridge”. These are the tubes that run from the hot and cold valves and connect to the spout via a tee. Loosen the nut that connects the spout tube to the tee.

One quick note, if you have leaks at the tee or at the ends of the bridge where it connects to the valves, you will not have to remove the spout. You will have to remove the valves, and that’s discussed down the page a bit further.

diana tee nut
diana spout tool
diana spout off

Down inside the spout, there’s a hidden nut that we had manufactured a custom tool to remove. We had enough requests for this tool, that we’ve decided to make them. They are our part # 15-995 “Securo” waste assembly wrench, and were originally sold by Crane. They’ve been out of production for 40 years or so, until now. Yes, you need one! This tool will make assembly far easier and they are well worth the price. Turn counter-clockwise, you’ll feel the spout loosen up and this is what you’ll find under the spout. Buried by the ancient plumber’s putty is a keyhole shaped hole that the hidden keeper goes down through. You have to wiggle things around a bit to get the spout off, but it will come off. All will become clear once the spout is removed and you’ve seen the guide.

Now the fork has to come out. This is the real reason for the keyhole shaped aperture in the sink. Believe it or not, the fork will come out. This will require some effort, lots of wiggling and tugging, and the occasional “colorful” word. DO NOT attempt to bend the fork, they are made of sand-cast brass and will break. Also, there are dozens of different configurations, none of which are made. Don’t break it!!!!!!!!!!

diana fork
diana drain

You can now finally remove the drain assembly. Often, you’ll have to wedge a screwdriver into the overflow opening inside the drain while simultaneously turning the nut on the bottom of the drain. Sometimes you’ll need some Liquid Wrench or other liquid assistance. Again, removing drains can be a challenge and sometimes they will weld themselves together. We do have a replacement drain assembly, it’s our # 24-CDN. We do also have replacement nuts and tailpieces if you have a leak at that threaded joint, they are our 86-630N nut and 90-F25 tailpiece.

The handles are one of the easier parts to take off, simply remove the screw and they wiggle right off. Now, you’ll be faced with a interesting appearing valve.

Note, here’s where you want to start if you are trying to repair leaks in the “bridge” or in the connecting tee.

diana handle
diana strap

Using a strap wrench, remove the outer flange on the valve. Often, these are packed with fossilized putty or mineral build-up, so removal can be difficult. Again, you might need a tool with teeth and we do carry a replacement flange, so it can be replaced if you must apply force. We lucked out with this one and everything came right apart. The washers used in the bridge are your basic 1/2” slip-joint washer, we do carry them, they are our part # 15-BW

Assembly is basically the reverse of the above, but you have to do it in sequence. Plus, there are a couple tricks that will make your life easier.

  1. Install drain first. Use plumber’s putty on the top, and our 62-OCDW washer on the bottom. Be sure that the two openings in the drain are exactly parallel with the sides of the sink. This will allow the fork, once installed, to engage the stopper.
  2. Insert fork through top of sink, allow it to “float” inside overflow chamber.
  3. Here’s the fun part. With the hidden keeper already in the spout, putty bottom of spout and set spout onto top of sink. Using our 15-995 spout tool, turn clockwise while attempting to hold the winged portion of the hidden keeper at 90 degrees to the opening. Yes, this can be a trick, often one can stick a bent screwdriver up inside the overflow chamber to hold the wing while tightening. The use of colorful language during this time period is permissible.
  4. Slide 1/2″ slip-joint nut and new 1/2″ slip-joint washer up onto spout supply tube.
  5. Install valves onto bridge using new 1/2″ slip-joint washers, have lock nuts on valves run all the way to bottom. You should have the valves and bridge as one assembly. Leave 1/2″ slip-joint nuts somewhat loose to allow movement. They will be tightened later.
  6. Coming up from the bottom of the sink, bring entire bridge and valve assembly up through the top, making sure the tee goes onto the spout tube.
  7. Once the valves stick through the sink by about 1/2″, install flanges on top. Then, run the lock nuts up to the back side of the sink.
  8. Now, tighten up the slip-joint nuts at the valves and at the spout tube.
  9. Screw the handles on, check to make sure everything is tight.
  10. Install sink, check for leaks.
  11. Enjoy!
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