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Thread: Kohler Memoir toilet leaking again

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member williambmac's Avatar
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    Default Kohler Memoir toilet leaking again

    First time posting here, so please be patient with my long winded problem. Several years ago I installed a Memiors pedestal sink and matching toilet in our powder room. Well since then I have replaced the wax ring numerous time in an attempt to repair what was then a very small/slow leak at the base of the toilet. I had also used a flange repair kit to fix the cracked toilet flange.
    Now two days ago my wife comes to me and says than there is a small lake around the base of the toilet.
    I drain and remove the toilet and notice that the flange on the one side is now completely broken.
    I figured that this is the problem, so I cut off the pipe aprox 8" below the floor install a coupling and a new stainless steel/pvc flange. Glue everything in place and let it sit over night.
    Yesterday I re-assembled everything using a nice new wax ring.
    I flushed the toilet about a dozen times and inspected for leaks, none found.
    We used the toilet about a dozen times after that without any problem.
    Then my one son ( I have twin 5yo's) decides to take a dump on the toilet, it goes down slow but it goes down.
    Approx an hour later I go to use the toilet and notice it is leaking around the base again.
    I also noticed that the seat and lid cover have water on them. The lid was closed.
    It looks like a geyser shot up and sprayed the lid. The water was not dirty water either.
    I just removed the toilet and it does not appear the wax ring is leaking. I will say that the wax seal between the flange and toilet is paper thin. The toilet is not contacting the flange because it bolts down and does not move.
    I am not to fond of this toilet because it has had a blockage problem since it was new. I am constantly plunging it after my kids us it.
    I thought perhaps the drain pipe might be partially clogged and backing up, but i can run a 5 gallon bucket of water down it with no problems.
    I have also read that the fluidmaster wax seal with the plastic extension are prone to leaking. Should I try just a std wax seal?
    I am basically at my wits end with attempting to remedy the problem.
    Does any one have any suggestions? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Unless the flange was installed above the finished floor, it will take two rings.

    And you have two five year olds and they never hit the floor? That's pretty good. How many toys have they tried to flush down the bowl? You might find a few of the there in the lower trapway.

    But really, the Memoirs toilet was a dog to start with. Good luck with that. That is not the choice I would have expected you to make with two boys.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member williambmac's Avatar
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    The flange is mounted on top of a finished hardwood floor. The floor is level.
    My kids have hit the floor numerous times, but this is clear water, not pee.
    It is definitely coming from under the toilet.
    The powder room was redone prior to the arrival of the kid.
    The memoir was not my choice, my wife liked the design of the pedestal sink and toilet. Live and learn.
    Believe it or not my kids have yet to try and flush any type of toy.
    Being an auto tech by trade, I can't tell you how many times I have replaced car stereos and dvd players because the kids attempt to use them as piggy banks!

    One concern I have is the kids wipes, I was told that perhaps they could be causing a partial blockage. Unfortunately I live in a townhome and canot access the drain pipe.
    I am going to attempt to run a snake throught the pipe, then use a double thick wax ring without the plastic spout. Hopefully this works.

  4. #4
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    If the flange is above the floor, then one wax ring will do.
    However, the Memoirs that you have, is a poorly rated toilet. Sorry.

    The picture below, was from a home with a young boy. The young boy absolutley did not flush this toy down the toilet.
    It must have been the mother that did it.


  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member williambmac's Avatar
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    I can say that I am 99.9% sure my kids have never flushed anything down the toilet. My wife on the otherhand, I am not sure about.
    Unfortunately I have not access to the lower trap. I am in a townhome and the pipes are all behind the wall. So unless I go knocking down my heighbors Walls, I am S.O.L.
    I did think about swapping out the toilet, but I need a toilet the will mmatch the pedestal sink.
    Just out of curiousity what makes the Memoir toilet so bad? Is it just because they clogg up all the time. I have never clogged it up once. It's the 5 lb meatballs that come from my kids that create the problem. The diameter of there crap is often larger that the mouth of the toilet! What brand/type toilet would you recommend for someone that is on a budget. Thanks.

  6. #6
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    The Memoirs has too tight of bends on the trapway.
    It has a 2" flush valve on the tank.
    I found an old MaP rating for this, 125 grams. That's pathetic!
    The glaze is kind of rough. At least the one on Old Brick Road in Redmond that I used.

