Consumer Reports Recommended toilet, Gerber DF-21-318 a big Flop!

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Terry, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Many plastics don't like petroleum products...try a silicon plumber's grease. No idea if this will work, or work long term, but at least use something designed for this purpose!
  2. GCK4444

    GCK4444 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    California
    TO ALL OF YOU WHO OWNS ANY ECOFLUSH PRESSURE-ASSISTED TOILETS,

    You will have nothing but problems! These EcoFlush pods' have many many changes all the time. They are trying to bandage all the design flaws and quality problems. If you call their Technical Supports, they have only 2 guys working there and had been LYING to the customers that nothing wrong with those pods!!! Hopefully, NONE of you are being fooled to pay the shipping charge when the damm thing is defective! These EcoFlush B8104, B8106 and B8100 pods do not work like Terry said. They leak, water-log, have hissing sound from the pinholes, have cracks, and other failures.

    Someone in the plumbing industry mentioned this WDI/EcoFlush engineer, who left Pfisher/Stanley Black & Decker and went to work for WDI. This engineer is so frustrated with his new bosses because they have no clue in management. They just pushing him to lie to their customers (American Standard, Zurn, Gerber, Mansfield, Crane, and others) that everything is OK. The higher up, Kevin Oak, CEO of the company writes like a 3rd grader. How can any reputable company be running by an idiot? This speaks alot about their products....

    EcoFlush and WDI are owned by a chinese company, WDI, located in china. They use WDI International Inc. in the states. STOP BUYING CHEAPLY MADE IN CHINA CRAPS! Go with SLOAN, NOT the copycat pods from EcoFlush. They have quality pressure-assisted products and are proudly Made in USA!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2012
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    Many of the regular users of this forum have tried to advise folks about the shortcomings of many of the old well known brands to toilets that have merged and/or been outsourced to third world countries that have little or no quality concerns or control. Gerber is but one of these companies. We sometimes come across as snake oil salesmen in our praise and recommendation of the Toto line of toilets, and I'm sure many folks pass this off as overzealous hype. However, it is fact that Toto realized from the very beginning that the low flow requirements could not be reached with superficial and minor changes to flush valves. Toto engineers made significant design changes to the internal workings of the toilet. True, these changes are not apparent to visual inspection, but the results were immediately apparent to plumbers and users alike. Toto toilets were dependable, they flushed everything every time, and they did not clog. This resulted in Toto becoming the largest manufacturer of toilets in the world even though they are not heavily advertised and are not sold in every plumbing shop in the country. They did not rely on gimmicks like pressure assisted flushing or fancy flush valves to accomplish this, so when normal replacement of things like flappers is needed, they are available in hardware stores and discount centers everywhere. So yes, we do tend to tout the Toto toilets, but it is with good reason that we do.
  4. archibald tuttle

    archibald tuttle New Member

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    Location:
    Rhode Island
    gimic or not??

    Just stopped by with an unrelated toilet problem (well the problem is virtually always the flush in one way or another but my problem does not involve a pressure assist, either WDI or Sloan) but my inability to avoid browsing lead me to Terry's recommendations for low flush toilets which then lead me to his anti-recommendation for these ecoflush toilets and thus to this thread.

    And I really had literally nothing to add until I got to the very last post. While I can appreciate the accolades for Toto -- and I used to buy them when they weren't gold plated pricewise -- I have found the sloan pressure assisted flush is generally a better value these days -- can usually get one around $300 or just under, and have had no reliability issues (should be noted - maybe it is elsewhere on this site - that there is a major recall/refit out there where they want you to put a pressure regulator on the infeed and a band over the tank. But I'm on reasonably low pressure system anyway - and I'm sitting on the thing right now and not sweating bullets).

    The only complaint I've had is that the bowls aren't interchangeable - at least according to the suppliers - and so I can't retrofit that system -- although I'm not above trying it anyway. And the Bowls sold with seem to run a slightly higher weir and that has caused occasional dredging problems, which isn't about endowment - I can assure you.

    But given that pressure flushing is a long tested commercial urban design for water systems that can deliver pressure and volume without a nearby tank. So, I don't really think it is fair to call pressure-assisted flush a gimic - and it does appear, whether for marketing purposes more than redesign of the hydraulics - that the bowls associated with these pressure assisted toilets have been redesigned. Maybe they didn't go anywhere near as far as Toto, and given my success with these toilets, maybe they didn't have to.

    I have installed pressure assisted in numerous places where I had niggling flush problems, occasional clogs without seeming provocation from foreign objects, etc. and they always solved the problem. It is probably unfortunate for the technology as a whole that one of the two major entrants into the market is making a maintenance nightmare.

    To see folks from hotels writing in who have to keep 200 or 300 of these WDI units running makes me glad I only have about 50 toilets to keep running (and only 4 of them are pressure assist, the rest are working so why mess with success (of course maybe half of those are full flush 3 to 5 gallon units from the good old days).

