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Thread: Brand new AS Champion 4 - need to hold down lever to flush...even then not powerful

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    DIY Junior Member jphillips_3's Avatar
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    Default Brand new AS Champion 4 - need to hold down lever to flush...even then not powerful

    We purchased a brand new AS Champion 4 toilet (date on inside of tank does say 2011 even though it was bought summer 2013). Plumber installed it. This was a replacement of a 12 year old toilet during a remodel... the old toilet functioned fine. We just figured since a plumber had to remove and replace the toilet for the tile floor and that was in our bid that a new one was in order. The new one flushes TERRIBLE in comparison to our old one. FYI - the old one was also a 1.6gpf.
    I researched this decision a lot before purchase and felt we made the right choice. This flushes nothing like the videos, reviews or even what my friend says her Champion 4 does! the plumber says he did it all right and it is just a bad designed toilet. AS customer service said to make sure the chain is tight... did and that did resolve.
    It has NO force /flow as advertised. It doesn't seem to use near enough water either. I can get it to flush solids IF we hold down the handle for a full flush... still not a great flush but it all goes down. If you hit it and don't hold it like you should be able to it won't move any solids and not even enough water to make it not yellow when only liquid!!
    IDEAS??? Short of taking it off and returning it? AS has said we could do that.. but a) we'd have the expense of a plumber installing a new one b) will a new Champion 4 do the same thing??

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    AS has had some QA/QC issues, but if yours is 'good', it should work. Course, that doesn't help much! FWIW, unless you have less than normal strength, setting a toilet is not difficult. On a two-piece, if you set the bowl, then add the tank, it's quite a bit lighter, but then you have to crawl around under to tighten the tank up. It's not a big deal, but a consideration. Most plumbers would attach the tank, then set the whole thing.

    It's possible that when the plumber set the toilet, the wax ring (or if he used a wax ring with an internal funnel), the wax or funnel have closed up part of the opening. So, the toilet could be fine, just less than stellar installation.

    Unfortunately, the only way to tell if that's the issue, is to remove it and look.
    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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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    That sounds unusual.
    It's a basic bowl with a 3" flush valve in the tank, that should work.
    It's not going to drain the entire tank, but it should be dropping enough to complete the flush.

    I would not rule out something in the trapway that is preventing a good siphon.
    I have seen people crumple stuff up and try to flush it down rather then use the waste basket.

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    DIY Junior Member jphillips_3's Avatar
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    Sorry - originally post should say that tightening the chain did NOT resolve the problem

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    DIY Junior Member jphillips_3's Avatar
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    It seems that the flapper is not staying up long enough -- at least that is part of the issue. I read reviews stating they hear a loud flush and a thump when flapper goes back down. I don't hear any of that.

    I realize that it won't use all the water in the tank. But, upon just hit and release of lever there is barely any used (not enough to move any solid) ... holding lever I get more water -- enough to move solids down but not necessarily enough to clean the bowl. It is NOT forceful/powerful in anyway even when holding the lever. It appears to use much less than the flush on my other 1.6 toilets.

    Terry -- it is a round, standard height, 2 piece Champion 4. Could there be something in the trap/piping from the factory? Unless plumber put something in that shouldn't have been then nothing was attempted to be flushed by us as it was doing this the first time attempted use after he installed. We'd try a snake? What about the stink vent AS suggested we clean? If other toilets are fine should I even bother with that?

    Is there anyway to keep the flap open longer -- besides adjusting the chain which we did.

    If we take this off and return it, you'd suggest a Toto Drake instead?? My problem is install -- we are not handy people. We would rather it professionally done. Especially since this one was. I asked the plumber he said he'd do it but it would be chargable again. Since I bought the toilet for him to install, I get it, but it is also not my fault. Guess we have outruled install issue either? SO, would that by normal for him to charge again.

    Ideas or suggestions so appreciated!

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    WIth most things, when you buy it, you do not get a guarantee from the person you choose to install it for you. Only if he bought it and installed it, would he likely be totally on the hook if it didn't work right.

    But, there's nothing to say that the install wasn't correct until you take it off. As I said earlier, if the wax got dislodged or he used a ring with a funnel, it COULD block part of the outlet, and result in a poor flush. The funnels are sometimes problematic depending on the toilet flange used...if it ends up bigger and deeper than the flange outlet, it will get crimped partly closed, creating a poof flush. Same with the wax ring, if it slipped, or he used two, when one was sufficient...it can squeeze into the flange opening, blocking the flush.

    If you take a bucket and pour it into the bowl, how does it flush? If it drains slowly, you have a clog somewhere.

    Keep in mind that the water used in the flush goes two places during refill...part of it goes into the tank, and the rest goes into the bowl, so you can't must measure the amount used to refill the tank.
    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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    Look. Here's a video of how the thing is supposed to flush. If you look at it, you will realize that it doesn't flush very long, certainly doesn't use the whole tank in flushing, certainly doesn't provide much bowl rinse, but does move the stuff down.

