It can take a surprising amount of turning the nuts to compress the thing, but it will let the tank come down on the bowl. Just do it evenly, a little bit, side to side (i.e., don't get one side tight then tighten the other). Since I don't do it often, I like to put a sheet of paper between the tank and bowl, and stop when I get a little friction when trying to pull it out. This leaves a few thousandths of an inch so things can expand and contract a little without putting stress on the porcelain. A new gasket will just be exactly the same...they all are that way.