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Thread: New AS Cadet 3 tank leak

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    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Default New AS Cadet 3 tank leak

    A day and half after installing my AS Cadet 3 I discovered a small leak from the tank. The small portion that I can see with a inspection mirror and flashlight shows a small bead of water at the top of the rubber seal where it meets the tank around the flush valve. It then drips off the mounting bolt on that side. After breaking the cast iron closet flange during this lenghty install, I must admit to being paranoid about overtightening "any" toilet bolts! I did tighten a bit though but the shorter back and longer front points are making contact, so the rubber seal is compressed as far as it can go, I think.

    I wonder if the plastic nut holding the flush valve could be loose? Does one use plumber's putty, Teflon pipe dope, etc. in these areas that aren't usually suggested?

    I installed a Kohler sink earlier this year and ran into leaks galore! Leaks at the MAC washer, water wicking down the threads and one at the popup lever. It took plumber's putty and Teflon pipe dope to stop them.

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Okay, you're confusing a few things.

    You are correct to stop tightening the tank-to-bowl bolts as soon as there is any china-to-china contact and if you have kept the tank vertical while tightening slowly, a few twists on one side then a few twists on the other side, all china contacts should occur basically-simultaneously.

    Compressing that rubber gasket isn't going to prevent leaks while the toilet isn't flushing, because no water should be coming through there when it isn't.

    The likely issue is the tightness of the flush valve mounting nut. Usually, it's best to snug that thing up to hand-tight plus 1/4-to-1/2 turn before slipping the sponge gasket over it.

    However, the dumb system American Standard uses for the Cadet 3 tank-to-bowl washers and nuts is leak-prone, based on many reports on here. If the tank isn't cracked from the factory, and your flush valve mounting nut is snug, then there are two possibiltiies. First, you may have a leak between the flush valve gasket on the inside of the tank and bottom of the tank, which one might remedy by sanding around the hole that the flush valve sits in (i.e. pull the flush valve, use fine sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots, and reinstall the flush valve). That is less-likely than a leak from the tank to bowl set or the mounting nut just being too loose, however.

    Second, you may have a leak around the tank-to-bowl set. Many pros on this forum just discard the AS tank-to-bowl hardware and replace it with a standard tank-to-bowl set, double-nutting the installation. IF that is the problem, you sand around the bolt holes and use a good brass set like this Sioux Chief one, and you're likely to get no leaks. (Any decent brand of bowl set will do: what you are looking for is solid brass or stainless steel, with a big bolt head and two sets of rubber washers, metal washers, and nuts. You absolutely will not find this at HD or Lowe's.) If you go that route, the proper installation method is: bolt head and one rubber washer inside the tank, metal washer and nut on the outside of the tank, THEN mount on the base, then use rubber washer, metal washer and nut, in that order, under the base to secure the bolt (and thus the tank) to the base. Never put the metal washer inside the tank; it causes leaks, although a zillion brain-dead handymen insist that's the right way to do it; it isn't, it's exactly the wrong way to do it. The bolt head is designed to be the thing that seals against the rubber washer inside the tank; a metal washer just keeps it from compressing properly into the rubber (and besides the metal washer is needed to secure the first nut on the outside of the tank).

    Bottom line: first thing I would do is pull the tank, remove the sponge gasket, and snug up that mounting nut for the flush valve.

    Come back with any questions and/or to report how it works out.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 10-28-2012 at 08:59 AM.

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    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjcandee View Post
    Okay, you're confusing a few things.

    Come back with any questions and/or to report how it works out.
    What am I confusing?

    You never use any type of sealant between the flush valve gasket and the inside of the tank?

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    You never use any type of sealant between the flush valve gasket and the inside of the tank
    Yes. That is correct.
    If you want to get real tricky, you can dissemble it, sand the inside of the tank, and then reassemble.
    Never any foreign substance on that gasket.

