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Home Repairs: Toilets
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Jul 21, 2014, 01:52 PM
 
A year or two ago we noticed leaking from one of the toilets, from the tank screw. The tank rocked back and forth and in one position would leak. We called a plumber who said that it was unrepairable, we needed a new toilet, yadda yadda. Well we managed to brace it so it wouldn't rock, and no leaks. Until this weekend, when the flapper ripped, and opening up the lid unbraced it.

Youtube to the rescue! I got a kit from home depot with a new gasket and rubber washers (what had rotted away). One of the bolts was rusted on, so we hacksawed it off. Success! New gasket, new screws, new flapper adjusted properly... Yes!

However, while it no longer leaks from the tank... it won't stop filling. Taking it apart must have jostled something else. Youtube says this could be due to: bad water intake, bad floater mechanism, or bad flapper seat. The floater does float, but the water will fill over the top of it. The flapper seat is a little corroded, but I don't see how it would cause the tank to fill so high. (I'd expect a little leakage to be expected from the flapper into the toilet from crumbs etc in the water).

Thoughts? Do I have to replace the whole flapper assembly? Water intake? Floater?

It's still been cheaper than a new toilet, but I'm almost ready to call a (different) plumber.
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 21, 2014, 01:58 PM
 
The floater, when it gets high enough, levers that long rod onto a cutoff switch.

It sounds like either the rod isn't hitting the switch, or the switch is broken.
     
P
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Jul 21, 2014, 02:03 PM
 
When I repaired mine a few years back I had to adjust the floater to shut off the water at the appropriate level. There was a screw that let you move the loader up and down on the lever to close sooner or later.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jul 21, 2014, 02:16 PM
 
Yep, the overfill is because the fill valve is set to too high a level. The adjustment method varies by valve. Old valves with a ball float were adjusted by bending the metal arm. Most modern valves have a screw. A pic of the fill valve would help.

The leak-on-rock is caused by cheap bolt kits. Each bolt should be like this:

bolt head (inside tank)
rubber washer (add some pipe dope to washer bottom if you have seal problems)
tank bottom hole
**** metal washer
**** nut
(gap to toilet base)
toilet base hole
(optional: rubber washer if tank moves a lot)
metal washer
final nut

Manufacturers have been saving a little money by omitting the asterisked ****nut and washer**** just under the tank. If the toilet design has tight tank supports, you can get away with this. On most toilets I've seen, the tank floats on the foam tank seal gasket, and would require additional bracing to stay perfectly still. If you add the missing washer and nut, then tank movement no longer matters.
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 21, 2014, 02:19 PM
 
Yup.

**** nuts will get you every time.
     
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Jul 21, 2014, 02:21 PM
 
The tank kit I got had the extra washer and nuts, and now it's rock solid.

bolt
metal washer
rubber washer
<tank>
metal washer
nut
<toilet base>
rubber washer
metal washer
wingnut

The float is a vertical float, not the ball type. I don't see a screw to adjust it... but surely the same height it was before would still work?
     
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Jul 21, 2014, 02:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
It's still been cheaper than a new toilet, but I'm almost ready to call a (different) plumber.
My personal experience is that replacing an entire toiler is actually less headache than fooling around with tank kits.

I recently bought a nice one-piece toilet with the highly preferred elongated bowl and soft-close lid - it was on clearance for $200, and as with most things I imagine you'd probably easily get it for that price or cheaper down in the States. Took me (zero experience) just a few hours to remove the old toilet and install the new one.

Yes it's likely more expensive overall, but not unreasonably so - and would likely look better and not be an ongoing headache to deal with.
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
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Jul 21, 2014, 02:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
bolt
metal washer
rubber washer
<tank>
The extra metal washer in the tank is a potential leak point. The bolt head should be a wide pan type, basically its own metal washer. Water may seep between bolt head and metal washer, then follow the threads down. Otherwise your sequence is great.

The float is a vertical float, not the ball type. I don't see a screw to adjust it... but surely the same height it was before would still work?
This assumes the height adjustment was right before, and didn't got jostled during the work. A vertical float may have an adjustment in the float arm, or the valve's stalk inside the tank.

metal rod down side to float: usually a metal pinch leaf.
valve stalk adjustment: adjust with valve out of tank. Stalk is in two pieces. Move plastic lock band up, rotate stalk in or out to lower or raise water level. Push lock band back down.
     
