American Standard Champion 4 toilet review and pictures

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Reader Review, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,413
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Champion 4
    The toilet works fine. The Champion 4 has a 3" flush valve and the trapway is a little over 2"
    It's fairly long and heavy. The end of the bowl sticks out a long ways from the wall. Not the best choice if you have a small bathroom.
    Because of the large size of these, they are also very heavy. I'm 200 lbs, and compared to other brands, it's a beast to pick up and carry.
    You will need to supplied socket to install the seat.
    It's adequate, but there are better choices out there. Quality control is not the best, but you can find some that work well enough.

    My feeling is that "if" you are looking at American Standard, the Cadet series is better. They have a Cadet 3 and a Cadet Pro. I sell a few of the Cadet Pro's.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  2. montreal

    montreal New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    montreal, QC
    hope to avoid some problems with the "one-piece" model

    Hi, this is my first post on this forum.

    In spite of all the negative reviews, I ordered my Champion 4 one piece model last week and it should be arriving tomorrow.

    I am surprised that there are so few comments, both negative and positive, from owners of the one-piece.

    I understand that the two piece model opens a Pandora's box of problems due the fragile interface between the lower and upper section.

    Apart from that, I imagine I will be getting the same fill valve and flush tower as everyone else and I will be anxious to see if I get stuck with the same problems caused by a leaky tower.

    Stay tuned.....
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,413
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    It no longer has the tower. The was changed some time ago.
  4. montreal

    montreal New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    montreal, QC
    After 3 weeks sitting in my hallway, today I installed my new one-piece Champion 4 replacing the 30 year old 2 piece Cadet.

    The Champion 4 flushes about a third of the tank and if I hold down the handle, I can increase this to about half the water in the tank, as the base of the flush tower is still a few inches above the floor of the tank.

    After reading most of the details of the judgement for the Champion 4 class action suit brought against AS, I came to the conclusion that I have about a 10% of having a problem with my toilet.

    As I approach the end of what has turned out to be a 475 hour long bathroom renovation, most of the major items I installed had some small hitch, for example,

    1) the drain opening of the bathtub was a few degrees off plumb and the front vertical wall was a few degrees shy of 90.
    2) the three-way shower valve came with a rubber o-ring sealing the upper and lower valve castings - I hate the idea of a buried seal in the wall that might some day need servicing.
    3) the cast acrylic soap niche had a limited size lip which made centering and gluing to the wall opening a challenge.
    4) the stainless steel machine screw to hold the handle to the shower valve was too long and required trimming, and a stainless trim plate was slightly warped.
    5) the glass panel of the shower door would have been cracked had I not noticed that the badly aligned aluminum sleeve needed to be offset by a quarter inch.
    6) some of the large format porcelain tiles from the same box were a 1/16" longer than others so I had to sort them into matched groups in order to get them to line up vertically on the wall.


    So if the flush valve seal of my new Champion 4 should leak and I get a replacement delivered to me under the original owner 20 year warranty, then I don't imagine that will be the end of the world.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    Essentially none of the new water saving toilets empty the tank when you flush...they use the additional weight from the water stored in the tank to make it flush better - the height makes it move faster. It's probably working as designed. Now, how good that design is is another question. It appears if you get one without defects, it's decent.
  6. montreal

    montreal New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    montreal, QC
    Thanks for the comment.

    It's amazing how little pattern there seems to have been to help explain why some customers got a defective Champion 4 toilet and others did not.

    Even the person who launched the class action suit against AS had five Champion 4's in his new home, of which some worked well while others did not.

    You would think that with nearly a million units sold, AS would have come up with a solution that works 999 times out of 1000.

    During my recent bathroom renovation, I drained and set aside my 30 year old AS Cadet. Inside the dried out tank was a week old chlorine cleaning puck.

    During six weeks of storage, the puck off gassed and created a toxic cloud within the tank that completely corroded part of the Cadet's classic fill valve. The tank walls were all yellow colored.

