View Full Version : Leaky pipe between tank and bowl (old toilet)

04-12-2007, 09:31 AM
I am very proud to have a very old toilet in my house (so no wise cracks about replacing it please). The tank hangs from the wall and is connected to the bowl by a short length of 2 1/2" to 3" plated copper pipe (I'm currently out of town and forgot the size) extending down from the tank to an elbow coming out of the back of the bowl. The two pipes are connected by a butt joint with a flange on one pipe that fits against the threads on the other. A composite ring came with the replacement kit to fit between the the pipes.

That butt joint between the sections of pipes leaks with each flush. I've tried a variety of fixes, both legitimate and desperate jerry-rigged attempts, to no avail. No rubber rings that size are available at any of the big-box, plumbing, hardware, or salvage/restoration stores in my area.

I'm looking forward to anyone who might have experience or suggestions. Thanks!

04-12-2007, 10:08 AM
looking forward to seeing the pictures you"ll post when you get back home.

dea bath has an interesting web site with pictures of antique wall tank toilets and their "spuds" and "stubs" too.


04-12-2007, 01:40 PM
Hello Restore1920,

I have restored several of these old toilets, and actually have a collection of them that are put into use on a rotating basis at my summer home. I also have one in use in my home, which has remained leak free since I installed it over 11 years ago. I for one applaud you for wanting to keep your antique healthy and workable.

I think what you need are 2-inch rubber slip joint washers. You won't find them in the "big box stores", but some small hardware stores still carry them as well as the 2-inch slip joint nuts, 2-inch tank to bowl elbows and the special gasket that seals the "spud" (the large threaded brass fitting) to the bowl.

Any plumbing supply house should carry these as well. Someone mentioned the DEA website, and I've seen them there too (and look what they're getting for their antique bowls!!).

There is also another trick used by a plumber who wrote articles for Popular Science back in 1967 (I a kid of 13 back then saved those articles), and he used rubber cement to stop any drips that couldn't be stopped by tightening the slip joint nuts.

My building (camp) shifts due to the frost in the winter, so each spring I have to "adjust" the toilet elbow connections because they drip. I used the rubber cement method last year with success, and it will be used again as part of my setup in a few weeks, assuming we get rid of this nasty snow!!

Hope this is of some help. Good luck on your fix.


04-12-2007, 06:34 PM
keywords are "S J" or "SJ" for slip joint, and "flush ell" for the elbow at the spud.


04-14-2007, 06:45 PM
You can make a very good seal with teflon stem seal. It will compress and you can add more teflon as long as there is enough thread to let the jam nut catch and compress. Also paint a little teflon pipe dope before you wind the bead of teflon rolled or steam seal would help a lot too. Should not leak as long as there is no wiggle on the flush ell.

I've done a lot of flush ells and never did find a good rubber jam nut washer. It also helps if you can get two good and heavy jam nuts.
" Wolverine Brass" also made a very good two piece flush ell. Other wise you may have to be content with a cheap white metal nut


04-20-2007, 02:34 PM
Thanks for the advice. Being essentially a novice with a lot of experience I don't always use the right terminology but you guys seemed to know what I'm talking about. I think I'll try the Teflon rings as they may hold they're round shape better under a little bit of pressure. The composite ring that came with it wouldn't make a water tight seal and the rubber ones I found buckled inward the moment any pressure was applied. Thanks again!

04-20-2007, 05:21 PM
I just rebuilt an old toilet on Wednesday. Every brass or rubber part, and even most colors of seats for those old fellas is available from a number of sources. I'm sure that there is a plumber or supplier in your area who is familiar with these rebuilds. Look for one who has been in business for many decades.

04-21-2007, 03:22 PM
An excellent online source for antique plumbing fixtures and new parts for them is DEA Bathroom Machineries - http://www.deabath.com/index.html