Toto Drake II tank leak - help me confirm conclusion, please

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by husbus, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. husbus

    husbus New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    TN
    I bought my second Toto Drake II to install. The first one has been great. The second one has a slow but persistent leak from the tank. After taking the tank off and putting it back on 3 or 4 times with no luck, I propped it up on some step stools and filled it up with water. There's a slow leak where the plastic meets the porcelain by the large plastic nut around the flush opening. Before my last attempt to install the tank on the bowl, I tried to tighten this same nut, which made the leak slower, but didn't eliminate it. However, it already seemed quite snug, so I don't think I can make it any tighter without breaking something.

    Am I right that the large gasket that goes over the nut is not for stopping leakage between the valve assembly and tank, but only for sealing the connection between the tank and toilet? I.e., am I right in thinking that the store should give me a replacement for this brand new tank?

    Thanks a bunch!
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,396
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I'm thinking the "big nut" still isn't tight enough, but hang one for awhile and some of the real pros will chip in with their more experienced advice.

    [​IMG]

    James Love of Love Plumbing & Remodel snugging up the large nut.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2014
  3. husbus

    husbus New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    TN
    Thanks, Gary, but that's hard to imagine. I tightened it with some huge tongue-and-groove pliers that provide lots of torque, so I was a lot more worried about over-tightening than not having it tight enough.
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,416
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If you have large pliers, then the nut off, check the inside of the tank and see if it's smooth or needs some sanding.
    Unless the tank is cracked, you should be able to seal it.

    There is a vinyl seal between the flush valve and the inside of the tank.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  5. husbus

    husbus New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    TN
    Thanks guys! After Gary's post, I decided to go back in the garage and "feel" the nut with the pliers again, and tightened it a tad more. It's looking better so far. I'll check back in a couple of hours. :)
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,321
    Location:
    New England
    Once in awhile, the surface of the unglazed porcelain in the tank ends up being rough and you need some fairly significant pressure to create a seal. Terry's recommendation was to take it out, take some sandpaper and lightly run it over where the gasket seals to take off the surface roughness. It often only takes a few swipes, but it can make a difference. Course, tightening the nut to compress the gasket can do it, too. Dealer's choice.
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,977
    Location:
    New York, NY
    You are correct about the purpose of the rubber doughnut that goes over the plastic nut. It is not to seal the flush valve to the inside of the tank.

    The seal between flush valve and tank is on the INSIDE of the tank. It's rubber, and is on the bottom of the flush valve, and gets compressed against the bottom of the tank by tightening the nut on the outside.

    It's just like the seal around your tank-to-bowl bolts. You have a rubber washer inside the tank that is compressed against the tank by the bolt head on the inside and the nut and metal washer on the outside. Same with the fill valve. There is rubber on the bottom of the fill valve that is compressed against the bottom of the tank when you tighten the nut on the outside of the tank.

    That's why, when any of these leak, one alternative is to pull the device out of the hole and sand very lightly around the hole, to make sure that little non-smooth areas of porcelain aren't interfering with the ability of the rubber to make a seal.

    It's also why you don't want to use chlorine in-tank bowl cleaners -- you can see what happens if you degrade/dissolve that rubber inside the tank.

    And the general correct recipe for the big plastic nut is to tighten it as tight as you can by hand, then take that big channel-lock pliers you have and tighten it a half-turn more (1/4 turn past hand-tight for the fill valve). See Item 3 (illustration 4) on the new universal 2-piece toilet installation instructions from Toto: http://www.totousa.com/Portals/0/ProductDownloads/0GU048Z_TOILET_IM.pdf
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,321
    Location:
    New England
    Since everyone's hand strength is different, hand-tight and a 1/4-turn is a general guideline...it might take a bit more, but less if the surface is totally smooth.
  9. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,977
    Location:
    New York, NY
    True that, Jim. But "hand-tight" doesn't mean as tight as you absolutely-positively-like-it-was-life-or-death can get it with your bare hands; it really just means twist it on there by hand until it stops moving and you can't turn it any further -- moderately-tight with no leverage. That's still going to be different among people, but less-different than if everyone was trying to twist it to their personal absolute max.

    That said, yep, it's definitely a guideline.

    And it's a half-turn on the flush nut, 1/4 turn on the fill valve nut, at least according to the latest Toto directions. (They now have one set of directions for all the two-piece toilets, and so we now have Type A, Type B and Type C fill valves.)
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,321
    Location:
    New England
    My point being, my 86-year old mother's 'hand-tight' is a lot different than mine, even if she got it as tight as she could, I could easily turn it more without straining.

    Basically, try the guideline, and if it still leaks a little, it won't break anything if you give it a little bit more. The skill is in knowing when to stop!
  11. beagless

    beagless New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I think i'm having the same problem. Drake II.

    Installed, then there seems to be slow leak from plastic nut against tank bottom. I put paper into the space between tank/bowl and it's slightly wet - normal? Then I take off the big gasket and there's water all up around the upper parts of the gasket where it touches the tank - normal or not?

    Then tried another tank out of the box and same problem. Do I have 2 bad tank nuts? I'm about to get a large pliers and take the nut off, sand, and reattach. When I feel then gasket on the inside of the tank it's irregular - not sticking out the same on all sides. Is that normal?

    Thanks!
  12. beagless

    beagless New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Bit the bullet,bought a pair of extra large Crescent Model #RT216CV 16" straight jaw pliers from the big orange borg for $20. The straight jaw part is important lest the V tear up the plastic nut. Took off the nut, found a speck of ceramic sticking up, sanded it down. Re-tightened to hand tight +3/4 turn and all is good.

    BTW I think the easiest test for this leaky big nut is to put a piece of paper into the front crack between the tank/toilet (after the tank has been full for 30 minutes). If it's been leaking slowly then it'll be wet. This puts the paper right up against the big rubber gasket. Mine's now dry.

    On to tank #2 with the same leak! I think Toto quality control needs to watch this part. If we all returned the toilets they would then notice. If we all just fix it then they'll never know/improve.
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