Mansfield 1983 Toilet: Tank to Bowl Gasket Nightmare

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by tinkertia, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. tinkertia

    tinkertia New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Missouri
    Hi. Been on a long journey here of trial and error regarding re-seating my Mansfield tank to the bowl. Originally had leak at one of three bolts (with corroded nut no less). Have since elected to replace all seals since the tank was being lifted off. Now, no matter what I've done, the darn thing leaks. All be it, very very slow at times, but is leaking just the same.

    Have what appears to be a Mansfield #210 flush valve that I replaced the seal between it and the tank. Have replaced all washers on the tank bolts and even purchased brass washers and wing nuts to avoid future corrosion. The spud gasket is what I have been blaming this cycle of attach/leak/attach/leak. I've used a low profile tank to bowl gasket (spud gasket) with the tank bolts (bolt/rubber washer/tank/brass washer/brass nut/bowl/rubber washer/brass washer/wing nut). I believe the extra nut & washer to snug the bolt better up to the tank was too much for this particular profile, and have since removed it from the sequence. I've used larger spud gaskets (for American Standard) that appear to wrap and cover the flush valve sticking out of the tank much better than a universal low profile. I've even totally replaced the flush valve in case the new gasket (inside the tank on the flush valve) isn't matching up to the old valve and therefore not sitting correctly.

    I'm still leaking. Never from a bolt (though will be seen dripping from the bolt fairly certain it is not the bolt itself leaking). Do my darnedest to level the tank, alternately tightening the wing nuts. Have added a brass washer between the bolt and inside rubber washer to level the pressure against the tank bottom. Have inspected the bottom thoroughly for a crack in the tank.

    It may be as simple as I need an actual Mansfield gasket between the tank and bowl. Finally broke down and ordered one. I just want to make certain there isn't anything else in my sequence I am doing wrong while I wait for it to arrive. The leaking occurs only after the tank is completely full and simply sitting there. Which is why I wondered if it wasn't the inside flush valve not sitting correctly (how else is the water getting out of the tank in the first place?). Sure there is something easy I'm not seeing or doing. So just wanting to check again before I finally give up and replace the whole darn toilet.

    Help! Any ideas greatly appreciated.
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,359
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I realize it is easy to recommend spending other people's money, but really it is folly wasting time and money repair a 1983 toilet that wasn't a very good one even when new. Few of us will keep trying to patch up a 28 year old Yugo, but that's about what you are trying to do. Even if you can find the needed parts and stop the leaks, you still have a 5 gallon per flush antique. The toilet brand most favored on this forum is the Toto. There are many models to choose from, some very expensive, but many that should be within reach of most anyone. Avoid the builder grades found in major discount stores. Yes, the price is tempting, but they are fraught with problems from the very beginning. Toto toilets are not sold in discount centers, but are available from plumbers even if they do not stock them. The Drake models are quite popular and would be a good choice.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The bolts and gasket you are using is the only one I have EVER used for all brands except the few with proprietary gaskets which cannot use the generic one.
  4. tinkertia

    tinkertia New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Missouri
    Mr. Gary, you are absolutely correct in the opinion sometimes it's better to update than repair... and as I stood over my tank yesternight and contemplated a drained tank once again, while the thought of jerking the entire unit up was appealing, it also had a smidge of defeat tainting it. It's almost like seeing something through to the end, even if the final step is defeat.

    My next stage is to try the "mansfield" spud gasket with the three brass bolts (rubber washer only in the tank), nothing between the tank and bowl, and the rubber washer, brass washer and wingnut below the bowl. All with a brand new over-flow flush valve installed. All in all, $18 total invested and priceless amount of time. Ifn's this does not succeed in preventing little droplets of water to hasten their way to my floor, then I will most definitely be replacing my original APR 1983 Mansfield toilet.

