Champion 4 Poor Flush - Revisited

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by larrymcg, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    I started a thread "Champion 4 Poor Flush" on 12/28/2009. I didn't think the flush was using enough water. There was some qualitative statements about what should happen but I wasn't satisfied.
    That thread is at http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?33920-Champion-4-Poor-flush

    So, now I have measured how much water is used! No more guessing!

    The toilet says it uses 1.6 gpf. 1.6 gallons is 6.4 quarts. I measured that the flush actually uses 5.5 quarts so the flush is about a quart low, actually 0.9 quarts low. That's about 28 fluid ounces.

    My main complaint was that the tank refills too quickly so that the bowl does not get nearly enough water in it.
    I'm thinking that if the flush actually used the full 1.6 gallons the bowl still would not fill enough.
    So, I'll just live with it.

    But it was fun to actually measure the size of the flush. I was surprised that it was as close to 1.6 gallons as it was. I was thinking that it was way less than that.

    Cheers,
    Larry
  2. micp879

    micp879 New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Martinez, CA
    keep in mind, you have to also include the water used to refill the bowl after the flush as part of adding up the 1.6 gallons.
  3. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Yes, that water would bring the total up to the expected amount of 1.6 gallons.

    So now all I need to do is find a way to get the bowl to fill more. Probably should use a new thread for that.

    Thanks,
    Larry
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,262
    Location:
    New England
    Note the water level in the bowl after flushing. Then, take a bucket and slowly add water. If the level rises and STAYS there, that is the max it can hold. If it doesn't stay there, it is already being filled to max, and adding more won't do anything. The only way to rebalance the flow between the tank and the bowl is with the flush valve and restrictors. It could get messy.
  5. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    I know that if I hold the handle down for a few seconds, a lot more water is used from the tank and the bowl fills up like it should.
    That's one reason why I thought the flush was using too little water in the first place. That is, the tank refilled so quickly that the bowl didn't get enough time to refill properly.

    The refill tube is not crinked so I don't see a way to make the bowl refill faster.

    Maybe I can train my wife to hold the flush handle down longer? (She's the one who complains about the bowl not refilling.)

    --Larry
  6. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    Larry,

    How did you measure the flush volume? Unless you did it with the water meter you have undercounted. Part of the undercount is the water fill to the bowl, but another part is water that enters during the flush itself before the flapper closes. With these small volumes, both are significant. (And I appreciate this because I did the same sort of measurement myself with just the tank before I thought it through and used the water meter, it was a pretty large discrepancy.)
  7. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    I measured by turning off the water to the toilet and then did a normal flush. I then added water to the tank, one quart at a time from a measuring cup, until the water reached the normal water line in the tank.
    Since the flapper (actually, this toilet doesn't have a flapper) only stays open about 2 seconds maximum there is not much water entering the tank during that short time.
    In an earlier post in this thread I agreed with micp879 that the water going into the bowl needed to be counted so the total water being used was about 1.6 gallons (which is what the toilet claims
    it uses).
    --Larry
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,262
    Location:
    New England
    One difference in the Korky valve that Toto uses is they have the manufacturer balance the flow between the tank and the bowl for them. They use a different restrictor in the valve to balance the flow between the two outlet verses the generic replacement. Sounds like AS didn't do a great job in specifying a proper valve if it doesn't fill the bowl properly. I'd call them and complain.
  9. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    You can rough out how much is going through in that time both the flapper and the fill valve are open. The total cycle for my Toto Drake is 30 seconds (measured) from start of flush to end of fill. The flapper is open maybe a second and a half (from measuring a flush), and it is maybe 3-4 seconds before the bowl reseals (again measuring). Total flush volume is around 1.3-1.4 gpf. So for mine the pass through when the flapper is open is around 1.5/30 * 1.35 = 0.07 gpf. I'm not sure what the ratio is of bowl fill to tank fill, but there are those extra few seconds that the tank fill is pushing through the open seal. I'll call it a 10:1 ratio and 2 seconds duration. That works out to 1/10 * 2/30 * 1.35 = 0.009 gpf. So the total of those two is about 0.08 gpf for my toilet, and then there is the bowl/trap refill volume to add to it. In this case if the ratio I had was correct it would be roughly 1/10 * (1.35 - 0.07 - 0.009) ~ 0.13 gpf. The total unmeasured volume in this case would be about 0.21 gallons.

