Disintegrating Toilet Tank Bolts

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Old 03-17-14, 11:59 AM
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Disintegrating Toilet Tank Bolts

I recently replaced the water valve on a toilet that was installed by the builder in my house in 1987. While doing that job, I noticed that the bolts securing the toilet tank to the toilet bowl were rusting badly, to the point that one has no discernible head on it, the other still shows part of what once were large slot bolt heads. When I looked at the nuts underneath, they are also badly rusted and will not hold a wrench. If allowed to continue, this rusting is surely going to lead to water leaking onto the floor, leaking through the ceramic washroom floor, and likely cause damage to the main floor ceiling below and potentially beyond that.

For reasons that I will never understand, it seems that carbon steel bolts were used by the builder, rather than plastic, brass, or stainless steel bolts. I have thought of taking out the plastic parts inside tank to make room for a drill and drilling through the bolts lengthwise to remove the rusting bolts, but that is a lot of work with the risk of damaging the toilet tank/bowl while drilling through the mess that is part steel and part rust. Can anyone suggest any other way of removing this mess so I can install proper bolts without destroying the toilet?

Thank you,

quickcurrent
 
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Old 03-17-14, 01:17 PM
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First try the usual penetrating oil, or PB Blaster. You might try navel jelly to reduce some of the rust. If all that fails I would use a hack saw. It will be painstaking slow, but will provide the best chance of not cracking the tank or bowl.

 
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Old 03-17-14, 01:30 PM
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+1.

Had the same problem with the bolts that held an older toilet, I was replacing, to the floor. In the end, the hacksaw was the solution.
 
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Old 03-17-14, 01:36 PM
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I've used a SawzAll but hesitate to recommend that. The other safer, less labor intensive way is to split the nuts with a Dremal Tool. Two cuts 180į apart. The nut with a little encouragement from a flat tip screw driver driven into the cut will just fall off.
 
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Old 03-17-14, 04:29 PM
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I just pull the toilet to have better access and go at it with the Sawzall. I use a long blade letting it ride on the bottom of the tank and cut the nut off. Then replace with brass or stainless steel hardware.
 
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Old 03-17-14, 05:37 PM
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Thanks all.

The toilet bowl has a lip around the outside on its upper part that the tank sits on with the nuts in between the lip and the bowl itself making cutting off the nuts with any tool I know of (except perhaps a Dremel tool, which I may have to try) impractical even after taking the entire bowl and tank assembly off and turning it upside down. There is barely enough room to get a socket on the nut! It is a Briggs toilet set.

I had thought of spraying some penetrating oil on it and letting sit for a few days to see if I can somehow turn it, but it doesn't look like that will work because the metal is so eaten up.

So far, I am thinking 1) penetrating oil, 2) Dremel tool to cut nut off, but am not convinced either will work. The hack saw is out of the question here because of the shape. The last resort is the drill.

If anyone else has any other ideas before I get started, I'd appreciate them.

Thanks again,

quickcurrent
 
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Old 03-17-14, 05:45 PM
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Had the same problem 2 weeks ago with the old toilet in my basement. The bolt heads looked like the blob. I took a hacksaw blade, held it with a heavy work glove, stuck it between the tank and the bowl and cut the bolts off (only 2 of the 3 needed cutting). Didnít seem to take too long.

whoops! I should have read your post more carefully. I see that will not work. My bad.
 
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Old 03-17-14, 07:08 PM
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Do what Ray2047 says. Or go buy a nut splitter.
 
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Old 03-18-14, 12:17 PM
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Thanks again. The nut splitter would be a great idea if I could get the splitter around the nut. But those darned nuts are a bit recessed, so that will not work, Norm201.

I found a good thread here Toilet tank bolt stuck

Looks like the Dremel Tool with a cutoff wheel to take the nut off should be the way to go.

When I checked my other toilets in the house, I found all four had the same issue. Looks like a program now to replace all the "garbage" bolts that toilet manufacturers provided. This seems to be a common problem!
 
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Old 03-18-14, 12:23 PM
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I found a good thread here...
Just repeats what we all said.
 
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Old 03-24-14, 10:22 AM
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Got the first one done, painstakingly slow.

This nightmare is either caused by someone's complete ignorance that carbon steel and water don't mix or by someone making the learned decision to use carbon steel hardware rather than solid brass for the sake of saving $2 in manufacturer's cost, damned be the end user, probably the latter. Sick - reminds me of outdoor aluminum furniture with carbon steel hardware, GM making the Corvair unsafe to save $20 in manufacturer's cost, etc.
 
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Old 03-24-14, 05:39 PM
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It seems that the hardware decomposes no matter what the composition is but using those chlorine type cakes in the tank accelerates the process.
 
 

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