just broke my toilet trying to fix it :( overflowing => breaking the water fill valve

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by obama, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. obama

    obama New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    ca
    just broke my toilet trying to fix it :( overflowing => breaking the water fill valve

    my toilet cistern: power gravity by toto http://www.terrylove.com/images/toto_cst854_inside_tank.jpg

    ok i don't know anything about toilets but here's the problem:

    toilet kept running in the cistern. if i flush and hold then let go, the fill valve runs and water flows in the cistern until the overflow tube and starts draining in there.
    if i flush quick and let go, the water level stays about .75 inch below the overflow tube, but the fill tube never stops running. just keeps draining water into the overflow tube.
    sometimes though, if i do a quick flush, i come back 20mins later with water on my floor because the cistern just overflowed.



    i have no idea whats going on. but here's what i did:

    so i decided to follow online stuff. turned off the water below toilet. tried to unlock the fill valve by turning it counterclockwise. didnt budge, twisted harder, CRACK. some white/clear plastic thing justting out near the base of it just broke into 2 pieces and my fill tube detached, though i was able to unlock it and pull it up and down :). turns out it was already at the lowest setting for water level.


    so wtf did i do wrong? and what is the problem with cistern running constantly and how do i fix this? and can i replace it or am i going to mess up more and should just call a plumber?

    thanks for the help.
  2. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    You should be able to fix this pretty quickly. It will be an empowering experience and only take a few minutes.

    Sounds like your problem is a runaway fill valve. I could give you some suggestions to fix the valve, but it's probably just as cheap and easy to replace it. I'm guessing from your description that the little plastic "lock" key on your fill valve cracked, and may have damaged it, so easy to replace the valve.

    Go to Lowe's (or your local harware store) and get this fill valve: http://www.lowes.com/pd_336988-868-528MPK_0__?Ntt=528mpk&UserSearch=528mpk&productId=3284948&rpp=32 It's the Korky MaxPerformance fill valve, 528MP. You want that one, the one with the silver cap, not the white cap one which is just the 528. That one won't refill your bowl enough.

    There is a video from the valve manufacturer here on how to replace it, and it comes with good instructions. Should take even a non-handy person less than ten minutes to replace.

    One important thing: where the video and instructions talk about setting the little knob on the valve to the proper refill level, your toilet will probably work perfectly with that valve all the way open to its maximum, so you can probably ignore most of that part unless you really want to super-tweak it.

    [video=youtube;Gw7HvHtaA84]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw7HvHtaA84[/video]

    Let us know how its going and come back with any more questions.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
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    Sounds like you need a new fill valve. Toto has a universal one, but you can buy one locally that will work as well (from Korky, the same people that make those for many of the Toto toilets). If you search a little, you can get the model number. It sounds like the seal on the one you had had failed, or has some dirt or sand on it that prevented it from sealing. If you hadn't broken the thing, you'd have been able to fix it with a $3 part and a couple of minutes. It doesn't take that much to replace that valve. Essentially, shut the water off at the wall shutoff, take the hose off (it's a good idea to replace that as well), unscrew the nut on the bottom, pull the thing out of the tank, slide the new one in, put on the new nut, and reconnect things. Then, you have to adjust the overall height and the tank/bowl water ratio. It's not hard.
  4. obama

    obama New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    ca
    appreciate it guys, will try this when i get home.

    what was the original problem: you guys said fill valve but any idea what was wrong with it? ^jadna mentions a seal was broken, not sure how a seal is involved in the fill valve, or having obstructions would prevent sealing. also, if i hadnt broken it, what item would i be replacing, for the future?

    and what was that damn plastic thing on the bottom; how would have i disabled it? my hands were too fat to get in there :p

    last Q: in general toilets should NOT keep running, either fill tube or fill valve running, right?

    thanks!

    NO LOWES NEARBY :( and home depot doesnt seem to have the MPK. any reason to use MPK, or are other ones good too?

