Crane 13.25 litre toilet: Swirls on first flush, goes down on second flush

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Buttercup, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Buttercup

    Buttercup New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I have a Crane 13.25 litre toilet that has a flushing problem. If I put in toilet paper and flush the water level gets high, the water swirls and swirls around and the toilet paper does not go down. With a second flush the paper goes down. So if the toilet is blocked why does it work on the second flush? My husband has used an auger and this has not solved the problem. This toilet is on the second floor of my house, I have 2 other toilets also on the second floor and they all flush fine. The Crane toilet is used for a guest bedroom and is not used often, and it has had this problem from the start. A rep came from Crane several years ago and said that the problem is not the toilet, but he couldn't say where the problem was. I am expecting guests soon and want to solve the problem.It seems to me that this could be: 1) a clog somewhere in the drain, 2) the vent or 3) the toilet itself has a defect.
    My problem is that I don't know where to start. If the problem is the drain, then why does the toilet work on the second flush.. If I pour a bucket of water down the Crane, the water does not go down. Is that a clog or a defect in the toilet?
    I am not the original builder of the house, so I have no way of knowing if the vent is connected unless I tear down the wall.
    I do not want to replace the toilet and then find out that that does not solve the problem.
    If I do all 3 things, check the drain professionally, tear down the walls and replace the toilet I am looking at spending a thousand dollars or more. Is it clear from my description where the problem is so that I can I can actually solve the problem? Any ideas or comments?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,262
    Location:
    New England
    If the toilet is not used often, the level of the water in the bowl may drop through evaporation. If it doesn't start with the required (full) level in the bowl, the first attempt to flush fills it up, then the second actually works. Otherwise, there may be something caught in the trapway of the toilet. This could be a pen, cotton swab, femine product, toothbrush, toy, etc. An auger often will go right by that and not detect or remove it. Sometimes, you have to pull the toilet and check from the bottom. Then, it could just be a lousy toilet! Another thing that might give similar results is an offset flange. There are some versions that work okay, but some are lousy. If the thing has a wax ring with the embedded funnel, that can give grief plus, if the wax isn't positioned properly, it could squish out and partially block the outlet. So, maybe pulling the thing and takign a look is the best, first thing. A wax ring is cheap, so the cost isn't much if you can do it yourself.
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,385
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Jim has pretty well covered the possibilities. Crane is not a very good toilet, but before scraping it I would do as suggested and pull the toilet up to check for clogging problems. This doesn't cost much, just the price of a new wax ring, so if this doesn't locate the problem, you will not be out much.
  4. Buttercup

    Buttercup New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks Jim and Gary for your replies.
    There is no water evaporation problem. There is a good amount of water on the first flush and the water goes up high but just swirls.
    Have pulled up the toilet and we augered but did not find anything.
    I am trying to figure out if it is the toilet itself. a clog somewhere, or the vent, if the water just stays high, swirls and does not go down fast enough and only flushes well on the second flush.
  5. jeffdt

    jeffdt New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Atlanta area
    Definitely sounds like a vent problem.
  6. Buttercup

    Buttercup New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks for your reply Jeff. Please elaborate as to why it could be a vent problem.
  7. jeffdt

    jeffdt New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Atlanta area
    If the vent that serves that particular toilet has become clogged some how, the toilet will exhibit precisely the symptoms you are experiencing. The other toilets are probably on a separate vent. There is not enough air being allowed in for that toilet to properly flush. The vent pipe will have to be snaked.

    Jeff
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I doubt that it's a vent.
    Toilets will siphon just fine without a vent.

    Just pull the toilet outside, put it on blocks and see if it flushes there.

    And since you have the toilet out there, you might as well pick up a new one when you reinstall.

    No sense reinstalling a bowl that has a problem.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  9. jeffdt

    jeffdt New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Atlanta area
    Who wants to drag a toilet out to the back yard and put it up on blocks? From a second floor bathroom? Blocks? Why not listen to the symptoms and give honest advice?
  10. achutch

    achutch New Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Vermont
    Have you always had problems with this toilet, or is this something that began to happen recently? The reason I ask is that my condo, which was built in 1986 came with two contractor grade Crane Galaxy toilets. The toilet upstairs behaved exactly like you you have described. My downstairs toilet was slightly sluggish but worked. My neighbors in the units on either side of me experienced similar problems. We replaced all of our toilets.