    As to Consumer Reports, I pretty much disregard it in favor of consumer experience now accessible on the web filtered through the prism of realization that more people are likely to take to the netwaves with complaints than with praise. And CR has definitely morphed from what I thought I respected, offering choices and dissociated testing, to telling you what you ought to buy.

    Washing machines are another particularly great example and as a previous poster pointed out, 50 to 60% of installations I'm familiar with are not suited to the high vibration associated with frontloading washers - which is more or less synonymous within the industry with water saver or high efficiency although there are now some top loading 'water savers'. On top of that, front loaders evolved as an industry segment just as digital control was taking off, and there is nothing more unsuited to digital control than a washing machine in my experience. The vast majority of problems I've had with these machines is failure of the black box. Not only is it an expensive part that the average homeowner can't replace, in many cases it is difficult even with purported 'secret' test regimes to actually diagnose whether the problem is the box or a peripheral signal to the box. In this sense the maintenance history, at least in my limited experience servicing a fleet of 20 odd washers with half gone over to front loaders, isn't about the front loading technology -- anymore than the maintenance history of WDI is about pressure assisted flush. the vibration is, to an extent associated with the technology, but the digital controls just happened to be an attempt to dress them up in some kind of space age costume to make it something different than the technology that has been available as the laundromat for 50 years or more. It is a big a mistake as putting digital controls, at least ones that can't be bypassed on ovens.

    The companies I respect are those that buck these trends or at least offer options. It's hard, but if you look carefully (and I hate to give away this guarded trade secret) you can find a frigidaire front loader with an old fashioned timer (and several other brand labels have their name on the same unit). (BTW it still does have a digital motor controller but have a dozen of these units in service, some for half dozen years or more and no problems with the motor controller, vs. nothing but headaches with the digitial interfaces vs. standard analog timers)

    You can also get a great stove from Avanti that is simple, reasonably priced and analog (I'm familiar with the gas units haven't tried one of their electrics). Even the electonically sparked over ignition can be overridden in a power outage or if the ignitor fails) and the oven is not tethered to a digital timer or electronic control. For years they carved out a niche making apartment size units, but I believe they have a 30" in the works.

    So it isn't that I don't decry gimics, or the overuse of technology that makes something simple into something complicated and difficult to maintain. To bring this full circle and not be accused of trying to discuss appliances rather than toilets -- I guess toilets are appliances in some parlance -- I'm not ready to put pressure assisted flush for residential use into the category of inappropriate gimics, although I hope my magnum opus might inspire continued reflection, debate etc. on this great thread.

    I respect what Toto is doing for the toilet but they are on that same trajectory as Toyota in terms of price. I own 6 toyotas all made in the 1980s and 1990s, but I don't anticipate buying any 2000s. (it isn't only price but a loss of simplicity and servicability which is going on across the industry so I'm distinguishing toyota on price here). Some folks can afford to pay more for a toilet than I can and it is a credit to Toto that their quality and function supports the kind of pricing they maintain. I'm topping out at $300 a toilet and generally at a third of that or less, but that looks like Toto's entry level. I used to be able to buy a Toto in the low hundred dollar range. That made sense. These days I put in the cheapest one that works in a given location. I've given up on the notion that I can predict which installs are going to give me trouble because Murphy works in mysterious ways.

    And because I work on the same buildings, I do have the advantage of constantly being back anyway. I don't have a callback issue in the same way the plumbing contractors would and I can absolutely see why they would push to install a product that is not going to reflect badly on them, and despite the price premium my guess is that you can shave a modest bit on labor and profit to make the Toto more competitive if there is a much smaller chance you'll be called back for failure.

    And now for the really funny thing, I'm going to click on the "post quick reply" button.

    brian
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Brian,

    If I'm comparing cost on a "pressure assist" to a Gravity, the gravity winds up being less expensive.
    Your too munch money works "if" you are comparing gravity to gravity.

    Though, I'm finding the TOTO Drake bowls being installed in many of the "commercial" places I'm visiting.
    A pub in North Bend, a ski resort on Snoqualmie, Hotels in Blackcomb British Columbia, Golf course, churches, restaurants and bars.

    My cost on a pressure assist toilet is more than for gravity.
    My returns on the EcoFlush dual flush pressure assist were ridiculous.
    If you only have four pressure assist bowls, and they are the American made Flushmate, then you really haven't been made aware of the dual flush problems in the field yet.

    [​IMG]
    WDI Technology EcoFlush
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
    New England
    COmmercial flush system (which require usually at least a 1" water supply to the toilet), just aren't practical for most homes. The noise from flushing them wouldn't be particularly appreciated in the middle of the night right next to the bedroom. FWIW, when you compare street prices, the Toto toilets are often on par with similar toilets. Yes, they do have some highly styled ones that can cost an arm and a leg, but they have some very nice looking, well-made ones that are very reasonable. I've never particularly liked a pressure assisted toilet, and they can just plain scare little children, IF they can even overcome the sticky old valve flush lever on the things to flush it.
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Location:
    New York, NY
    Hey, Brian. Enjoyed your post.

