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Yes it can be done and is a viable alternative. If you want to replace the entire waste & overflow the question is: is the waste & overflow accessible? If it isn't or is difficult to get to it can be a challenge to replace it and probably will take 2 guys for part of the job.
There is a retrofit kit that will work with most old tub wastes that's available at Home Depot. With it you can leave the overflow and drain shoe piping in place if it's in good shape.http://www.homedepot.com/p/Watco-1-625-in-Overall-Diameter-x-16-Threads-x-1-25-in-Push-Pull-Trim-Kit-with-38101-Bushing-in-Chrome-Plated-38190-CP/204758263
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