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Thread: Can't get a good seal on a Rivers Edge Whitehall Lane toilet bowl

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Tadst34's Avatar
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    Default Can't get a good seal on a Rivers Edge Whitehall Lane toilet bowl

    Hello all. I'm a DYI'er and new here.

    I am having a heck of time trying to get my toilet to seal at the flange.

    First issue, the closet flange sits about 1/2" below the finished floor.
    Second, the collar on the toilet has two grooves where the "p trap" is, recessing upward toward the tank.
    In other words, it is not completely flat where the wax ring sits.

    Has anyone else had this problem with a toilet?

    The original problem was that there was a small amount of water leaking from underneath the base. The baseboard(mdf) was swollen from water damage. It has been replaced.

    I tried the following;
    1. Two wax rings. Still leaked
    2. Flowmaster wax free. Still leaked
    3. Two 1/4" spacers with wax free. Still leaked
    4. Two spacers and xl wax ring. Still leaked.

    My next try is to fill the two grooves in the bottom of the toilet with some left over wax then use two wax rings along with the two spacers. What to you all think? I have examined the heck out of the toilet for cracks and cannot find one.

    Maybe thinking for trying the fernco wax free, but don't think it will work because if the two grooves.

    If none of this works I may just buy a new toilet and try that. I don't really want to since the toilet is only 4 years old. Plus I have three more of these toilets in the house. The other two rock and move. So I will be replacing those rings too. The toilet is called "rivers edge".

    Any help would be great.

    Thanks.

    Tom
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    Last edited by Terry; 10-03-2012 at 12:28 PM.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    The pros will doubtless have a better insight than I, but my first reaction is that if your drainage pipe is clear and functioning properly, you shouldn't get enough water "leakage" from flushing into it to damage the baseboard over the relatively-short time period that you are talking about. Also, if you are using enough wax, if I understand your description correctly, I don't see why the wax wouldn't just compress into the ridges that you are talking about and provide a sufficient seal. Do you have any specific reason to believe that the leakage is coming through the seal between the toilet and the flange? Could it be coming out from somewhere under the flange (i.e. cracked drain pipe) or above (cracked toilet, as you mention)? Have you tried putting some dye in the bowl and seeing whether it propagates through a bowl crack anywhere?

    Sorry I can't be more helpful.

    PS Which rivers edge model do you have? There are photos at the manufacturer's web site which you can find with a search engine.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 09-30-2012 at 02:58 PM.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Tadst34's Avatar
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    It is a Whitehall lane elongated toilet. I will try to take a pic of it later.

    After each of my four attempts, I slide a piece of paper under the toilet flushed a few times and pulled it back out. It is all wet. I made sure the area was dry before set the toilet.
    There is no damage to the cealing below the toilet so I think the drain pipe is ok.
    I'm sure there is some small amount of damage to the subfloor, as well as the cement board. But I don't think it warrants me to rip the floor up.

    I was cretain the two wax rings would have worked because I compressed about 1 1/2" of wax but it didn't.


    I didn't try the dye. I will on my next attempt.

    I put paper on both sides and in the front. The piece seems to get wet but not the sides. Maybe there is a hairline crack.

    If I do get a new toilet I'm thinking the Toto Drake.

    Really hope I don't need to shell out another $200 for a new toilet.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Tadst34; 09-30-2012 at 03:31 PM.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member Tadst34's Avatar
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    Is it okay to use food coloring as a dye test?

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Let state right up front, I'm not a plumber, so there are many things I am not familiar with. That said, I have never heard of a Whitehall Lane toilet and I have been on this forum for years. I suspect that may be part of your problem. Second thing, a half inch recess is a lot to compensate for. Not saying it can't be done, just a lot. If it was mine, I redo the flange and get it on top of the finished floor. Third. If your other toilets rock and roll, their seals are also broken, just not showing a leak. Any Toto would be a wise choice. The Drake is a favorite because it is less expensive than many of the other models and it work extremely well, but at least examine the other choices for their appearance and consider redoing the flange.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Yep. Food coloring is what a lot of the manufacturer's web sites recommend, in fact.

