Toilet installation help - toilet sits on flange

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by beerdog, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. beerdog

    beerdog New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Buffalo Grove IL (Chicago area)
    This looks like a cool forum. This is my first time posting. I am installing a new toilet to get some better flushing performance. Purchased a Eljer Titan 4. Replacing a Kohler low flow from the early 90's or 80's. Always have to flush twice on #2.

    The issue is the toilet rocks arround on the closet flange. The old toilet has about a 1/4" more clearance underneath so there was no interference. Here are some details. I took pics but can't find my camera cable...grrrrrr.

    -Installing on concete basement floor.
    -Floor is tiled up to the the flange. Floor is level in all direction.
    -Closet flange is the original cast iron pipe from 37yrs ago.
    -Closet flange is not level. Front is 1/4" higher than back.This translates to allot over the full length of the toilet base. Still need to measure that.
    -Front of flange is about 3/4" above the tile. I estimate it needs to come down 1/4".
    -Flange is solid and not rusted out.

    How should I adress this. I am assuming it is best to have the toilet as flush to the floor as possible since the floor is level.
    -Shim it? Seems like it would be a large gap to shim. The whole toilet will have to sit on shims.
    -Is the closet flange removable? (i.e twist of)
    -Cut off the flange to replace it?
    -What would be the best way to replace it if yes on that? I have seen a few choices. The type that screw to the floor. Also seen a type that slips into the pipe with an expanding seal to hold it in place.
    -Will replacing the flange make a difference since the pipe receiving it is not perpendicular to the floor.
    -maybe grind down the flange front to get some clearance.
    Please help. I am tired of flushing twice.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,302
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If the bowl does not reach the floor when set on the flange without wax, then you may need either a lift or shims to raise the bowl over the flange.
    You could also throw a layer of tile down and raise the floor level.
    Or you might try another bowl that has more room underneath. There are plenty of bowls that will give you good performance now.

    If the flange is high, make sure you are using a wax without the horn.

    The Eljer Titan 4 is the same as the American Standard Champion 4

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  3. beerdog

    beerdog New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Buffalo Grove IL (Chicago area)
    Are they really the same? I think HD had the AS Champion for $30 less. GRRRR.

    I corrected my post. The flange is actually a 1/4" higher in the front.

    I still have to measure it, but I think I will have to shim it or build up the floor 3/4". That just seems like too much and will be very noticeable.

    Would it be wise to have the flange replaced or reset using the lead setting method? Based on other posts I have been reading that would be the professional and best approach? I was thinking of attempting my self, but other posts lead me in the direction of calling a plumber. I would only have 1 chance at getting it right.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,269
    Location:
    New England
    The cost of the tools to properly reset a leaded in connection on CI would likely pay for a plumber to do it for you, right, the first time.
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,260
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    A new flange can be installed at the proper height (and flat), which is the best solution to your problem.
  6. beerdog

    beerdog New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Buffalo Grove IL (Chicago area)
    I cleaned it up real good and now understand how this goes together. The pipe is plumb. The flange is simply poorly installed and tilted to rear. I will likely call a plumber. Sounds liek a 15 minute job for a pro. What should I expect to pay....ballpark? I am guessing $100-150 installed.

    BUT...what tools are needed? I have many tools and the capability to melt lead. Based on other posts read, is the following the basic procedure.

    1.Drill out the lead
    2. remove the flange.
    3. Clean it up good
    4. position the new flange
    5. Pack in the Oakum
    6. pour in the lead
    7. install the toilet with wax ring


    I am sure I am over simplifying it.
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,387
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    American Standard makes a number of brands including Eljer. Not known for quality, especially when buying from discount stores. That's where AS dumps their blems.
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,302
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
  9. beerdog

    beerdog New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Buffalo Grove IL (Chicago area)
    Thanks for the link Terry. I tried looking at some books on how to do this but all they show is installing an expanding repair flange.

    Well, I got the flange off using the method of drilling out the lead. It was definitly a poor installation. The flange easily sits level. I have a few questions.

    1) Is there any reason to reuse the flange? It is in good shape. I could easily clean it up and run it across my wire wheels.

    2) There is a bit of a void under the soil pipe elbow and it wiggles a little. Should I fill it with something like crushed gravel, sand, or concrete?

    3) Can the old lead be reused even though it is a bit dirty
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,269
    Location:
    New England
    If the flange is in good shape, you can reuse it, as you can reuse the lead (the impurities will crust on the top when melting it, you can skim them off). A CI pipe that can move probably means a compromised joint.
  11. beerdog

    beerdog New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Buffalo Grove IL (Chicago area)
    Thanks for the info. I went to buy a new flange and the guy at the counter said to reuse the one I removed because it was better than what is sold today. It is much beefier and has a larger internal lip to pack the oakum on to. I still bought the new one. He said bring it back if I decide not to use. Said he was a plumber for 17yrs and would reuse it if it were his house.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,056
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If you were PAYING me to replace the flange, I would take about 1 minute to break the old one off the pipe and remove it, assuming it is NOT poured into the concrete floor. Then another couple of minutes to apply the oakum, and finally a few minutes to melt and pour the lead, but regardless of how quickly it was done, you would still pay the minimum cost plus parts, which would approximate your $150.00 estimate.
  13. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,387
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    If I was close to where you are, I'd like to come and spend the day watching you pour your first lead joint. Boy, there are ways to save $150, but I don't think this is one of them. Just a thought...
  14. beerdog

    beerdog New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Buffalo Grove IL (Chicago area)
    Paying the minimum cost would be fair.That is how you make a profit when you get good. Job was completed. I removed it by drilling out the lead. I just was not comfortable breaking it off since I am not very experienced. I just could not get over the the thought that I would crack the pipe. Leveled it. Trimmed the pipe up since it protruded above the flange. Packed in 3/4" of oakum. Then poured the lead. Then packed the lead a bit more after it cooled a few minutes. Used my cast iron laddles and a home built extra powerfull propane torch. I have worked with lead on other non-plumbing stuff. It would have obviously been easier with one of those electric lead pots. I might buy one for hell of it if I can get a good price. Worked out really good. New toilet is installed and works great. I am glad I did this instead of some quick fix. That sucker is installed tight. I did not really do this to save a buck. I just like doing this stuff if it does not look to difficult and i have the tools. My son is a union pipe fitter which also helps. Not the same as a plumber, but he has some strong fundamental skills. The benefit to me is understand a little more about plumbing. I also now know I would not attempt anything more complicated than this like a an upside down or horizontal joint. I would gues this was as simple as a lead joint gets since gravity assisted me.
  15. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,260
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Glad to hear it worked out for you.

    I'm curious as to how you made the pour? How did you transfer the lead into the joint without pouring it all over the place?
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,056
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    He melted it in the ladle, the same way I do for single joints. I am curious what he used to "pack the lead down".
  17. beerdog

    beerdog New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Buffalo Grove IL (Chicago area)
    I avoided spillage by just being careful. The area surrounding it was clear.

    Packed it in with a 2lb drilling hammer and some flat tipped iron puches.
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