Stuck flange bolts

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by SteveW, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Am in the process of having vinyl floors removed and tile put down in 2 bathrooms. I've got 2 new Toto Gwyneths to put in.

    The problem, if there is one, is the closet bolts, which are stuck in the flange. The installers used the open slots in the sides of the flange rather than the keyhole-shaped long circumferential slots, and I can't seem to budge the bolts. I guess it'll be OK if the new floor height isn't too high after tile put in but there is a possibility the bolts will be too short.

    I do have spacer rings and Fluidmaster waxless gaskets (probably will use the Fluidmaster gaskets) so have that end of the deal covered - just not sure what to do about the bolts.

    Any suggestions? How might they be stuck in the flange?

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  2. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    Bomb it with PB Blaster.
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,342
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I think the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", would apply here. If the bolts are in good condition and if they are long enough, leave well enough alone. If you really need to change the bolts and you want to use the proper slots, the flange ring must be free to turn to get the bolt oriented, so you could just cut the old bolts off and leave the frozen ends in place, they wouldn't hurt anything. If the flange ring won't turn and the bolts are not usable, you may want to consider a new flange after the floor is laid.
  4. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Success!

    Thanks, guys, for the ideas. Unfortunately PB blaster not an option as the bolts are somehow stuck in an ABS flange - have no idea how ...

    Also, this flange looks to be one solid piece so didn't look like I could rotate it to be able to use the proper keyholes.

    The existing bolts were just about 1/4" too short. I obsessed over this for a day, even thinking about trying to find some sort of "rod coupler" so I could just extend the existing bolts a little - but then realized they really should be replaced on general principle.

    I finally got brave and cut 'em off with a cutoff wheel on a Dremel tool. I then used a Sioux Chief spacer ring, which comes in a nice kit complete with nylon toilet bolts and 4 shims. I used wax instead of silicone to seal the spacer ring onto the existing flange, then used 8 stainless steel deck screws to hold the spacer ring to the subfloor (drilling through the old flange). The spacer ring is 1/4" thick and pretty tough, and has its own keyed slots for the bolts, so in effect the spacer ring takes the place of the old flange in holding the bolts in place. It was exactly the right height, too, and the top of the spacer was right where a normal flange would have been if installed on top of the tile floor.

    A regular-sized wax ring (no horn!) on top of the spacer ring and we're good to go.

    Attached Files:

  5. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,339
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    That will work Good job!
  6. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    Yes you are!
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,540
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    flange

    You are making some erroneous assumptions.
    1. The bolts are not "fastened" in place they are just stuck under the flange. A simple sideways tap with a hammer and screwdriver will push them out.
    2. The "keyhole" slots are NOT the proper way to install the bolts. Using those slots is the reason that plastic flanges deform and fail. The PROPER slots are the one the installer used.
    3. If the new bolts are just secured to the "Mickey Mouse" adapter flange, you will have leaks.
    4. Go back to "Start". Pop the old bolt heads out. Insert new bolts under the flange. Throw that "thing" away. Install the toilet properly.
  8. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Well, I decided to see how it went for a month using the existing system as I described. I pulled up the toilet today and no sign of leaking - but hj's comments have been nagging at me and I see his point, that this system uses the closet bolts to pull the spacer ring and the toilet together, which could separate the spacer ring from the flange over time and cause a leak there.

    I thought about taking everything off down to the old flange again, but now that the tile is down, I would have trouble getting to the old stubs of the flange bolts without cutting into the tile. I decided instead to use a Fernco waxless seal instead, since it is long enough that it will seal below the joint between the flange and the spacer ring. Went together very easily, just had to clean off the old wax from the toilet horn to get good adhesion.

    I realize this is not the solution the pros would probably pick but under the circumstances it seemed to be a reasonable answer. If I were doing it all again, I would have spent more time getting the old closet bolts out prior to the tiling job...
Similar Threads: Stuck flange
Forum Title Date
Toilet Forum discussions Toto flush lever getting stuck. Aug 12, 2014
Toilet Forum discussions Want to change wax ring, but toilet is stuck fast like a vacuum seal. Feb 2, 2012
Toilet Forum discussions Weak flush...something stuck? Feb 17, 2011
Toilet Forum discussions Stuck with rear outlet toilet - could Duravit Happy D work? Sep 4, 2010
Toilet Forum discussions Mansfield toilet handle stuck Mar 16, 2009

Share This Page