    This unpleasant experience reminds me of how unpredictable the environment of the toilet tank can be at times.

    AS warns against using in-tank cleaners and I can now appreciate why.

    Having used the pucks consistently for over ten years in the Cadet without any previous problems I can appreciate the time-saving advantages of in-tank cleaners.

    I have no idea if the latest generation of AS fill and flush valves would survive as well as the older generation when exposed to pucks in water.

    Perhaps we need tightly machined all metal parts for tank valves and forget about rubber seals once and for all.
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Beside the quality control issue, a major problem with AS is the clay they use in Mexico is too wet. This leads to slumping and other casting problems when the toilets are in the kiln to dry. Toto plants are located where the clay has the ideal moisture content and their ridged quality control catches any blemishes that occur. It is widely believed that AS sells their "blems" to discount stores at a very low price which allows the stores to exchange returns. Some of these rejects probably are not returned, so it is profitable for all concerned. This is not to say that all AS toilets are defective. Certainly many are not and perform OK. As far as the chlorine cleaning "pucks", it is a well documented fact that chlorine eat rubber parts and should not be used in any toilet tank regardless of brand. Those of use that use a chlorinated water supply experience part failures more often that those who use non chlorinated water, but not as fast as those using concentrated tablets or "pucks". Perhaps there could be a composite material used for tank parts, but it would undoubtedly increase the cost of toilets.
  8. ak6143

    ak6143 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Fishers, IN
    AS Champion 4 Flapper closes too fast

    I just bought my AS Champion 4 (Dec 1 2011). So far it flushes great with no issues. My only complaint is that in order to get it to do what I would consider a full flush, you have to keep holding the handle for an extra couple of seconds because that large flapper always wants to slam shut pretty quickly. Is there any way to modify the unit to keep the flapper from closing so fast?
  9. montreal

    montreal New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    montreal, QC
    If you hold the handle down for a few seconds when flushing, that keeps the flush valve from closing as quickly. You won't however get the full tank to empty in doing so, but more water will exit the tank than if you just quickly flip the handle.

    I can't imagine a modification that would get the flush valve to stay open longer given the way the valve is designed.

    I often find that I have to flush twice in order to purge any residual solid waste that failed to exit on the first attempt. In these cases, holding the handle longer does not really help, only by flushing twice.

    I accept this as a consequence of owning a low volume flush toilet.

    The only compensation is that the tank can refill in 28 seconds due to a lower amount of water lost per flush.

    Of course I will have to explain this to my guests.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    The toilet flush system is just that, a system...it was certified to use a specific amount of water per flush. Now, if you need to regularly use more, is that a good system? IMHO, no. The fact it doesn't clog is only one factor in whether a toilet is good or not. No modern toilet is designed to empty its tank...that extra water is there to provide some head pressure to that that does get used.

    There are other toilets out that that consistently clear the bowl with one flush, as designed, and some of them can do it with 1.28g, not the 1.6. It's not the lower flow, it's all about design and quality of construction.
  11. esquire415

    esquire415 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I'm in the market for a new toilet and my selection has boiled down to the Toto and American Standard. The Toto is more expensive and it's more difficult to find locally as it is not available from the big box stores. I also don't know which one is better the, Ultramax 1.6 which I assume has a better bowl wash due to flushing more water or the Ultramax II 1.28 which has an updated flushing technology. I would probably prefer the Carlyle because of the double cyclone technology but it's beyond my reach on the cost.

    as for the AS Champion 4, I see that the two-piece version has quality issues but I haven't really read much about real world experiences of those who own the one-piece Champion 4 from American Standard. Because it's priced better and it's more readily available than the Toto i'm leaning towards it. Can anyone post a review of their one-piece AS Champion 4?
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  12. tekwyzrd

    tekwyzrd New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    I'm currently researching my options to replace a kohler 1.6 gpf toilet that never really worked well. The tank is marked T82 K4512 20265 KB5 and 9 5 95 (wellworth?). It's an oval bowl with the flush lever on the side. After having the handles break repeatedly I've been using a string tied to the chain to flush.