    Speaking of my antique, does it really use 5 gallons per flush? And the Toto Drake uses what volume, 1.6 gallons?? I apologize for my ignorance. I've spent my time researching Mansfield and spuds, not the best toilet for longevity and conservation. If I am going to do this, I would prefer doing it well the first time, save learning from my multiple mistakes for the next project. I would prefer to make an informed investment. Shoot, pulling up the toilet might be an opportunity to replace the tile.... but would honestly rather delay that feat until after refinishing the utility room downstairs is complete.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  5. tinkertia

    tinkertia New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Missouri
    Hi hj. The gasket you refer to being the all around American Standard? It did lend more play in the tank to bowl - allowing better/easier leveling of the tank as I tightened the wing nuts. But I was also concerned it was "too much" gasket. The tank comes no where near touching the bowl while sitting on the American Standard gasket. Though, it also makes great contact up against the underneath of the tank. Do you generally include a washer and nut between the tank and bowl to snug up the bolt inside the tank, or simply pull the bolts and tank gently down with the nuts below the bowl? Having not seen "other" toilets can't truly discern whether I have the proper clearance for either this gasket or the extra nut & washer. Truly, what a learning experience.
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,359
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I could have been a bit strong on your Mansfield toilet's water consumption, it may only be 3.5 gallons per flush. Low flow requirements for nearly 20 years has been 1.6 gallons per flush. Newer versions of Toto use 1.28 gallons per flush. Now, using such a small amount of water presented problems for most manufacturers. In the beginning, many of them tried their old designs with less water. Clogging became an accepted price for saving water. Toto engineers attacked the problem and made changes in the internal design which eliminated clogging except in extreme cases. Most of us Toto users don't even have a plunger. Strangely enough, most of the famous big name brands of the past still try to use gimmicks to improve their product with limited success. In addition, most of those companies have sold out to other companies that have their factories in Mexico. Quality control is very poor. It is widely believed that discount chains buy toilets that do not pass or would not pass quality control inspections. If you go to the top of this page, you will find a link that will take you to a review of Toto toilets and help you make an informed decision. You can also learn a great deal from this section of the forum.
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,129
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The 1983 Mansfield with a Fluidmaster 400A fill valve very well may use five gallons.
    After the bowl is filled, the tank will continue to fill and overfill the bowl several times before the fill valve shuts off.
    About two gallons will go down the drain "after" the toilet is flushed and the bowl is filled the first time.
    Switching to a new toilet will save a lot of money every year. And some water districts offer rebates to remove and replace toilets like yours with something more economical.

    Bolts and rubber washers that hold a tank to a bowl are standard.
    If everything is clean and tight, it should work.
    I had one customer that took a perfectly installed tank, removed it and put putty under the rubber washers. We had to go back and remove the putty. He said he "learned" it from a web site.
    It must have been one of those "DIY sites for homeowners, by homeowners". I sometimes drop in on those, not posting, but just to get my laugh for the day.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  8. tinkertia

    tinkertia New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Missouri
    Incredible food for thought... and the direction I feared I would be heading eventually. I will enjoy learning more of the options available in today's market, namely the Toto line. Potential 1.28 gallons? Impressive. Any concerns regarding 2 piece versus 1 piece? There appear to be a few warehouses online willing to sell a variety of Toto Drakes. Any unseen concerns regarding ordering a unit online? I will in the mean time be checking with my local plumbing suppliers. Five, or even three gallons per flush is unacceptable. Ignorance was bliss, but now I have to replace my toilet... :) Don't suppose there is anything I might do to modify my existing throne (assuming I achieve a non-leaking mansfield) to utilize less water? A brick in the tank, dropping the float lower to minimize the fill...???
  9. tinkertia

    tinkertia New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Missouri
    And I will be checking in with my local water shed... see what sort of insight they may share regarding my current options. Thanks Terry!!
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,129
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    One way to save water with the old one, is to pick up a Korky MaxPerformance fill valve. It allows you to tune the bowl fill so that it stops when the bowl is filled.

    If you brick it or lower water in the tank, you will wind up plunging the bowl.

    1.28 works on the new toilets. The trapways are designed differently.

