cracked Crane water closet

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by ghenley, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. ghenley

    ghenley New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    Last week the tank on the guest bathroom toilet just spontaneously cracked. By the time I discovered it, water had spread through the slab to the wood floors in adjoining rooms. Oddly enough, an antique clock which had not run in years began to tick and chime at the same time.

    The home warranty company refused to honor my claim. The plumber said that toilet tanks do not crack under normal wear and tear and that it had to crack under physical force.

    I live alone and no one had been in that bathroom. I did not hit the toilet or stand on it. In fact, I did not touch it.

    Has anyone heard of a water closet just developing a crack out of the blue? I'd appreciate an answer so I can at least try to get my $60 back from the home warranty company.

    Toilet: Crane 123-CR-PLH, 3-652, 1.6, Aug 1, 1995

    Thank you

  2. You best get Sylvia Brown AND Montel Williams over there, quick. Something going on in the paranormal.


    If you make a habit of leaning back on that tank, even occaisionally, it will stress crack and break.

    You have to remember that toilets are fragile and can break just under the strain of the tank to bowl bolts, the toilet flange bolts holding the toilet to the flange.

    I replaced two toilets just this year, unexpected cracks.


    I can see why the homeowner's warranty denied your claim. 1995 toilet, it's old and anyone leaning back on that toilet, even once could cause it to fail.
  3. Not_Handy

    Not_Handy New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Yes....just happened to me early this morning. Toilet 20 yrs old.

    We were sleeping and then at 12:30 am, woke up by a big loud 'wooosh' sound of water. Went into the master bathroom and the floor was flooding fast. Took a few seconds to figure out that the tank cracked and my wife quickly shut off the water supply. We threw down a dozen or more towels to soak up the water. Leaked into the basement. :(

    It happened to a friend of my sisters, same thing after several years, their 15 yr old. toilet cracked in their 2nd floor main bathroom.

    It's Toto time......or something similar...
  4. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Tell the warranty company you will see them in court. I seriously doubt that the plumber has any engineering knowledge with which to make such a judgement. They will have to prove you damaged the toilet, good luck to them with that.

    Where did the crack emanate from? Are we talking tank or bowl?

    They are in fantasy land if they actually believe that there are no stresses on a bolted down bowl or tank. The crack could easily have been there from before you purchased the home but did not propagate catastrophically for some time.
  5. Doherty Plumbing

    Doherty Plumbing Journeyman & Gas Fitter

    Messages:
    810
    Location:
    Penticton, BC
    You sound like a monday morning quarterback Bison. You act as you know everything in the world and that all plumbers are stupid. I'm guessing that you had a plumber come out for a simple job and he charged you an arm and a leg and now you have a sour taste in your mouth.

    I don't think you have ANY plumbing knowledge to be giving out advice as to how a toilet should and should not be installed. A properly installed toilet SHOULD NOT be stressed down from the flange bolts or the tank to bowl bolts.

    And you have clearly never dealt with a warranty issue on a toilet that is 13 years old! Tell them you'll see them in court and they'll laugh at you. Even a judge who probably has only slightly more plumbing knowledge then you, Bison, would say that you can't claim warranty on a 13 year old anything.

    The home owner is probably better off trying to get a hold of the guy who installed the toilet and even then he'll just laugh at you and say "I installed that toilet 13 years ago and you think I'm going to warranty a crack in it now?"

    The home owner needs a new toilet (or atleast the portion that broke) it's that simple.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,188
    Location:
    New England
    If the toilet rocks, and does not sit firmly on the floor, if the bolts are tightened enough to prevent that, you've tightened it too much. Also, when installing the toilet, press it down manually to squish the wax, then tighten the bolts. Make sure the toilet is shimmed, if it rocks before tightening it down. And if you don't knock it hard, unless it has a fault in it already, it should not crack. Tighten the bolts too tight, and all bets are off.
  7. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    No, my experience comes from listening to folks like you acting like you know it all when you often far off. It comes from dealing with companies trying to avoid their contractual obligations. As for plumbers, I've had good and bad. That's why I try to have my ducks in a row and materials in hand before I call for installation/repair help. I save calling them for things they are better at.

    It's not that "plumbers are stupid", it's more that they often state things as certainty that I know from my engineering background and my own measurements are untrue. (Same thing happens with operators and maintenance folks in plant work, doesn't stop me from picking their brains for new information.) They have specific knowledge that is very valuable and often helpful, but their explanations don't always hold up to scrutiny or provide a complete picture. Another problem is that if you ask half a dozen plumbers the same question, you tend to get half a dozen mutually exclusive answers. And sometimes what is flippantly stated by otherwise knowledgeable plumbers is just plain wrong.

    No, kidding? Yes, they shouldn't be stressed down too far. However, that doesn't mean they aren't. And how would the plumber doing the home warranty work know what the condition was of the toilet prior to the person taking possession of it? He doesn't! And neither do you.

    My residential plumbing knowledge is limited to what I've worked on, including the toilets I've replaced or reset.

    The home warranties claim to cover the equipment in the condition it is in. So yes, it is their obligation to show that the homeowner caused the damage. Clowns like you make the worthlessness of home warranties apparent though. They can find some useful idiot to say what they want.

    Duh! And that's what that home warranty is supposed to cover!
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,362
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    There is a bright side of this. That old Crane was far from an efficient toilet, so while this may not be the time you would choose to get a replacement, you can end up with a good performing toilet. Crane may have been a good brand at one time, but through mergers, they like many other former quality brands are now made in far away lands. May I suggest you seriously consider a Toto replacement. I seriously doubt that Crane will do anything for you considering the age of the toilet. You may have a shot with your homeowners insurance.
  9. ghenley

    ghenley New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    Thank you for all the answers. I mentioned the clock simply because some atmospheric quirk may have had some affect upon both the clock and the toilet..... and I didn't wish to unwittingly set off a verbal skirmish.