    The plumbing company who did the original work admitted that there was a batch of toilets with bad castings.

    My neighbor on the end of the building has the same Crane toilet and his flushes flawlessly. Apparently he got a "good one".

    If your problem has been ongoing, perhaps this is the same type of issue.

    achutch
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,043
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It is NOT a vent problem, it is the toilet itself. Usually it is caused by the "refill tube" not restoring the toilet bowl's water level to the proper level before the first flush. To test it, BEFORE flushing the toilet slowly pour water into the bowl until the water level stabilizes and does not rise any further. Then flush the toilet to see if it flushes the first time.
  12. Buttercup

    Buttercup New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Jeff your answer seems very helpful and I am strongly considering checking out the vent. Problem is our weather in Toronto....we are getting a snowstorm today!!!
    Luckily this toilet isn't used often, but checking out the vent seems like the wise thing to do.

    Terry I am not going to drag the toilet to the backyard and put in on blocks, but I get your point that you think the problem is the toilet itself.

    Achutch we have always had this problem with the toilet. I am not sure which Crane model it is, but it is a Crane. Interestingly we have another Crane toilet in the basement that works just fine.

    Hj, we have added more water before the first flush, but it still doesn't flush well on the first flush, just swirls. When I poured down a bucket of water, the water just sat there.

    So I will let you know the outcome once we get the vent checked....it may be awhile because of the snow on the roof. Hopefully, this will help others in the same predicament.
    Many thanks for your replies.
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Jeff,
    Pretty harsh words from a homeowner to a 35 year plumber.
    Maybe you should be doing my job.
    Anytime a toilet runs slow, you can say, "Bad Vent"

    The two oldest plumbers here disagree with you.
    Is hj being dishonest too?
    Or are you just showing your lack of experience?
    What is your day job Jeff?
    I hope your are better at that, then you are trying to answer plumbing questions.

    Some plumbing codes don't require a vent on the toilet.
    How do you explain that?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
  14. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    From DAY 1 ( that would be about 1899 plus or minus ) plumbing fixtures drained just fine with NO VENTS. Problem discovered was that the draining tended to siphon traps dry, hence the odor problem, and vents were invented. A few VERY seasoned plumbers have opined that a clogged vent would not cause the symptoms noted.

    The reason to possibly resort to "putting the toilet on blocks" is that a toilet can be clogged internally, unseen, by things like a sanitary napkin or a toy. Although not the FIRST test you would do, sometimes the only way to confirm such an internal issue is "on the blocks" followed by the final sledge hammer discovery!
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    That's the part I like.
    If he's really stuck on an old Crane, I throw a few away every week.
    All he has to do is drive over here and I get to save on my weekly dump fees.
  16. Buttercup

    Buttercup New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I appreciate all of your opinions.
    Let's keep this forum friendly and informative!
    I do not want to make this a contest.
  17. lauretta07

    lauretta07 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    chicago
    yes Agree. :)
  18. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Call me another plumber that disagrees with Jeff and his vent theory...
    His answer is typical of those who do not understand even the most basic concepts of venting.
    Save the attitude and get schooled...

    I believe HJ is close in his bowl replenishment theory of the bowl not being full enough so enough of the water from the flush goes to replenishing the bowl that a flush does not occur every other flush.

    Another common cause of this symptom is someone replacing the flapper on a 3.5 gallon flush toilet with a 1.6 gallon per flush flapper.

    The only other problem could be the toilet is loaded with crud and the water isn't moving as it should.
    In which case why not take advantage of the $75 rebate offered by the City of Toronto and install a nice new Toto Drake II.
    Then you can get your water saving payback.
  19. Buttercup

    Buttercup New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Many thanks Terry!!!
    I called a top plumbing company in Toronto, and they totally agreed with you that the problem was the toilet and not the vent pipe.
    So I had our plumber replace our 13.25 litre Crane toilet, as you suggested and guess what, the new toilet flushes perfectly.
    We are delighted! All this done before our guests arrive!
    We bought a Cadet 3, 6 litre and it works very well. It does not splash and has an excellent flush.
    Many thanks for saving us a lot of hassle and for your excellent recommendation!
    No more Cranes for us.
  20. jeckysmith

    jeckysmith New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Australia
    I had crane toilet in my home and it not flush out at the first flush. If the toilet than why does it work on second flush. All other toilets are flush well. I don’t want to replace the toilet, please suggest me any solution to this problem.

    first flush
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