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Thread: Free spinning screw - in porcelain - removal ?

  1. #1

    Default Free spinning screw - in porcelain - removal ?

    I have a 1960's American Standard one piece toilet (!) There is a copper tower-like flushing mechanism anchored with 3 screws into the base of the toilet tank. I have a replacement copper tower to install. Trying to remove the old tower, I unscrewed 2 of the anchoring screws, but the third just spins. There is no access to the screw from underneath, its a one piece toilet.
    The screw head is not damaged, the screw just spins. I assume there is some kind of anchor for the screw, that I can not see buried into the ceramic hole. Initially the screw wouldn't budge, but I applied dw40 and put all my strength into it.. and the screw finally moved, accompanied by a gritty feeling (ceramic being pulverized ?). It will now rotate without elevating.
    I love the toilet, I don't want to have to buy a new low flush one until forced to. Any suggestions on how to remove this screw (about 2.5 inches long). Any insights into how its anchored ? Its a complete mystery to me.
    Thanks in advance for any help

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default bolt

    There is a "nut" on the bottom side that you can reach through the opening. The new flush valve should have the screws inside the hole with brass "bars" that engage the exterior of the hole to clamp it in, and three rubber "plugs" to put in your screw holes.

  3. #3
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
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    Talking you got troubles

    you are probably screwed......

    I have been down this road before, and it is nearly impossible to change out those towers......no matter what you do....

    how you get underneath there to hold that nut is a mistery to me...

    its sort of a grommet with an expandable rubber plug gong through the china...

    give it your personal best,
    then say good bye to that toielt.

    because even if you were albe to get that apart, their is no guaraantee that
    teh new unit will hold the seal either...

    their is no guarantee that you dont ahve a hair line crack somewhere that could be the cupprit too , so all your effort could be to no avail


    If all else fails, you can try this.......cause you got nothing to lose...

    this is the Kamakazi approach .....if you break it , it dont matter...

    take a propane torch or an acetelyne torch and heat up that bolt up

    you can actually burn out the expandable rubber grommett if you get it hot enough...and the rubber plug should give way....

    I said it should give way, and you might smoke up the house doing this too...

    then let the china cool back down slowly

    hey, it could work...I dont know for sure cause before it got that far, I had already sold them a new toilet and threw that one away.....

    they couldent afford me to spend the day screwing around with it....
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 05-27-2005 at 04:09 PM.

  4. #4


    Thank you gentlemen. I had concluded that I probably would end up with a new toilet, hence my willingness to tackle the old one. Right now I have two ideas. Both involve removing the screw head, sealing the three holes and using another flusher type (chain & flap). The two options are either drilling out the head of the screw or sawing it off (if I can fit the hack saw in). Once that last screw is level I'll look at a waterproof expoy sealer. If I successfully get the tower off, I'm putting a small dentist mirror down there - I want to see the nut that caused all this fuss.


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