    This video, by the way, is the thing that many people cite as having deluded them into buying a Champion. (And I have to say that on a couple of the flushes, I am a little suspicious as to whether only 1.6gpf was being used or whether the handle was held down a little.)

    Does yours flush like that? Or does the water back up in the bowl and then slowly level? If it backs up in the bowl and dribbles out, then there's a clog somewhere, or the siphon jet isn't working properly. If it does all go right down, then a clog probably isn't the issue.


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    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jphillips_3 View Post
    the plumber says he did it all right and it is just a bad designed toilet.
    Usually when somebody says that something can not be fixed, what they are really saying is that they do not no how to fix it.
    Also anybody that expects to get paid is not going to say that they did a bad job.

    The problem could be that he installed the wrong flapper. Low flow toilets use different flappers.

    http://www.fluidmaster.com//new-inst...correctly.html

    There are other reasons such as clogs in the trap as was already said. Sometimes with older toilets the flush passages get cloged up with slime or hard water deposits etc.

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    But doesn't the Champion have that Funnelator thingy rather than a traditional flapper?

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    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Last edited by Smooky; 08-11-2013 at 11:58 AM.

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    DIY Junior Member GreenWhite's Avatar
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    I too just installed the Champion 4 and am totally disappointed. Very poor job of flushing. Exact same as you are experiencing. I know there is no obstruction from install as I was very careful to insure it was done right.

    I'm now researching a way to either replace the flapper valve assembly so that it can push more water through, or raise the standpipe higher to allow more tank fill and perhaps a better flush, albeit it'll pass more than 1.6 gal.

    Have 2 Eljer Titans which have been fantastic, but were discontinued. Tank on one of my Vortens broke so had to replace. I thought the Champion 4 would be as good as the Titan based on the reviews I read. Unfortunately the Champion 4 has a poor design in the flapper assembly, as a way to control the 1.6 gal flush.

    Chet Green

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    DIY Junior Member jphillips_3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjcandee View Post
    Look. Here's a video of how the thing is supposed to flush. If you look at it, you will realize that it doesn't flush very long, certainly doesn't use the whole tank in flushing, certainly doesn't provide much bowl rinse, but does move the stuff down.

    This video, by the way, is the thing that many people cite as having deluded them into buying a Champion. (And I have to say that on a couple of the flushes, I am a little suspicious as to whether only 1.6gpf was being used or whether the handle was held down a little.)

    Does yours flush like that? Or does the water back up in the bowl and then slowly level? If it backs up in the bowl and dribbles out, then there's a clog somewhere, or the siphon jet isn't working properly. If it does all go right down, then a clog probably isn't the issue.

    In this video you can't see if the handle is being held down. That IS what my flushes like IF I hold the handle down.... however if we just push the handle and release.... there is NO WAY it would flush like that!! Nothing solid goes down if you push and release. Usually not even all the yellow of a liquid bathroom trip will go down with a hit the lever and release!
    This toilet is in our master bathroom. So, my husband and I have "adjusted" how we flush. We are the only two the use this bathroom for the most part... so we do the hold it down flush. Just feel like we shouldn't have to!! We had a second one of these purchased for the main floor half bath..... returned it! There is no way I could chance this need to hold down the lever in the toilet that all the kids and guests use!
    So this is NOT a normal issue with this toilet? I am still unsure how to fix it ? Or do we continue to live with it?
    What toilet should we get for the main floor half bath??
    Thanks!

  13. #13
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    AS does produce some good toilets, but from what people report, whether you can get one or not is a bigger pot shot than with some other brands - their quality control has been shown to be spotty. It may or may not be worse at a big box store verses through a plumbing supplier.

    Toto's production method is a bit more expensive than (most, if not all) other brands. Any porcelain shrinks a very significant percentage as it dries, then more as it is fired in the kiln. A lot of that has to do with the moisture content. Toto uses a much drier clay and injects it, rather than pours it, so it's more stable. All it takes with a conventional porcelain object is to mishandle it a little bit and it can collapse or warp bits. Then, a toilet is composed of more than one casting, and how well they are put together makes a difference.

    Terry has reported previously that his return rate on Toto is MUCH less than the other (and he sells many) brands of toilets. Personally, I have two in my house, and put two in my mother's house, and none of them have given us any problems.

    If you price them on the Toto website, their list price seems high, but the actual street price is comparable with others out there on a style by style basis. Certainly, they have some very expensive toilets, but they take the same care with their less expensive ones, too. I have a Vespin and a Carlyle, my mother has two Drakes (a sturdy, stylish, workhorse). Call around, get prices, I'm sure you can find one at a decent price. Online is risky, porcelain isn't the best thing to ship, but I have had some success, others have had disasters, avoid this if you're in a hurry - often, you can find someone locally who will come close, then you can check it out before you leave their warehouse.
    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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