Toilet Leaks After Rebuild

I am NOT a plumber; just a homeowner trying to save a few bucks. Yesterday, I completely rebuilt the inside of my toilet, replacing the old ball and stem type fill valve with a new float valve system. The kit I purchased also included a new flush valve and donut gasket, which meant that I had to completely remove the tank from the bowl in order to effect the necessary repairs. I got it all back together, according to the directions, and then remounted the tank back onto the bowl. The first problem I encountered was that the bolts that came with the kit to re-attach the tank, were larger in diameter than the ones I took out. This would not have been a problem, except one of the holes was slightly too small to accept the new hardware. After careful consideration, I decided the best thing to do was to re-attach the tank using the original hardware. So, I did, being careful not to overtighten, because I did not want to crack the tank. Using a pan, I manually filled the tank about 1/4 full and checked for leaks. After about a half hour, I then decided to open the valve and let the tank fill the rest of the way. Within a couple of minutes, it started to leak like a sieve. The only thing I can think of was that the old rubber washers that go between the bolt heads and the tank bottom were worn and leaking. Question I have is this : How do you know when you have tightened the bolts enough before you overtighten? If I put a flat metal washer between the bolt head and the rubber washer, wold this fix the problem? would love to hear from anyone who has had a similar problem. Thanks!
George
As an added note : I might have used the new rubber washers, except they were sized for the larger diameter bolts, and I felt this would cause it to leak as well.
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That's precisely the reason I went to a one-piece for my last toilet.
Those gaskets deteriorate in the water it seems, so likely new ones (you may have to get creative) will fix your problem.
It's not rocket science, it's plumbing. "Snug" is a good description. However, I am NOT a plumber but have had success in this area in the past. You may also want to become familiar with "plumber's putty" if you haven't already. Putting it in a few strategic areas never hurt for me, it seemed. It's a dollar and comes in a little pint tub. Looks like silly putty, only a little more dense. Same principal.
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snipped-for-privacy@juno.com wrote:

I'm not exactly sure where it's leaking from your description. Are you finding water running out between the tank and bowl? That's the big doughnut and I've found one size does NOT fit all. I replaced mine twice before I gave up and called a plumber. He told me that my particular brand used a slightly larger doughnut. Amazing how well it worked with the right sized part.
OTOH, if the water is pouring directly from where the bolts slide through the tank then:
" From inside the tank: rubber washer, then put bolt through tank, then install metal washer just before nut. There should be no metal washers inside the tank, just rubber. The metal washer is to relieve friction between the nut and the porcelain. "
(This is direct from an old friend who's now a plumbing inspector for the county I live in.)
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN

snipped-for-privacy@carolina.rr.com.REMOVE
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"Mortimer Schnerd, RN" wrote:

But if the washer is too large for the bolt, it probably won't seal and further tightening will, in fact, potentially even make it leak more...
As you note, need <properly>-sized parts in <all> locations--sounds like the kit used may not have been appropriate for the particular toilet.
As for the "how tight", the answer is, of course "tight enough, but not <too> tight" :) It seems there's just a natural "feel" that says"that's enough"....
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Putting on my pedagost's hat.....
The object, in case you may not yet have figured it out on your own, is to have the rubber washer inside the tank captured between the underside of the bolt head and the inside bottom of the tank. That will provide a watertight seal.
If you use a metal washer under the bolt's head, a potential leak path exists at the metal to metal contact between the underside of the bolt head and the metal washer, and unless the rubber washer then squishes enought to close up it's hole and seal against the shank of the bolt, you'll likely get a leak.
If the holes in the tank are so large that you think there's danger that the bolt head/washer pulling through, then either get a bolt with a larger head or use a metal washer sandwiched between TWO appropriate sized rubber washers.
It's also a good idea to use a rubber washer under (well, technically "above".) the metal washer above the nut. that minimizes the possibility that high point contact force between the metal washer and an uneven ceramic surface will initiate a crack.
More than you needed to know, 'eh?
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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Get a tube of silicone caulk. Drain and dry the tank with a hair dryer. cover bolts with caulk going out a couple inches from them. Let caulk harden a couple hours. problem solved.
Jeff Wisnia wrote:

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you need to always use new washers (home depot toilet dept. - 98 cents)
it is a good idea to clean the sealing surface (under the washers, inside the tank) with rubbing alcohol
also not a bad idea to gently sand the sealing surface with very fine sandpaper prior to the alcohol, if there is any porcelain casting flaws or gunk build-up on sealing surface

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Not your problem but another thing to check, make sure the overflow pipe is below the level of the flush handle. After a few years a slow leak developed in the fill system in a toilet I rebuilt and the water flowed out the handle hole onto the floor , staining the ceiling below.

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On 20 Jun 2005 08:43:32 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@juno.com wrote:

LOOKING INSIDE THE TANK; You should have;
flat washer rubber gasket tank flat washer nut
toilet base washer nut
You should be able to tighten the bolt/nut to create a water-tight seal BEFORE you install the tank.
THEN
Install the tank on the toilet. Use another washer/nut to secure the tank to the toilet base.
The bottom nut only secures the tank to the toilet. It should have nothing to do with the water seal.
<rj>
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WTF?
you don't need all the mish-mash above, I have attached 100's of tanks to bowls, you only need, in this order, top to bottom:
original bolt new sealing washer from home depot toilet dept. (98 cents for 4-pack) tank original metal washer original nut
get them snug to the point where bolt begins to compress sealing washer
it helps to lubricate original rusty bolt & nut threads with a little 3 in 1 oil.
optional: some folks feel better if they add an additional metal washer between bolt & sealing washer
don't forget to clean and perhaps sand sealing surface as I outlined in earlier message.
this should be a 5 minute procedure
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Yours may be the case for one "who's done hundreds of tanks" But, the method I've described works every time for the amateur who's doing his first tank.
<rj>
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I would like to thank everyone who has kindly responded with their suggestions. Last night I made a trip to Home Depot and got all the required hardware. Afterwork today, I will make another attempt. Thanks again!
George
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just to verify you purchased the correct item, the home depot information for my favorite tank washers is:
Fluidmaster cloth reinforced tank bolt washers black rubber 1-1/16" x 1/8" p/n 066100 cost is 98 cents for a 4-pack here
this should actually be the only "hardware" you need!

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On 20 Jun 2005 08:43:32 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@juno.com wrote:

Have you tried making a trip to the borg or better a plumbing supply and buying new appropriately sized tank bolt washers? They're pretty inexpensive.
--
Luke
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