Toilet question

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Vera, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    My toilet is pretty old and scratched up (thanks to no TLC from the previous home owners), and lucky me recently got an almost new one for free. I do want to replace my old one now, but there's a problem. The new one is fashionably low-flow with one of those silly 1.6 gallon tanks which I will NOT use in my house. So, my question is this: are toilet systems created to mix-and-match, i.e., can I put my old tank on the new toilet, or do I have to use the low-flow tank with it? Meaning, is there a difference in the innards of toilets depending on which size tank it's sold with?
    I'd appreciate any input you might have.
     
  2. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    If the old tank will bolt up to the new toilet it will work. My guess it won't be an exact match up in terms of water outlet size, bolt hole arrangements. Could also maybe have a problem with wall clearances or the tank leaking.

    IMHO the complains about the 1.6 gal toilets are far over done. There have been a few problem designs but most of those should be gone from the marketplace by now. I replaced my old 3.5 with a 1.6 and love it. Have installed my share of the new 1.6's and adjusted them.

    Most of the complains are from improper installations, adjustments or usage. The most common errors are getting the leverage factor of how the flush handle opens the flapper wrong. In many cases not enough water goes out fast enough or maybe there isn't enough water in the tank to start with. Some of the towers / overflow tubes aren't high enough, all a matter of analyzing what is happening. In some fixes I have increased the water level in the tank by taping in a small section of tubing to increase the overflow level and actually set up the toilet above the recommended water level as marked.

    If the handle linkage isn't installed just right they can have problems. Some use a chain gizmo with a float part way up the chain. A number of ways they build the linkages. You have to have a feel for how a properly operating one should work. The flapper should come up and remain open for a certain period. Plus some people just flip the handle a bit and never do get a proper flush, this is compounded if the internals are not adjusted right. Many cheap ones have too much slop in the handle / lever linkage. Sometimes must modify with non-standard / non- supplied shims.

    The older styles were more forgiving in adjustment, maybe why people claimed they worked and the new 1.6 don't. Increasing the water level above what it was rated for has always solved even the most difficult ones I worked on. That and getting the adjustment just right. The newer ones have more difficult time adding the old brick in the tank trick to get more water height / velocity but keep the amount of water used down. You still can use this trick but requires more rummaging around for something to put in there.

    The innards of toilets vary more with who made it, than the size. Age is another big factor as to exactly how the parts are built. Lots of ways to do basically the same thing. If anything the 1.6's give too little adjustment room by making the overflow tube to short and not trusting the user to stick to setting it correctly, hopely at the line but having few options if more height is needed. Some designs sense backpressure or height in the tank and don't use a float to control the fill valve. The innards are not standard.

    I would try the 1.6 as designed first, understand what is going on and play around first before condemning it out of hand.
     

  3. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    before you take of your old one make shure it is the same center 10 12 or 14 inch you measure from the back of the tank to the center of the bold holes
     
  4. morrowsmowers

    morrowsmowers Well-Known Member

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    Try the 1.6 toilet with its tank first. The only thing you will have to change to make it a "fuller flusher" is the flapper. In the 1.6 mode you will only use part of the tank of water for a flush. If you change the flapper you will get a full flush of all of the water in the tank just like the older toilets. Due to changes in federal laws the 1.6 and less flushers are now legally mandated and you will find it getting harder and harder to get parts for the others.

    Ken in Glassboro, NJ
    :)
     
  5. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for the input! I just spent the last 7 hours (yes, 7) undoing rusted bolts and replacing the darned thing, and wouldn't you know it, there's a leak that I can't stop. I'm about to rip my last hairs out.

    Taking the old toilet off and putting the new one on (after cleaning the pipe since it was easy to do with the toilet off) wasn't a problem at all. Enter the tank installation. Tried the new one, tried the old one, all new hardware and new gaskets and things, nice fit as it's supposed to be, but the leak is persistent and I don't even know just WHERE it's leaking.
    When the tank fills up, water starts dripping from one of the bolts that hold the tank to the toilet. The rubber gasket is tight at both bolts and the tank is as tight on the toilet as I can make it... the only guess I have left is that the rubber thingy doesn't fit perfectly tight around the tank drain. Why it wouldn't and how to fix that, I have no idea. And water dripping from one bolt if the leak is in the middle of the tank doesn't make much sense to me either.

    The camp toilet will have to do until you kind people tell me what I did wrong and how I can fix it... for now and for the rest of tonight, I'll try and keep from smashing the whole thing with a BIG hammer!
     
