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JMurdoch
03-20-2006, 07:34 AM
I have an old American Standard toilet and replaced the actuator in an attempt to fix a minor leak. I probably should have just replaced the flapper, but too late now. I can't get the actuator to consistently stay up when I flush. I've adjusted the chain length and tried to set it every possible way but it only works some of the time. The ungrateful family doesn't seem to think that a toilet that works 80% of the time is good enough! Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

jimbo
03-20-2006, 07:54 AM
What do you mean by the actuator? Is it the handle?

plumber1
03-20-2006, 08:05 AM
Is this a flush valve that has a cylinder with a metering hole in the bottom and is used as a counter ballance?

If it is just put a pencil point into the hole to remove sediment.

JMurdoch
03-20-2006, 08:18 AM
It's the whole flushing mechanism from the chain to the flapper, but not the handle or lever. On this toilet, it consists of a flapper and above that 2 cylinders each open at one end, placed perpindicular to each other. The cylinders sit below the water line, i.e. they are full of water and when the chain pulls them up, they're supposed to stay up until the top cylinder drains (the top cylinder has a small hole in the closed end which drains at the same rate as the tank). Once it has drained it falls and the flapper drops right at the same time the tank has emptied (so it seals). The problem I'm having is that when I pull the handle it doesn't always pull the cylinders back far enough to make them sit right up (they'll do it sometimes but not others). I figure its just a chain adjustment issue but I've set the chain every which way. The only thing I haven't done is attach the "Y" clip (which also came with the unit I purchased) to the chain. I can't figure out how to attach it, there was no Y clip on it before and I didn't have this problem before (or on my other toilets, which are the same and don't have a Y clip).

I was going to change the handle and lever but the only thing which would seem to help would be a shorter lever and its already the shortest I can find (4"). Maybe if I could make the handle turn more to lift the lever higher?

JMurdoch
03-20-2006, 08:20 AM
Yes, thanks that is exactly the kind of flush valve but there isn't any sediment in the metering valve -- it's a brand new unit.

Bob NH
03-20-2006, 08:36 AM
You may have replaced the flush valve mechanism on an old 3.5 gallon or 5 gallon toilet with a mechanism designed to flush a 1.6 gallon toilet.

Many of the 1.6 gallon toilets hold 3 gallons or more in the tank, but are controlled by the flush valve to dump only about half of the tank.

You describe a "short lever" of 4". To get maximum lift inside the tank, you want a long lever. And the connection and mechanism must be oriented so there is no interference with the movement of the flush mechanism.

My new American Standard came with a marshmallow size foam float attached to the flapper chain that kept the flapper open until the water dropped to the correct level. I had to move the float down to the flapper to get adequate flushing.

You may have to do something like that to get the original flushing performance of your old toilet. Another solution is an operating procedure; hold the lever down until the water is almost out of the tank.

JMurdoch
03-20-2006, 09:26 AM
Thanks, I'll try a longer lever. I was thinking a shorter one was better because it looks like it needs to be pulled back. The longer lever would extend over top of the mechanism and only pull up. But I'm no physics expert. Thanks for your comments.

plumber1
03-20-2006, 03:34 PM
Someone may have installed the wrong handle.

dc_homeplumber
03-21-2006, 02:10 AM
I have experienced this problem on older (pre-3.5 gallon) American Standard Cadets. After much trial and error, I found that there has to be a very minimal amount of slack in the chain between the flush lever and actuator. If there's too much tension in the chain, the actuator tends to fall back down over the flush valve opening instead of falling over into the open position. I also had to bend the brass rod of the flush lever (inside the tank) up a little so that it would pull the actuator up far enough to allow it to fall into the open position. On these tanks, a generic replacement flush lever can also cause problems. Lowe's carries an off-brand replacement that looks identical to the original for under $5.00.

I also noticed that by design, these units waste an enormous amount of water. The actuator tends to remain open for a considerable time after all the water has drained from the tank. I ground out the small hole in the tube of the actuator just a small amount so that it would empty pretty much simultaneously with the tank water and close more quickly -- hence, much less fresh water literally going down the drain.

The rubber seal disk on this unit tended to break down (and fail) frequently from the chemicals in my water. Fluidmaster now makes a replacement out of the red rubber material similar to their premium flappers and I'm pretty sure it carries a five-year warranty.