    You don't understand how a toilet is made. The trapway is in the bowl. At the most, you are looking at 2" or less with tight bends that objects have to navigate to exit out of the bowl. Once it leaves the bowl, you have nice rounded bends that are 3" or larger in size.

    Things women drop in:
    Make-up pens, Shampoo bottles, bars of soap, cell phones, All matter of ear hardware, Ball point pens,

    The Kohler trapway is a real nice collector. When I pull the bowl I find all kinds of good things that were never left there by the homeowners. It's magic!



    I tried this Memoirs last Summer. Five full tanks before I could leave with a clean bowl.
    My TOTO Drake II only needs one.
    Last edited by Terry; 05-30-2011 at 03:38 PM.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member williambmac's Avatar
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    Well I ran a snake through the trapway of the toilet and it was clean. I actuall flipped it over and ran through the bottom also. I then ran a 50 ft snake down the 4 inch soil pipe and hit nothing. Replaced the wax seal with a new wax only seal, the type without the plastic reinforcement spout.
    I began flushing the toilet to test it out and after about eight flushes I noticed water seeping out from the front of the toilet.
    I removed the toilet and could see no visible signs of leakage around the seal.
    At this point I am going to assume there is either a small crack or a defect in the casting of the toilet.
    I was going to look at the Toto Drake II. I have read the reviews here and it appears to be a quality loo, but researching on other sites, consumers seam to complain about it's ability to clean the toilet. Apparently slider marks require the use of a toilet brush because it has a low water level in the bowl and the toilet also lacks cleaning jets around the upper rim. Is this true?

  8. #8
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Other sites?
    Keep in mind that most complaints are from people that are replacing 20-50 YO toilets. Nothing in the last twenty years has been using more than 1.6 gallons. They are comparing twenty plus, 3.5 gallon toilets with new 1.6 gallon bowls.
    Which by the way, just to be blunt about it, the toilet pictured above, the Kohler Memoirs, took me five flushes with the entire tank, that's about 15 gallons to clear the bowl for me. I had people knocking on the door wondering when they could use the bathroom.
    The Drake II does it with 1.28 gallons. Why the big difference? Since last year when I had colon cancer I've been using an Ileostomy bag and having to empty it. Nothing is harder to flush down then what comes out of these. The toilet you have, the Kohler Memoirs with Ingenium flush, which previously I had considered fairly good at rinsing, was just pathetic at cleaning the bowl Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to have people knocking on the bathroom door, wondering why you are holding the bathroom captive? I have lots of stories now, trying out different bowls, comparing how well they really clean. I look forward to next year, two more surgeries and being cured of this. In the meantime, I'm plenty glad for something called Sanagloss and double cyclone rinse. Do I want to go back to a twenty year old toilet? Hardly. Plenty of those don't work on a single 3.5 gallon flush either. Some don't even clear a single baby wipe. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me.

    Kohler Memoirs rated at 125 grams
    Takes me 15.0 gallons to rinse.

    Toto Drake II, rated at 800 grams
    Takes me 1.28 gallons to rinse.

    But go ahead, try it yourself.
    We pull out plenty of Kohler toilets that you can try out. Sorry, no used Toto toilets though.

    Unless you have a closet auger with a 1-5/8" end on it, it won't do much good. The closet augers, or (snakes) they sell at the home centers are useless. Though with a 125 gram rating on your Kohler, it could be clean as a whistle and still plug.
    Last edited by Terry; 05-31-2011 at 09:31 AM.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Hi Terry, your post is very clear on the point you making. Colon cancer these days seems to be something we hear about pretty often. I have 2 scope tests scheduled this week, and I hope the tests come back negative. I have had respect for you straight foward honesty since I found your website. I am not a very religious person myself, but I'll try to "put a good word in for you".

    I have the Memoirs toilet myself, and it has clogged up a few times from just a good dump. We don't use that bathroom too much, so maybe if we did, I would have clogged it up more often.
    We bought it and the matching pedestal sink in 2006 because they look nice. The current problem I have with that toilet is in another thread I posted, but I think the fill valve sticks because that toilet hasen't got much use in the past 6 years.

    I know personally how embarrasing it can be when others need to get in there!

    My best wishes for a complete cure for you.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

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