Toilet Advice, or a Tale of Two Lowes

I have an older toilet that flushes poorly. Its on of the ones that was made about the time 1.6 gallon toilets became a requirement, i.e., they reduced the flow but did nothing to compensate for the lack of flushing power.
I was in Lowes yesterday looking for something else, when I noticed they had some toilet tanks on sale that claim to have superior flush power, in that they discharge the water faster. I asked the salesman if this could be used with an existing toilet, and he said it could if the hole pattern matched for the bolts that hold the tank to the bowl. He suggested that I measure the spacing of the bolts on the existing toilet and then come back.
So, I took and wrote down the measurements, and since I was headed in a different direction today I would up at a different Lowes. So I spoke to the salesman at this Lowes, and told him what the salesman in the other store had said, and showed him the measurements. At this point he said that I should not purchase a new tank even if it had the same bolt spacing. He said the salesman in the first store was wrong, that even if the bolts match the tanks should only be used on the bowls for which they are designed, since they all sit on the bowl differently, and may not seal properly and thus may leak at the gasket between the tank and the bowl.
So, which salesman is correct?
I know I can always purchase and install a whole new better flushing toilet, but I was trying to solve the problem on a cheap-and-dirty basis. I was hoping to be able to use a $10 off any purchase over $50 coupon that I had been given with an earlier purchase. Buying a new toilet would be rather expensive since my bathroom has a 10 inch rough-in, so its not just a stock item. But then again lately Ive had to plunge so much that my arm is sometimes sore.
Thanks for your help.
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Larry Weil
Lake Wobegone, NH
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Probably neither, but I'd not take the chance of doing a half assed job. Toilet design has changed, as you note. In addition to the tank, the bowl has changed also. Changing the tank may or may not help your problem. IMO, not worth the chance. I'd get a new Kohler elongated bowl because I know they work. We use them at work. I'd also buy one from the local plumbing supply because they are cheaper than HD or Lowes.
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buffalo ny: i like the second opinion. but why not diagnose and repair the existing equipment and snake an old towel backwards up the bowl to pull out any hidden blockage like plastic spoons after you take both tank and bowl apart and outside and clean with a pressure washer perhaps at the local car wash. when you have poked thru mineral blockage of the rim and jet holes with a coathanger or similar wire and put in a flusher fixer by fluidmaster, see their site if you still have a problem.
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That is a lot of labor for a toilet of crappy design. The older 1.6 models just did not work very well.
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Larry Weil wrote:

Since it is a big box place where everyone is an expert I would vote for neither of them.

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Larry,
What did you ask? In the first store you ask if the new tank will fit your toilet, not if it will fix your flush problem. I few simple measurements will answer whether it will fit.
Dave M.
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Actually not so. I did ask and the salesman said it definitely would help if I could do it. Sorry my original post didnt include every word I said.
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Larry Weil
Lake Wobegone, NH
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"Larry Weil" wrote

This is partly correct.

This may also be correct.
The answer depends on if the problem is partly the design of the bowl and how close the design of the new unit's bowl is to the existing one.
Now, if you can get the base portion separately (and be sure they dont run out of that model before you get back!) it's possible to try just the tank back on the existing pedistal but be prepared to have to go back and get the base then redo it if it doesnt work.
We were able to do what you propose with one of our 2 toilets. The other one, we had to replace the whole unit because the bowl was 'wrong' and flushing was inadequate with the origional bowl.
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If you remeber my original post, you will note that I said that I have a 10 inch rough-in, which makes the bowl a special order item. So it's not quite as easy (or cheap) as running back to get a new bowl.
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Larry Weil wrote:

I'd wager they both were. Bowls and tanks probably have a standard connection inasmuch as they're almost commodity items. But a particular bowl and particular tank are probably designed to work together. Mixing and matching may introduce inefficiencies that result in a situation worse than you have now.
As long as your in the mood to replace the toilet, see if you can find an old 15-gallon (or thereabouts) toilet on Craigslist. Hippies are forever trying to do the "green" thing by replacing their toilets with compost piles or somesuch.
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