Toto flush lever getting stuck.

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Andy Griffith, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Andy Griffith

    Andy Griffith New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Western WA
    I have a Toto MS854114S that the flush lever/handle is getting stuck in the flush position. I don't think it's valve related, I think it's mechanical with the flush lever.

    The handle is very loose on the rod and it's traveling too far down on the flush stroke and getting jammed up and sticking open.

    Is there a set-screw of some sort that holds the handle to the rod or does the rod and handle come as one piece. If so is this a Toto specific part?

    Thanks

    [​IMG]
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    IL
  3. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Location:
    New York, NY
    The problem with that Kohler thing is that its cycle is too slow to let the flapper drop as fast as it is supposed to drop, so it just dumps most of the tank into the toilet.

    The trip lever comes in a one-piece unit. When it wears out, I just get another.

    Your trip lever, the one for your toilet, is going to be THU004, and it comes with various letters on the end to indicate colors available. THU004#CP would be Chrome, for example. Just Google it, or call your local plumbing supply place. Figure about $25 for the chrome one.
  4. Andy Griffith

    Andy Griffith New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Western WA
    Thanks for the replies. I received the THU004#CP today and installed it in the toilet.

    The handle of course no longer gets stuck in the down position but I'm not sure the toilet is operating correctly. You have to hold the handle down until the bowl empties before you release the handle, otherwise it short-strokes and gives an incomplete flush.

    I may have it set-up wrong although I've tried all three hole positions with the same short-stroke results. The original one had the chain installed in the closest position to the handle. In observing the action, after the valve shuts the chain has little to no slack in it. But if I jiggle the handle the lever lowers a good bit more and there is slack in the chain. Even in the no slack position I believe the valve is indeed shut as it doesn't appear to be leaking.

    The old one had substantial slack in it in part because the handle mechanism was so worn.

    This picture is taken after the flush action is complete, the valve is closed, and the tank is filling. Note that the chain has no slack in it. Note the position of the rod. That's the position that it naturally ends up in after releasing the handle.
    [​IMG]

    In this picture I've jiggled the handle and the rod lowers and almost comes to rest on the top of the fill tube, and you can see that the chain has some slack in it.
    [​IMG]

    Must be something simple I'm missing here?
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,289
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Yes, the tank only lets out about 1.5 gallons.
    Hey Rip Van Winkel,
    That is normal for a 1.6 gallon toilet and has been for the last twenty years. If you want a three gallon flush and defeat the water saving function, you will need to hold the handle down.

    By the way, that is one of the original Ultimate toilets by TOTO
    I haven't seen that flush valve in fifteen years.
  6. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,934
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Different folks on here use "incomplete flush" to mean different things.

    Some folks, having been for the first time exposed by we of this forum to the wonders inside their tank, suddenly start complaining that the flapper "closes too soon unless I hold the handle down", because they suddenly discover that the tank isn't draining completely, which they call an "incomplete flush". Actually, when it does that it's doing what it's supposed to do.

    Others, who already know that modern toilets don't drain the whole tank, complain about the flapper closing too soon and causing the water in the BOWL not to cycle (i.e. the poo doesn't go down). In other words, it's not doing what it's supposed to do, which is to drain about a half of the tank. They call THAT an "incomplete flush". And that's probably an accurate description of that. Sometimes, when my hand slips off the Drake handle or I don't depress it fully and release, the flapper kind of half-opens and slams shut before releasing a fraction of what it usually does, and the bowl starts to fill and then starts to siphon and then stops, with all the ickyness floating in it. I call that a "misfire", which can be resolved just by pushing the handle all the way down and immediately letting go (after, of course, the tank refills).

    Terry's testy retort was addressed to the folks who fall into the first category above. I'm not sure from your description whether you do or not, so this is for you if you don't:

    Sometimes, too LITTLE chain on the flapper can prevent it from opening fully, along with other evils. Not so much on our Drake, but certainly on my AS in the city, if I change the flapper, I have learned to always hook the exact same number of links to the arm. Too few, and it blocks the flapper from opening all the way, leading to a non-optimal result. Too many, and it doesn't pull the flapper all the way open, leading to the same result. Just right, and it works just right. Generally, a link or at the most two lying on top of the flapper is about right. Very little slack, but some slack. Yours looks too taught. So if it's misfiring, then add a link. If you can't because that old tilt-flush thingy is out of chain, you can replace that tilt-flush with a Korky flapper and then adjust the chain to your heart's content.