    Tape or pipe dope is for threaded pipe that is tapered.
    Plumbers putty for under a drain that has "no" gasket. You can't combine a gasket and putty, it's one or the other. A plumbers job is to go into homes and clean up all the goo that homeowners like to use.

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    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Yes. That is correct.
    If you want to get real tricky, you can dissemble it, sand the inside of the tank, and then reassemble.
    Never any foreign substance on that gasket.

    Tape or pipe dope is for threaded pipe that is tapered.
    Plumbers putty for under a drain that has "no" gasket. You can't combine a gasket and putty, it's one or the other. A plumbers job is to go into homes and clean up all the goo that homeowners like to use.
    You had better not come to my home then! On my Kohler sink, the tapered surface of the MAC rubber seal wouldn't go into the hole on the sink properly as it was too small, it seems. Purchased two other MAC seals even one from a plumber's supply, all the same. Had to flip the seal, flat side up with plumber's putty to stop that leak and Teflon dope on the threads to stop water from wicking down the them right past the nut. Very messy job indeed. The use of the Teflon dope/paste was a suggestion from another plumber's forum for the same exact problem that I had.

    Off Topic but are ToTo tanks glazed on the back side at all?

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    You asked what you were confusing. You were confusing tightening the tank bolts and "compressing the rubber seal" around the flush valve mounting nut (i.e. the sponge gasket) with the actual probable source of the leak, which is a flush-valve mounting nut that isn't sufficiently-tight, or a gasket on the inside of the toilet that is encountering a rough surface inside.

    This stuff is designed to work properly without the addition of goop. You just have to finesse it.

    In any event, I think you'll find that if the water is leaking around the flush valve, then snugging the flush valve mounting nut will do it. If from around the tank-to-bowl bolts, the solution I gave you should do it. No goop required.

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    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjcandee View Post
    You asked what you were confusing. You were confusing tightening the tank bolts and "compressing the rubber seal" around the flush valve mounting nut (i.e. the sponge gasket) with the actual probable source of the leak, which is a flush-valve mounting nut that isn't sufficiently-tight, or a gasket on the inside of the toilet that is encountering a rough surface inside.

    This stuff is designed to work properly without the addition of goop. You just have to finesse it.

    In any event, I think you'll find that if the water is leaking around the flush valve, then snugging the flush valve mounting nut will do it. If from around the tank-to-bowl bolts, the solution I gave you should do it. No goop required.
    I don't do a lot of plumbing work but from what I have done so far, none of it is designed correctly. If the inside surface is rough where the gasket won't seal then it should be manufactured smoother or the seal used be more pliable.

    I hope that I don't appear to be rude or thankful for suggestions but I came from a mechanical repair background. Let's just say that one could compress the rubber flush valve seal more to stop the water from leaking around it. It wouldn't leak on the floor but it "might" pass along to the bowl. Granted it would be water lost, a bit of money too.

    I was planning to return an Oatey closet flange that I didn't use at the local plumber's supply tomorrow and I plan on leaving with the proper mounting hardware suggested. Might as well if I have to pull the tank anyway.

    I will post the results.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    A tank for a toilet is much different then a pop up drain for a lav. Normally if a flush valve is leaking around the big nut, you tighten it some more.

    Regarding a lav drain, most plumbers use a little bit of putty or pipe dope on the thread below the mack washer. It's the seal between the threads and the interior of the rubber washer that can weep.
    Last edited by Terry; 10-28-2012 at 04:05 PM.

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    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    A tank for a toilet is much different then a pop up drain for a lav. Normally if a flush valve is leaking around the big nut, you tighten it some more.

    Regarding a lav drain, most plumbers use a little bit of putty or pipe dope on the thread below the mack washer. It's the seal between the threads and the interior of the rubber washer that can weep.
    Yeah, you don't have drain tube threads sitting in a puddle of water in the overflow pocket. I had a hard time explaining this to a guy at either Home Depot or Lowes.

