Toto Soft Close Repair?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by gerlando, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. gerlando

    gerlando New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Washington
    One of my soft close seats has stopped functioning correctly after maybe... 2 years of use. It sounds like something within the hinge broke and it drops almost as fast as if it were a regular hinge. Are these repairable or do they need to be replaced? I tried searching online and only found other seat failures with no resolution. 2 years is way too short a lifespan IMO.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,019
    Location:
    New England
    Call Toto...I don't think it can be repaired.
  3. Peanut9199

    Peanut9199 Customer Service Manager Plumbing Wholesale

    Messages:
    875
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    No they can't be repaired.

    Where are you located?
  4. gerlando

    gerlando New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Washington
    Soft Close Repaired!

    I decided to take the plunge and take the seat apart to see if it could be repaired and guess what. They can be repaired, and rather easily. At least in my case, once it was all apart I discovered the liquid in the hinge must have leaked out which was causing the failure.

    I took photos with my phone along the way, but they didn't come out too good.

    Basically there are two hinges, one on each side. One hinge controls the top cover and the other controls the seat. To get to the hinge you need to pull the hinge pin out of the over and seat. There are two plastic prongs that hold the pin in, but they can be bent open so the pin slides through. Once that's done there's another plastic prong that holds the hinge in the middle bracket. Once the hinge is free it can be pulled apart by removing 4 screws. The inner screws have tiny o-rings on them so make sure not to lose them!

    Once the hinge was separated I noticed it had a viscous fluid that's basically squished between two sides of a channel. This provides the slowing mechanism. But mine was leaking and most of the fluid was gone. I refilled the hinge with some automotive grease figuring it was as close in viscosity as I had in the garage, put it all back together, and now I have a working hinge again!
  5. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    As the owner of 5 Toto soft close seats, I'd really appreciate it if someone could identify the factory fluid , and a source for it if it's not a generic item like mineral oil.
  6. DECJ

    DECJ New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    La Sal, Utah
    I realize that this is an old thread, but I was having the same problem and contacted Toto tech support regarding what the factory uses for the fluid, and this was the response I got via email earlier today ...

    I’m sorry but I cannot suggest any type of fluids to use or ways to repair. We do not have any specs on what is used in the hinge, nor do we have ways of fixing. Your best bet is to do exactly what you’re doing by researching on the web. We do not manufacture the seats themselves.

    So, I will do the same as gerlando and substitute a material that approximates the same viscosity (and that I have available).
  7. Al Thumbs

    Al Thumbs New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    MetroWest, Mass.
    It's not mineral oil

    I used Gerlando's excellent instructions to open up the hinge on my seat. I don't think it's mineral oil. It is clear, sticky, and thicker than mineral oil. It reminded me of Kayro corn syrup, but thicker still. I used grease to replace the liquid, but it did not work for me. Will try again.
  8. DECJ

    DECJ New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    La Sal, Utah
    Let us know what material you come up with that works.

    Good luck!
    Don
  9. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    I suspect the fluid is glycerine.
  10. DECJ

    DECJ New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    La Sal, Utah
    So, is glycerine all that much more viscous than mineral oil?
  11. Greenegs

    Greenegs New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Oregon
    Yes, glycerine is very thick, and sticky. It is not a lubricant at all.

    I agree that the soft close mechanisms are probably filled with glycerine (clear, odorless, colorless, and sticky).

    On my Toto, only the lid soft close had failed. The seat soft close was still working; it just could not handle the extra weight of the lid.
    I didn't have any glycerine so, as a temporary 'fix', I swapped the lid and seat soft close mechanisms. The lid is used much more, so having the soft close on that is at least better than neither working.
  12. bighornram

    bighornram New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    New Mexico
    I'm having the same issue with my 2 year old seat. ToTo replied that it must be replaced and cannot be repaired. I'm off to try and find glycerin to refill the hinges. The substance looks like silicone caulk when you squeeze it out of the tube.
  13. bighornram

    bighornram New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    New Mexico
    I got a bottle of 100% veg. glycerine and filled both hinges. It is not as thick as the original material. It didn't fix my seat. I am going to give it more thought but think that grease might be a better choice. Vaseline could be a good choice also.
  14. bighornram

    bighornram New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    New Mexico
    I filled the hinges with vaseline and still is a regular slamming down in the night toilet seat now. This seat is barely 2 years old. IMHO the functionality should be longer than 2 years. We are a low use location also, is just my wife and myself. This seat probably wouldn't last a year with a household with more than 2 members using it. It is also pitiful that Toto doesn't offer the hinges which can be easily replaced. Sorry Toto but I hope your toilet doesn't disappoint like the seat did. I replaced both toilets in my home with them.

    I absolutely do NOT recommend purchasing this toilet seat.
  15. DECJ

    DECJ New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    La Sal, Utah
    While I think the Toto toilet is a superior design, I too am quite disappointed with their lackluster customer support stance on the soft close toilet seat. We are in a similar situation where it is just my wife and I and we never forced the seat closed. It is just too short a time with a modicum of use that has led up to the failure. I just can't believe that no one in Toto knows what viscous fluid was originally used in the soft closure mechanism. I still hope to make something work, but I will NOT be buying a replacement that Toto will continue to not stand behind.
  16. Donn2390

    Donn2390 New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Toto does not make the seat...!!!!
  17. DECJ

    DECJ New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    La Sal, Utah
    Then who does??
  18. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,019
    Location:
    New England
    Just like many companies, they put their name on it, but don't actually make it. Do not know who does. They do make all of the porcelain, but buy the guts of the toilets from other companies that specialize in it. They are made to their size/performance specs, though.
  19. bighornram

    bighornram New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Myself I don't mind so much that it wore out, though I do think it was a bit premature but the hinge valve is a self contained unit and can be removed and replaced with a pair of pliars. Grandma could do it. If I end up replacing the seat it will be with a different brand. The reply from Toto states the following:

    "Good Day,

    The seat is made out of one mold and cannot be fixed. The only option is to replace the seat."

    If Toto doesn't make the seat than redirect my inquiry to who does or simply market the darn hinges. Those who are happy with replacing the whole seat would do it but many would order replacement hinges and fix it.

    Myself, I am not done looking for a gel to repair the valve.
  20. DECJ

    DECJ New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    La Sal, Utah
    Back in the day, I would probably just replace the seat without too much grumbling. However, after limping into something of a forced retirement and now being on a fixed income with a very tight budget, I can't justify doing so for each and every thing that goes belly up these days. So I will either try and fix it or live with it.

    And I suppose it's no use complaining about it, but this is yet another in a million of examples of the ever increasing disposable culture we live in. So much is produced in essentially a "use once & throw away" mentality, or a company's products (or their components) are so excessively outsourced or contracted out that no one knows which end is up. Then there are those who supposedly represent their companies who clearly don't know their own products, what goes into them, and where to get parts. We're pretty much well on the way to becoming a civilization that no longer has the knowledge of how our "machines" were built, how they operate, how to repair/adjust them, and the like. It's all pretty sad IMO.
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