Help needed with older Kohler toilet leaking at base

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Craig Cannon, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Craig Cannon

    Craig Cannon New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2020
    Location:
    Texas
    I recently bought a house that has what I believe is an original install Kohler toilet from 1992 or so. It would move at the base, so i tightened the bolts, but I have now confirmed it to be leaking at the bottom flange. I ahve removed the toilet and the tile is up to the flange, but not under it.

    After inspecting the bottom of the toilet, I noticed that the toilet drain hole bottom is at the same depth as the base. If I place a level across the base while going over the hole, it touches the center hole in one spot (just barely), and the other side of the center hole is <1 mm probably from the level. So it's not even perfectly flat, but nothing wax will not fix. However, am I incorrect in thinking there should be a gap from the bottom base to the bottom of drain hole?

    I'm guessing that is why the flange is below the tile, though its face is only about 1-2 mm from the tile. My question is this: is there a minimum gap needed for a toilet to seal properly? I basically only have 1-2 mm.
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    1 mm would be enough, but zero would not be good. No rocking on the flange wanted.

    If you re-set the old toilet, position shims to prevent rocking before placing the wax. Then lift the toilet, and drop the toilet onto the wax and shims. Don't want any lifting or rocking on the wax.

    Any toilet from about 1992 should probably be considered to replaced, and if it is one of the early 1.6 gpf type, it should be replaced. New ones flush better.
     
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  4. Craig Cannon

    Craig Cannon New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2020
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks for the reply!

    I just re-checked and it looks like there may be one part of the base that is directly contacting the flange as it almost dead flush with the tile and it may actually be above the tile level but impossible for me to tell, it's that close. I do know that when I drag the level across the toilet base, it hits the drain hole (just barely again, but does stop the level) on one side and goes just above when starting on the other side. I can see how this likely will never work for me now.

    If I do get a new toilet, do I need to verify the recess of the drain hole? Since my flange is not on top of the tile as normally recommended, I don't want to get a new toilet only to get a new set of problems with too large a gap.
     
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If the toilet was rocking, that would make it easy to leak.
    Like Reach mentioned above, shim if needed, a single wax without the horn and try it again.
    Normally I'm using new closet bolts with washers and nuts secured to the flange before I start. So I'm looking at four washes and nuts for a pair of bolts.
     
  6. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    to the OP the outlet of toilet is over the center of flange what could it possibly hit ? the flange can and should technicaly be above the floor . so yours is just a tiny bit below. a good thick wax . see no problem I always put new bolts too.
    The flange can be on top of tile and no problem or alittle below and no problem. So unless Im missing something. Reset and Forget. If you want a toilet buy one .
    Good luck
     
  7. Craig Cannon

    Craig Cannon New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2020
    Location:
    Texas
    Well, I gave it another shot and failed miserably. I initially set the toilet down dry and it appeared to be hitting the flange directly as it was rocking. I shimmed it up and removed. Then I used a reusable "Wax-Free Toilet Seal" from HD as I did not want to waste a wax ring and deal with the cleanup if it fails. I made sure it was level by adjusting the shims as needed, then tightened and it still leaks.

    Now after all that, I thought maybe a new flange could help. After measuring, I now realize that the stub up 3 inches and a gasketed insert was used. So now the down hole opening is only 2.5 inches which I know is not ideal, plus I cant even find 3 inch insert fitting in stock around me. After looking closer, I think it originally had flange that was glued around the 3 inch pipe. At some point that was changed and they just cut the top of the flange flat, then put the 3 inch insert in. This is my best guess.

    I think at this point I 'm thinking I should just hire a plumber and tell him to make it right. Probably going to be expensive, but I'm not sure what else I can do.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  8. Craig Cannon

    Craig Cannon New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2020
    Location:
    Texas
    Ok, after rethinking about it, I now see what you mean. Now I'm even more confused as to why its rocking when I set it down dry.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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