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Thread: Toliet leaking.. tried flapper, etc...

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    DIY Junior Member Wkid's Avatar
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    Default Toliet Runs periodically.. tried flapper, etc...

    I have a roughly 12 yr old Gerber 28-790 toilet that will run for 2-3 seconds every couple of hours or so. I have replaced the fill valve (fluidmaster), the flapper and the seal on the bottom of the flush valve. I have not replaced the flush valve or the seal between the bowl and the tank. Mainly because I am having issues find the correct parts in a store. I have tried adjusting the water level several times to no avail. Not sure how high or low the water should sit in the bowl, or if it matters. Tried the food coloring test, nothing running down the sides of the toilet but the water was blue in the very bottom of the bowl. It looks like a leak from the tank to the bowl? Maybe the gasket is bad? I do notice some small air bubbles around one of the bolts that holds the tank to the bowl and around the flush valve seal. Maybe they need to be tighter? I have them really tight now not sure what the deal is with that. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!!

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    Last edited by Wkid; 11-20-2011 at 03:24 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Well, did you actually replace the rubber flapper valve? I see one thing that isn't right...there should not be a metal washer on the tank/bowl mounting screws...the head needs to just have a rubber washer underneath it or eventually, it will leak. It's possible, but unlikely at this point (would have likely noticed it when new, not after awhile), on the bottom of the tank, the big nut that holds the overflow, flapper valve seat assembly in place.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    In the Trades mtcummins's Avatar
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    the rubber washer under the tank bolt wouldn't allow water to leak into the bowl, it would be running down the outside of the toilet bowl. the right one looks worn out, and it would be better to not have the washer in there, the head of the bolt is sufficient, but this isn't your problem.

    this looks like either your flush valve flapper is not sealing tightly to the flush valve, or the seal under the valve is leaking. the gasket between the tank and bowl would not cause this either, this also would let water drip down the outside of the bowl while flushing. if it were me, i'd just replace the entire flush valve assembly, new flappers on old valve assemblies have given me trouble too many times.

    best (i.e. expensive) solution: buy a Toto and replace the whole thing

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; best (i.e. expensive) solution: buy a Toto and replace the whole thing

    That thinking also says to buy a new car when the ashtray is full. Those metal washers under the bolt heads MUST be removed, because if they are not leaking now, and it would be a "miracle" if they weren't, they will sometime. IF the overflow riser is not cracked, then you problem is a bad flapper, and they CAN be defective even if they are new.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    In the Trades mtcummins's Avatar
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    haha, yeah it was a bit of an extreme statement. it was meant to be fairly tongue in cheek. I would, however, say that its a little more akin to getting a new car when the brakes wear out... its a little more significant than an ashtray, but i digress...

    more seriously, i do generally replace my toilets if they're over 1.6gpf just for the water savings if nothing else. when you're having problems already, albeit fairly minor ones, is a good time to consider it. I'm replacing my 1.6 HD junk toilets that work fine, but annoy the heck out of me b/c they're cheapos, with Toto Drake II toilets. overkill? perhaps, but peace of mind is worth the cost to me.

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    In the Trades TD12659's Avatar
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    For future references....IF the Bowl and floor around the bowl is NOT wet there are 3 places to look...obviously the Flapper and flush valve. IF either one is out of shape or cracked etc that will allow water to leak into the trap.
    Secondly, has the Flush valve losened up with time or been replaced and not tightened/torques enough, proper washer etc? IF the flush valve Rubber Bevel washer is leaking for any reason...and IF it is an original Gerber from the Post 1.6 days it should be a design that prevents water from leaking onto the floor. Check tightness of the flushvalve by reaching into the tank. Try to turn the flush valve with your hand. IF the FV is Lose the it must be re-torqued from the tank bottom.
    Lastly, on the Fluid-master Ballcock or fill valve, the Water Level adjusting mechanism can become lose where the "Slip Fastner" holds the float in place. Check to ensure this isn't lose and allowing the float to slip....I truly suspect the flapper is not sealing off for whatever reason.
    One last thing. Turn the water off to the tank. IF you are going to be away for a couple days this is a very good test. See if the water is down in the tank only or tank and bowl....Hope this helps everyone in the future. TD

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    DIY Member mliu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wkid View Post
    I do notice some small air bubbles around one of the bolts that holds the tank to the bowl and around the flush valve seal. Maybe they need to be tighter? I have them really tight now
    Others have already addressed the possible causes of your leak into the bowl (my bet is on the flapper valve and/or seal). I just wanted to warn you that the tank bolds should NOT be "really tight". In fact they should only be SNUG-tight. If the rubber gasket between the tank and the bowl is good, then the weight of the tank and water are enough to create a water-tight seal. The bolts are there only to secure the tank to the bowl and prevent it from moving.

    If you over-tighten the tank bolts, you will actually INCREASE the possiblity of the tank leaking (externally, not into the bowl) because you will over-compress and distort the rubber gasket. But worse than that, you will very likely cause your tank to split (and this can happen at any time without warning... even when no one is home, leading to serious water damage)

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; If the rubber gasket between the tank and the bowl is good, then the weight of the tank and water are enough to create a water-tight seal. The bolts are there only to secure the tank to the bowl and prevent it from moving.

    That is news to me. I ALWAYS "tighten" the bolts, because the weight of the water is NOT enough to prevent movement. AND if the bolts are not "double nutted" to the tank, when the weight of the water DOES compress the gasket, the bolts will loosen and start to leak.

    Last edited by Terry; 03-16-2012 at 09:45 AM. Reason: added picture
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Member mliu's Avatar
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    I never said the weight of the water would prevent movement of the tank; I said it would compress the rubber gasket to form a water-tight seal. I didn't say the bolts are not needed, nor did I state that they shouldn't be tightened. In fact, I did state that they needed to be snug tight to prevent the tank from moving. (And they should be re-tightened to snug tight after the tank is filled with water.)

    Double-nutting the bolts is going above-and-beyond; it certainly won't hurt and it can help. In fact it's a good idea to prevent call-backs and dissatisfied customers. But considering that millions of toilets have been manufactured, sold, and installed without double-nuts -- yet do not leak when properly installed -- I'd hardly say it's a requirement.

    Any experienced plumber or contractor will know how to assemble the tank to the bowl properly; my advice was not intended for them. My advice was for the DIYer who thinks that those bolts should be cranked down hard to prevent leaks: "Maybe they need to be tighter? I have them really tight now". A broken tank (and the subsequent flooding) from over-tightening the tank bolts is a MUCH bigger problem than having to re-snug those bolts post-install because of a few drips of water.
    Last edited by mliu; 03-16-2012 at 10:11 AM.

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