American Standard Fontaine toilet with Flushmate woes. 2042.417 one-piece

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Terry, May 24, 2011.

  1. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    American Standard Fontaine toilet with Flushmate. 2042.417 one-piece

    I had the misfortune to work on one of these.
    Like many of the Flushmate bowls, homeowners can experience shredded paper after one flush. When I sell a bowl with a Flushmate, I warn them that while they almost never plug, they can shred paper. Many people are fine with that. They have a toilet that uses little water, rarely plugs and can leave some fine shreds in the bowl. Not a big deal for most.

    However, it's not a perfect solution. And for that reason, I don't sell as many of that type of toilet. So how does it affect my business? Like all good plumbers, I like to help people. So one day Bill DePaoli of Seattle calls me about an old American Standard Fontaine one-piece toilet in powder blue with a failing Flushmate in it. It's a metal tank he tells me over the phone, and it's no longer flushing like it used to. And it's rusting, it's that old. Rust? Sounds like for safety reasons you should either replace the toilet or replace the Flushmate pressure tank. You don't want a perforation in a tank that has compressed air in it. So Bill orders the replacement tank from Flushmate, and in a week or so calls me up to install his new tank in his old toilet.
    We replace the tank for him, but then a few days later he calls and wants me to come out and look at it. So on a Saturday, I drive over to Seattle from the Eastside and spend some time with Bill and his wife. The tank doesn't leak anymore, it's a brand new tank. We've installed a new supply line, and I've checked and theres plenty of water coming from the supply. I flush the toilet, and there is a nice whoosh of water that flushes the toilet, and yes, there's the shreds of paper like the other pressure assist bowls that I've seen. I'm not surprised, I've been seeing that for years and I warn customers about it before I sell them. You have a high speed little jet of water that blows through the paper and shreds it. None of the pieces will ever clog that puppy. But wait, now it's time for Bill to call Flushmate and complain, so the next week he calls them several times and speaks to different tech support people, and they tell him the new part is working as expected and perhaps the plumber didn't install it right. Really?
    If that's the case, then not I, not my customers, not anyone I know of can do it right. But now that Mr DePaoli has this information, now he's madder then ever. He paid good money twelve years ago, and now it's my fault that his old Flushmate equipped American Standard one-piece toilet in powder blue is shredding paper. He wants to know what I'm going to do about his "old" toilet. After all he tells me, he spent a lot of money on this in 1999. I don't know who he bought this from, but right now I'm wishing I knew, and I could throw some heat on the guy that sold him the beast.

    So being the businessman that I am, I start thinking, do I want this guy as a customer? He wants a shoulder to cry on for purchasing a powder blue tub and toilet; not an easy thing to change colors you know, and now he's noticing that it shreds. Jeez, I thought they all shredded, but apparently this guy has the only one I know of that doesn't and what? Now it's shredding. This reminds me of the homeowners that wonder about testing PRV valves on water heaters, and why plumbers don't like to unless they have already been leaking and the homeowner has called them out for replacement. Now I have a guy bugging me about an old 1999 powder blue toilet that shreds and wants to talk about until it no longer shreds. It's like asking why the sky is blue, except it hasn't been blue for a while in Seattle and now it is. And now it's not. Do I want to hold his hand, and pat it and tell him it's going to be okay? He has a toilet that will never plug and it shreds a bit. My mother has one like that too, she's old and she doesn't mind. God I love my mother. She's 94 and keeps up on all the latest news, posts her updates on Facebook and cooks me dinner when I visit. But back to Bill, I decide I'm better off giving him his check back and saying goodbye to him as a customer. Bill's not going to be happy with his powder blue toilet, and nothing I do or say is going to change that. And I have an army of people in Detroit Michigan saying toilets with pressure assist don't shred, whatever.

    It's time to send back the check, and reconsider ever going out on a service call like this one again. Call it's buyers remorse on Bill's part, that's what I think it is.
    By the way, I have never, ever, sold a one-piece American Standard one-piece toilet equipped with a Flushmate before. Plenty of the two piece toilets, but they have mainly been white and wall hung. They work well and they all shred, but at least those customers have that one figured out.

    Bill's toilet is a pretty blue.
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  2. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Oct 7, 2005
    Wow, Terry you got the patience of a saint!
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
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  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    I like the way the ball of toilet paper rolls around in those toilets like a bad tire on a semi on the interstate with tread separation....

    Look out for the road alligators that land on the seat...
  5. RedHouse

    RedHouse New Member

    Aug 5, 2011
    New York, NY
    My pet peeve is going into a bathroom and seeing shredded paper and murky water in the bowl.
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