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Jul 21, 2014, 03:07 PM
 
My favorite tank fill valve. Pressure activated, and you adjust it with the finger screw on the top.



Invented by Fillpro, the patent ran out years ago. So you can get it from many sources.
     
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Jul 21, 2014, 05:07 PM
 
Vertical float should still have an adjustment arm that allows the water to be shut off at lower tank levels, usually a cheap plastic thingy attached to other cheap plastic thingies.

I'll sort of echo Shortcut, those replacement kits are usually junk that will break in a year or so, the one Reader just posted seems to be a bit better. Maybe stay away from the Home Depot kits in the future and source an online plumbing supply store.
     
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Jul 21, 2014, 05:34 PM
 
A side note. If you do disconnect the fill line again, flush it full bore into a bucket or something before reconnecting. Whenever you disturb pipes, there is a chance of knocking bits of rust or other junk loose. Stuff that can mess up a fill valve from the inside. Making them fill very slowly, or have trouble shutting off.
     
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Jul 22, 2014, 02:40 PM
 
^That makes sense. I will try that tonight. Lots of flotsam in the tank.

This is our fill valve/floater, Fluidmaster 200:

Fluidmaster Toilet Tank Fill Valve-200AX at The Home Depot

Adjusting the metal clip does not make the water shut off. Physically raising the bar attached to the clip does not make it shut off.

It is pretty old and Fluidmaster is up to models 400 now, so replacing it is looking likely, if flushing it full bore has no effect.
     
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Jul 22, 2014, 04:09 PM
 
I've never seen that model in service. And it's defective from your description.

Flushing the supply line is a preventative, not a cure. Once gunk has gotten into the valve, disassembly and cleaning are not worth your time. Just replace the valve.

I'm going to disagree with Shortcut and sek929. Tank rebuild kits (or individual spare parts) are worth the time. Install them properly, and you get years of service. I've bought new toilets, and had to pull out/reinstall all the tank parts anyway. Because of poor factory assembly - the new tanks leaked.
     
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Jul 23, 2014, 11:16 PM
 
You gentlemen will be amused...

Tonight, we installed a brand new Fluidmaster 400 intake valve... went pretty smoothly, filling was stopping... but a small leak from the supply line. Tightened it, and oops, kersplash. Rotted gasket in the supply hose.

Back to home depot!

Total cost thus far:

Tank gasket kit: $5
Flapper: $3
Intake valve: $8
Time: priceless
     
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Jul 24, 2014, 07:41 AM
 
Hahaha can't argue with that investment!

For me, it was about the hassle - constant tinkering, trips to plumbing store, toilet regularly out of service, etc. So when I found a nice one on clearance, I bought it and have been very happy since.

May not be applicable to you, but don't discount the comfort of a nice new one-piece toilet. Easier to clean, looks much better, great ergonomics, and I will never go without soft-close toilet lids again.
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
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Jul 24, 2014, 11:22 AM
 
Bonus points if it got anyone in the face. A double bonus if you caught it on camera.
     
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Aug 5, 2014, 03:29 PM
 
My kittehs, who love running into the bathroom "just" in front of you...cause you know...they can't let you alone for a second; almost got a case of the blues as the lid was still open from when I scrubbed it down with toilet bowl cleaner. The lid, always closed, is their first spot in their running/jump path as they get their spot before you swoosh them away.

THAT would have made a great photo; and yes I would have gone to get my cell to take said pictures. But alas, one realized there wasn't a lid to jump on and the second one got trampled over from the first after he realized there wasn't a lid and had to abruptly change course.

That's all I have, really, to add to a toilet thread. Unless you want to discuss "blowing" them out
     
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Aug 5, 2014, 04:28 PM
 
no, no, it's ok....

Final tally:

Tank gasket kit: $5
Flapper: $3
Intake valve: $8
Water supply hose/connector: $6
Small tub o'spackle (downstairs ceiling showed damage from these leaks, removed wet plaster and will spackle): $6
Total: $28
Time: priceless
     
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Aug 5, 2014, 05:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
May not be applicable to you, but don't discount the comfort of a nice new one-piece toilet. Easier to clean, looks much better, great ergonomics, and I will never go without soft-close toilet lids again.
I think Andi may have one of those classic pink 1950s bathrooms, and it's a crime to rip those out.
     
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Aug 5, 2014, 06:32 PM
 
I won't say it's a crime... gimme 10K and it's gone. But yes. Very very pink.
     
   
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