Toto Toilet Flapper Issue

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by adeutsch, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. adeutsch

    adeutsch New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    new york
    Hi,

    i've had my Toto toilet for about a year now and I'm noticing a couple of issues. They are most probably related but I'm no expert or for that matter a novice either.

    Basically my toilet will run constantly because after flushing the stopper will not cover the hole completely. When i make the slight adjustment by hand it stops running, which makes sense. However, sometimes the tank wont re-fill after flushing and the bowl wont flush but has a constant drain. The water continuously runs but the tank does not fill up. I figure its just running straight through the tank through the bowl and then down the drain. I can not stop this action and am forced to shut off the water supply. After a few minutes wiht the water turned off it returns to normal function.

    I'm sure i can adjust the stopper or get a new stopper to cover the hole and that should deal with the first problem, but i think i have a much larger issue with the fill valve and the internal workings.

    Any idea of what i should do? It's kind of annoying when your toilet works correctly only 10% of the time.

    thanks in advance for your responses.
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,419
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Trouble shooting

    Fill the tank, turn off water supply at the wall and take a note of how high the water is in the tank.

    If the water level drops in the tank, then that needs to be addressed first.

    If the water level stays in the tank, turn the water supply back on, and see if the fill valve is shutting off consistently.
    The water in the tank, should stay below the overflow tube.
    If the water keeps overfilling, then the fill valve needs work.
    It could need a simple cleaning, or a part, or even replacement.
    Can you post a picture here less then 800 x 800 pixels as an attachment of the inside of the tank.
  3. adeutsch

    adeutsch New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    new york
    Thanks for your reply.

    Basically there are 3 states that the toilet can be in.

    1. Normal - we like that. About 15% of the time.
    2. Running - this happens when the red plunger does not full cover the drainage hole. It will leave a tine slit open and can be fixed by pulling the plunger to cover the hole completely. About 75%.
    3. Full run - Not sure what is happening here but the tank does not fill up and the bowl does not drain. Instead there is a constant running of water and there is a constant drain from the bowl but neither the bowl or the tank changes levels. The tank is about 1/2 inch full and the bowl is a more full than normal (case #1). I fix this by turning off the water supply and when I turn it back on, it miraculously works. 10% of the time.

    My hunch is that if i fix case #2 everything would be fine. My other hunch is that there might be something loose or just slightly off within the mechanism. Since it doesn't happen all the time.

    Any ideas of how to fix these 2 issues? I've attached the picture, i hope it works.

    Thanks so much for your help.

    Andy

    Attached Files:

  4. adeutsch

    adeutsch New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    new york
    you can see the top left of the red plunger is where it does not fully cover. in the picture it is working fine but if it is just slightly off there will be space for the water to flow.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,325
    Location:
    New England
    I'd take a little slack out of the chain and move the anchor on the arm to a point closer to over the flapper and see if that helps.

    Depending on your water chlorine levels, the rubber on the flapper will fail at different times. Where I live, I can get about 4-5 years, but if you have high chlorine levels, yours could be dead much sooner. What I find happens is that it gets softer, and the center gets depressed because of the water pressure from just sitting there most of the time. At some point once this starts to happen, it doesn't seal well all the time and I replace it. They're warrantied for, I think, longer than that, but I ususally just buy one.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,419
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You can try bending the brass rod so that the flapper gets lifted straight up and down.
  7. new2me

    new2me New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    midwest
    I've had the same problem with both of my Toto's. The lift rod was not aligned over the flapper out of the box, but is easily bent back (careful not to break it!)

    The flapper deforms and leaks. Bad design of the flapper. Rubber may have worked for smaller flush valves for the past century, but IMHO it is not suitably strong for these larger ones. The force of the flapper slamming closed causes it to deform and leak. I can take it out and see that it is "warped"; allowing it to regain its "correct" shape by leaving it out for awhile will allow it to work OK for ~ one week, then it starts leaking again. Brand new flappers, at @ $10 each, will last longer, but succumb within a year, or so.

    What is needed is a reinforced flapper, one with a rigid top that will not deflect/deform over time from the repeated closing action. That would make it last several years (maybe even as long as the "old" ones!) and remove a lot of the negative Toto postings.
    Anyone know of a flapper that is strong enough to cover a 3" opening with out warping that can be retro-fitted to a Toto G-Max flush valve?
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,325
    Location:
    New England
    A lot of this depends on the quality of the water...the more chlorine in the water, the quicker the rubber gets soft and you need to replace the flapper. Also, if you add chlorine to the tank, with one of those cleaning tablets or other sources, the flapper will fail quickly, too. Where I live, I can get 3-4 years out of one. Your results, obviously, are different. Live with well water, and expect longer (unless you chlorinate the well).
  9. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Your fill valve is fine, and I am pretty sure your flapper looks to be in good condition. These guys are telling you adjust the slack on your flapper's chain, which you should try, as well as inspect the flapper.