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2014
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    The fill valve is just that, a valve, and must have a seal to prevent water from continuing to run (i.e., to shut it off). Just like a faucet can start to leak, a toilet fill valve can. Depending on the model of fill valve you have, a good portion of them have a replaceable seal (usually the only thing that wears out). So, if you'd changed that, you'd be fine now. Once a toilet is properly setup, you should never have to adjust the fill level ever again. If the water level rises, it's leaking. Some do not have a replaceable seal.

    Some of the valves have a 'lock' that holds the fill valve adjustment for height, and when you played with it, that could have broken, but if you actually cracked the actual valve, then it needs to be replaced.

    A toilet must refill both the bowl and the tank at the same time to work right AND to minimize excess water usage. Some valves run too much water into the bowl...that doesn't hurt performance, but just gets wasted down the drain. But, the only thing the valve does is shut off when it's the right height in the tank, so you need one that either can be adjusted to properly fill the bowl, or your risk the bowl either being not full when the tank is (lousy flush, if at all), or you may waste an extra gallon or two down the drain. So, for maximum efficiency, you need one designed for the specific toilet.

    Many hardware stores, and most plumbing supply stores will likely have that refill valve if you don't have a Lowes nearby.
  6. obama

    obama New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    ca
    thanks, learned a lot here.

    ya question was just why mpk over mp as stated in the previous poster post. which then led to the Q, what should i pick if they dont have MPK? Home depot has a MCM or MCW but i'm unaware of what to look for in refill valves
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,771
    Location:
    New York, NY
    You want the silver-top 528MP MaxPerformance at Lowe's or a hardware store (or you can get it online from Lowe's or other suppliers). Lowe's calls it an "MPK" because of their weird numbering nomenclature, but it's the same thing. In fact the package will say MP. You want the silver top one, and there is only one silver-top one, which is the MP (or MPK or whatever the particular store wants to list it as online).

    You want that one because most fill valves have a refill ratio of 20% That's the percentage of incoming water that goes through the little hose and down the overflow riser to fill the bowl, rather than out the valve and into the tank. That was an industry standard that in the past just overfilled the bowl and put a lot of water into the bowl on refill that just ran down the drain. Toilets that use less water in the flush, and have shorter refill times for the tank, need a higher refill ratio than 20%. The Toto GMax and Power Gravity toilets run a 40% refill ratio. (The newer models run between like 28% and 33%, hence the adjuster so that valve will work on any Toto.) The 528MP has a little adjuster on it that varies the refill percentage from zero to 40%. So on yours, you probably just need to run it wide open. You don't need the adjuster, but you need the 40%. So a white-cap 528 at 20% (which is what HD carries) isn't going to sufficiently refill your bowl. Make sense?

    Now, that said, there is a 528T Korky fill valve that is fixed at a 40% refill ratio. It has a blue top. It is much-less-widely-available than the 528MP, but it is out there in a lot of hardware stores. The reason we don't talk about it much on here is that the 528MP is often available in places that sell it for less than you could find the 528T. ("T" stands for Toto, which was cool when most Totos were Power Gravity or GMax. Now that there are other flushes, the 528T doesn't actually work on all Totos, although it will work on yours.)

    The Big Box stores carry a weird assortment of Korky products. The 528 with the white cap is available at HD, but they don't typically carry the silver-cap MP. Lowe's does (yay!), but then Lowe's doesn't carry the r528 cap that I refer to later in this post, and HD does. Lowe's doesn't carry the Blue Fits Toto Korky flapper for your toilet, but HD does online and in some of its stores. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Korky-3-in-Toilet-Tank-Flapper-for-Toto-Power-Gravity-2022CM/202666005 Oddly, Walmart carries that flapper online and in some of its stores, and carries the 528T online but not in most of its stores. Searching all of those web sites for Korky products is confounded by the crappy search engines they all use, and their tendency to use non-standard letters after the Korky product number. So I just search by putting in Korky, which doesn't pull up more than 15 or 20 things, and then just scroll down to find what I want.