    At any rate, Jim's points about determining whether the bowl refill is correct or not is the item that is worth investigating. If the trap is only partially filled then the flush is going to lose some of its "oomph", and with the short flapper open time that all of these modern low flush toilets have, this could be critical. Holding the valve open for a few seconds results in a much larger flush in most of these toilets. To determine how much, simply measure a normal flush on the meter, then remeasure for an extended flush.
  10. Geobrick

    Geobrick New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    California
    I agree with the bowl fill issue

    Thanks for starting this thread.

    I bought a champion 4 (two piece) at Lowes last week. There's no doubt that it has a powerful flush but I noticed the bowl fill issue right away. There is definitely a balance problem with the fill valve. The tank fills before the bowl fills and once the tank is full, the valve turns off and there's no additional water flow to fill the bowl completely.

    There are two things that could correct this problem (neither of them are practical).

    1) If the valve allowed more water to flow through the fill tube that would correct the problem. From what I can tell, this is not user adjustable.

    2) If the valve stayed open for more time, more water would fill the bowl. Well, how do you get the valve to stay open longer? Adjust the float to allow the tank to fill as high as possible? Sure that works for the first cycle but after that, because the flapper still closes at the same rate, the subsequent tank fills take no longer than they did with the original float settings. You can also get proper bowl fills if you hold the lever down with each flush until the tank empties. With the empty tank, it would take longer to refill which in turn allows more time for the bowl to fill. This works and results in a good bowl fill but if you do that, you'd be using more water per flush.

    The bottom line is that there is a problem with the fill valve design (or the production of the design).

    My other thoughts on the Champion 4 beyond the issue covered in this thread:

    Avoiding tank wobble: It does take some fineness to attach the tank to the bowl. You must tighten the bolts until the tank hits the tabs on the bowl (while alternating sides). The front tabs contact first but that's still not enough. As you continue to tighten, the tank will then start to level out as it begins to come in contact with the back tabs. Don’t tighten it any more than that. Does it seem like you’re going to crack the tank or bowl? Yes. Will it crack? It shouldn’t unless you tighten it beyond the point where the tabs make contact.

    The included seat seems flimsy and makes the overall feel of this toilet feel cheap even though the toilet itself has a very substantial feel. Other than the flimsy feel, the seat works fine.

    Adding to the cheap feel in a direct way is the chrome plated plastic flush lever. Not only is the handle plastic, but the actual lever is too. This results in a springy feel to the flush because the plastic lever bends as you push the handle down. Eventually there is enough force to pull the flapper up. I don’t like it but I can live with it. There’s a flush demonstration video on the American Standard website that shows the inside of the tank and it clearly shows the lever as being metal. Maybe this is just a Home Depot and Lowes version.

    In my opinion, if a company wants to impress consumers, all components that we have direct interaction with on a daily basis (Seat, Flush handle etc) should be designed to look and feel substantial. This is not the case with the Champion 4. Again, it could be because I got the Lowe’s version.

    Which leads me to the part number. At Lowes’ the part number is “2793.000.020” which is not a recognized number on the AS website. At Home Depot, the part number is “2586.000.020” which is a recognized number on the AS website. I’ve looked closely at both in the stores and can’t see any difference at all. Does anyone here know why there are different part numbers?

    I truly would have bought a Toto if I could get one "off the shelf" locally at a plumbing supply place. Sure I can get one in a few days (or weeks depending on color). According to the Toto website, the dealers near me are Pacific Sales (owned by Best Buy). They are just show rooms and don’t stock anything. I’m still going to get a Toto and may consider returning the Champion because I don’t like the ADA height but that’s all that Home Depot and Lowes stocked (secondary reasons for returning are the bowl fill issue and plastic flush lever). Since I can't buy a Toto off the shelf and have to order one, I plan to do it through Terry because of all the help he provides through his website.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  11. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    I tried reducing the water flow to the toilet by turning the water valve only partially on. That certainly made it take a lot longer to refill the tank but no more water got to the bowl.