    But from what you are describing, and intermittent flushing/filling problem , it sounds like you have a problem with the flush handle. The handle on the Drake use very flimsy plastic attachment parts which can loosen and slip/reposition when you flush if the handle assembly is cranked too tight, causing the handle arm to be out of alignment. If you adjust the flapper chain and leave the handle slightly loose rather than cranking it tight, your problem should be fixed.
  10. new2me

    new2me New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    midwest
    I hope that I have found the solution. I bought a Fluidmaster 5403 3 inch universal toilet flapper that comes with a 10 year warranty.
    It is primarily made of a hard, rigid plastic, with a silicone sealing ring under it.
    When I installed it I also noticed that the lift rod pulled it off to one side and caused the "ears" to slide on the "pins" that it attaches to the overflow tube with. It still sat back down centered over the hole because of the alignment tabs along side of the "bubble." I never saw that with the original "red" flapper, probably because the "ears" flex and don't slide? I "adjusted"(bent) the lift rod until it lifted the flapper up and down only, with no side to side movement.
    The "bubble" has adjustable flow so that you can "dial" more/less water per flush. The instructions listed 6, on a 1-10 scale, as the right setting for a drake. At 6 it seemed fine; at 0 it doesn't use hardly any water at all; at 10 it almost empties the tank and flushes harder then it ever did. I left it at 10.
    I got it at Home Despot for $12, which is $2 more then Lowes(t) wanted for a replacement "red" flapper, and it was the ONLY 3 inch flapper they had!
    If it does last 10 years it will have been a good $12 investment, if it only lasts 5 years, it is still a good deal better then replacing these $8-10 "red" ones every 2 years!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2010
  11. new2me

    new2me New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    midwest
    Thanks for adding the picture Terry!
    All of the green is rigid plastic, so is the white adjustable "bubble" float. The gray is the silicone sealing ring.
    I had looked at the Fluidmaster product website and didn't find this flapper listed there yet.
    I turned the "bubble" float setting down to 7 to reduce the amount of water per flush. At 10 it splashed too much to suit the Mrs.
  12. I'm not too keen on retrofits so I guess the jury is out on that fluidmaster flapper. I hope it works as I've been getting calls back on some of the drakes I installed not even 2 years ago.

    Toto got stingy with me till I laid the law down and told them how many I installed, and I was having to take it on the chin on those flappers, not being able to charge for my time. They didn't even look damaged/aged from chlorine...just wouldn't seal.

    They sent me 4, 2 red and 2 blue ones. Red usually indicates chemical resistant but I can see a hard shell on the top of those flappers making a difference.
  13. new2me

    new2me New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    midwest
    I purchased both of my Totos in August of 2007, and the first flapper I replaced was in July of 2008 (in 1/2 bath that gets most use.) Second ones' original lasted till Thanksgiving, both replacements where free exchanges from supplier. The 1/2 bath started running again around Thanksgiving, and I tinkered with it on and off until I found the Fluidmaster flapper. I hope it lasts more then 2 years.
    There is still a Kohler toilet in the kids full bath that I have not had to do anything to since I bought this house in July of 2006. The Kohlers that the Totos replaced where the same 1989 vintage, slow swirl 4 gallon flush, and probably had the original internals, but they didn't run on. If they had been "right height" they might still be here. I got the Totos because of what I had read on this site, and am a little disappointed in their longevity, but I suppose that the other 3" flush valve toilets are going to experience the same flexible flapper failures.
    Maybe if this fluidmaster one works, it'll become the OEM choice; instead of a red or blue just go green.
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,325
    Location:
    New England
    For the flapper to fail that fast (a year or two), one of two things is likely: your water has an exceptionally high amount of chlorine in it, or you are using an in-tank cleaning chemical. If the later, NO flapper will last very long, especially those larger 3" diameter ones...the rubber is not designed to resist high levels of chlorine. Mine seem to last around 5-6 years. I may look at the Fluidmaster one next time I need one. In the winter, they add more chlorine, but the summertime seems to be less - maybe it just outgasses more because the water is warmer.
  15. AnnisDad

    AnnisDad New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Seattle
    Same trouble here -- red Toto flapper failed after two years. I live in Seattle, and the water doesn't seem heavily chlorinated, at least compared with other places I've lived.
  16. new2me

    new2me New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    midwest
    I don't use the in-tank chlorine tablets, and the water is potable, from the city water main. It is supposed to be safe to drink, so I don't think it has anything to do with chlorine, it has to do with rubber being rubber, it is just not suited to this application. Look at the reinforcing ribs they put on the top of the red flapper , I'd bet they knew it wasn't strong enough to begin with and designed them to help it last just past the warranty period. Great way to have you keep in contact with your plumbing professional though, when they're replacing a $10 flapper every 2 years!
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,325
    Location:
    New England
    Water can have a fairly high chlorine content and still be potable! Most municipal supplies have some chlorine in them, some much more than others. The use of chlorine cleaning products in the toilet tank typically raise the chlorine levels way beyond what is in the water normally, especially if the toilet is not used often unless it uses an injection type system rather than a 'puck' or similar device that dissolves while sitting in the water.

    The flapper valves of my old toilets (not Toto) failed in about the same time, so I can't attribute any unique problems to those supplied by Toto.
  18. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,419
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    In a similar Seattle neighborhood, we saw a Cadet 3 flapper start to blister in 8 months.

    [​IMG]
    American Standard Cadet 3 Flapper
    The rubber ring gasket which seals the flapper valve had approximately (6) blisters on the sealing side. These blisters were the cause of slow leakage and re-filling of the tank.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  19. evanob

    evanob New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Same flapper issue as new2me

    My Toto started having the leaking flapper immediately after installed by a professional plumber. I carefully inspected and realized that the flapper would frequently fall slightly off center and then the flapper would deform and allow leaking around the edge. I cut and sized the rigid plastic sleeve to use near the hinges to help the flapper seat more centrally. Now the flapper doesn't seat correctly 1 in 4 flushes and we have to walk back to the toilet to reflush. I contacted Toto and they simply sent a new identical flapper with exactly the same problem -- to soft and deformable. New2me was right, a rigid rubber is needed for this large 3 inch hole that allows the large flapper to collapse and deform. I will try the aftermarket product by Fluidmaster or has Toto really redesigned the flapper since this was purchased 1 1/2 years ago?

    Attached Files:

  20. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,325
    Location:
    New England
    If the flush lever is metal, bend it a little so it is closer to being over the top of the flapper. In my home, the flapper valves (Toto) seem to last about 5-years or so. Same red one. Much of it is the water quality.
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