    As I say, it never flushed right. Often when flushing the water would just swirl the toilet paper around the bowl. Sometimes it flushed ok but often it didn't. It did better with the string than it did with the lever but still not that great. I now have a clog I can't clear, and my guess is my 92 year old grandmother may have dropped something in the toilet and plugged it up. I tried using a coat hanger to clear it and pulled out a couple clumps of hair but it's still not right. She has dementia and several obsessive habits, one of them involves her hand in her hair.

    Anyway, after some preliminary searching I came across the Champion 4. I figured the larger diameter would reduce the potential for blockage and was all set to go buy one but decided to search for reviews and opinions about it and as a result found this forum. Thanks to this forum and other reviews I have decided to buy a TOTO product. I'm not sure which model yet but after visiting their website I found a TOTO dealer less than six miles away. I had never seen the TOTO brand prior to a recent emergency room visit for my grandmother due to an ischemic attack. The bathroom at the end of the hallway near the examination room had a TOTO toilet and it stuck in my mind because I'd never seen that label before.

    Out of curiosity I looked at the wikipedia entries on TOTO and American Standard (and the 2007 split, formation of Trane air conditioning and the sale of the plumbing division to an equity group. Thanks to all of this info I will never buy another American Standard product. The situation with AS products is sad. The upstairs bathroom has an old AS toilet with the tank marked F-4049 and T-70 that still works great. Out of curiosity I'm trying to figure out when it was manufactured. It is definitely not a "low flow".

    We live in an area that only receives water bills due to the deal that provided the land to build the nearby treatment plant and the water bills are very low (less than $30/quarter) so water use is less important than for many other areas.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    I've got personal experience with Toto Drakes, a Vespin, and a Carlyle (all the 'original' versions, not the II). I've been quite happy with their operation. As with my older toilets, our local water means I have to replace the flapper valves every 4-5 years, but other than that, they've not needed anything, and the plunger has stayed holed away in the basement. Some of the water savings between the 1.6 and the 1.28g flushers was from recalibrated fill valves to more closely match the needs of the tank and the bowl. Older toilets tended to overfill the bowl, and that water did nothing to aid the flush and it only went down the drain after the actual flush was completed, but was counted in the quantity of water used during a flush.

    As to AS, if you get one without a defect, it can work well. Terry has noted that his return rate on Toto is less than 1%; some other brands are MUCH higher. The big box stores, from hearsay evidence on AS stuff, says you have a bigger likelyhood of getting a bad one at a big box store than at a plumbing supply shop. A DIY'er may not recognize a defect that a plumber would.
  14. mike__b

    mike__b New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    KY
    I just wanted to chime in on the AS Champion 4. I bought it because the MaP rating by CA (http://www.cuwcc.org/MaPTesting.aspx) rated it very well on flushing capability. Our older 1.6 gpf toilets clogged several times per week, so that was my main concern.

    I own 2, installed about 6 months apart. One was the older tools-required install, the other the newer tool-less. Both are ADA height, elongated, which I feel is more comfortable. The tool-less install toilet also included a soft-close seat, which I thought was goofy, but is nice especially for kids who tend to slam things. But in general, I much preferred the tool-less install. I guess I follow old advice and I don't caulk the bowl to floor like the instructions say. I think there is some variation in the AS C4 bowls, so I'd test it on a flat surface before install to make sure you don't have any wobble problems.

    I think I've owned my oldest one for about 2 years. Never had any problems other than needing to shim it due to bowl wobble. Both use Fluidmaster fill valves (the first 100 posts in this thread are all complains about leaking fill valves) and I haven't had any problem with it. Fluidmaster valves can be found just about anywhere. The only hard parts to find would be the "flapper" since the whole thing lifts vertically to help provide the pressure. Maybe some of the handle parts would be hard to find as well. Home Depot carries Cadet 3 parts now, not sure when C4 specific parts will show up. They aren't designed to be quiet, but I wouldn't say they are excessively loud or anything. Maybe a bit above average on flush noise.

