Fixing a leak between tank and bowl

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  #1  
Old 05-30-17, 08:18 AM
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Fixing a leak between tank and bowl

I have water coming out the back of a 35? year old american standard 2 part toilet - between the tank and bowl connection in the back only when it flushes.

Taking it apart I have some questions I was hoping someone here can help with.

1) there was a 3 sided gasket between tank and bowl. Is that needed now? The supply house sold me replacement bolt / washers / nuts that go on both sides of the tank (taking the old connection apart, there seemed to be no rubber washer outside the tank? Did that 3 sided big gasket formed the seal at the bottom of the tank? And if I still need it, I forgot if it goes up or down (the area around the bolt holes are a little thinner than the main part. should the notch go up or down?)

2) there seems to be a 'spillway' on the back of the toilet!?So that's likely where the water was coming out. By design they let it out rather than keep it in there so it goes in the bowl?

3) here's a side view of the old and new big washer / gasket that will go on big port where water goes into the bowl. Does that new one seem too big? I told the supply house what I had. Will that compress down / make a better seal?

Anything else I should know about for this? Want to get this back together on a 1st (or maybe 2nd try: ). Show my son i can do these things : ) it's in his bathroom.

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Last edited by PJmax; 02-23-19 at 01:32 PM. Reason: resized pictures
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  #2  
Old 05-30-17, 12:14 PM
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I was going to join your two threads but the other one sort of got hijacked.

I mentioned taking the gasket to the supply house.

As far as I know there are different gaskets because I went thru several that didn't fit right or seal correctly. I took the old one to the supply house and the guy recognized it immediately.
That three sided gasket adds support to the tank. It should stay.

You may not be able to use rubber washers and nuts between the tank and base. I don't think mine had the room for them either.
 
  #3  
Old 05-30-17, 02:24 PM
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3 sided gasket is more of a cushion or bumper to keep the tank and bowl from cracking when you tighten down the tank. The main seal if from the round thick gasket that forms the main seal between tank and bowl. The old one looks a bit wimpy from ones I have installed.
 
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Old 05-30-17, 03:43 PM
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Those old American Standard toilets used different than used now. I bought every one the Depot had and none of them where identical nor would they seal.

Mine looked like a thinner version of this.
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  #5  
Old 05-31-17, 06:05 AM
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When you put the new round gasket on it should touch the bottom of the tank...you may have to work it a bit to get it over the squared edges of the plastic piece that is on the bottom of the tank. It will compress down to make a good seal. The 3 sided piece can be used in place of the rubber washers as long as the holes are a tight fit around the bolts. As others have said the 3 sided piece provides support to keep the tank snug and prevent it from rocking.
 
  #6  
Old 05-31-17, 09:42 AM
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As always, thanks to all of you for your help.

PJ - yes I remember you saying that (bring the old part to the supply house).

I was hoping to avoid the toilet downtime - have the parts when I started taking the toilet appart. I DID skip home depot and went to a plumbing supply house. I had some pictures that I posted in the previous thread.

The guy felt confident this would work.
Some things before I go back to him:

a) As JIMMIEM says, I got the new washer down over the nut. That is wider than the old and the old C gasket won't fit anymore (it woudl go close to the large nut so with the new washer, the C can't go against the flats of the nut... that area is now round.

b) I put the washer on and put the tank on the bowl. There's a gap now - more than would be dealt with the existing C. the entire weight of the tank (and water) will be on the washer.. would you want / expect the tank to to be resting on the bowl surface (and I guess i can cut / modify the C gasket to add padding. Would you screw down the 2 bolts to get the tank to sit on the bowl? There's a gap behind the tank to the wall - gotta make sure that's got wood / shims so someone sitting back doesn't crack something right?

would you worry about the tank being pulled forward and cracking (glue the wood to the back of tank and wall? Or just wood glued to wall to keep tank from being pushed back.

I am thinking the guy saying that the right washer.
Again, would you want the bowl touching the tank?

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Last edited by PJmax; 02-23-19 at 01:36 PM. Reason: resized pictures
  #7  
Old 05-31-17, 11:20 AM
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The tank is supposed to rest on the back of the bowl assembly on molded porcelain pads or rails intended for the purpose or rest on the 3 sided gasket. The 3 sided gasket is not intended to hold water.

The tank most not be supported via the washers and/or nuts of the bolts used to hold the tank to the bowl.