    The crack is in the tank, dipping down from the lip and around the side to the back.

    Now I realize that the smartest thing to do is to replace the toilet myself. That doesn't negate the fact that I want my $60 back to go toward a new unit.

    Attached Files:

  10. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    That is a very odd crack...the plumber was right based on what I see in the pic....that crack may have started some time in the past when the tank lid was put on to hard or something hit the tank and started the crack...it is possible it came from the factory hairline cracked but it would be unlikely and there would be no way of knowing...

    Does the crack go down to the tank bolt?

    It doesn't look like it does in the pic...
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,156
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    So a home warranty is for $60 toilets that are 15 years old that have been broken?

    That's a lot of paperwork for a $60 item,
    Heck I throw those away all week long.
    I couldn't get $5 for one in working condition.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  12. Not_Handy

    Not_Handy New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Followup to my comment previous of my situation with a 20 yr Crane toilet cracking spontaneously at 12:30AM. Thank goodness we were home when it happened.

    Here are my pics. The toilet sat flush, tank not overcranked nor rocking. Not moved in over 10 yrs.

    Picked up another Toto today. I mentioned to the store owner about the tank cracking and then she asked if I had a Crane (which it is). Anyways she said they were well known for doing this...must be a certain vintage. She said I was lucky b/c there was a client who was away on holidays when the Crane tank cracked on the 2nd floor. Over $300,000 in damage! I was lucky. Not a warranty issue (too old) nor insurance (no major damage) for me.

    Now I'm kinda sad b/c I don't have any more toilets to replace :( with 3 Toto's in the house (drake x1, ultimax x2). Hmmmm....maybe one of those fancy seats??.......:)

    Attached Files:

  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,156
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    It's Winter, get one of the fancy seats that are heated and have the warm water wash.

    I'm loving mine.

    I've heard of the Crane tanks popping before too.
    I wouldn't have them in my home,
    It's a good thing you were home.
    Scary.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  14. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    That is an odd place for it to shear. Looking along the tank at points that are accessible (could be struck) can you see any indication that it took an impact from a hard object? I'm thinking of something akin to a rock chip on glass. Finding that, particularly with fresh debris at the point would support the plumber's conclusion. Another thing that might support that would be an indication of a hard blow elsewhere on the tank. Without that his conclusion is unsupportable.

    For example, if there was what appeared to be a years old chip...that should be a warranty item unless the specifically exclude prior damage. Absent any indication of a point source some sort of general applied pressure to the tank (e.g. freezing in the tank before you bought it or distortion from other thicker sections/components under stress finding a weak spot above.) Any chance that the home was below freezing with water in the tank before you purchased it?

    I had a short and favorable exchange with a very good autobody man about 15 years ago. When I picked up the car there was a crack in the windshield that wasn't there when work began. He said it must have been a pre-existing rock chip/crack, and perhaps it was exacerbated by frame straightening. That might have worked as an explanation except that I pointed to fresh glass powder at the point the chip started. Whatever chipped and cracked the window had done so during the time the car was in the shop, after the vehicle had been cleaned and detailed, otherwise that powder would have been long gone. There was no argument after that. He replaced the window on his dime.
  15. I bought a mattress 15 years ago

    And one spring broke


    I want my new mattress, pronto! :D



    Most likely culprit:


    Shrinkage cracks


    Started the day the porcelain was cooled down


    See them all the time


    If a customer of mine came back 15 years later about a toilet cracking I'd tell him to go buy a lottery ticket, quick...


    because they got a better chance winning that lottery than thinking I'd warrant a tank 15 years old.

    It's called the "Reasonable Man Theory" and it seems some people don't want to adhere to such standards of reasonable thinking.
  16. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Quite reasonable...and also the reason the homeowner warranty should have to eat it. Unless they exclude this sort of failure specifically (making the whole warranty completely useless and a waste of money...in which case the homeowner is entiltled to a complete refund...enough to buy more than two Toto Drakes in my home), they are on the hook for this unpredictable failure.

    But you didn't warrant it...the home warranty company did...thinking they could make a risk free buck. Time for them to pay up on a gamble they lost.

    We call 'em Welchers and the standard remedy is to cut off a hand for the first offense...worse for the second :eek: Accountability is a bitch.
  17. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,882
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    crack

    You must have had an apprentice plumber, not one who has been in the business more than a couple of years. I wish I had $10.00 for every one that has cracked spontaneously. The worst feeling is to be walking down the hallway, hear a "click", and have water pouring out of the bathroom. I have changed more toilets that selfdestructed, than those that were "damaged" by the user. Call them and tell them you want a "second opinion" by an experienced plumber, and they can call me if they want a expert opinion that it could, and probably did, happen.
  18. Not_Handy

    Not_Handy New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Another Crane Toilet Cracked!

    Interesting follow-up.

    A woman at my workplace just had a toilet spontaneously crack open while everyone was out of the house few days ago. The toilet turned out to be a Crane. Apparently the insurance guy before even walking into the house said...'let me guess..it's a Crane..' The insurance guy according to her also indicated that they are seeing a lot of Cranes of that era crack spontaneously. Her house built around the same time as mine approx. 20 years or so. Mega- Mega-bucks in damage.

    :(
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,188
    Location:
    New England
    When you fire any ceramic, there are some very specific guidelines you must follow about the speed of the temperature changes and the duration of the firing, or you will induce stress in the casting. You can't rush these things or break the rules! Sounds like they had a QC problem.
  20. chrisf8657

    chrisf8657 New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Kinda off topic, but some Home Warranties don't cover flooding, or only "certain" kinds. Found that out once :(
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