  6. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    There may be some calcium build up where the gaskets go, and the water can seep around it. Take it apart and check, and if so you'll need some kind of acid to disolve it away. A seal could be mis-aliagned, and simply need to be refited. Is the tank bolted down evenly side to side? Maybe you just need to loosen one side and tighten the other. If none of those ideas cure anything, maybe you need some old fashioned plumbers putty to augment the seals, and fill any gaps.
     
  7. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    Those rubber gaskets that go under the heads of the tank holddown bolts may not be getting a good seal between the bolt heads and the tank bottom.

    Also, we bought new toilets for this house because we needed handicap toilets, and the builder claimed they could not install them due to HUD regulations. One of the first new toilets we bought had a tiny, almost invisible crack in the tank bottom, near one of the holddown bolt holes, and it leaked. We had to take that entire toilet back and exchange it because Home Depot would not exchange just the tank.

    Bob
     
  8. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Difficult to tell without actually seeing it.

    1. Could have cracked the tank.

    2. If you reused the rubber washers on the hold down bolts, it fails many times, especially if they have been prior used in chlorined water. They can get puckered, just like the flapper lips do. Might have put the metal washers on wrong. If metal washers are supplied, they go on top the rubber washer, plus underneath the tank. Should have been four. Rubber should be in direct contact with the tank. I like to dip the rubber washers in pipe dope, other prefer to coat them with vaseline. Some folks wind teflon tape around the bolt make a fair sized bump, after the rubber washer is on, install the bolt and the teflon tape acts to seal the hole between the tank and bolt. Just a belt and suspender type approach. Gooping it all with pipe dope can't hurt. Tricks that are not in the book.

    3. The rubber washers under the hold down bolts expand outward as you tighten down on them. Water may be getting past the bolt head and running thru the hole which didn't seal properly. Best fix is a tiny piece of some kind of rubber sheeting. That ice and water shield used on roof's is good. Cut a round piece, install as a patch over the hole in a perfectly dry tank, punch a pilot hole, reinstall bolt and rubber washer, should seal perfect everytime. Can use it both top and bottom inside / outside on real problem tanks. The tricks avoid over torquing to seal and potentially crack the tank. Can use all of them in combo.

    4. Not enough torque on the hold down bolts and the rubber washers didn't expand enough. They should get a little "Fat". Must install both sides loose, then gently tighten with alternating steps, like head bolts on a car.

    5. If the leak is in the middle drain area, can be a cheap thin gimpy gasket. Ensure you put the gasket on the tank prior to installation. One good method is dip some heavy string in pipe dope. Wind it around the drain way up at the shoulder, put the gasket on, install tank, as you tighten tank watch for the string / dope oozing out to judge when tight enough. Sometimes difficult to see. Can also try doubling up the gasket depending on exactly what you got and what it looks like. Usually do that trick if they appear to be flat.

    One good way to attempt to tell exactly where the leak is use a strong flashlight, dry cloth, paper towel, etc. As water appears wipe and see where it reappears. A leak can actually occur in one spot and film out and drip down making it appear to be coming from somewhere else. Must really get the eyeballs in close and actually see the source reappear after you wipe it. Good light source is a must. Can be a bear in really tight spots seeing the critter.

    Best installations are done assembling the tank / toilet totally removed so you can see exactly what is going on. I like to fit up all the connections first loose, tank bolts and drain and then tighten them up together. Want the tank drain snugged up first and then the final tweaks on the tank bolts.
     
  9. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Everybody, for your help :)

    All fixed - it was either the gaskets and washers (replaced them) or particular position of items (maybe moved during replacement of above), either way the leak has stopped. So, now everything works as it's supposed to and I learned a LOT during the process. Including some new bad words to grace the toilet with :D
     
  10. markcollette

    markcollette Member

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    Vera,

    I just have to ask, did you stay with the 1.6 gal flush and is it doing the job? By the way, congrats on the plumbing job!

    Mark
     
  11. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Mark, and yes, I'm using the 1.6 gal tank. It works fine as long as I hold the flusher thingy down until the tank is empty. The toilet itself is built differently than my old one - it flushes with much more force. So, I guess there IS a difference between the innards of old and modern toilets.
     
  12. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Just finished installing a new 1.6 for my mom in San Diego. Used to work for HD and had seen a demo for an American Standard CHAMPION toilet - the demo has it flushing 24 golf balls. It is without doubt the best toilet I have ever used and that includes air powered toilets such as the Gerber Ultraflush. Trip the handle on the Champion and whatever is in the bowl is GONE - just like in an air powered toilet. It has a completely new flapper design and a new design for the water to flow. It also has all the plumbing sections that carry the waste glazed - they say it reduces friction.
     
