Toto Drake - should I have to hold the flush lever?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by k9gardner, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. k9gardner

    k9gardner New Member

    Mar 11, 2014
    Commercial real estate business manager, managemen
    New York
    Ok, this may sound like an odd question, for all the advanced toilet users here. But here goes: how do you work a toilet? In my mind, a "good toilet" works like this: when you've finished using it, you press the flush lever to its limit point, which raises the flapper valve, and begins the flush process. The rest is "automatic." It stays open magically the right amount of time to allow for a complete flush, and just as the remaining bits are being whisked down the waste pipe, the flapper closes and the tank begins to refill.

    Is that kind of behavior a thing of the past? We have just had a Toto Drake toilet installed. We had spec'd a Toto Drake II, with the G-Max 1.6g flush, and what seems to have been installed was an Eco Drake, 1.28g, model number ST743E. So it goes. I am not necessarily going to open a case with the plumber on this issue, so long as other things are remedied.

    First, the tank wobbles. I should not have to read through the installation manual myself on something like this, but I do see that there are three points of contact that are supposed to keep things level and "rigid," so it tells me that something is probably not installed correctly.

    On the main point, though, if I flush the toilet as I described so many words ago, the flapper valve goes up, and then goes right down again. There's no "magic of timing," it just closes. Is it not opening far enough for the magic to start? Am I supposed to hold the handle? If so, how long do I hold it? How would anyone know?

    Hope someone can chime in with an answer.

    [And yes, I know, it's not magic, it's physics. But it only becomes physics when you remove the lid. Before that, it's magic, which is the way I was hoping to leave it! I should not have to be removing the lid of my new Toto! I'm disappointed!]
  2. Stuff

    Stuff Member

    Mar 7, 2013
    You don't need to hold the handle as long as you see a flush in the bowl. It is a very fast flush only allowing a minimal amount of water to do the job. It is very different than old toilets.

    If tank wobbles then the bolts need tightened.
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  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Nobody sells 3.5 gallon toilets anymore.

    Since 1992 toilets have been this way. Sorry for your disappointment about having to hold the handle down to waste water.
    The toilets of today work fine by pushing once and releasing. That's timed for releasing 1.28 gallons, which works perfectly.

    If you want to flush with three times the amount that is needed, why not carry around a five gallon bucket too. You can dump that right into the bowl. Take it to Starbucks too. Then You can flush every toilet you run across with five gallons.

    Push and release
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    Don't feel too bad, many folks using a modern toilet for the first time don't understand how much different these flush compared to the old monsters. The tanks hold approximately twice the amount of water used for a standard flush. The extra water is intended to provide a tad bit more pressure to the the flush. You can defeat this feature by holding the flush handle down and that will drain the tank. This is seldom, if ever, necessary. Now the other problem you mention does need to be fixed. The tank should not wobble or move at all. If you have the installation sheet that came with the toilet, the process is explained there, but if you do not have it, just think of it like tightening the lugs on a wheel, but instead of torquing the nuts as tight as you can, use the three contact points as a guide. Just tighten the nuts in sequence, keeping the spacing as even as possible. Some of the guys have found that using a business card as a feeler gauge will help in determining just how tight is tight enough. When the point contacts the card, quit. When all 3 points have made contact, you're good. This is not a complex operation, and anyone should be able to do it without calling a plumber. Don't hesitate to come back if you have additional questions or problems.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Maybe the bigger question is: if you press and release, does it do the job? If yes, great, and on a Toto, almost 100% chance of it working. Keep in mind that with the mandated low-flush toilets, they'll never do a bowl wash as good as those from way back...some of them used as much as 7g or more! There's only so much you can do with 1.6 or less gallons of water. Pretty much no modern toilet uses all of the water in the tank to flush anymore - they use that height to provide a bit more head or water pressure to dump the water, and a bigger flush valve to let it all go quickly. No more of the old, slow, high volume style - you need to get what water you can use out quickly to effect a reliable siphon to evacuate the bowl.
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Apr 27, 2012
    New York, NY
    Okay, you're confused about a few things.

    First if you "spec'd" a Drake II, that's either a 1.28gpf toilet (CST454CEFG) or a 1.0gpf toilet (CST454CUFG). The 1.6gpf Gmax flush is on the original Drake (CST744S), which also comes in a 1.28gpf version (CST744E). The "C" portion of the model number specifies the bowl. The "ST" portion specifies the tank. You're reading me the number from the tank. ST743E is the original Drake tank, in the "E" or 1.28gpf version. It's identical to the "S" (1.6gpf) tank, except its guts are adjusted slightly differently. Most people can't tell the difference between the two flushes. The .3 gallon difference is mostly accomplished by tweaking. The bowl (the "C" component of the model number) is the exact same bowl on the 1.28 and the 1.6 gpf version.

    As to the tank wobbling, this means it wasn't installed properly. You can fix it yourself, following the myriad posts on here on how to do it, or get the plumber to come back and fix it. Or ask us some questions, and I will give you some pointers. Those three points of contact are supposed to be three points of "almost" contact -- like a couple of sheets of paper apart. Tighten until none of them touch and the tank is straight and level so they are all very close to touching, and the tank will be solid. You don't need to china to touch china for it to be stable, but the rubber donut under the flush valve on which the tank sits should be compressed sufficiently to make it stable, which happens when the 3 points of contact are almost touching.

    Your understanding of how it's supposed to flush is wrong. In modern toilets, the flapper opens, dispenses the water it's supposed to dispense, and then closes. About half the tank should empty before the flapper completes resealing. This happens before the bowl empties. The opening of the valve induces a siphon which sucks the water out of the bowl. You don't need water to be powering into the bowl through the time the bowl empties.

    Here is a video of a properly functioning original Drake tank. You can hear how the bowl empties well AFTER the flapper closes.

    And here's a link to one flushing in the bowl.

    Totally anticlimactic. And totally-effective.

    The fill valve in your toilet may be different, and the flapper may be a different color, but it's the same as your toilet, in essence.

    Also, if you're in the New York City or Long Island areas, I can recommend a good plumber for you to try in the future. Not inexpensive, but very, very competent.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2014
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