    Terry, whom I trust, says that that's an Ultimate, which would be MS854114. The UltraMax is 854114S, which you say yours is. If it's the Ultimate, then you use the BLUE Korky Fits Toto Flapper (#2022). If it's the UltraMax, then you use the RED Korky Fits Toto Flapper (#2021). Both available at Home Depot online, and other fine stores.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  7. Andy Griffith

    Andy Griffith New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Western WA
    Thanks for the replies. It's a bit of a relief as it means I'm not going crazy (ok, that's still debatable). I could have sworn that the toilet has flushed like that from day one, but the old handle had been sticking for several months before I had a chance to address it. The sticking handle would result in an over-flush (or whatever the proper term is) each time and I guess I got used to that.

    It is the Ultimate model, and overall it's performed very well over the years. It's very rare we get a clog in that toilet, the same can't be said for the toilet in the main bathroom.

    And yes, I know our toilets are old, the one in the main bathroom is even older than the Toto. I keep them going as best I can.

    Thanks again.
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,289
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Looking today, and not in a hurry, it was a CST854S (MS854114S) Ultramax.

    The Ultramax with that old flush valve was installed with a little more height to the overflow, and removed the plastic flap piece behind the overflow that slowed down the closing of the flapper. The Ultimate would have had the "clip-on" plastic flap. CST854 Ultimate (MS854114) The porcelain was the same.

    That being the case, this tank would get the red flapper as a replacement, or the rubber disc replacement for the old system. If you replace with blue, it works too; just a little more water leaves the tank.
  9. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,934
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Nothing wrong with old toilets, if they were well-made (except perhaps the amount of water they use). We have one (that's rarely used) that has a date in 1927 stamped in the tank. I put some new Korky parts in it (fill valve and flapper), and it runs like a champ!
  10. Andy Griffith

    Andy Griffith New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Western WA
    Ok, I pulled the file and found the manual and a print out from Terry's website circa 2000 recommending the UltraMax. It is indeed the UltraMax model as he said.

    Made some progress but now may have another issue.

    I backed off the nut that holds the lever assembly in the tank and that freed up the mechanism such that the rod moved freely. I think I had the nut too tight and it bound up the rod in a higher than normal position. It feels normal now and moves easily through the range of motion. Seems to flush properly as well now also with about one link laying on the flapper.

    However, the rod now comes to rest on top of the overflow tube after the flush process. I tried 5-6 flushes in row while watching in the tank and the rod consistently hits and rests on the top of the overflow tube. If I reach in there I can move the rod towards the front wall of the tank and it will slip down alongside the overflow tube.

    Is this going to be a problem? Should I remove the rod and just bend it out a bit so it's not hitting the overflow tube?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,289
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I would bend the rod so that it doesn't hit the overflow. It's brass, so it will bend. No worries.

    The replacement trip lever if you ever need one is THU004-CP
  12. Andy Griffith

    Andy Griffith New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Western WA
    Ok thanks, bent the rod a bit and it now clears the overflow.
  13. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,734
    Location:
    Central Florida
    My wife came into my office last night and asked why the toilet (a Drake) was still running. End of story: the flattened rod end had worn a hole in the "chrome" handle over the 10-or-so years of use, the rod end was getting stuck in the hole, and the rod thus was holding the flapper up. Bad design -- the bearing components need a more durable interface. The really, really bad news is the cost of a new handle+rod, around $30. Toto has thoughtfully made this in two pieces, easily separated by unscrewing the screw that joins them. Is the handle
    available as a separate, reasonably-priced part?

    20141116_112921-shrunk-Toto Handle failure.jpg
    I think I can manfacture a temporary fix, but other suggestions would be welcome.

    UPDATE: While starting to design my fix, I found a small steel rod, about 0.127" in diameter, 0.369" long, in the handle cavity. I suspect that this rod was once the bearing between the handle and the rod, but had somehow fallen out of place, allowing the rod to wear the soft handle. So, maybe the design wasn't quite as bad as I initially thought, but still not as good as it should be.

    FURTHER UPDATE: While waiting for some epoxy to cure, I did find a TOTO parts diagram, which confirms that you can't just buy a replacement handle -- bummer. Reviewers for the TOTO replacement parts online have seen this problem a lot, and lately have claimed that TOTO has upgraded the design somewhat to avoid the problem. There's also a generic replacement everyone raves about for around $9. I'm going to try them both.

    LAST UPDATE: The little steel rod actually keeps the brass rod from falling out of the handle support, so it couldn't be repurposed as a bearing surface. But I cobbled up a fix based on that idea, and it should work until the replacement(s) get here.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2014 at 8:55 AM
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