pitfalls in replacing old toilet?

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I was in the living room when I heard a loud bang from the bathroom. There was a crack going from a bolt hole in the tank right up the side. Water was spewing out the bottom. It was lucky that I was home.
After lots of reading, I've seen the following:
-you can seal it -you shouldn't seal it, it will always have the danger of a leaking disaster
-you can't use a modern tank as a replacement
-new toilets are apt to suffer from poor flushing and many models suffer from leaks -- unless I get some $500 Japanese model
I wish I could just replace or repair the tank, I'm not concerned about looks or anything. But it seems like replacing is the only option. The old toilet is maybe 1960s, 1970s? The house is 1950s.
So my question is: are there pitfalls awaiting in trying to put a new toilet where the old one had been? Will the bolts in the floor automatically match up? Will the old flange need replacing? Anything else? Thanks.
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On 6/13/2010 11:06 AM, Tom wrote:

I once tried to put back old toilet removed by plumber for access and ended up breaking it. That's been experience of several people I've talked to as you have to be careful.
I had plumber replace with a newer low flush toilet and flushing is fine.
Since, I've had 2 other old toilets replaced and they flush great too. Maybe when low flush was first mandated, toilets were less than satisfactory but new are fine. Few years ago but plumber got $300 for cost of new toilet and replacing old.
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The only variable is the distance from the wall. I believe there are two "standard" dimensions, 10" and 12", with 12" being more common. If the flange is installed correctly and isn't rotted out, it's a simple job to replace the toilet. ...and I *hate* plumbing.
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Lets get the truth here first. For a while, low flush toilets were not very good. Today, they are as good as any. Kohler, American Standard, Toto make excellent models at reasonable prices.

It is plain foolish to consider repairing a ceramic tank. It cracked once, there could be other invisible stress cracks and it can go again. Just buy a new setup and be set for the next 30 to 50 years.

Flange is probably OK and bolt holes too. You will need new bolts and a wax or rubber ring. If you are reluctant to tackle the job yourself, a plumber is probably $100 to $150 for the job.
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In wrote

+1; hit all the bases, finally except one I ran into: Toilet Base Outline might vary from old to new toilet. had to cut away the overlayment and tile to get the wax ring to seat well but setback and bolts aligned perfectly (easy to tell by marks on the ring after test-fitting the toilet and the main pipe was already against an overhead supportiing beam). Fit in a solaris linoleum after the toilet was installed; looked fine.
HTH,
Twayne`
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On Sun, 13 Jun 2010 11:06:48 -0400, Tom wrote:

Most siphon toilets have a universal arrangement underneath to bolt to the flange. I replaced my toilet last year with a model that was advertised to have the highest siphon power. It has a tank but water is stored in a plastic container inside that rolls over and dumps the water out. This reduces the volume of water per flush. This toilet definitely does not flush as well as the old toilet did back in its heyday.And you need to make a courtesy flush if you drop a big load in it. But again it did have the highest siphon rating so your choices are pretty bleak.
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On Sun, 13 Jun 2010 15:42:36 +0000 (UTC), Jeff The Drunk

Didn't anyone tell you that you're supposed to drop ONLY ONE turd at a time, then flush before releasing the next turd ????
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This link isnt working right now due to some company upgrade but you can try it again tomorrow.
http://hdsupplysolutions.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/NavigationSearch?catName=Toilet+Tanks&catalogTerm=&numItems=36&langId=-1&sort=HDS_Misc.Part_Number%7C0&refine=4294965904&storeId=10051&catalogId=10051&nstate=4294967024+4294960391
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Tom wrote:

Have you looked into used, second-hand plumbing outlets for a matching tank ?? My local "Habitat for Humanity ReSale" shop probably has 30 old toilets of various vintages for sale right now.
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Reed wrote:

Around here, Habitat calls it ReStore...
I'll second that. And since you need to take it all apart anyway (can't trust tank-bowl seal once it has bounced around in a truck), drop a rebuild kit in as you put it back together, and you should be good for 20-30 years. I was just at the local ReStore yesterday, and even in this small town, they had at least a dozen all lined up. Helpful hint- make a cardboard template of the base outline of the existing toilet, from centerline in back, to centerline in front, and take that with you. Some number 12 electrical wire bent to match the contours will get you started. (Or scribe it Norm Abrams style, if you know how to do that, and have a set of dividers.) Use that to mark the cardboard, then cut and test-fit. This half-template will make narrowing down the used or new toilets a lot faster. Just slide it around the demo unit, and you know instantly if you will have ghost outline problems. Don't forget to make a mark on the template where the the bolt hole is.
--
aem sends...

