Float mechanism is sticking... on 6 month old toilet.. help please?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by lithnights, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    PA
    We have 6 month old toilet. It uses the newer type of floating mechanism.. I'm not sure how to describe it, but it's not the old type that uses a float ball. This is a plastic piece attached to a vertical piece on the left side of the toilet and it moves up as the water rises, and drops down as toilet is flushed. Hopefully that description is good enough.

    So here is my problem. Quite often, way too often in fact, the floating mechanism rises nicely with the water until about an inch or so away from where it should stop. And there it gets stuck. Meanwhile the water keeps running since the floating mechanism hasn't reached the top. Bye bye water until I take the top off and tap it free. Then it pops up.

    1) What can I do here? I emptied the tank and let the vertical piece and float mechanism dry out, then sprayed with wd-40, hoping that would unstick whatever is causing the stick. But I doubt wd-40 does much good sitting in water.

    2) Three months ago, we used an "in tank cleaning product" (2000 flushes or something like that). 2 days ago while trying to fix this problem, I noticed the tank state that such products shouldn't be used. I did see lots of gook and pieces of the product floating around so I'm wondering... could this contribute to the sticking of the float? I have since cleared out the remains of the product, but the float still sticks. Not every time, but often. Very inconsistent.

    Any thoughts?

    Thank you in advance.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    The chlorine in those things is a terror on the rubber and plastic parts. My guess is that it caused the seal to swell, and it takes more pressure than designed to close it. Depending on the brand, it is normally a $.50 to $2 part, and a few minutes to replace. While you are at it, it probably wouldn't hurt to replace the rubber flapper valve (less than $10) or at least have it as a spare, as the rubber gets soft and won't seal properly. If you rub your finger over the flapper, if it leaves a film of goo, replace it. Just make sure that the float mechanism isn't rubbing on something first.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    2000 flushes has been tested and is certified to DESTROY all the rubber in a toilet in under 28 DAYS. However, this may not be the problem. I would start by replacing the cap assembly on your Fluidmaster fill valve. Although the 2000 flush would not touch it, they can get contaminated and cause sticking. While the cap is off, be sure to run some water up the tube to flush it out.
  4. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    PA
    OK to use with older toilets though??

    I'm assuming these products are OK to use in older toilets since they are more likely to have more metal in them correct? Because we have used these type of products (2000 flushes) in our other older toilets and those seem to be OK.

    Like jimbo said, that may not be the main culprit so I am going to investigate further.

    Just wanted to know your thoughts on the effect of these cleaning products on older (less plastic, although still rubber flapper probably) toilets..??

    Thanks,
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    valve

    1. Some toilets have a very poor valve design, and your experience indicates you have one of them.
    2. The manufacturer will replace it, but you will just get another "bad" one.
    3. Eliminate the hassle by replacing it with a good valve, such as a Fluidmaster 400A.
    4. WE-40 will dissolve some plastics, so you could have made the situation worse.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Even an all brass ballcock and Douglas valve have rubber gaskets, plus rubber tank bolt seals. These are what the chemicals attack.

    WD40 is very harsh on any rubber. I believe he already has a fluidmaster fill valve. You could check to ensure the float is not rubbing against the tank wall.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2006
  7. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    PA
    My toilet is a Kohler Wellworth. I am not sure of the fill valve brand/make/model. Can you tell the fill valve type based on the fact that it is a Kohler Wellworth?

    I guess I could try to look for a new one such as the Fluidmaster 400A.

    The float is definitely not rubbing against the tank wall.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The fill valve is a 400A, even though it is private-labeled as Kohler. Purchase a Fluidmaster replacement cap assembly and install it. This may fix the problems. Also, the flapper for the Wellworth is a unique item. If you put in a generic flapper, you will end up with either no flush or a triple flush. You must get the Fluimaster or Korky flapper specifically labeled as for Wellworth, or get a Kohler OEM part.
  9. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    PA
    Thanks Jimbo. Do you think I could get these at my local HD or should I head to a plumbing supply store? I would think the former, but just want to verify.

    So, based on these comments, is it fair to say that the fill valve I have is a pretty good one, there's just a good chance that I made it faulty by using the 2000 Flushes?
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    The Fluidmaster flush valve is readily available in many place, including HD.
  11. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    PA
    Replaced the fill valve with a new 400a from HD about a week ago.

    No problems yet. Looks like it worked. I also bought the Fluidmaster kit that lets you use color or cleaning agents. The color or bleach cartridge sits in a plastic housing with an input and output house. Color or bleach gets flushed directly into the bowl and doesn't get in the tank at all.

    My wife has her nice blue water in the bowl and I have my nice new toilet tank parts not getting eaten alive by a 2000 flushes product. Win win

    Thanks all.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Kohler

    Kohler is also using a modified Fluidmaster that uses the 400A seal, but is "sideways" similar to the one in the low one piece toilet.
  13. lmarley

    lmarley New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Here's a quick fix for running toilets with the newer flushing mechanism

    We have 3 Kohler toilets with the newer flushing mechanism. 2 of the 3 started running and I was able to get the water to shut off completely by sliding a piece of styrofoam onto the thin metal rod that runs from the float up to the lever that shuts off the water. The foam, a triangle roughly 2 inches x 1.5 inches and 1 in. deep, augments the main float, forcing the lever up when the tank is full.

    Thanks everyone for the explanation of what is happening and how to really fix the problem.

    Laura
  14. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    PA
    I just tried this with one of my other toilets and it works like a charm. Amazing what a simple piece of styrofoam can do.
  15. Jojo3homE

    Jojo3homE New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Tennessee
    sticking toilet float, new style

    Thank you so much for this info preventing sticking of the new type of toilet float and about not using WD40 on the mechanism. I was just about to do that!!!! Thanks for stopping me. I was skeptical about the styrofoam working. Made the little piece and figured where you put it, and VIOLA, it worked. I am so happy. I, too, agree at the amazing fix from a little piece of styrofoam!!! You saved me a headache!!
  16. crankygrannie

    crankygrannie New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Boston MA
    OK, background. I've installed hundreds of these in a hotel, but didn't stay long enough for them to stick! At home it take a couple years, but eventually they all stick, so I like the styrofoam trick a lot. I tried just a peanut at first, but it wasn't enough to lift the float. Finally, my brain kicked in. What changes? They work in the beginning. The plastic doesn't seem to wear out. (We wish. I've put three of these in the land fill.) It has to be a build up, right? I took this valve out awhile ago for another problem, cleaned it, and it worked for a short while. This time I just flushed and wiped the part it slides up and down with vinegar. Pretty harmless, right? It's been great for at least 20 flushes. How you adjust it must effect it, too. The metal piece can't move vertically, because the part that moves it moves in an arc.
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