  13. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

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    While we are on the subject;

    The old style toilets are disappearing, true, but many homes were built before the new l.6 gallon jobs came out and still have the oldies.

    In some areas the water is hard and it is almost impossible to keep scale from forming in the bowl----Uggggleee. Also, the scale builds up in the drain holes under the rim of the toilet, obstructing flow and causing the toilet to work poorly.

    An old plumber told me how he cured this;

    He went down to any hardware store, Home Depot, Lowes, etc and bought a gallon of muriatic acid, the same stuff used to etch concrete or clean brick.

    He told me he would cut of the water to the toilet, then flush it. This, he said, should end with a toilet tank empty and the bowl almost empty.

    Next, he poured enough acid into the OVERFLOW ORIFICE OF THE TANK to bring the water level in the bowl to its usual place. (The overflow orifice in a tank is that place where the water goes when you overfill the tank. He told me that any homeowner could find this orifice by simply holding down the valve and letting the tank overfill))

    He would do this in the evening. He let the toilet sit overnight. Next morning he would turn on the water and flush away the acid in the bowl. Any scale buildup in the rim and bowl would be gone, and the toilet would flush as well as it did when new.

    He said that when he was a new young plumber he would get calls from old ladies telling him they needed a new stool. He would look at the problem, tell then he could make it like new for a quarter the price of a new one, pour in the acid and leave. Next day he would come by, flush the toilet and collect his money. Acid costs about $4 now. The process still works. Amazing.

    Gotta remember; AMERICAN STANDARD, CHAMPION MODEL. Dave Barry wrote about this amazing l.6 gallon flusher that really worked, but somehow they would not let him tell which brand or model it was. I even wrote to ask but got no reply.
    Ox
     
  14. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    *Perks up ears*... interesting, but I wonder if muriatic acid is safe for plastic drain pipes and septic systems? If it is, I'll gratefully add this bit of wisdom to my plumbing manual.
     
  15. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    it can crack the china toilet bowl
     
  16. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if muriatic acid is good for a septic system or not. Some waste treatment plants use it as a cleaning agent. Might be better to neutralize first with sodium bicarbonate before flushing to be on the safe side. Many acids / bases are quite safe by themselves but can react violently in the presence of some other compounds. Who knows for sure what is in any given septic system.

    Probably can do the same thing with some of the citric acid or CLR cleaning products. Muriatic is a hazardous product and should be treated as such. In general you never dump to the environment with out first neutralizing it.

    That method sounds like overkill on the amount of acid used. It is used in cleaning systems like cooling or evaporators or fresh water stills but in carefully controlled amounts, always want to dispose of in proper manner, usually that means neutralization in some manner. You might also need some way of reading the Ph. The time factor that it works is a biggy, probably can get by with a far more dillute amount. BTW ultra pure deionized water is also a super good cleaning agent, trick is to get your hands on some of the proper grade.

    Most PVC piping should be pretty immune to damage, might attack steel or cast iron pretty good in the raw form. Old metal pipes and acids are not good combinations, the crap tends to seal them. :p
     
  17. evilbunny

    evilbunny Well-Known Member

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    I used muratic acid in my tub to remove rust stains left over from past tenants.

    It completely ate through the porcelain finish, now I have a chalky tub.
     
  18. obsmac4me

    obsmac4me New Member

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    Muriatic Acid Is Simply Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid, Which Is What Is In Your Stomach And Digests Your Food. It Will Be Diluted By The Water In Any Municipal Sewage System, And Would Thus Require No Neutralization. I Could Not Comment On Its Effect On Septic Systems, Though I Imagine It Could Be Neutralized With Sufficient Baking Soda. Don't Sue Me!!
     
  19. Abe R Crombie

    Abe R Crombie Well-Known Member

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    I use muratic acid for hardwater stains and it works great.It should be diluted with water,mix acid into water never add water to acid!!!There will be a little chemical reaction in water(fumes) keep ventilated.Never ever add a base like baking soda to an acid.Wear glasses and gloves.Also works great for etching concrete,washing brick etc.A little goes a long way.Be carefull,it's strong!!!
    ARC
     
  20. Thoughthound

    Thoughthound Well-Known Member

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    I just happened to have cracked an old tank and replaced it with a new one.

    The 1.6 flushed horribly.

    Then I realized the new flapper had a 1/8 in hole in the side. I figured out that the hollow cup on the bottom of the old flapper traps air when it falls. When you flush, that trapped air made the flapper float and close slowly.

    The new flapper with the additional hole in the side allowed the air to escape from the cup and the flapper closed when the tank was only half empty.

    A dollup of silicone caulk over that little hole in the flapper made the 1.6 tank work pretty good. No holding the handle for a complete flush.