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!
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.
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.
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
" 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.)
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
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
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?
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
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.
On 20 Jun 2005 08:43:32 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
LOOKING INSIDE THE TANK;
You should have;
You should be able to tighten the bolt/nut
to create a water-tight seal BEFORE you install the tank.
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.
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:
new sealing washer from home depot toilet dept. (98 cents for 4-pack)
original metal washer
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
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
this should be a 5 minute procedure
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.
just to verify you purchased the correct item, the home depot information
for my favorite tank washers is:
cloth reinforced tank bolt washers
1-1/16" x 1/8"
cost is 98 cents for a 4-pack here
this should actually be the only "hardware" you need!
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