    I also noticed some complaints in this thread about the tank attachment to the bowl having problems, leaks or being loose. Both of my toilets were pretty straight forward to attach the tank. Much like other toilets, but this tank starts out about an inch about the bowl, you just keep tightening until the actual tank touches the bowl like the instructions say. I wouldn't recommend leaning back on the tank.

    2 years of constant use by a 3 person family. 0 clogs (I don't even know where our plunger is anymore). 0 leaks. Planning on buying my third for our basement bathroom remodel.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2012
  15. AndrewThePlumber

    AndrewThePlumber Plumber

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Goodlettsville, TN
    Just wanted to see if anyone else has had a problem with the tank bolts on a Champion toilet. We installed a customers toilets (Champion 4's) and the rubber washers under the tank bolts are so soft they squeezed out and loosened themselves to the point of leaking. And they are steel bolts which is bad. It came from HD I think. I suggested TOTO which is what I use.
  16. jstewart

    jstewart New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Problems with AS #4266

    I wish I had found this forum before I purchased the AS Champion toilet. Having the same problems as others describe: Leaking flush vlave.
    Have not contacted customre service yet... trying to decide if a remedy is worth the trouble, or just go get the Toto that is so highly rated in this forum.
  17. Reader Review

    Reader Review Comments by readers

    We had this installed in 2009 and it was fine for a couple of years,then it started to leak at the seal. Four inches is a lot of area for a flat seal to handle and it had blisters forming on it. I instaled a new Korky brand seal sold at the home depot and it seems to be working fine now. You do not want to over tight'en the seal tho. I tight'ened it till i heard one click from the black screw that holds it together. You can listen and see if you can hear any dripping and twik it from there if you have to. It's very touchy. Good luck.

    Lynn L
  18. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,973
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Most reviews I have seen of the Korky seal indicate that it works well and appears to last longer than the AS original (no blisters). A guy posted here on another thread with a picture of his blistered AS blue seal after six months, and said that he had installed the Korky seal two years ago as a replacement and that it was still working fine.
  19. ishouldhaveknownthat

    ishouldhaveknownthat New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    Yep, bought a Champion BEFORE seeing this thread!

    Went to Home Depot and fell for the golf balls advertising. Got a AS Champion 4. It was marked down to $150 from $218. Store said that someone had bought it assuming it was elongated and it was round (in the wrong box). They returned it without the box.
    It looked to be brand new. In the process of installing it tomorrow.

    Got this to replace a cheaper AS with the same 1.6 gpf. The main problem with the old one is it doesn't work. It never flushed properly, even after multiple flushes. The water just swirled around. Have plunged it many times. Has always been weak at flushing. Poked the holes around the rim. Replaced the water line. Still the same result. Yeah, I know I never learn.

    Question is, knowing what everyone knows, what would you recommend me getting as extra parts for this new Champion 4 toilet as future parts that could/will break down?
    I'm thinking that eventually AS will go out of business. Want to have extra parts to be able to fix without looking all over when/if that happens.
  20. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,973
    Location:
    New York, NY
    There's nothing special about the fill valve on the Champion 4; you could replace it with any number of valves, including a Korky 528MP available at Lowe's, so don't sweat that.

    The flush valve is another story, although I'm thinking it realistically will be around for a while. The thing that goes bad on the Champion is the seal in the complicated flush valve, and Korky makes a replacement seal that's probably better than the original. It's model 450BP (or BPK at Lowe's). Maybe keep one of those on hand. I don't think any of the other hardware is irreplaceable or non-substitutable, as far as I can remember.

    You'll probably want to trash that thing before any of the other hardware needs replacing. For the non-discounted price, you could have bought a Toto Drake and not have had to worry about this stuff, but live and learn. Once you get it running, and assuming that it doesn't wobble or leak, doesn't have defects, etc., it ought to work.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
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