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wptski View Post
    If the inside surface is rough where the gasket won't seal then it should be manufactured smoother or the seal used be more pliable.
    Amen, Brother! That's why we get pissy on here fairly often about the quality control at AS these days (and about the nature of the tank-to-bowl hardware on the Cadet). It isn't rocket science to design something that isn't going to leak, but then they are always trying to make it foolproof for the DIY-er and to meet the price point that Marketing says they need to sell the thing at. If they can save $2/toilet by using a cheaper tank-to-bowl hardware set, they try to do it. If they can push out the door a tank that isn't perfect and make it your problem rather than theirs, they do it. We like the Totos because we get the feeling that if someone ends up with a defective product, it snuck by someone who wouldn't have been inclined to sell it. With AS, we feel like someone looked at it and said, "Good enough. They probably won't return it."

    That "sand the flush valve hole" fix I suggested for you wasn't something that is part of anyone's current install practice on here. That is, I don't know anyone who as a matter of course pulls out the flush valve and sands the hole before installing. But if you have a leak there, Culprit One is a mounting nut that needs to be tightened a bit. Culprit Two is that inside seal, and as long as you know you have a problem, a little sanding can't hurt. What I do know is that Jamie and Terry DO as a matter of course suggest sanding the bolt holes. They do this because it can help guarantee a good seal around the bolt head and washer. Because they only want to make one trip to your home, they take a few seconds on the front end to snug up that mounting nut, sand the bolt holes, etc. By doing it right (or extra-right) the first time, they find that they don't have to make a return trip. A classic example of pros who realize that a few extra minutes making sure it's perfect is always the best policy. Which is why I so much appreciate their sharing their tips. A lot of toilets get installed by folks who don't do these things, but a higher percentage, I assume, end up with little annoying problems like yours.

    Let us know how it turns out.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 10-28-2012 at 07:42 PM.

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    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjcandee View Post
    Let us know how it turns out.
    Well, picked up a set of hardware like suggested from my local plumbing supply. Wouldn't you know, made in Taiwan, not a 7/8" head but 3/4". The OEMs were 13/16" and I was tempted to use them but didn't.

    First of all this a 1.6GPF 10" rough in tank, so I assume that a 12" should a bit different. I had noticed when I first installed the tank that the flush valve was rotated CCW with the ear where the flapper valve attaches was up against the tank wall. The opposite ear is right over the tank mounting bolt. I changed the other bolt first. I tried to tighten the flush valve nut using 12" arc-joint pliers but it was tight, so I tried to loosen it and the whole valve rotated. I was able to remove the OEM bolt by grabbing the tip of the bolt on the outside and wind it out.

    I couldn't get the replacement bolt in but then it dawned on me that I didn't sand around the bolts hole and couldn't with the flush valve installed so I removed it. The flush valve seal is very soft but the area around the hole was pretty rough and the bolt hole on the side I had the leak had a big bump near it. It could have been leaking and running along the bottom of the tank to the flush valve sponge seal.

    I positioned the flush valve away from the side wall a bit but you can't go too far CW or you run into the mounting bolt. When I tightened it up, it went about a third of a turn farther than OEM, they had marked the tank and nut. Not sure if the change is because of the sanding, repositioning the valve or I may have move the seal a bit?

    Just checked it again and no water dribbling from the point I had seen before. I'll keep an eye on it.

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    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    No apparent leaks today either!

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Congratulations! Look like you have the problem licked!

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    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjcandee View Post
    Congratulations! Look like you have the problem licked!
    Yes, still leak free today. Thanks for the suggestions. Just wondering other than a huge pair of arc-joints pliers, what's used to remove/tighten the flush valve nut? My 12"/13" just barely worked! I've seen a tool but it was for the one piece AS toilet only.

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    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Well after three days, it's again leaking from the exact same spot/side of the sponge rubber seal!

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