I never installed a toilet before, and the bathroom I did the install was not working for a few years. It was on the second floor and the last toilet had sprung a leak while the door was closed and we didn't see the leak until it was in the garage. So a lot of work now. I needed to fix the problem before I could paint and fix the spots in the walls that were saturated.
When I started shopping for a toilet I just wanted to get something that was cheep, would work well, and be efficient (I'm replacing an old 3.5gpf American standard that's 45 years old) because I have a tight budget. After much consideration I went with the Champion 4. Now here were my reasons incase your thinking the same thing.
This site was not that helpful to me. Neither was Consumer Reports (who gave this toilet the highest rating). Unfortunately if you look on this site you'll get one thing from the "master plumbers" and that's "Toto drake", or some other $400 toilet that's way out of many peoples price range. Not only that but it has to be my scam radar that goes off when I see those prices. It leaves me asking "It's a toilet! How can you screw up a piece of ceramic?" And then read the reviews and they don't always help. My brother had a Mansfield alto, had it 3 years, and never had a problem. According to Terry "I replace more of them then any other toilet" How is it failing for all these people terry mentions and works fine for the only two I have experience with? Not to mention, I've even herd complaints about the Drake on this very thread! So you don't have to go far for criticism.
Now, on with the champion 4. All that other stuff will come full circle. Got it home from HD and took it out of the box. Everything looked to be correct except I couldn't understand what the plastic insert marked "do not remove" was for? Long story short, don't take it out when you install your tank. lol Now most of the criticism I've herd about the champion line is for the flush valve and is on the older model, but on the new model its about a wobbly tank. And I couldn't agree more! That's BS! It's ceramic, make it right! Not that hard. So I put the foam/rubber gasket on that goes between the bowl and tank. Now anyone that's done this with this toilet will know it's too thick! When I called AS, the girl (I wonder if she's ever installed one) told me to keep the insert in, and about the tank she said "You can't ever have china on china. If you tighten it then it can crack. We've had many customers call worried that they will crack the bowl, but just tighten it down till it touches the ribs on the back and stop." I told her "I can't get it that close. It's already super tight and I feel like it's going to crack now!" She didn't have anything more to say. Now I've read someone on this site that busted one just tightening like she said. So it still wobbled and was already super tight and not touching the bowl. I'm not a perfectionist but WTF? It's totally obvious that gasket is way to thick. The operation of the toilet was good other then the wobble but it still pissed me off and I was still concerned about how tight the tank was already. I felt the pressure being applied to the tank by the gasket could still possibly bust the tank at some time in the future and I didn't feel safe with it. If your not home and that tank cracks and your on the top floor like me, BIG TROUBLE, like what I described before.
Now I would not recommend this AT ALL! TO ANYONE! lol But since I had already set the bowl I wasn't sure if I wanted to take it back, if they would give me a hard time about a return, I actually took the gasket downstairs to my woodworking shop and used my router with a flat horizontal bit used for make for grooves cabinets and shaved off 3/32" from the inside of the gasket where the large nut presses on the tank. (I provided a picture. You can see the tiny spot where there is a lower level towards the corner.) I wouldn't just cut it, I think it needs to be machined smooth. If your crazy enough to do that, which I don't recommend, remember you have to go so so so slow when cutting. Its rubber and the metal will want to grip it and shred it, if you loose it....... sorry. Wait weeks for a new one. That's why I don't recommend it (not to mention the safety risks). What I would recommend is, don't buy this toilet. I trusted American Standard because we've had them in this house for almost half a century and had almost no problems with them. When I put the gasket back on, Bingo! Went down nice and snug and had proper tight feel in the nuts, wobbles gone. (BTW I put plastic washers behind the metal nuts AS wants you to crank against the china, they were the plastic flange washers used to hold up the bolts when you seat the bowl.) I don't have anything against AS, but I don't understand why they would manufacture something that is so obviously too thick?
As for now, it works great! Strong flushes, no leaks, easy to clean... Works Great! Iíll post up in a couple months and tell you all if anything arises. American Standard, everyone doesn't have a workshop in their basement! Please fix that!
I also posted a YouTube video for all of you to check out so you can get a visual on what Iím talking about.