    I'm curious about the term "flapper". Every toilet I've ever seen has a flapper with a float above the flapper (on the chain) to adjust how long the flapper stays open.
    The Champion 4 does not have a flapper in the conventional sense and there is no float on the chain. What the toilet tank has is a large cylinder (several, maybe 4, inches in diameter) that is several inches high. The cylinder has a top that sits on the cylinder. When flushed, the chain lifts up the cylinder's top and the water rushes into the cylinder and when you release the flush handle the top sits back down on the cylinder. So, unless you hold down the flush handle, the top drops down on the cylinder immediately and stops the water flow. Nothing "flaps".

    Because the cylinder is several inches high, even if you hold the flush handle down for a long time the tank does not drain. There will always be at least several inches of water in it. Of course the water valve turns on so water enters the tank and flows into the cylinder as long as the top is off.

    --Larry
  12. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    I agree about the flimsy toilet seat. Took me only one day to replace it with a real seat.
  13. Geobrick

    Geobrick New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    California
    Right. It's really about the balance of the water flow from the fill valve to the tank and bowl fill tube. Slowing the rate into the valve doesn't change that balance but forcing the tank to empty (and I understand that empty means to the top of the flush valve opening) requires more time to fill the tank than a normal flush. It's just enough aditional time to allow the the water in the bowl to get to the proper level.

    One thing I'd consder is looking at the fill valve to see if there is a way to slow the fill into the tank while maintaining the flow rate into the fill tube. Or just increase the fill rate through the tube. One way might be to remove the tube from the valve and use a drill bit slightly larger than valve nipple opening to open it up a little bit more. That would allow an increased flow through the fill tube and could fix the balance. Or we could all just call American Standard and ask for a properly balanced fill valve.

    Overall I don't see the bowl fill problem having a noticable effect on flush performance. It still seems very good.

    Wouldn't it be nice if things worked the way they were suposed to?
  14. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Now that I understand that the toilet uses 1.6 gallons per flush, the real issue is poor bowl filling. The thread subject should have referred to poor bowl refilling.
    The flush is strong. But I'm not about to test the claim that it can flush a dozen golf balls!

    I guess it is obvious why too little water in the bowl is a problem so I won't go into graphic details.

    I also had thought of opening up the nipple to increase the flow to the bowl. A very small adjustment should be relatively safe.

    If I try it I will report back.

    --Larry
  15. Geobrick

    Geobrick New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    California
    Alert on poor bowl fill in the Champion 4!!!!

    Dude!!! We are geniuses (OK, slight overstatement and I don't talk like that but...). I removed the fill tube from the fill valve nipple today to see if opening the hole a bit was feasible. Guess what? There is a small blue plastic flow restrictor in the tube that is easily removable (It's inside the black rubber tube).

    Result? Normal bowl fill!!! Case closed.
  16. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,289
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    They sometimes put restrictors in to prevent an overfill of the bowl.
    In your case, it sounds like it was under filling with the restrictor.

    When measuring the true water usage, you need to account for the overfilling of a bowl.
    When the EPA came out to Seattle, we flushed toilets into a fish tank that had been marked and measured.
    It was obvious that some toilets would overfill a bowl by up to two gallons after the flush had taken place, for a total of five or more gallons in some cases.
  17. Geobrick

    Geobrick New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    California
    Yeah, I can't say that it meets the 1.6 requirement with the restrictor removed but the bowl fill seems proper now and it doesn't overfill to the point where water runs down the drain. It could be that they used the wrong restrictor for this bowl/tank combo. There could be different requirements for round, elongated and Right Height bowls. Either way, it goes back to what you consistently say about AS. Poor quality control and reliability.

    While I like it much better now, I'll be moving this bowl to another bathroom that has a 10 year old builders special that is prone to clog. I just don't love the "right height" and my wife is too short for it. I'll probably end up with the Ultramax. There's just a consistent praise of it here on this forum (not just from you).
  18. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Geobrick, Thank you for the tip on the restrictor. I had seen the blue tip but didn't imagine it was removable. Now it's removed and the bowl fills correctly! Will wonders ever cease?

    --Larry :)
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