Kohler toilet flushing problem on San Raphael one-piece

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by jvstevens, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. jvstevens

    jvstevens Member

    Sep 14, 2005
    I replaced a leaky fill valve and worn flapper valve on a Kohler San Raphael one-piece toilet last week. After doing this, I couldn't seem to get the toilet to flush properly. The water would just swirl a long time in the bowl and then maybe (not always) go down at the very end. For a long time, I thought it was an issue with the flapper (and/or the way its mounted), but nothing I did (changing flapper make, adjusting chain length) made a difference. Then I started to think that the drain might be plugged so I plunged the toilet bowl many times, but nothing improved. I did notice during plunging though, that a lot of fine, undetermined "debris" was floating around in the bowl afterward. I thought it might be possible that it was coming out of the hole in the bottom of the bowl where the flushing water comes out, so I took my little plastic "Zip-it" drain tool and ran it up and down that hole several times, and more debris came out. I guess it was scale or deposits of some type. After I did this, the toilet flushed great! I was quite happy and amazed that I was able to solve the problem, as I was close to calling a plumber to come out. But, I'm still puzzled about the whole thing:

    1) Was it just a coincidence that the blockage in the bowl "hole" happened at the same time as the other parts were replaced? Or could there be some possible connection/causation?
    2) Is this a common problem with toilets (i.e blockage of the bowl hole)? I don't think its anything I've come across before or heard it mentioned as a possible problem for a poorly flushing toilet. I've cleaned scale out of the little bowl wash holes before, but its seems hard to believe that this big hole would have so much deposits in it that it would inhibit proper flushing.

    Insights from anyone are much appreciated!
  2. Smooky

    Smooky In the Trades

    Apr 4, 2011
    North Carolina
    The toilet rim holes and the siphon jet hole may clog up up over time depending on water conditions. Often people put things in the back of the toilet tank such as that blue stuff that helps to clog up the holes. If calcium builds up it is difficult to remove and can be dangerous. For the toilet to flush properly water has to flow freely through these openings for a good flush.
    1)It usually happens very slowly and over time. I think you just noticed it at this time. But while you were working on it a section of slime may have sloughed off and got stuck in the siphon jet.
    2)It does happen more often if you use that blue stuff and if you have hard water, scale can build up over a long period of time. This scale can be removed with acid but most people just get a new toilet in that case. Some people just get a new toilet because they don't know it can be cleaned out or don't want to do it.
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Another thing to check is the tank fill level. Depending on the new valve you install, on most, you have to fine tune the water level to the manufacturer's specs. THere's often a mark in the tank to indicate the proper level. If there isn't, then a good rule of thumb is to get the water level to about 1/2" from the overflow. Also, if you did not use an OEM flapper valve, or a direct replacement, it may not be opening the proper time - too little, weak flush, too much, wasted water.
  5. Hairyhosebib

    Hairyhosebib New Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Go to the hardware store and buy a gallon of muriatic acid or hydrochloric acid or pool acid. Take the tank lid off and place a funnel in the standpipe. Open the acid and pour some in the funnel and pour some in the bowl for good measure. Wait awhile and repeat the process. Calcium and junk will build up in the holes under the rim where water is supposed to create a swirl to help clean poo off while the flushing action is going on. Also inside at the top of the trap water will calcify and cause the top of the trap to become very rough causing paper and poo to hang up there, like in a cave you know, stalagtites or mites, those things that hang down. After this treatment it should flush like new. Try to steer clear of the acid fumes, they will bite your nose. I use this treatment on a regular basis on mostly unstopping urinals on campus. Urine salts are horrible and build up quite quickly.
  6. jvstevens

    jvstevens Member

    Sep 14, 2005
    Yeah, the fill level was set right, and I used both a Kohler OEM flapper and a Korky flapper (specifically stated to work with my model). The only thing the made a huge difference was cleaning out the hole in the bottom.

    If it acts up the same way again, then I'll do the acid trick.

    Thanks everyone for the good tips and advice!
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