Toto Flush lever complaint

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Gleno, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. Gleno

    Gleno property manager

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Seattle WA
    I am replacing my second failed Toto toilet flush lever, at a cost of about $28.00, and I am really dissatisfied with both the poor engineering of the part as well as the need to buy the entire assembly for want of the tiny plastic piece that was the root of both failures. The part that fails is a small plastic bracket that is the interface between the flush handle and the brass flush arm inside the tank. There is simply insufficient material and strength in the plastic bracket to tolerate the torque load of the flush motion. The part is brand- specific, therefore Toto has a captive market. They do not offer the plastic bracket alone as a purchase option. Clearly, Toto is aware of the issue, since at my local Toto dealer they have three racks of replacement levers for sale at $28.00 a pop. I find this to be outrageous corporate behavior, and consumer pressure is needed to correct the issue. As a property manager for 30 years, and a builder, this is absolutely unacceptable. Having the best-flushing toilet in the world is of little consequence if the service calls chew up your bottom line. Toyota would have fixed an issue like this.
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,129
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Toilet manufactures don't make the handle hardware. The Eljer Titan uses the same handle as the Toto Drake.
    They also don't make their own fill valves, flush valves and flappers.

    A generic handle can be used from a hardware store. You might need to bend the brass rod to fit.
    Some like the Ultramax can use a side mount Eljer replacement.
    If not, I sell the handles in the Seattle area for $19.99

    Remember, hardware items are just that.

    Of the thousands of TOTO toilets I've sold, I rarely get calls for handles. But when I do, I can get them.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    I've known some people that use their foot to flush the toilet...this can be tough on handles.
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I haven't noticed any failure trend with the Toto tank levers...

    But I will say that any toilet I have seen where the tank lever had broken it was usually from either corrosion of metal parts on the tank lever or, the lever breaking from a flapper that was badly in need of replacement and sticking to the flush valve seat causing a much higher effort required to open the flapper and flush the toilet...
  5. bubb1957

    bubb1957 New Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Northern Ohio
    I have the same problem today, thats why I visitied the forum, to try and find out where to find the plastic locknut. The hardware store generic replacement would not fit properly! Kind of disappointed to have no choice but to buy a new flush lever instead of an inexpensive locknut.


    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2012
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    You migth be able to find one made in brass or SS- you might take it to a big hardware store or one of the big-box stores and hunt for one that fits.
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,129
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Trip levers can be made most anywhere. It's like buying nails to frame a house, they don't come with the trees.

    I remember working on a daycare, they had American Standard Cadets, the mid 90's stuff. The handles were giving me fits, sticking to the side of the tank. When I do rebuilds on Mansfields, or most any brand toilet, I like to replace handles too.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    You might check to see if the people where this is happening are using any of those chlorine tablets in the tank...if so, that is against Toto's and nearly everyone's recommendation as it can quickly degrade platics and rubber.
  9. bubb1957

    bubb1957 New Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Northern Ohio
    Hardware

    Even with the few "nickel and dime" problems I have had with the Toto Drakes, I am still happy with them, and would purchase another Toto if the 2 I have need replaced. As Terry stated, the handle hardware is not made by the toilet manufacturers, and I think are probably not foreign made parts. Also, I have never used the Chlorine tablets in my tank.
  10. sepblues

    sepblues New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    New Haven, CT
    Another Toto Flush lever failure

    I totally agree with Geno's post. If this were an automobile part failure- most likely there would have been a recall and the faulty part replaced at the manufacturer's cost. As it stands, i now have to also spend 28.00 to replace the cheap plastic handle- a monument to built in obsolescence designed to soak customers. I really would prefer that Toto step up and take care of their customers on what is an obvious issue with their handle design. What about it Toto? Do you really need my 28 bucks that badly? If so, you are being penny stupid and pound foolish too. A happy customer is always the best policy!
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  11. ab8

    ab8 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario
    I agree too. See photo of lever, likely defective from day 1. I have e-mailed Toto; awaiting reply to see if they are willing to replace lever only for a nominal sum.