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Good grief, you really are lucky. If you had not been home your whole house would have flooded. Sounds like somebody made that bolt too tight.
Patching it dont sound like a good idea. Changing the whole toilet is not that difficult, but I bet you got a place in your area that sells recycled lumber, doors, windows, fixtures, etc. Look in your yellow pages. Old toilets are cheap, and if you prefer you can just change the tank, or maybe even buy just an older tank made to fit. Dont forget Craigslist. I local plumber may have a tank in their back room too. I used to do plumbing and I had a collection of good used tanks from toilets that cracked at the base where bolted to the flange. If the tanks were in good shape, I would keep them. But I'm no longer in that biz so I cant help you.
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Measure from the wall, not the baseboard, to the flange bolts, the ones in the floor. If it is 11-1/4" to 12-1/2" any modern toilet you buy should work fine.
You may also be able to score a free used tank by cruising around the day before trash pickup.
To fully understand what you ate getting into I suggest this article: http://househomerepair.com/4-Replacing-a-Toilet-Part-One.html
Be glad to answer any follow-up questions you might have
--
Colbyt
Please come visit http://www.househomerepair.com
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.

Judging by some of the initial questions the OP may not have much experience? However all home and do it your self repairers have to start somewhere! And almost every job one does one learns something and or stores away info for next time somewhere in the future.
Sometimes it can be as detailed as "Remember the time we changed the toilet and the section on end of the sewer pipe to which on attaches the toilet base, had cracked ..............and we put longer stainless steel bolts right down through the floor because we could get at the underside? Gee; let's see now, it's worked that way for what is it now six years?
Also btw keep a spare wax seal somewhere close by. Chances are that next time toilet has to be taken up it'll be 10.30 PM on the last business day before a long weekend! And if it's not you, it will a neighbour or son in law who is desperately looking for one!
It's all part of owning your own home!!!!! In some 50+ years we have had three toilets in two different homes with both septic tank and municipal service. Considering the amount of use they get, they require very little maintenance.
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Colbyt wrote:

well yes, I do have one. Since this is the only toilet in the house, i figure I'd better just buy a new one (Koehler Wellworth) and get the job over with, ASAP. I've watched every video I could find online.
However, I'm wondering if I can get an all-in-one-box kit home in my car? Will it fit in the trunk or back seat?
Thanks to everybody for all the helpful replies.
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That depends on what kind of car you have. Many of them have tiny trunk openings. If you have a '59 Caddy, no problem.
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Tom wrote:

If it won't fit, open the box while in the parking lot and put all the parts on the back seat. Abandon the box.
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HeyBub wrote:

Awful hard to return it if you do that....
--
aem sends...

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aemeijers wrote:

yep, I had thought of both of those points this morning. But lo and behold the whole box fit right into the back seat (Buick Century). Very good luck there.
So, the job is done and it wasn't as bad as I'd feared. The hardest part was getting the old hardware out (4 on floor & 3 in tank). Even having the hole open wasn't so bad - especially with all nearby windows and doors open.
I am wondering this: the old style float control would allow for fast filling and then would shut off forcefully at the end with a big shockwave BAM! going through the whole system. It was made by one of the well-known manufacturers, so I debated whether that was acceptable or not. It had been like that for years, maybe the accumulation was what caused the eventual break.
I guess I should have learned by now not to trust that corporations will make things that are right.
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Your water pressure is too high.
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Colbyt wrote:

thanks. well done article, with lots more info than a video contains. But I can't find the "What to do when your toilet installation goes wrong" that's referenced. I'd like to read that one, too, before beginning.
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