    I see that you actually did try raising the flange with spacers and then an extra-large wax ring on top of that. I don't see how that could fail to compress the wax. But we'll see, I guess.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member Tadst34's Avatar
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    Yeah, I don't know what the heck is going on. I looked closer at my other rivers edge toilets and they rock, and one sits off of the floor in the back. It also shows sings of slight water damage on the baseboard. Seems the plumber may not have been consistent with setting the closet flanges.

    I highly frustrated. This shouldn't be this hard.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member Tadst34's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think it is a local company. A family friend sold them to me from his plumbing supply company.

    It seems that the distance from the flange to the elbow is very short.
    Is there a way to redo the flange without ripping up the floor?

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    A plumber could likely do it without damaging the floor. I doubt if you could DIY and if you did work on it and damage the floor, the floor repair would cost more than you "saved" by not hiring a plumber.

  10. #10
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I just did a Google search for Whitehall lane toilets and came up with zero. There are Whitehall lane vanities, but nothing for toilets. Maybe you should check the tank lids for brand and model #, but I suspect you have cheapo builder grade toilets.

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Gary, The brand is river's edge. They have a web site with 3 different models, one of which is the whitehall. Our site won't let you post the link. The part that goes between www and com is riversedge p l b g. It goes all together, but our site won't even let you put those 4 letters together with the name, or even separate from the name, hence the spaces between the letters in this post. There are spec sheets there with photos. Trapway looks primitive. Toilets are priced high for what they appear to be.

    Tad: I'm not sure how the distance you are referencing is important; it doesn't seem uncommon for the closet bend to be right there. (There's a minimum and maximum distance from the center of the flange to the inner edge of the vent -- the water closet trap arm length -- but the bend doesn't need to be far down from the flange.)
    Last edited by wjcandee; 09-30-2012 at 11:44 PM.

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member Tadst34's Avatar
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    I was thinking if the distance is to small it would be hard to use an inside pipe cutter to attach a new closet flange.

    What would be a non-primitive trapway?

    It sucks because I have three of these toilets and don't want to spend $600-$700 for three new toilets.

  13. #13
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    First, as was mentioned, but you may have missed it, if a toilet rocks, the seal will break. Wax isn't resilient...once compressed, it doesn't spring back, so, you must ensure that the toilet is shimmed, if necessary, so that it is rock solid once smushed onto the floor. And, when you set it and compress the wax, try to do it fairly evenly IOW, don't push it down all the way on one side, then the other, either both at the same time, or a little back and forth. The wax shouldn't care if there are small ridges on the horn of the toilet - it should mold itself to that and seal, but if it rocks, all bets are off. The waxless seal may have had problems with those, but wax won't.

    So, the best procedure is to set the toilet down without wax. Figure out where you need shims to keep is rock solid, then lift up again, set the wax, then set the toilet back down onto the shims so that when it is fully down, it won't move. If that fails, the toilet may be defective with a leak, or if it is a two-piece, you may have a leak between the tank and the bowl, or the fill valve seal may be leaking.

    If you shut the water off, does the tank empty after sitting for awhile, or does it stay full? If it stays full, it's not leaking (obviously!). But could when you flush if the seal between the tank and the bowl is either not tight enough, or defective.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  14. #14
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Any bowl will leak it it rocks.

    Pick up some shims at the hardware store.
    Check to see how the bowl fits without wax; does it rock?
    Next install with two wax rings set on the floor. Shim the back to keep the front of the bowl tight to the floor. When the bowl is stable, then you can snug the nuts down.
    Finish by caulking almost all the way around the bowl.
    A bowl that moves will always leak.

  15. #15
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    WJ: Thanks for clearing up the brand name. Of course, I still haven't heard of it so my remark about "El Cheapo" still applies.

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