    If you have a Grainger around, you can ask them if they have the 528MP and/or the 528PRO (which is a 528MP with a black top and some other tweaks that pros like Terry use). They carry it, but not in all stores.

    You can also find the 528T (which comes in a box that says FITS TOTO on it) in many local Ace Hardware's and such. Some Ace Hardware stores also carry the 528MP. Problem is that most of their "helpful hardware folks" act like they know about toilets and plumbing in the kind of detail I am talking about, but they don't. And they will do you wrong in a second. "Oh just get the white-cap one." or "This brand works just as well." Sigh.

    Also, if you have a good local plumbing supply place, you could get yourself a Toto TSU99A.X Universal Replacement Fill Valve. It's -- guess what? -- basically a 528MP with some gizmos that let you adjust it perfectly to the factory specs for those Totos that use between 20 and 40 percent refill.

    So...those are some good options. Also, if you have a low-cost shipping option, you can order it online. But I suspect that you would rather have it right away.

    NOW -- your other questions.

    The thing that you broke was likely the little plastic tab that keeps people from tampering with the level to which you set the fill valve. See, to adjust the water level on a 528, you twist it to unlock and then set the length and then twist to lock. To tweak it once you turn the water back on, you turn off the water, twist it to unlock, and then move it slightly up or down, and twist to lock again. When plumbers (and Toto) install that valve, they put that little tamper-proof-key on there to keep it from turning (i.e. from a malicious or clueless person). Korky generally recommends now that you don't really need it in a do it yourself application, but they provide it anyway. I don't bother with it on toilets in my house. It's a PITA to remove unless you take the valve out of the toilet, which is I guess the point to prevent tampering, but it just makes it annoying to adjust. In fact, the OLD installation method recommended by Korky was to dry-fit the valve with the thing initially fully-extended, then push it down to whatever level you thought was correct, then carefully remove it and only then lock it and install the tamper proof key, then replace it in the toilet and tighten it down. That works, but it ignores the concept of wanting to adjust it, and was such a hassle that they just skipped the tamper-proof key in their more recent instructions, and tell you to lock it in place while it's in the toilet. Be sure to hold the stem of the valve (not the head) when you are tightening the nut under the tank because otherwise on the last turn or two of the nut, the whole valve will twist in the toilet and not be facing where you want it.

    The thing you would have replaced is this: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Korky-Toilet-Fill-Valve-Replacement-Cap-R528CM/202666007?keyword=r528 That little cap has all the moving (or wear) parts in the valve, so when the valve finally starts to wear out, all you do is pull off the top, swap out that cap, and you're back in business. We usually recommend that you clean it at the same time, but that takes less than 5 minutes. A nice feature of the Korky valves. That same cap works on every version of the 528; it's not specific to any model of 528. Here's the video on how to install it. If you want, you could try replacing it now, and doing the rest of the service in this video, but it just seemed to me that it would be easier to swap the valve if you're not sure if you broke it.

    [video=youtube;syJY4o90prI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syJY4o90prI[/video]

    PS One thing about that video is that seems to suggest from what the lady does with her finger that you should be able to spin the rubber within the cap. You can't, and that's not what they are meaning to say; Korky and I had a discussion about this, and they may fix it in future videos. All they mean is that it should have some give to it and move freely up and down. After years at excess water pressure, that cap will have big indentations in the rubber.