Suggested order of bolt parts from top to bottom: Bolt head, rubber washer, hole in tank bottom, metal washer, nut. Tighten snugly. After setting the tank on the bowl, add rubber washer, another metal washer, another nut underneath. Not guaranteed to be the proper solution particularly if you still have the metal nut between tank and bowl bearing the tank's weight.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 05-31-17 at 11:38 AM.
  #8  
Old 05-31-17, 01:34 PM
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Again, would you want the bowl touching the tank?
Allan gave some good instructions. It appears you have the correct sponge washer and yes the tank should sit on the bowl and not rock.

Once you have the tank bolts assembled the most important part is tightening the bottom nuts and compressing the sponge washer. If you're not careful you can crack the tank.

If you feel there's no way to compress the washer without over tightening, you can cut the washer side height down by about half. Try to keep the cut straight but it doesn't have to be perfect.
 
  #9  
Old 05-31-17, 03:32 PM
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At the sake of sounding like I'm repeating myself.... you can't use nuts/washers between the tank and the bottom. You need a shorter gasket. I'm telling you..... I had two of the same exact toilets.

Use just a rubber washer in the tank.

You can see in the picture that the nuts in between won't work.

Once the tank is solid to the base you do not need any shims to the wall. It will be very solid.
 
  #10  
Old 05-31-17, 04:03 PM
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a couple things.

1) I brought the large washer back and the guy swapped it for one the same size as my original. Kinda disappointed when I was talking to him about that notch in the bowl part of the porcelean... where water can go out the back? By design they allow it to leak when the rubber washer doesn't work? he said he only installed 2 toilets... (I was thinking going to a plumbing supply place, you'd get someone with hands on experience).

But any thought about that notch where the big washer goes - it easily allows water out the back of the unit when water gets out from the washer.? THe guy seemed surprized too, but again, he admitted he didn't have much experience.

so the tank will now likely sit right on the bowl. And the 3 sided gasket will fit.

But wait!! Allan, you are saying in your bolt sequence - no rubber washer on the bottom of the tank? But yes to washer and nut above the bowl like in my picture? ANd PJ, you are saying NO washers (rubber or steel) and no nuts? That IS how it was originally - water is kept from getting out of tank through bolt holes because of washer inside tank and I guess the 3 sided gasket. There was no other hardware on the bolts between the tank and bowl other than that gasket.

going with PJ's method (anyone want to some (lighthearted) debate on that?, back to an orignal question - the ears of the 3 side gasket are not as thick as the gasket itself. - that blurry picture of the think between my fingers.
 
  #11  
Old 05-31-17, 04:48 PM
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I'd go with PJ's suggestion. I went crazy doing and redoing this repair on a different brand toilet. A lot of aftermarket parts are kind of generic with a one size fits all and the instructions aren't what pro plumbers do e.g. washer and nut on underside of the tank. Best thing to do if possible is get the kit for your brand and model number. I eventually found the correct kit.
 
  #12  
Old 05-31-17, 05:41 PM
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Kinda disappointed when I was talking to him about that notch in the bowl part of the porcelean... where water can go out the back?
If it helps any, the sponge washer is only to seal the flush valve external threads to the bowl, not to seal the large hex nut of the flush valve (even though the washer is formed to the nut). The large hex nut already has a washer or it might need replaced before repairing the sponge washer.

All you need to do is direct water downwards without leaking, the notch has nothing to do with that.
 
  #13  
Old 05-31-17, 07:07 PM
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All you need to do is direct water downwards

So yeah, why was I getting water coming out that notch / around the bowl / tank interface only when flushing? It was flushing OK from what I could tell. water comes out the bottom of the tank and falls into the bowl.. if there's something in the bowl piping that some water backs up, that notch is there to keep dirty water from getting into the tank? Well, an obstruction / restriction leading TO the actual bowl would have clean water (it wants to drop 3 gal of water in a few seconds and the obstruction only allows 2 gallons.. then the clean water backs up and comes out the notch as I am seeing?

But in the case of a plunger - to the waste line is plugged.... the pressure dirty water....doesn't go back up to the tank, right? the clean water is coming out the holes along top of the bowl right?

So again, a) what's the point of the notch and b) does it sound like there's a restriction from the bowl/tank interface to the actual bowl? And how to find that!? I guess when it's back together, we'll see if water comes out all the holes around the bowl? is that the only place clean water comes into the bowl?
 
  #14  
Old 05-31-17, 07:18 PM
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The correct gasket for your toilet, I believe, is the one I posted with the nut shaped cutout. That gasket seals from the tank to the base and the large nut is inside it. If you use the gasket without the nut cutout the tank won't sit down flush to the base.

