Toto Drake issues

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by plumbtired, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. plumbtired

    plumbtired New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Portland, OR metro
    Because of this great forum, my spouse and I purchased two (elongated bowls) Toto Drakes, ADA, in the fall of 2008. We love the performance of these toilets but we are dismayed that we might have received seconds. We bought them from a large and "reliable" Portland, OR plumbing supply company.

    One toilet has never allowed us to install a seat correctly. Any seat we install twists to the side. We've tried four different brands of seats, including the Toto seat, and all do the same thing: the seat does not sit straight on the bowl, with the point of the elongated seat sitting slightly to the right side of the bowl. Yes, we've messed with the bolts, trying to tighten them "back and forth" but nothing allows us to install the seat so that it sits straight. Our conclusion is that the holes for the seat bolts are defective (not aligned correctly) and are just plain "goofy."

    The second Drake, although perfect per seat alignment, apparently has a slow leak from the horn. There is no visual indication that the horn has a defect but we have had a plumber here twice (($150 each time) to re-seat the blasted toilet...only to start having issues with it six months later. The first indication of trouble is a strong urine odor (and yes, I've cleaned thoroughly all around the toilet). Some time later (a few months more), we will start seeing seepage from under the toilet. We've even had a new metal flange installed plus the plumber used two standard wax rings (no plastic funnel) the last time. However, we still have this problem cropping up...again. At this point, I guess we'll have to replace the toilet. Otherwise, this Drake works perfectly.

    We noted that our two toilets were manufactured in Vietnam and wonder if the quality control is particularly good there. Needless to say, we will soon have to make a decision to replace both toilets, which doesn't sit well (pardon the pun) with me, the family secretary-treasurer!

    Has anyone else "out there" had similar issues with their Toto Drakes? From all the glowing reviews on this brand, we thought we were finally "there"...only to find out we got a couple of lemons...or seconds, so we are beginning to believe.

    Thanks for any comments and/or suggestions...
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,350
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Toto does not sell seconds. Their quality control is exceptionally high, but certainly it is possible that occasionally something will slip by the inspectors. I don't know what you can do about the seat issue after this much time has passed. As far as the leaking is concerned, I would pull the toilet up and remove the wax rings. Then check the flange (I know it was replaced) Plastic flanges are not the best ones to use, it should have a stainless steel ring. Also, the flange should set on top of the finished floor and be screwed to the sub floor. Examine the wax ring(s) Did the plumber use one or both with the plastic funnel? If so this could be the problem. If the flange is on top of the floor a single wax ring is all that is needed. Two would be too much. Before resetting the toilet, place it over the flange without a wax ring. The toilet should rest on the floor all the way around, and it should not rock. If it is not solid on the floor and/or it rocks, it needs shimming (in the back) Now reset the toilet with a plain standard wax ring. Compress the wax ring with body weight on the toilet, do not use the flange bolts to do this. The flange bolts hold the toilet in place. A properly set toilet does not rock or move at all. One other possibility is a man or boy sometimes has bad aim especially in the middle of the night. This might account for the apparent leak. The toilet should be caulked after installation to prevent urine or spilled water from getting under the toilet. Some places want the caulk 100% around the toilet, other places require the back edge remain open. Your question regarding Toto quality control on toilets made in Vietnam is a good one, but you should know that Toto's quality control is exceptional no matter when the toilet is made, so I would not think it likely this is that problem.
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,010
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    It sounds like the bolts holes are off if you tried that many seats on the one bowl.
    I haven't seen that, but it sounds like you have.

    On the bowl that leaks, you may want to pull the bowl, plug, fill it with water and see if it holds water.

    I haven't seen seconds, and I've sold plenty of the Vietnam bowls. I met a guy from there and he says Vietnam is known for it's porcelain.
    In fact I get the same thing said when they come from china, and yet I grew up with the term "Get out the fine china"
    The one piece stuff I'm getting is made from fine Georgia clay.
  4. plumbtired

    plumbtired New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Portland, OR metro
    Thanks for your suggestions, Gary Swart. I even went into my original comments and did some editing to answer/clarify some of your suggestions. We watched our plumber, who is a good experienced one, do the work on the leaking Drake and he did as you have outlined per seating the toilet. The male of the family actually sits due to his urologist's directions, so no mis-aiming going on here. And...I previously noted that the outer areas (as well as inner) of the toilet are thoroughly and regularly cleaned. We are thinking that there is a small void in the horn area that is allowing leakage to occur, which shows up after months of doing so.

    Thanks, also, to Terry. As commented to Gary Swart, we are beginning to believe that the slow leak is coming from the horn area, probably due to a manufacturing error per a void of some kind. We have been tolerating these two toilets and their "warts" for over three years because we really do LIKE them!
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,019
    Location:
    New England
    Are you sure that the toilet doesn't rock a little bit? Wax isn't a spring, so if it rocks, it makes a void when it rocks back.
  6. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    I've found toielts cracked like that on the bottom. When you take it up look for evidence of a mildew trail or a hairline crack under the entire bottom. You could also take it outside and set it up on a platform and check for leaks that way,but it may take some time for it to show if the crack is small and is weeping. Using a contrasting dye in the bowl water can help also. It will stain the crack making it show up.

    ADD> If your building drain or sewer is backing up and you plunge the toilet thinking the clogg is in the toilet,you can blow the waxseal out causing the toilet to leak both sewer gas and water.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  7. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Deformities in the porcelain do happen, but getting two bad bowls at the same time with different problems would be a shock. The 3 Drake bowls from Vietnam that I purchased are identical (enough that I can see the same very slight assymetry.) However, I did get one tank that had a measurable twist to it that prevented the reservoir lid from sitting level. I returned that tank to the supply house for replacement. In your case it sounds like the one bowl with the seat issue is definitely defective and should be swapped out.

    Is the toilet flange flush with flooring?
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