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Thread: Want to change wax ring, but toilet is stuck fast like a vacuum seal.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member elocs's Avatar
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    Default Want to change wax ring, but toilet is stuck fast like a vacuum seal.

    I've done this a few times and the toilets have always come straight up with a little pulling, but this one won't budge. Is it ok to rock it a little?

    This toilet is in a mobile home and I found that it was leaking underneath the trailer (stopped using the toilet and shut the water off to it and the floor dried). This was put in by someone else and I found the nuts on the sides were not tight--the right one I could remove with my fingers, the left required a partial turn with the wrench and then I could remove it with my fingers. When I couldn't remove the stool I decided for the moment to leave well enough alone and simply retightened the nuts until they were snug and see what happens. But if that doesn't work I would like to try the next most simple thing and replace the cheap wax ring that came with the toilet with a better one with the plastic horn (I have the same toilet and used that kind and mine has worked perfectly). Or are those non wax ring connectors any good?

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Someone might have set it in a bead of silicone caulk, which would hold it quite securely. Pulling upward and wiggling will usually do fine.

    Often in a trailer, the floor will be rotten and will need to be fixed to properly re-set the toilet. I went to re-set one a couple of years ago and when I picked it up all the floor tiles were still "perfectly" attached to the bottom of the bowl.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I suspect cacher_chick is right about the silicone caulk. You might try a stiff putty knife and work it under the skirt as well as rocking. It's not the wax ring that is hold in toilet down that tightly. Best caulk to use is latex. I will do what is needed, but is not so difficult to remove. I also concur with the probability of a rotten floor.
    Waxless rings work quite well. They are especially useful if you have need to remove the toilet occasionally for painting behind it. They are reusable. If you do use one, disregard the instructions that come with it. Place the ring on the toilet first then just drop it in place.

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    DIY Junior Member elocs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    I suspect cacher_chick is right about the silicone caulk. You might try a stiff putty knife and work it under the skirt as well as rocking. It's not the wax ring that is hold in toilet down that tightly. Best caulk to use is latex. I will do what is needed, but is not so difficult to remove. I also concur with the probability of a rotten floor.
    Waxless rings work quite well. They are especially useful if you have need to remove the toilet occasionally for painting behind it. They are reusable. If you do use one, disregard the instructions that come with it. Place the ring on the toilet first then just drop it in place.
    Fortunately I may see the guy this weekend who installed the toilet and find out if he used caulk. I did find that the toilet is not close to being plumb with the right side needing to come up a quarter inch. I had some of those soft shims but couldn't get one in more than half way and it did nothing to level the toilet.

    This trailer is more than 40 years old so the floor may well need replacing. Ironically I live in a trailer a couple of blocks away that is just as old and installed the exact same toilet and mine has worked perfectly, flushing well, with no leaks. Once I replaced the ancient flange it was a breeze to install.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    There's no point in shimming until you have a solid floor. If the floor is level, you probably won't need shimming. If you do, the best shims are composite door shims. All toilets should be caulked, mostly to keep water from getting under in case of a spill or poor aim by young boys. Best thing to do at this point is to get the toilet up and see what you have to work with. You absolutely must have a solid surface under the unit. BTW, the flange is supposed to set ON TOP of the finished floor and be screwed clear into the sub floor. So, get the floor replaced and level, a good flange setting on top of the floor, and most of the battle should be over.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The floors in some trailers were pretty lame and if things got wet, likely degenerated a lot. If a toilet rocks on the floor after installation, it will break the wax seal, and you could get splashing and wet the subfloor. Even if it doesn't leak waste, it will leak sewer gas. If the toilet was caulked all the way around, it may have not gotten into the room. In most places, they only caulk 3/4 of the way around, and leave the back open.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member elocs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    There's no point in shimming until you have a solid floor. If the floor is level, you probably won't need shimming. If you do, the best shims are composite door shims. All toilets should be caulked, mostly to keep water from getting under in case of a spill or poor aim by young boys. Best thing to do at this point is to get the toilet up and see what you have to work with. You absolutely must have a solid surface under the unit. BTW, the flange is supposed to set ON TOP of the finished floor and be screwed clear into the sub floor. So, get the floor replaced and level, a good flange setting on top of the floor, and most of the battle should be over.
    It just may come to all of that. For the moment I was going to approach it by addressing the most simple aspect (like in electronics, is it plugged in?) so that's why when I could not get the toilet up I decided to tighten the very loose nuts (also I didn't have the time to do more, figuring that replacing the ring would not take long). At least I know what I may be facing because I would be surprised if a new flange had been install on top of the new floor tiles.

    Plumbing: it just goes to show it's always something.

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Many people patch their flange when they install new flooring, with tile maybe the worst since it is often the thickest. But, the best thing is to reset the flange. The next best is probably flange ring extenders (properly installed!), then maybe double wax rings or a 'jumbo' one. If the wax ring doesn't smush when you set the toilet, it probably does not have a good seal. A waxless seal also can often work (it won't work with all flange choices and installations, though), since it is essentially a longer funnel with the seal on the inside of the pipe. There is one relatively new waxless seal that is shaped like a wax ring, but is made of some resilient material (which makes it reusable). Some here have tried them with no issues.
    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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