    AND...to answer your other question, when the toilet has finished the refill cycle, nothing should be coming out of the refill hose into the overflow riser or into the toilet. When the valve turns off, it should stay off until your next flush. If it doesn't stay off until the next flush, and doesn't overflow the top of the overflow riser as yours did, then some water may be leaking past the flapper and the valve is cycling on and off to maintain the level of water in the tank (i.e. flapper is worn out). But if it's coming on and overflowing the top of the overflow riser, then it either isn't adjusted to the proper height (unlikely as it has been in there all this time and doesn't come loose unless someone tampered with it, but you had your key installed) or, most likely, it needed a new little r528 cap.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  8. obama

    obama New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    ca
    thanks so much wjc!!

    i got the mpk, now tried to remove the old fill valve but it wont budge. i removed the water tubes and whatnot from the bottom, but i did notice there's a white mounting nut attached to the bottom of the cistern that prevents me from pulling the fill valve up.

    went to get pliers, but cant get a good grip because the stupid cistern is concave from the bottom up, meaning i dont have access to the horizontal plane of the mounting nut to twist from, since theres stupid edges of the cistern blocknig me. what do i do? is there some special tool that can solve my problem quickly? :(
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    The plastic ones can often be unscrewed without tools. But do you have a pair of channel lock pliers? That should get big enough to get on it in line verses horizontally (i.e., with the tips, rather than along the full length if it were parallel).
  10. obama

    obama New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    ca
    i actually was using channel locks. do you mean use it vertically and just lock onto near opposite ends....? the cistern wlalls jut down a good 2 inches so theres no way in hell i can get anywhere close to the plane of nut.

    i did some googling, was hoping a ratchet thingy would work but theres a few inches of fill valve jutting from the bottom that prevents me from locking on the nut.

    basin wrench? not sure. home depots closed now so im fked holding my poop in :3. its a white plastic? hex nut

    blow dry it until it melts? :(
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,824
    Location:
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    Would need a picture to see what's going on. But, worse comes to worse, get a bucket, you can either fill the tank and bowl, or just pour a bunch into the bowl to flush it.
  12. obama

    obama New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    ca
    haha im just kidding i have 2 other toilets.

    im going to take a break but afterwards try a poking it with a screw to see if it loosens and bang it with a hammer. all i need is for it to be a tiny bit loose. also got a chisel just in case i get pissed.
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Normally I just replace this

    [​IMG]

    Less then $3
    Does't take tools to replace, can be done in less then a minute.

    www.terrylove.com/korky
  14. obama

    obama New Member

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    Location:
    ca
    what is that called ^? i'll do that next time before breaking my lock and toilet
  15. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Location:
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    That's the R528 cap that I mention in the posts above.
  16. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    That was the best post on this question, the one by wjcandee. Video and everything! :)
  17. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek: Blushing.
  18. obama

    obama New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    ca
    yep really appreciate all the help from all of you :)

    so update: i sprayed wd40 in that damn thing last night and let it sit. tried twisting it with my hands real quick today but no go, just more slippery. dont think it worked :(

    will try again when i get home.
  19. obama

    obama New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    ca
    update for you all

    still failure

    i got a basin wrench and cant even use it because idk what the fk im doing. also, clearance still too small for basin wrench. the wrench itself either wont stay on the thin ass nut or i have no room to turn it (wrench hits the concave part of the cistern, or just the walls protruding from the cistern or i have no space for my twisting hand to twist without hitting something).

    ive also tried wd40 and nothing happened. not even sure if i sprayed right though.

    vertical channel locks didnt work, cnat get a good grip.

    xacto knifed it and got maybe 0.1mm deep before my deltoid cramped.

    hammer and chisel trying to blunt force it and no results.

    out of ideas guys. my next step is to buy a blow torch.
  20. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    If you intend to replace a fill valve on an Aquia, you must first remove the tank from the bowl.
    Shut the water off at the wall. Remove the water supply from the shutoff.
    The bowl attaches with two screws, one on either side of the flush valve. Your remove the flush valve by rotating out counter clockwise.
    Using a screwdriver, remove the tank hold down bolts. Lift the tank off.

    [​IMG]

    At this point, you will easily see the plastic nut that holds the fill valve on. Unthread and lift the fill valve out.

    www.terrylove.com/korky
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