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Thread: Toto toilet flapper problem

  1. #1
    DIY Member Montalvo's Avatar
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    Default Toto toilet flapper problem

    I've put two new flappers into my Toto toilet (Carollton model) to deal with an intermittent leakage from the tank to the bowl and still the problem continues. A call to Toto's customer support suggested that there might be smutz on the rim of the tank's drain hole so I scrubbed it with a scouring pad but no improvement.

    After flushing, the tank fills normally and then some time later, the tank is heard filling up a bit more in response to leakage from the tank into the bowl. This continues indefinitely. The flappers were pink flappers bought at a plumbing supply store for this model toilet and represented to me as Toto brand, although they were not in a labelled box or wrapper. The Toto rep verified that the pink flapper was the correct one for my Toto model.

    Anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Bob

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Is the Carollton a two piece toilet (can't remember)? If it is, instead of leaking past the flapper, it could be leaking past the gasket sealing the tank to the bowl. If so, then you may need to pull the tank, tighten the nut holding the flush valve in place, then reinstall. If when you run your finger over the flapper seal, if it is smooth, then that's not likely the problem.

    Also, make sure that the flush handle and chain are adjusted properly - there shouldn't be too much slack in the chain, and it should pull up nearly straight, and not pull to the side. If the flapper wasn't stored properly, it could get warped or distorted. When looking at it, does the sealing surface appear to be flat or is it warped?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Member Montalvo's Avatar
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    Default Thank, Jim!

    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Is the Carollton a two piece toilet (can't remember)? If it is, instead of leaking past the flapper, it could be leaking past the gasket sealing the tank to the bowl. If so, then you may need to pull the tank, tighten the nut holding the flush valve in place, then reinstall. If when you run your finger over the flapper seal, if it is smooth, then that's not likely the problem.

    Also, make sure that the flush handle and chain are adjusted properly - there shouldn't be too much slack in the chain, and it should pull up nearly straight, and not pull to the side. If the flapper wasn't stored properly, it could get warped or distorted. When looking at it, does the sealing surface appear to be flat or is it warped?
    Yes, Jim, it's a two-piece toilet but if it was the gasket, wouldn't it be CONSISTENTLY leaking? Also, pressing down on the flapper seems to remedy the problem...until the next flush.

    But I will check on the chain. The flapper didn't seem warped/distorted. I installed a new fill valve about six months ago that was leaking out the bottom of the tank. I bought a cheapy at HD but that shouldn't have anything to do with it, would it?

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A generic fill valve will probably waste water verses the factory one which is calibrated to the bowl/tank requirements. There are a few generic ones that are adjustable.

    Some generic flapper valves have both a ring and loops to attach it to its pivot...if yours does, you cannot use both. Toto tends to use nubs, so on that type of flapper, you must cut out the ring. Using both tends to distort the flapper, causing it to leak.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Default Try the korky flapper

    Quote Originally Posted by Montalvo View Post
    Yes, Jim, it's a two-piece toilet but if it was the gasket, wouldn't it be CONSISTENTLY leaking? Also, pressing down on the flapper seems to remedy the problem...until the next flush.

    But I will check on the chain. The flapper didn't seem warped/distorted. I installed a new fill valve about six months ago that was leaking out the bottom of the tank. I bought a cheapy at HD but that shouldn't have anything to do with it, would it?
    The good news about the Totos, particularly the G-Max, seems to be that good generic parts that work in them are readily available. If you're pretty sure it's the flapper (and not the chain, which is a very good suggestion), just go to HD (or Ace) and get the Korky "Fits Toto" Red flapper (part 2021bp) -- there's a blue and a red and the Carrollton takes the red. It's a manufacturer-approved part in lieu of the Toto THU175S, which is the official part on your toilet's parts list. Your toilet model number is CST774S... so you can see on the Korky box for the Red Fits Toto flapper that it's for your toilet. I have actually had some fun changing out the guts of my toilets, so I would probably start by pulling the tank, pulling the gasket off the flush valve nut and seeing if it seems like water is leaking out through there, and checking the tightness; I notice that Jamie Love, in his piece on installing a Toto Drake, recommends that you use pliers to snug up that nut before installing. (I use 12" channel locks which are perfect for this.) If it isn't that simple, I might just change out the whole flush valve -- the official Toto thing (THU129w-2a, just search on that) for $19.20, including the valve and the flapper, and they usually ship my stuff the same day. It's certainly an easy project to do, and then you'd just be done with it.

