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Thread: intermittent problem with guest bathroom toilet finally shows up

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    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Default intermittent problem with guest bathroom toilet finally shows up

    For some reason I can't post a picture of this type flapper valve. It has two cylinders at right angles to each other and a screw-on beveled green flat plate that actually does the sealing. Some have the plate just snap in.

    Anyway, the 3/4" lg machine screw that holds the flat plate seems to have enough play in its sleeve so that the plate moved 1/8" closer to the flapper hinge and so prevented its closing. This happens infrequently.

    Has anyone had this problem before? I'd get a whole new assembly if I were sure the new one wouldn't have the same infrequent problem.

    Last edited by Terry; 11-18-2010 at 11:10 AM.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    It might help if we knew what brand of toilet you have. Your description makes me wonder if you may have a Kohler. They use many different fill valves and you often have to get parts from the factory...if the still have parts available. Frequently, these parts can be very costly. Perhaps some of the pros will be able to recognize what you are describing.

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    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    It's American Standard though it just says "Standard" on the toilet and they call it an actuator. I bought a new assembly that has the flat plate snap into the assembly rather than using the machine screw.

    If it works without fail for two weeks or so I'll consider it fixed.
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    Last edited by Terry; 11-18-2010 at 11:09 AM.

  4. #4
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Normally you can buy just the flapper, or you can buy the whole assembly.

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    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Normally you can buy just the flapper, or you can buy the whole assembly.
    I did buy the flapper, but when I actually saw what was hanging up I decided to go with the whole assembly. Flapper, $5, whole shooting match, $13, at Plumbing Parts Plus.

    It seems the one cylinder uses the water draining as a timer to make sure the tank empties completely and the other cylinder provides buoyancy. Maybe it really is an "actuator."

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    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    More nonsense.

    Now, the toilet runs occasionally by itself. I couldn't hear a leak but I shut off the inlet supply anyway. Sure enough the next morning the tank was empty.

    The flapper valve socket mates with a ball on the actuator and there seems to be some friction in this ball joint so I put plumber's grease in the flapper socket and shut off the inlet supply again.
    We'll see in a few hours if this fixed it.

    I guess the weight of the water in the tank is supposed to overcome the friction in this joint. With the dimensions of the valve and the height of water in the tank, maybe two pounds pushes down on this valve.

    Edit: a new identical valve had the same high friction ball joint so I used alum foil as a bolt shim in the original valve and the thing now leaks, which it didn't do before.
    I went back to PPP and asked for an overflow tube assembly and he came out with a version that had the flapper valve at an angle, but he also had the prescribed part. He recommended the first model because it resisted water chemicals better.
    $20.

    I'm sure glad this didn't happen with a customer. Never in my life did a toilet put up such a fight.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 11-24-2010 at 12:10 PM.

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