    Don't try to put a pressure tank with a gravity bowl or visa versa. Won't work; one way will create a big mess, and the other way the water will just go "glug" and, for the most part, stay in the tank. There are a few (very few) good analytical articles around the web that show in detail the different engineering involved.

    The original Toto Drake is available in a lot of places for an about-$200 price point. Given the quality of the unit, that seems like a fair price to me. We now have two. We will probably end up with more. (We also have a tonier Carlyle II, but the basic Drake would work fine for us in most applications.)

    In the City, I have a rental apartment in a 490-unit high rise, built in the 80s. At time of construction, they installed AS Galleria lowboy toilets, which look cool and can't overflow. But their flush caused Maintenance to make nightly trips around the building with a snake and a plunger, so they have been replacing them as they turn over apartments. The initial replacement toilet was a Toto Drake, which the tenants universally-loved. But ownership had some aesthetic concerns because of the way the tiling and rough-in had been done for the Gallerias, so they switched to a Gerber, which management likes but which apparently has left many tenants nonplussed. Given this, I have left my Galleria in place, and tweaked it with the knowledge acquired from this site so that it does the job as along as one takes care to flush repeatedly at what I now intuitively-know to be the solids-limit (which isn't much). I'm only sorry that I didn't ask for a new toilet when they were installing the Drakes.
  8. archibald tuttle

    archibald tuttle New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Any quick links or pointers or recommendations for keywords for google search to find these explorations of engineering.

    You are right that the Drake pricing is comparable. I'm going to check my wholesaler again, but its $233 . That is still a pretty penny but a little cheaper than new pressure assist.

    Not sure when I have looked Toto that this has been on my radar given the many up market approaches they have. And ironically, I may have written off gravity toilets because of niggling refill water level issues when I kept getting recommendations that this was a problem with the near toilet piping. And of course this has been made worse by water saver toilets because the refill is open less time and thus less metering what is channeled to the bowl is more important and the amount of water you have in the flush to create the siphon if the bowl is a little low is compromised.

    Because these problems would crop up unpredictably and seemed to persevere inspite of any piping changes and because I put pressure assisted in and it worked on these problem children, I just gave in to the force.

    That said I'm interested to look at designs and theory. The noise doesn't bother me and the function is great - with respect that the WDI version has been a maintenance nightmare. Since I look inside, I can tell the difference and will of course, but my next problem will get a drake and we'll see.

    thanks for your replies.

    brian
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2012
  9. John Southin

    John Southin New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Ontario
    I found that if I occasionally lubricated the part that slides up and down under those caps that the problem is solved. Just unscrew the caps and remove the spring. Put your finger inside the tube and slide it up and down (it won't move very far). I spray a bit of silicone lubricant around the outside of the sliding tube (when it is as far up as it will move), and then vigorously jiggle it up and down to work the lubricant around the whole tube as much as possible. Then replace the spring and screw on the cap. This fix will last for about 5 months, and then you have to do it again. I usually clean the water filter (at the bottom of the tank) at the same time. It's odd that the manufacturer never mentions this do-it-yourself quick fix.
  10. ericd100

    ericd100 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    california
    Hi terry - I have a simple and hopefully not silly question -

    I have the horrible ecoflush unit mounted in a mansfield toilet unit. It is a 3 bolt attach tank.

    is it possible to simply remove it and replace it with a simple flapper style flush valve and be done with it? Or is the entire toilet specialized to the ecoflush?

    image of my toilet and example flush valve kit included

    Thanks in advance IMG00290-20130425-0847.jpg 15543218.jpg
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    The bowl is specially designed for a pressure assist tank. Changing to a flapper won't help.

    [​IMG]
    WDI Technology EcoFlush
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  12. ericd100

    ericd100 New Member

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    Location:
    california
    Ok thanks very much!
  13. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    You can't put in a flapper, but you can, at some expense, put in a Sloan Flushmate that is designed specifically to replace the WDI Ecoflush.

    For the Mansfield Tank 119, I believe the model number of the replacement Flushmate is going to be M-101526-F3HMK. It is, however, going to be north of $100.
  14. Jay T Boggs

    Jay T Boggs New Member

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    Location:
    New Jersey
    Because he is trying to say that the toilet is a piece of crap. Buy the FLUSHMATE for better performance. Made in USA and far more reliable.
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    15,316
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    [​IMG]

    And yet another Gerber Dual Flush headed to the dump. The one being removed is the EcoFlush.
    I replaced the tank with a new Gerber 28-380 with Flushmate.

    [​IMG]

    With the new Flushmate tank
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