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Thread: New tank-bowl gasket doesn't seal

  1. #1
    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    Default New tank-bowl gasket doesn't seal

    I have a Gerber brand toilet. I bought a new universal toilet fill valve (Fluidmaster 400A) and a toilet flush valve kit (Oatey #459-269). The box says it has a double thick sponge rubber gasket. I don't know if that means anything special.

    The tank-bowl gasket is not sealing. When I flushed with a full tank, a significant amount of water came pouring out from under the tank, I assume from under the gasket. The old gasket seems to sit a little higher when I simply placed on the bowl water inlet compared to the new on. The toilet had three rubber spacer things so that the tank was not sitting directly on the bowl. Are those required or recommended? I removed those so the tank would sit just a little lower and still water came out when flushing.

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by teve; 03-25-2012 at 02:14 AM.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    The hardware store will have a gasket made for Gerber. The Fluidmaster gasket isn't thick enough.

  3. #3
    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    I finally found a tank-bowl gasket for a Gerber toilet. It's a little higher than the one from the flush valve replacement kit and fits snugly over the threaded plastic pipe, but it is not shaped to fit over the plastic hex nut, nor would it since it has a smaller outer diameter. The tank now sits higher than normal and rocks on the gasket. Do I need to get an exact replacement, or can the one I bought be made to work somehow if I can't find an exact replacement?

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    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    It sounds like you have the correct tank to bowl gasket. What you need is the rubber spacers you mentioned in your first post.

    John

  5. #5
    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    I finally found the exact gasket. However, there is a very small leak along one of the bolts which I can see through the tank-bowl gap. I don't want to over tighten the blots. What is the best solution to stop the leak?

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Did you read the linked 'how to install' thread? It explains it all.

    Basically, make sure you have the proper placement of all of the pieces...use of a metal washer on top of the rubber one in the tank almost ensures you'll have a leak. Then, use an extra nut to clamp the bolt head to the tank. This can be fairly tight. Then set the tank onto the bowl and use the second nut/washer to hold the waterproof tank to the bowl. In that manner, the bolt is then just holding the tank in place, not trying to compress the washer in the tank to make a seal.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    Tightened the nuts at the bottom of the tank. I forget I had only hand tightened them. I'm a nut for not realizing that. Not tightening them is the obvious explanation. Thanks.

    By the way, I don't see the linked "how to install" thread. Where is it?
    Last edited by teve; 03-26-2012 at 06:42 PM.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member mattmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Did you read the linked 'how to install' thread? It explains it all.

    Basically, make sure you have the proper placement of all of the pieces...use of a metal washer on top of the rubber one in the tank almost ensures you'll have a leak. Then, use an extra nut to clamp the bolt head to the tank. This can be fairly tight. Then set the tank onto the bowl and use the second nut/washer to hold the waterproof tank to the bowl. In that manner, the bolt is then just holding the tank in place, not trying to compress the washer in the tank to make a seal.
    Woah, wait, so I DON'T use the metal washer between the bolt head and the rubber gasket (inside the tank)? The instructions specifically say to do this, and I'm having the same problem: a very slow drip from one side of the tank-to-bowl connection (2 bolts for this toilet).

    I've already disassembled and reassembled, and the only thing that changed is that the leak moved from one side to the other.

    I can certainly do it again if simply removing the metal washer will do the trick. Does this method require a second nut to hold the bolt in place, or is that just optional?

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    In the tank, the only thing should be the bolt head and the rubber washer underneath it. While you may get by without a second nut and washer, having one ensures that the tank is sealed and the bolt can't be pulled off-center if the tank isn't really solid on the bowl.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member mattmann's Avatar
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    Ah, OK, good then. So on the outside of the tank, I'll use (going from the tank out): rubber washer, metal washer, lock washer, wingnut. Right?

    And then just use whatever the manufacturer says to hold the tank to the bowl, I assume? Just tight enough so the tank is stable and the large tank-to-bowl gasket is sealed?

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattmann View Post
    Ah, OK, good then. So on the outside of the tank, I'll use (going from the tank out): rubber washer, metal washer, lock washer, wingnut. Right?

    And then just use whatever the manufacturer says to hold the tank to the bowl, I assume? Just tight enough so the tank is stable and the large tank-to-bowl gasket is sealed?
    No. It would help if I knew which toilet you are installing. In broad general terms, it goes: (in the tank) bolt head, rubber washer, (then tank wall), (now outside tank): metal washer, nut, then under the base of the toilet, rubber washer, metal washer, nut. This assumes you have a decent tank to bowl set, with two nuts, two metal washers, and two rubber ones. If not, get one. Here's an example, but there are cheaper ones out there that will work fine: http://kscdirect.com/item/SIO%2B490-...OLT%2BSET%250A Note that the nuts and washers are in the proper order in the photo.

    HOWEVER, on toilets like the Toto Aquia, this rule doesn't apply. But it usually does.

    As to "how tight"? Way tighter than you assume. Look, you want to compress the gasket a good deal so the tank doesn't wobble. But you don't want to crack the porcelain by tightening while the tank china is touching the bowl china. So you look at the toilet instructions to see how to do it. On most Totos, there are three points of contact, which will touch basically-simultaneously if you have the tank and bowl level (although you don't want them to actually touch but instead to just about touch). You tighten the tank-bowl connecting nuts under the bowl a little at a time, going from nut to nut to nut, pulling the tank down slowly and level-y. You can use one hand or a friend to hold the tank in the proper position as you begin tightening and as it comes down. In the Toto, you tighten until one of the points of contact is just-almost touching -- like the thickness of a couple of sheets of paper. Once one point is almost-touching, the rest should be darn close to touching, too. Once one is close to touching, you stop, because if you try to tighten once china is touching china, you will surely crack it.

    So you have to figure out from the instructions where the china is likely to touch china, and watch like a hawk as it gets closer. But don't wuss out and stop once you've taken a couple of turns of the nut or you will have a wobbly tank, which can also crack the china.

    Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!!!
    Last edited by wjcandee; 03-06-2014 at 05:36 PM.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattmann View Post
    Does this method require a second nut to hold the bolt in place, or is that just optional?
    Some kits and manufacturers now don't give you a proper tank-to-bowl set because many (rolling eyes) people get bewildered about what to do with the extra hardware and come up with stupid things to do with it -- of course they don't read the instructions. If you insist upon using such a set, it goes: bolt head and rubber washer inside tank, metal washer and nut under the bowl. What happens here, though, is that you often don't get the bolt perfectly-vertical and end up pulling it a little to one side and thus don't have a proper seal between the bolt head/washer in the tank and the wall of the tank. My friends at Korky totally disagree -- they say their studies show it's "fine" with a single nut and washers. But they also admit that the reason that they changed the makeup of their hardware in their kits was because people didn't know what to do with the extra hardware (and didn't read their instructions), not because the double-nut method wasn't superior.

    Because DIY-ers often screw this up or worry about it, Delta's DIY-friendly toilets ship with the mounting bolts already attached to a frame on the outside of the toilet. No bolt holes in the bottom of the tank, no leaks. (Although you can still under-tighten or overtighten.) [Not saying I would buy one, for a variety of reasons, but that aspect of the design takes some of the fear out of it for some novice DIY's.]
    Last edited by wjcandee; 03-06-2014 at 05:49 PM.

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