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Thread: Tank rocking: can it be tightened safely?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Mark P's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
    Nyack, NY

    Default Tank rocking: can it be tightened safely?

    We got a Toto Dartmouth toilet and had a plumber install it. The toilet is great, flushes perfectly and never clogs. Also it has a nice design. It is a little tall, though that isn't a big deal.

    Only one issue: the tank is not solidly attached to the base (the bowl) and it rocks. I asked the plumber about this at the time of installation and he said he was afraid of tightening it onto the rubber flanges more because of the possibility of cracking it.

    Can the tank nuts/bolts be tightened some six months later without cracking the porcelain? How do we know how tight, if so?

    By the way, a short review of the Dartmouth: the flush is very efficient: it flushes straight into the exit rather than the water swirling around in a circle like many toilets. The flush is fairly quiet and just sounds like flowing water. There is a large enough water spot and it is easy to keep clean. There has not been even a hint of clogging or a problem flushing.

    I was a little worried about combining this 1.6 gallon flush with the pipes in our 100-year old house, as I had read of some people's problems not having enough water to carry solids through the older larger pipes. So when appropriate I flush more than once, not to clear the toilet but to make sure we don't have clogs in our main sewer pipes. No problems at all for the first six months! Even three flushes is still a water savings compared to the old toilet, and at one flush it is a big savings.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Bothell, Washington
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    Normally the tank bolts come with four washers and four nuts, plus the two rubber washers for inside the tank.
    We bolt the bolts to the tank first, and then set the tank on the bowl, and use the second set of washers and nuts.
    It should go on fairly solid. You can snug the nuts, just don't go crazy on them.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    New York, NY


    Relatively-easy to fix. Here are the Dartmouth installation instructions: http://www.totousa.com/Portals/0/Pro...TOILETS_IM.pdf

    That said, you don't really have to have porcelain touch porcelain. If its the thickness of a piece of paper or two off the tank, that's fine. It will stay stable and not rock.

    Look at Ill. 5 and Step 6. You can (drain the tank and) loosen the nuts a bit and examine how close the tank is to touching on the 3 points of contact. As long as it is standing straight, you can then tighten a turn (or even a half-turn) at a time, alternating between left and right, constantly monitoring where it is on each of the 3 points of contact, until the thing touches on one of the 3 points of contact. You can slide a piece of paper in there to see when it touches. Once it touches one of the 3, STOP. It won't crack until you actually have porcelain touching porcelain and try to tighten further. Once you see that, see whether the other 3 points are pretty close to touching. If they are, great. If it's asymmetrical, then loosen the bolts until you can manipulate the tank a bit, then keep it nice and level left to right and front to back, and restart the slow tightening process. It usually a takes a DIY-er (and often a good plumber) a couple of tries to make sure it's totally straight and tightened enough so it's nice and firm. I have sometimes taken the whole tank off and started over. That extra 10 minutes has made me a happy guy when I have a nice, firm, level tank for years thereafter.

    One other thing -- if your plumber didn't know where the points of contact were, he maybe didn't read the instructions. If he didn't read the instructions, he might not have double-nutted the tank (i.e. like it says how to do in Ill. 4). Doing that makes it easier to get the tank on straight and firm because the bolt will always be perpendicular to the tank. Lots of people just drop the bolt through the tank and base and try to hold it all together with one nut. This allows for some wobble. You won't know what he did unless you take the tank all the way off and look, so it's probably best just to try the way I said above, first. However, if you loosen the nuts under the base and you see the bolt head come up in the tank (and water drip out), then he didn't double-nut. If he didn't leave you the leftover hardware, you can always get a new tank-to-bowl set at the plumbing supply or a good hardware store -- get one with, for each bolt, two rubber washers, two metal washers and two nuts.

    Just a couple of ideas. Come back with any questions. Let us know how you make out. Bottom line: the guy shouldn't be a wuss about it if he read the instructions and saw where the tank and bowl should touch or almost touch -- if those points aren't in contact, you can still tighten more without fear of crackage. Once one touches, you must stop tightening.

    PS Thanks for the review! We have two GMax toilets in our old house, and we have had no problem with the waste moving along to the septic system, so we don't flush any more often than we need to.
    Last edited by Terry; 02-16-2014 at 05:44 PM.

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