loose bolt in closet flange (ABS)

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by paperprofit, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. paperprofit

    paperprofit New Member

    What's the easiest way to fix a closet-flange bolt that turns? If I install the toilet and try to tighten the two nuts that secure it to the closet flange, I can't because the bolt turns when I turn the nuts.

    The closet flange (and drain pipe) are black plastic (ABS?). Is there a repair kit I can buy to fix this problem that will make the bolts "lock" into place or do I need to replace the flange (I assume it's cemented to the drain pipe).

    Also, the existing closet flange bolts are carriage bolts but I bought new ones that have a flat, oval-shaped head (very different from a carriage bolt). Why the difference? Are they interchangable?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Clayton

    Clayton Plumber

    Flange bolts

    I always try to use flange bolts that come with double nuts and washers. This way you can tighten the bolts directly to the flange before you set the toilet.
    Personally I don't like the plastic flanges, I prefer to use closet flange with the adj. stainless steel ring. Plastic flanges seem to break easy and I'm always replacing them.

    Anyway, even without the double nuts and washers, you should be able to tighten the nut without the flange bolt turning unless they are extremely poor quality and do not fit together well.

    Use solid brass flange bolts, not the plated steel ones.
  3. paperprofit

    paperprofit New Member


    Thank you! Seems like an easy fix.

    But if I use a second set of nuts to "lock" the bolt to the flange, is it possible that they will stick up too high? Won't the toilet rest on the nuts rather than the flange?

    I assume that wouldn't be acceptable (unless I shim up the entire toilet the thickness of the "lock" nuts).

    Thanks again.
  4. RioHyde

    RioHyde Plumber

    Cincinnati, Ohio
    There is usually enough space to use a nut and washer to lock the closet bolts in place.

    You say that the existing bolts are carraige bolts. The head of a typical carraige bolt generally wont lock into position in a closet flange. A true closet bolt with the oval head should though.

    Good luck
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    The nut and washer that holds the closet bolts to the flange will either hit the bottom of the toilet, or it won't.
    It almost never hits.

    The easiest way is to just try it.
    The only bolts I buy are with the double nuts and washers.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2005
  6. paperprofit

    paperprofit New Member

    Thanks, guys. I'll give it a shot.

    BTW, the existing bolts are true carriage bolts with a round (domed, unslotted) head, about a 1/2" long square shank and then the threaded shank. Only one of them turns freely in the flange, the other one doesn't.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    The nuts will only hit the bottom of the bowl if the flange is too high, or the slots for the bolts have deformed and are twisted upward.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    A carriage bolt is not the correct part. Sounds like someone used a tank-to-bowl bolt. Nutting the bolt into place solves several problems. I always do that.
  9. Snowman

    Snowman New Member

    Ah-Ha Another "mystery" solved.

    I sure wondered about this when I installed my Dalton. Literature that came with the toliet did not show this extra set of nuts as a part of the installation. However, when I removed the old bowl, the nuts were there holding the flange bolts in place.

    None of the videos showed using these "extra" nuts, so, at first, I was hesitant to use them. I kinda worried about the flange bolts turning when I tightened them and maybe only "holding on" to the flange by a small part of the bolt top. I "thought" the bolts might even come lose. Soooooo, I went ahead and used the nuts to secure the flange bolts.

    Thank you very much, "mystery solved"......... Tom :)
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