    As others have mentioned, although you can use any old fill valve in your Toto, you are likely not diverting the right amount of water to the refill tube (and thus either wasting water or not putting enough water in the bowl to start that perfect flush). Korky has the Fits Toto fill valve, it's the -T version of its 528 fill valve (so 528-T), available at lots of home supply places. That Korky valve is actually one of the ones that is mounted as original equipment in a big percentage of the Toto G-Max toilets (they use a couple of suppliers and LaVelle/Korky is one); I have it in one of my two Drakes. It is set differently from the regular 528 such that it diverts the right percentage down the refill tube. You really might find that the thing flushes better when the right amount of water is diverted. (Korky also makes a "MaxPerformance" version of the 528 (528MP) valve that lets you adjust the refill percentage, for the same money, but why have to bother adjusting when you can just get the one that always does the trick.

    Hope these thoughts help.
    Last edited by Terry; 11-14-2012 at 08:41 AM.

  6. #6
    DIY Member Montalvo's Avatar
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    Well, I decided to double-check my claim that the flapper seals when I hand-set it over the tank drain. I shut off the water supply and found that the tank DID drain, even when the flapper appeared to be firmly (hand-set) in place. That suggests that perhaps Jim's other thought, a leak in the tank/bowl gasket, may be the problem. But when I ran my test, the tank didn't TOTALLY empty...it just went down to exactly level with the top of the plastic bezel that the flapper seals against. And THAT suggests that it may still be the flapper...UNLESS the gasket under the bezel stopped leaking when the head pressure dropped as the tank water level reached just a half-inch (IMHO, unlikely that it would just happen to stop leaking precisely when the water level was at the top of the bezel).

    Soooo...I'm gonna buy the "Korky "Fits Toto" Red flapper" recommended by wjcandee (thanks for all your info!) and see if that fixes things. I'll let you know how it turns out.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Default Good luck!

    Quote Originally Posted by Montalvo View Post

    Soooo...I'm gonna buy the "Korky "Fits Toto" Red flapper" recommended by wjcandee (thanks for all your info!) and see if that fixes things. I'll let you know how it turns out.
    Great! Do let us know. Also, I know you know how to install a flapper, but do read the Korky instructions, if for no reason other than they are always wonderfully-illustrated and well-written, a real pleasure in this world of poor instructions. Terry often comments on how professional plumbers sometimes botch things because they don't bother to read instructions; in one memorable post, he commented that the job botched by the plumber in question required two simple tools that the plumber didn't use, a TAPE MEASURE and READING GLASSES. So I now always heed Terry's advice to read the directions, even if I assume that I know what they are.

    Here's a link to the Korky flapper instructions (Hey, Look! It's your Carrollton in the illustration! [and these are a lot less complex than their directions on how to overhaul everything in the tank, which are great, but so be it]): http://korky.com/PDF/2021BP.pdf

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  8. #8
    DIY Member Montalvo's Avatar
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    Clearly, college degrees are over-rated. If they were worth ANYTHING (let alone the exorbitant tuition charged these days), mine should've enabled me to quickly test/fix my flapper problem in the manner I just have.

    We have SEVEN (7) Toto toilets in my house (yep...one for every day of the week). So, Bob, why not just TEST the flapper by exchanging the supposed bad one for one of the other six in your house? That's the question I SHOULD have asked myself from the git-go! So I exchanged the presumably bad flapper with one from another toilet and tested it by turning off the tank water to see if the tank water level dropped. Nope. And the "bad" flapper? I put that one in the other toilet and it, too, seems to be working. Guess it just needed a change of scenery.

    Now before I get too smug (fat chance!), one or the other of these two toilets might start exhibiting the tank leakage seen earlier, since the problem did appear to be intermittent (i.e., sometimes the flapper did seem to seal properly). I'll conduct some tests over the next week to see if I've been able to magically fix my problem in such a simplistic manner. If they BOTH leak, I'll know it's a virus of some sort.

    wjcandee, your advice hasn't gone in vain in that I'm making a note of the Korky flapper for future reference. And as to your comment on reading instructions, I'm one of the other three people in the US who do actually read instructions and, like you, bemoan the sorry state of most instructions and owner's manuals. Who knew that translation from Chinese into English could be that demanding???

