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Thread: What was your favorite 3.5 gallon toilet?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Peterson's Avatar
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    Default What was your favorite 3.5 gallon toilet?

    I'm just curious....

    What 3.5 gallon toilet did all of you plumbers recommend before toilets switched to 1.6 gallons per flush? Any that you didn't recommend?

    It seemed that back in the day that purchasing a toilet wasn't such a big deal until it was mandated that all toilets today have to be 1.6 gpf. Or was it a big deal back then and were there horrible units that plumbers didn't recommend?

    I've noticed in my neck of the woods (Central PA) that there are loads of American Standard Cadets and Eljer Touch Flush Emblems from the 60's and 70's - so they must have been highly recommended.

    Just curious as to what the experts recommended back in the day.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    When new homes are built, plumbers are asked to bid for the job.
    Most bids will say something like "competitive" toilet, lav, whatever. That means we get to pick something to fill the hole so that the builder can sell the home.
    A competitive toilet is whatever we chose to install, and most of the time, it's whatever we're getting a good price on from the wholesaler.
    When I started putting my report on toilets together, I was getting many comments from the plumbers I was polling that read

    "I've been installing "well known brand" for thirty years, and nothing works well."

    Do you think the plumbers really care?
    They don't. It's about putting food on the table.

    A successful home builder may be working on a 5% profit margin. Do you think that is going to be jeopardized by "upgrading" components in the home? When a home is sold, the buyer sees a white porcelain throne. Good enough.

    I built and sold homes for a while. And I've plumbed plenty of homes in my day for other builders. That's how it works.

    That being said, at least the 3.5 toilet worked well enough.
    The first 1.6 toilets were pretty bad.
    Currently, you can buy a good 1.6 that will outperform the 3.5's
    There is less plunging with a good 1.6 then there is with the old 3.5's

    3.5's became extinct after 1991
    That's twenty years ago.

    Last edited by Terry; 06-01-2013 at 04:31 PM.

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    "good 3.5"

    That may be an oxymorn, as I am not sure there was a good one. Pretty much every manufacturer took a 5 gallon toilet, lowered the tank water level or put a float on the flapper chain, and called it 3.5
    It was not a good era in the toilet world! Lasted I think from 1987 to 1991. Best forgotten!

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    DIY Junior Member Peterson's Avatar
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    OK, I'll rephrase this......if you were a plumber before toilets became low-flow, what brand/model toilet would you have recommended for a homeowner to install? I was just curious as to what were considered good fixtures back in the 60's, 70's and 80's.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    When I was building homes in the mid 80's, I was upgrading to the two-piece Kohler Wellworth. The other builders were using cheaper toilets.
    I didn't consider the one-piece Kohlers as a good idea though.

    Homeowners have this idea that the older toilets were somehow better.
    I don't see it that way. Every home had a plunger in those days. In what way is plugging a toilet and then plunging it better then what we have now?
    I don't have a plunger in my home, and most of my customers no longer buy plungers.
    If you break open the old bowls, it's always surprising how poorly they were thought out. They didn't seem to understand fluid dynamics.
    Last edited by Terry; 09-04-2011 at 04:22 PM.

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    DIY Member BlueHouse's Avatar
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    The Kohler Wellworth Lite. It clogged a lot, but I remember it, that guzzler.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    The Kohler Wellworth Lite was a 1.6 gallon toilet. And it was one of the worst of the 1.6's

    He was asking about 3.5 gallon toilets.

  8. #8
    DIY Member BlueHouse's Avatar
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    AS Afton, then. It reminded me of a Drake.

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    DIY Junior Member chrisf8657's Avatar
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    We still have some Kilgore 3.5's from 1982 in here. I can clog one of those half the time compared to NEVER having to plunge (or ever clogged) the Cadet 3 we bought a year and a half ago to replace a cracked tank. I've thrown 10-12 inch logs down the Cadet 3 the Kilgore would never take....at all.

    Like Terry and some others have said, the trapway plays alot into it.
    The Kilgores are low-sitting, and the trapway has alot of bends...

    As most people on here know the stigma of 1.6'ers came from the early 90's to a little while ago, and it's stuck.

    My favorite though, to be more on topic, is some American Standard model I can't remember from 1979 - was in my Aunt's house when I visited. They also had one of those "early" 1.6'ers downstairs - it flushed so slow even with a tiny piece of TP I never used it out of fear...
    Last edited by chrisf8657; 10-17-2011 at 03:03 AM.

  10. #10
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    That's sort of like asking which Yugo is the best...
    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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