In most applications.... there is a rubber washer inside the tank under the bolt head and another one under the tank with a washer and nut. On that toilet.... there is no room for that. Just the top washer in the tank is used.

I only know this because I had two of the same exact toilets. After many trips I found the right parts and kept spares. The gasket is critical in that toilet as there is minimal space for it. I've since canned the one toilet because it was pink but the other one still works and seals fine with the one rubber gasket in the tank.

The water comes out under the rim. I don't think that toilet has the opening in the lower trap for flushing. I don't know why the base has that cutout either.

With the age of that toilet, like mine, I'm sure it could do with the holes under the rim being cleaned. A short piece of coat hanger works good. If too many holes are clogged the water won't enter fast enough and the water will rise pretty high before the flush happens.
 
  #15  
Old 06-01-17, 03:23 PM
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thanks guys, but the saga continues.

I've spent $35? on parts at this point. should I expect the pluming supply place to take these back if / when I give up?

I tried the large washer that looks like what was in there originally. And without the rubber washer and nut on the bottom of the tank. I did use the 3 sided gasket. But there's a gap between the tank and bowl / they don't touch. It's a stiff rubber, maybe if i really cranked down on the bolts it would bring the tank down to the bowl.... or crack something.

PJ - if I get your gasket that goes over the large nut, the 3 sided gasket's not going to fit (it comes close to the large nut).

you guys are great and I appreciate your help... but at what point do you personally call it quits trying to get something old working? I work with computers and always think I can solve the computer problem in just another few minutes.... and then hours later I am kicking myself for wasting the time / just reinstall the operating system or get a new computer.

Part of my issues is my phobia of calling in a pro. I've had bad experiences (you can search this forum for loads of my nightmare questions dealing with a contractor / plumber on a master bath remodel and we wound up firing him near the end of the project and I finished things. and did just as well as he did (it was simple end of the job things). And I also have a phobia of water and leaks. I'd feel more comfortable with all water outside the house.

all that said, you know how much a new good (kohler?) toilet woudl cost and what a plumber would charge to install (i'll take out the old one, etc.... I have a fear of them dinging the wall or causing some other damate... then what? try to patch a wall / match the color of old wall paint and that's a production on its own).

and it's not just unwarranted fears - getting furniture delivered, the floor got scratched.

This plumber contractor was recommended from a friend. That friend mentioned about their remodel and how the faucet didn't work, they called him back, he sent 'a kid', he fixed 1 problem and caused another, etc.

For me, I don't like having to pay for grief. I can get grief from my own work at lower cost... but some things i can't do or at least not in a reasonable time. My son's back from college with no toilet and I wonder if he thinks good of me being able to fix things most of the time or wacked / cheap for not just calling a plumber because a project takes days...

sorry for being long winded...
 
  #16  
Old 06-01-17, 04:24 PM
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With the correct parts this is a pretty easy and straightforward fix. Did you check on-line for videos? Installing a new toilet is not hard....just need to make sure it will fit properly....I'm having a brain cramp for the correct term but you need to know the toilet depth so that it will be able to fit properly. Measure the distance between the waste line and the wall....the bolts holding the base should be at the center of the waste line...take this measurement with you when you go to buy the new toilet. All you will have to do is hook up the water supply, install the wax bowl seal. I watched a plumber do it and then kicked myself after I got the bill......next time I did it myself.
 
  #17  
Old 06-02-17, 11:33 AM
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JIMMIEM and everyone else. Thanks!

Yeah, so I gave up on getting this old one going.

Pulled it all out.

Getting a Kohler Wellworth 2 piece toilet from a supply house shortly. Asked the supply house for a plumber recommendation. Called and they want $285 and can install it mid next week.

as you say 'all you will have to do...' simple steps but afraid to tighten too much and crack something / get leaks / etc.

the waste flange (is that the right word?) is about 1/4" above the ceramic tiles. Not sure if that's too much.

I remember trying to replace a wax ring on a toilet and somehow it leaked afterwards. Fortunetly that was on 1st floor / over a crawl space so a) I found out quickly it was leaking and b) not a big deal that there was water problem.

loads of fears / concerns to do things right and not come home to a flood one day : (

is a gap between tank and wall OK? Or do you put wood back there to keep someone from leaning backwards and cracking something?
 
  #18  
Old 06-03-17, 05:43 AM
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Space behind the tank is fine, the tank is strong enough to stand alone and the new toilet should not rock at all.

Your new Kohler toilet is real easy to install, you might want to give it a shot.
 
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