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Thread: Correct use of washers on toilet tank bolts

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Default Correct use of washers on toilet tank bolts

    One of the tank-to-bowl bolts on one of my toilets has rusted and snapped off on the outside of the tank. I bought a new kit with brass bolts, metal and rubber washers, etc. but want to double-check the order in which you use these things.

    Thinking about this from top to bottom, I know I need to use a rubber washer inside the tank; do I need to use a metal washer between the bolt head and the rubber washer?

    This kit has 4 rubber washers but doesn't say where the other 2 go -- I 'm assuming on the outside of the tank, followed by a metal washer and hex nut?

    Then the bolts go through the holes in the bowl and the tank is actually held to the bowl with the wing nuts provided...

    Pls let me know if this is right or wrong -- very poor instructions on the kit...

    Thanks
    Steve Wengel

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Default

    There are different schools of thought on this. Here is what I do:

    Working from the top: rubber washer right up against the bolt head ( NO METAL WASHER ); this now goes through the bottom of the tank. Now I put a metal washer and then a nut. No rubber washer on the underside of the tank. I can snug this nut up real tight to ensure a good seal inside tank, and this can be tightened without fear of cracking porcelain.

    Now, the tank gets set on the bowl. I put up a rubber washer, then a metal washer, then the nut ( which may be a wing nut or regular hex nut.) This nut gets hand-tightened ONLY. NEVER a wrench here. I push down gently on one side of the tank and then the other to allow finger tightening and proper leveling of the tank.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Thanks, Jimbo! Just what I needed.

    In the past I had used a metal washer inside the tank (between bolt head and rubber washer) and I think maybe that's why things corroded -- dissimilar metals together under water...

    I especially like your advice about tightening the bottom nuts alternately, and by hand.

  4. #4

    Thumbs up

    Working from the top: rubber washer right up against the bolt head ( NO METAL WASHER ); this now goes through the bottom of the tank. Now I put a metal washer and then a nut. No rubber washer on the underside of the tank. I can snug this nut up real tight to ensure a good seal inside tank, and this can be tightened without fear of cracking porcelain.
    Now that's is the "slickest" thing I 've ever heard.........
    I'd have never thought of that...... "puttin on a set of bolts BEFORE you attach the tank to the bowl. Pure genius!! If I hang around here much longer, no telling what will happen!! Thanks jimbo.......

    Tom

  5. #5

    Default

    Funny, I just had the same problem last night (the HD fluid master tank bolt set had no instructions whatsoever) and did just about the same thing, though I added an extra brass washer of my own btwn brass bolt head and rubber washer w/in tank. Sealed great.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default bolts

    Some of the old American Standard tanks do not have enough space between the tank and the bowl for the extra nuts, but for most other systems double nuts are the only way to go. But I still tighten the bottom nuts to the bowl with a wrench. In fact some bowls do not have enough room for the wing nuts so I use hex nuts there also.

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