Looking for a Kohler Portrait Toilet from the mid '90's, K3490

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by hdmstng, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. hdmstng

    hdmstng New Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    West Chester, Ohio
    Any suggestions for a dealer that may have the Kohler Portrait K3490 (Tank is K4590 and bowl is 4217) that was made around 1996 or 1997? Toilets have come a long way in terms of flushing and this toilet is being used as a standard 'bad' flusher for research purposes. Not knocking the Kohler brand, but most toilets in that time period were pretty bad.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    A dealer cannot legally sell a 3.5 gallon per flush toilet. You will have to find on in private hands or at a salvage dealer.

    MY BAD....from '96 it would be 1.6 gpf, just not a good one! But they haven't made that version in a while, so finding one at a dealer is a stretch,.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
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  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    And, Kohler was one of the worst and still is coasting on its reputation from olden days. What happened in those early days of the low flush mandate was that most manufactures tried to use their old designs with less water. The results were, as you have noted, terrible. The perception that plungers were needed regularly and overall poor performance was the price we had to pay to save water. Toto recognized the problem and redesigned internal working of their toilets before putting bad ones on the market. Unfortunately, the believe that low flow toilets had to be bad performers linger on today and is kept alive by many manufactures the still are trying to tweek their old designs. It would be interesting to hear reports on your project.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    I would think your best bet will be second hand for the Kohler Portrait. I don't see too many though. Most of the time they mate up with a matching sink or lav and they tend to stay until a major remodel.

    It was not a good year for them, 1996
    But they did "look" very nice.
  6. hdmstng

    hdmstng New Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    West Chester, Ohio
    Thanks for the input! There has been a lot of design and engineering going into the newer toilets these days. We picked one up at a big box store, it was the cheapest they had and listed as the worst performer and it still performed very well. As long as you are flushing what they are designed to flush, TP and BM's, they work quite well. Now start putting stuff in there that shouldn't, well that is a different story!
  7. RedHouse

    RedHouse New Member

    Aug 5, 2011
    New York, NY
    When you think of Kohler Portrait, you think of Kohler Wellworth
    Lite. They flush way too alike.
  8. PJM

    PJM New Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    I don't know what kind of research you're doing but, it will probably include plunger & snake design :p . I have one in my new house and it has clogged about 8x since we moved in (9/11). In fact my friends little kid clogged it twice in one night:mad: You can have it once I find a matching replacement. I wondered if Briggs Hathaway would match. I installed a Briggs vacuity rear outlet in my old house and it worked great, only time I had a problem was when my son flush his underwear.:eek:
  9. Joshwazo

    Joshwazo New Member

    Jul 25, 2012
    Peoria il
    Today is your lucky day. I just cracked the base of my 3490. Let me know if you want my bowl and lid.
  10. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Apr 27, 2012
    New York, NY
    I am amused that I hadn't seen this thread before. This is the piece of garbage that I ripped out and replaced with the Drake, and wouldn't even consider giving away to charity! And they still sell it with a different model number, K-3591 (which is what I think we had).

    And please, knock the Kohler brand. They deserve it.

    And Terry's comment was right on; that's exactly what happened to us. Looked great. Matched the sink. Prescient man, that Terry... ;) Except we didn't wait for the remodel. We ripped it out once it started getting some real use.
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