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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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
  8. Hated DIY & engineer

    Hated DIY & engineer Engineer

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    I know this is an old thread, but I understand their problem/see the same thing. The issue is you have to hold the handle down for 1 to 2 seconds to get a proper flush activation. If you push the lever to end of travel and immediately let go, you don't get the fill 1.28gpf. Pretty annoying,especially since it's in the kid's bathroom.

    I know it's blasphemy here, but this Toto Drake 1.28 is so so. I had high hopes...
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Check that the chain only has a little slack. Probably it is OK, but take a look.

    You might consider a new flapper. And if you want to be able to tune this, consider an adjustable flapper. The Korky 3060 is a 3-inch adjustable flapper as is Fluidmaster 5403. Check that your toilet uses a 3 inch flapper before buying, but I think it does.
     
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  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    A lot of water goes through the siphon jet before the rinse drops down from the top. As an engineer, you need to look closer and observe what happens, not be guessing.
    It may help you to remove the toilet and set it over a bucket so that you can measure the water used. We did that with TV cameras running into an aquarium.
    A simple test for you would be do drop a pennny in the bowl, and observe the penny being flushed away before the rinse starts.
    There is a lot of water moving below the surface. If you like learning how things work, this should be fun.

    Push and release on an E tank, 1.28 gallons
    Push and release on an S tank, 1.60 gallons
    Push and hold on either, more like 2.50 gallons.
     
  11. Hated DIY & engineer

    Hated DIY & engineer Engineer

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    Wow, this was my go to site to inform myself, but I could do without the condescending remarks. Yes, "as an engineer" I did look close. The flush does not fully actuate unless held for at least one second. You don't get a full flush of waste which I KNOW this toilet is capable of. Also the bowl refill isn't complete, so clearly it did not do a proper flush/refill cycle.

    Add an engineer I flushed several times(holding 1 second) to ensure water spot was the correct size. Then I attempt to flush by moving handle to stop and immediately releasing. Result:half flush majority of the time. Fact is that it is repeatable on my toilet and replicated on the original poster's note. Not a big sample size, but enough to say the two of us aren't making this up.

    I respect you as a professional, that's why I come here (especially when designing toilet parts). I also am fine with tongue and cheek making fun of us engineer types. But your tone with the OP and myself is s bit arrogant. ..didn't used to be that way....too bad
     
  12. Hated DIY & engineer

    Hated DIY & engineer Engineer

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    Thanks Reach.
    It's a brand new toilet, so given that it's a Toto, I assumed it would be set out of the box. Checked the chain slack. It is set on the hole closest to lever (so lowest mechanical advantage, but no slack either). It seems that the flapper needs to be held up just for a second to get the flush actuated. Any chance the tank fill height is affecting timing? The water level is about 1 inch below overflow tube, as expected.

    The other thing I'd note, is the force at the lever to actuate is a bit high, but just enough to be acceptable. Nothing seems to hang up in the tank, just more force to lift that big flapper through the water.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    The black tube directs water into the overflow tube.
    If you have inconsistent bowl refill, that could be the answer. Unless you are starting with a full bowl, the flush will never work.

    Saying engineer is like waving a red flag. Sorry. :)
     
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  14. Plumbs Away

    Plumbs Away Active Member

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    I've noticed that if there's NO slack at all in the flapper chain, it often has a tendency to slam shut immediately. Properly adjusted, you should not have to do anything other than press and release the flush lever.

    I love these clowns who demo their DIY toilet installations on YouTube, and describe their new toilet as dual flush: press and release for liquid waste; press and hold for solids. :D
     
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    You need a little slack in the chain, but not too much, excessive slack can allow it to get caught underneath the flapper and leak. If the bowl doesn't start at the proper level, it won't flush properly. To find out if the bowl IS full, mark the current level, and then take a pot or pail or something and slowly add water. If it goes up and STAYS up after a minute or so of settling, that is where it should be, and you then have to figure out why it's not there. Most common thing is a replaced filler valve that is not right for the tank/bowl fill ratio, or, the bowl refill hose is either kinked, or not directed into the overflow tube. The tank level being low can also cause this. It also should not be stuck down the tube, and be terminated above the lip, usually with a clip.
     
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  16. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Should you have to hold the lever?
    No.

    I've sold thousands of these. It's one of the best toilets on the market today.
    If you do hold the handle down, it will drain the entire tank, something like 2.5 gallons.
    It's designed to push and release. The E tank drops 1.258 gallons, the S tank drops 1.60 gallons.
     
  17. Hated DIY & engineer

    Hated DIY & engineer Engineer

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    Thanks all. It's a brand new out of the box issue. I'm not holding it down and draining the tank, just about 1 to 2 seconds to get the flush to actuate. And this is AFTER I've ensued the water spot in the bowl is correct.

    I'll try and post a video. Something must be out of the ordinary. ..
     
  18. Hated DIY & engineer

    Hated DIY & engineer Engineer

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    I got it, thanks guys! ! I double checked and the chain was too slack. That was limiting travel of the flapper & therfore the timing of the flush portion of the cycle (and makes sense why the extra 1 to 2 seconds got it to sort of work before: keeping the flapper up for the right amount of time, kind of). I'm surprised it was like this Out Of The Box, but working now!

    Now you'll need to I head over to the other post about about the American Standard Vormax,and hate me for really liking that toilet. ..haha
     
  19. Hated DIY & engineer

    Hated DIY & engineer Engineer

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    I hear you. ...but some of us mechanical engineers actually know our limits, so come here for good advice. I've actually got a lot of experience with toilets (including peak flow rate testing and flushing Miso logs). I'm far less experienced in waste piping, and have opted a whole different (proper) approach for my second vanity, based on one of your posts. Will be a real PITA,but wanna do it right. Thanks!
     
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