    Bob
    Last edited by Montalvo; 05-22-2012 at 03:34 PM. Reason: misspelling

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    the failure mode I've seen in my Korky flapper valves is when they get old, the water pressure has enough oomph to push the flapper's body down the hole. Sometimes, enough to let it leak around the edge. Basically, the sealing edge needs enough strength to stay horizontal. Once it softens and the pressure overcomes it, it is time for replacement. That time will depend on the water quality from your supply. Mine tend to last 4-5 years.
    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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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Happy to try to help! Give us an update if you encounter more leaking and try that Korky flapper. If the swapped (i.e new-ish) flapper starts leaking on the old flush valve, it's not that hard or expensive to replace that old flush valve, availability as noted above.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member Tucker's Toilet's Avatar
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    Hi, new reader here.

    Our Toto Soiree arrived the other day and we were happy with the way it looks. (One installation tip I wish I had seen beforehand. A Dremel tile cutter bit will quickly start a hole in porcelain tile and can be easily followed by a regular masonry bit.)

    Anyway, the toilet installed easily and seemed to work nicely. That was, until the house quieted down and we started hearing the cries of a baby giraffe coming from the bathroom. The screws holding the ring below the flapper were quite loose, so I figured that was the problem, but the leaking and groaning valve continued. Troubleshooting by shutting the supply valve and watching the water level showed that the leak was at the flapper valve. But, the flapper was perfect and brand new so I couldn't figure out why it was leaking. Someone mentioned a problem with their flapper closing off-center, so I tried a quick experiment and closed it manually. Leaking gone!

    The easy fix (still with fingers crossed because I just tried it ten minutes ago) was to take a wide zip-tie and use it to keep the rubber flapper arm on the inside of the pivot shaft. (On the flapper, locate the rubber arm closest to the bowl. Slide it towards the fill tube and then use the zip tie to keep it from sliding back. You could accomplish the same thing with a washer or anything else that keeps the rubber arm from sliding back along the plastic shaft. Just do the one side that's closest to you.)

    Okay, I've tested it three times now and it seems that the problem was the off-center flapper.

    Hope this helps someone else. Thanks for the great forum Terry. Might seem like a small thing but it's a great contribution to society.
    Last edited by Tucker's Toilet; 11-10-2012 at 06:03 PM.

  12. #12
    In the Trades Towers Plumbing's Avatar
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    We see this alot with the Fluidmasters, not sure about the Korkys but if you stick the refill tube down the fill valve tube instead of above it, that will create a siphon. The water will drop to the low point of the refill tube in the fill valve.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member Tucker's Toilet's Avatar
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    The Toto rep had me troubleshoot it by filling the tank, turning off the water supply, and then waiting until the water level stabilized. At first, the water leaked out all the way to the bottom of the tank. I then tightened the two screws securing the plastic fitting at the bottom of the tank (the hole the flapper sits on). Next time I tested, the water level stabilized at the bottom edge of the flapper. Moving the flapper pivot point back solved that problem.

    So, if I read you right, I should also make sure that the refill tube doesn't go too far down into the fill valve tube.

  14. #14
    In the Trades Towers Plumbing's Avatar
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    Shouldn't go in the tube at all. Most newer flush valves have clips are a specially designed top so that the water shoots into the overflow tube. However, in your case, the water wouldn't drop all the way to the bottom if it was the refill tube.

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    DIY Junior Member brucet99's Avatar
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    Thanks for the zip tie idea. I posted about the same problem with my new Toto and solved it by making a shim from a piece of 3/16" plastic tubing to keep the flapper from moving on the pivot; I never would have thought of using a zip tie. I placed my shim between the overflow and the BACK flapper arm.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker's Toilet View Post
    Hi, new reader here.

    Our Toto Soiree arrived the other day and we were happy with the way it looks. (One installation tip I wish I had seen beforehand. A Dremel tile cutter bit will quickly start a hole in porcelain tile and can be easily followed by a regular masonry bit.)

    Someone mentioned a problem with their flapper closing off-center, so I tried a quick experiment and closed it manually. Leaking gone!

    The easy fix (still with fingers crossed because I just tried it ten minutes ago) was to take a wide zip-tie and use it to keep the rubber flapper arm on the inside of the pivot shaft. (On the flapper, locate the rubber arm closest to the bowl. Slide it towards the fill tube and then use the zip tie to keep it from sliding back. You could accomplish the same thing with a washer or anything else that keeps the rubber arm from sliding back along the plastic shaft. Just do the one side that's closest to you.)

    Okay, I've tested it three times now and it seems that the problem was the off-center flapper.

    Hope this helps someone else. Thanks for the great forum Terry. Might seem like a small thing but it's a great contribution to society.

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