    Shipping porcelain online breaks about 20% of the shipments.
    I don't recommend it. I used to ship the entire United States, but quit because of the truck drivers. One local trucking firm, Oak Harbor Freight broke five toilets of mine one day. That was a very expensive day for me. That cost me about $2,000 plus the shipping costs.
    The guy that put the boxes on the fork lift must still be laughing about it.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; The tank comes no where near touching the bowl

    When the tank DOES touch the bowl, that is what causes the majority of broken tanks and bowls. Having a space between them gives a bit of resiliency. In many cases the toilets come with rubber "bumpers" to fit between the tank and bowl so they do NOT touch.
  12. Peterson

    Peterson New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    PA
    I rebuilt a 1980's Mansfield toilet a couple of years ago. The Mansfield 210 flush tower must use a Mansfield tank-to-bowl gasket. It is a wider gasket that fits over the plastic nut of the flush tower. Can you reuse the old tank to bowl gasket? You can order the gasket and bolts at Lowes for less than $4.00. Lowes sells a generic version of the Manfield 210 flush tower which works just fine. They do not sell the tank to bowl gasket on the shelves. You have to special order it.

    When I rebuilt my toilet, I used a generic flush valve flapper assembly, and an American Standard tank-to-bowl gasket and the tank fit perfectly. Now, I used a flush valve that had a smaller, tapered plastic nut that went on the bottom of the tank. Some of the new generic flush valves that I see have a big, bulky plastic nut that interferes with correctly placing the tank to bowl gasket on it.

    Concerning tank bolts, when I rebuild a toilet tank, I install the bolts in this order:

    Bolt head
    Rubber Washer
    Tank
    Bowl
    Rubber Washer
    Flat Metal Washer
    Wing Nut Bolt

    I've never had a problem with leaking when I installed tanks this way.

    I bought my Mansfield toilet at a salvage yard and rebuilt it. A lot of people on this forum bash Mansfield toilets, and I agree that their 1.6 gpf models are junk, but my old 1980's Mansfield has served me quite well and has never clogged or acted up once.
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,129
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You "bought" an old toilet?
    We dispose of those old toilets all week long. We pull them out of homes and make sure they never get reused.
    The water districts around here are giving up to $100 rebates when they are replaced.
    And the homeowner gets to save money on the monthly water bill. In the long run, the old toilet is going to cost quite a bit of money.
    Cheers!
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    What seems to work well is rubber washer inside the tank, an extra nut and washer outside the tank tightened down, then install the tank to the bowl with another nut and washer in the now captive bolts. Generally, there's enough room for that extra washer and nut between the tank and the bowl. If not, then you can't use it.
  15. Peterson

    Peterson New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    PA
    Don't you call my toilet "old!" :) Yes, I did purchase my toilet at a salvage warehouse for fifteen dollars. It is an ADA 1980's Mansfield toilet. I have no idea what the model name of it is. The bowl is 18 inches from floor to the top of the rim. Add the seat, and it's about 19 inches high. Our family is all over 6 feet tall, so having an ADA height toilet has really made a difference. We might be moving out of this house in the next couple of years and I'm taking the toilet with me!

    Believe it or not, I found a video of an identical toilet to mine on youtube.


    Luckily, where I live, our water rates are very low and we have no drought or water conservation issues. There are currently no incentives for people to replace their higher volume toilets where I live. I rebuilt and replaced the toilet myself. All in all, I probably invested $70 into the toilet, including the seat and the original $15 purchase price. Considering that new "good" ADA toilets cost over $200, I think I did pretty good.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2014
  16. tjbaudio

    tjbaudio Sound and Light Suppervisor for a School District

    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I hope it was not my father in law. He was a driver in Portland for many years. In my old day job we shipped a lot of audio equipment and suffer damage as well. One thing that helps is to put EVERY thing on a pallet. Also give the top a tilt to it so they do not stack stuff on top of it. It sounds like you must sent them some boxes, that is the worst thing to do.
  17. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,129
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    He put everything on a pallet while I watched. I told him to be careful, at which point he got very pissed at me. That's the best way I can describe the jerk. He then took off up the ramp with my toilets at full speed, and cranked the wheel as he went past the doors and out of my sight. I should have run into the warehouse right then and there.

    Their letter to me said it was up to me to "prove" damage.
    I would never, ever again ship with Oak Harbor Freight Lines. They proved to be the worst shipping experience I had among all of the shipping firms that I used over a three year period all over the United States. The worst.
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