    Attached Files:

  12. ab8

    ab8 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario
    Reply from Toto: "The trip lever comes as an assembly only. The list price for the handle is $31.00. The trip lever is a mechanical part and will fail over a period of time. The cost of the part isn't adjustable."

    Sounds like designed to fail. No more Toto for me.
  13. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,898
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Enjoy re-learning how to use your plunger!
  14. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,129
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The Eljer Titan used the same handle as the TOTO.
    Neither Eljer or TOTO made the handles. It's just a generic manufacturer that makes the parts. Same situation for fill valves and flappers.
    You can find plenty of handles for around $20

    By the way, that's a pretty old handle in the picture. I haven't seen those in years.
  15. ab8

    ab8 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario
    Plunger OK; got lever for $10 locally

    That's no problem, Toto needed the plunger about 3 times in 7 years.
    A shot of hot water sometimes helps too. YMMV.

    Got a handle locally for $10 plus taxes. Here's an example of good service (Toto could use a lesson or two): I had also sent a blind copy of my e-mail (to Toto) to Paradise Bath and Kitchen, 48 Northside Road, Nepean, Ontario, Canada. An alert staff member, Carlie, noticed my e-mail to Toto and its attached picture, went looking for the part, found one and replied to my e-mail. Exact same part number 9592.
  16. aerandoron

    aerandoron New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    brooklyn, ny
    fixed with steel epoxy putty

    i filled mine with steel epoxy putty - should help. i got the same reply from toto's customer service - basically they were no help. i also emailed their CEO and a few other executives - no reply. DSC02557 (Large).jpg
  17. spavio

    spavio New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Delta, British Columbia
    A fix

    Here is how I repaired this kind of lever: I cut 5mm off the end of a wire hanger from the closet (then put the hanger back), then heated up a pinch of polymorph plastic to 70C (with my lighter on a tin altoids lid) until it was clear, then moulded it by hand in to a ball and jammed it into the space above the damaged metal. Then at the now hot plastic filled gap I insted the bit of metal hanger. The plastic cools white, is strong and hard as nylon and the bit of hanger provides a metal wear point that is tougher than the original casting... better than new. I also reinforced the ABS bracket with the stuff since that can break too... 10 minute fix and I used <1% of my $10 bag of polymorph. (oh and I used some lighter fluid too)
    IMG_20130313_221514.jpg
    I hate calling manufacturers...

  18. Skeeball

    Skeeball New Member

    Messages:
    3
    I have just had an issue with the drake flush lever however the problem seems to be in the plastic part that goes thru the tank. The handle was sitting very low almost at say the 5:00 position. I lifted up on it and its back where it should be but I can't seem to be able to get it tight. Any suggestions would be appreciated
  19. sowsley

    sowsley New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisco
    A couple of the photos gave me an idea. I had on hand a wooden shish kabob skewer and a stick of JB Weld (epoxy putty). I think this will do the trick, and cheaply. You can find JB Weld at most hardware and auto parts stores. As soon as you put your patch in place, test fit the black plastic screw in part - it rotates, clear any excess putty that might interfere with this before it hardens.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  20. chilidog3000

    chilidog3000 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    California
    I think it's your tenants

    Over the past 20 years I have rented my property w/ 3 bathrooms. Half of those years I had no-name toilets and the other half Toto toilets. My plumber became the "Maytag repairman" when I went to Toto. Prior to that, he was out at my house at least once a month. I have never had a handle break on any of these Toto toilets... that is, until the last tenants moved in. They broke the part in question, and the way it broke it looks like it took a lot of effort (or as someone suggested, a foot used to flush it!). It is no coincidence that these tenants were the most abusive and disrespectful tenants I've had in all the past years combined. They even managed to sheer the metal on a rather heavy duty patio door lock that has worked perfectly fine for over 50 years! I think you might want to consider who you are renting to as a possible root cause of the handle failures.
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