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Thread: Toto Drake, what a joke !

  1. #1
    DIY Member Arky217's Avatar
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    Default Toto Drake, what a joke !

    I researched toilets for quite a while, using this site and others and from that research, concluded that the Toto Drake toilet was the one I wanted.

    So yesterday, I went to a Toto dealer and purchased a Toto Drake toilet.

    It was the model at this link on the Toto website.

    Today, I unpacked the toilet to install it. WOW, UNBELIEVEABLE !!!

    First thing that I noticed was that the toilet wobbled on the floor, I mean not just a little wobble, but 1/4 inch.

    Then I turned the toilet over to see if I could determine why it was so out of kelter.

    At that point, things went from bad to very bad. At the discharge of the toilet, there is a crack that goes 1/3 the way around the trapway.

    Then I noticed that the inside of the trapway is as rough as a corncob. Not only that, but at the very end of the trapway, there is a 1/4 inch lip (very convenient for catching solids to clog at that point.

    Then I turned the toilet back upright and discovered that the glaze in the bowl goes just barely past where you can see. If you stick your finger in just a little ways, the trapway there is also as rough as a corncob.

    If you clicked on the link above, you'll notice that one of the stated features is a 'fully glazed trapway'.

    Well, tomorrow it goes back to the dealer.

    How people give this toilet a thumbs up is beyond me !

    Arky

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    RIght. It sucks because of all sorts of things YOU have identified as a problem, without ever seeing how it works. Brilliant! Really, absolute Genius!!!

    If in fact the toilet isn't formed properly, that would be the first one I have heard of that made it past QC at the factory with the bottom 1/4" off. It would also be the only one that I had heard of with a giant crack in it from the factory. (SHipping damage is another possibility.) This would be standard at American Standard, but not at Toto. If that's the case, it's a real fluke.

    And it would be the only thing you mention that is a problem. If true, those are molding problems, i.e. execution issues. Or shipping issues (the crack).

    THe other things you mention are design issues. Guess what? This toilet didn't get to be the highly-regarded, long-marketed item that it did because of poor design. The design works.

    If you got a bad bowl, it's unusual. And I would just go swap it out for a new one, which will doubtless be fine. Then I would install it, and love it, as I do my two existing Drakes and my Carlyle II.

    But, hey, it's your money. Just a shame that you got so turned off and fired up when you made the right choice in toilets. Plainly, the Drake wouldn't be so wildly-popular a toilet if this experience happened to more than the occasional customer.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I prefer a rough trapway.
    Smooth trapways collect paper and wipes. It's hard for a wipe to stick to a rough surface. It's about funtion, not about how shiny it is.

    We install these bad boys all day long.

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    DIY Member Arky217's Avatar
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    Well, how well the toilet would have flushed if I had installed it, I can't say.

    But what I did say is 100% true.

    The toilet wobbles 1/4" exactly, I carefully measured the amount on several areas of a flat floor.

    The toilet does have a crack that goes 1/3 the way aroung the end of the trapway.

    And the Toto website spec. page for the Drake does say it has a fully glazed trapway.

    In my book, the first two are defects, and the last one is false advertising.

    Arky

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Glazed, and smooth are two different things. As Terry mentioned, they intentionally make it a little rough. That allows water to scour the surface, rather than stuff getting stuck (primarily paper) - a little turbulence works wonders for ensuring stuff moves along. As to the other things, the return rate on Toto is much lower than the other brands Terry sells, so defects are unusual, but they happen.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Not calling you a liar, Arky. Just telling you that the wobble is a fluke for a Toto, because their quality control is usually excellent. And the crack is probably shipping damage. I am highly-confident if you just go swap for a new bowl, you will have something that works really well, which is really the bottom line.

    I used to own restaurants, and you are proving a point that I tried to drill into employees over and over: If you serve someone something that isn't up to standard, even by accident, the customer is going to assume either that I wanted them to have it that way or that I didn't care that he got it that way. We busted our ass on quality control, and I often had compliments from customers who said that they loved that their item was always the same way, every time they came in. Like the ribs were so good, they had to come back to see if they were that way all the time, and the customer was delighted that they were. But people are human and mistakes get made. So I would get my ass chewed by guests who really did assume that I had personally-directed whatever stupid thing the server told them ("It's all you can eat CHICKEN -- you can't get a free piece of toast." {aaaaaaaargh!)), or whatever improperly-prepared item they were served ("These ribs used to come with sauce. I can't believe you stopped serving sauce." [which of course we didn't]). And although I would do my best to make it better, the fact is that as charming as I am, I know I lost customers over every error.

    It's the same thing here. You have in your hands a great toilet. We just overcooked it. Let Toto take it back and give you one cooked right. I think you'll enjoy it.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 04-17-2014 at 09:35 PM.

  7. #7
    DIY Member Arky217's Avatar
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    Update on my Toto Drake.

    There's obviously a lot of people well satisfied with the Toto Drake toilet.
    I really didn't mean to trash Toto as a brand; what I should have said was that the Toto that I bought was flawed.
    But my frustation level was fairly high when I posted; I just expected that for $280, I would be getting a $280 toilet.

    When I returned the toilet to the dealer this morning, he acknowledged the crack and the wobble.
    The crack, by the way, was not a damage crack, but rather a casting crack.
    When I showed the dealer the page on Toto's website that describes the Drake with a fully glazed trapway, he had no comment.

    As far as the flushing action being superior with a rough trapway, I have no idea, but whether it is or isn't, why would the Drake be advertised as having a 'fully glazed trapway' and not actually having it ?

    Also, after I had bought the toilet and discovered its flaws, I read on a couple of sites to avoid Totos made in Mexico.
    Maybe that has something to do with the quality control.
    When I mentioned this to the dealer and pointed out that the box stated 'Made in Mexico', the dealer made an interesting statement.
    He said that he knew for sure that all the Totos that he sells are made in Georgia, even though the boxes state 'made in Mexico'.
    ( I didn't look when I had the toilet to see if 'made in Mexico' was actually printed anywhere on the toilet inself. )
    Well, I don't know; maybe they are. Maybe they had a surplus of boxes saying made in Mexico and are using them at the Toto plant in Georgia.

    Anyhow, I think that I'll do a little more research on toilets before I buy another.

    Arky

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    The dealer should have known the answer. There is a lot of hand work in molding toilets. After the bowl is molded, glaze is applied to the trapway with a sponge and by vaccuming it through so it coats the entirety of the interior of the trapway. This glaze seals the porcelain (vitreous china). It does not, however, bake into the shiny smooth coating that you see on the visible portions of the toilet. Its purpose is function, not appearance. Run your hands over the back of any good toilet tank. It's usually rough, although coated. Additional applications of glaze are sprayed onto all the external portions of the toilet to form that smooth colored exterior surface that appears when it is baked in the kiln. You can feel that the trapway has been fully-glazed because if it wasn't glazed, it would feel different, like unglazed baked clay. The coating is there, but it isn't the same consistency as the exterior, and it shouldn't be.

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