Possible Design Flaw in Toto Drake Toilets: Consider Before Purchasing

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Nebulus, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Nebulus

    Nebulus New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO
    Possible Design Flaw in Toto Drake Toilets: Consider Before Purchasing

    After reading online reviews of toilets (including ones on this forum), I purchased two Toto Drake ADA toilets for a remodel of two bathrooms. After moving into the remodeled house, I have discovered a nasty problem with both toilets that does not appear to be solvable. I probably will be swapping both toilets out for different models, at a big financial loss.

    First, I must say there is a lot to like about these toilets. The flushing action works really well. After being around them for a while, toilets in other houses seem to flush very slowly now.

    The problem occurs when my wife uses the toilet. Urine entering the bowl splashes back onto the underneath of the toilet seat (and sometimes on her). This occurs right at the front of the seat. It is on the underneath part of the seat that overlaps the bowl. It is not a few drops. It is an amount that is large enough that you can smell it if it is not immediately cleaned from the seat. The problem occurs on both toilets.

    I contacted Toto support about this problem. As I had installed Bemis (Mayfair) seats, they suggested the seat may be the problem. They sent a complimentary Toto seat at no cost, which I appreciate. However, the result is the same with the Toto seat. May I also say as a side note, the Mayfair seat is a much better seat than the Toto one.

    I am currently working with Toto as well as the dealer to resolve this problem. However, I am worried that I will be stuck with two toilets that need to have the seat cleaned each time they are used. Since I paid a premium for these, I obviously do not expect to have to do this. It is very inconvenient. I was assured by Toto that the Drake design has been around for a long time, and that they just don't receive complaints like this. I suspect that most people will not have this problem. However, some people do. My wife has never had a problem like this with any other toilet, and I can assure you that she is perfectly capable of using a toilet correctly. I have found a few other internet posts reporting the same problem. I feel compelled to report this problem, so others can consider this fact before buying a Toto Drake toilet.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    I think much of this is a matter of an individual's body shape and size. A few weeks ago we discussed a problem where some man's genitals fell below the waterline when he sat on certain toilets. I really don't think there are many things in life where the term "one size fits all" truly applies.
     
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  4. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Apr 27, 2012
    Location:
    New York, NY
    What can I tell you? We have two of them. We have females in the house. We don't have this problem.

    I think your headline is a little...I don't know, like you're trying to blackmail Toto into something by publicly "raising questions" about their toilet regarding a problem I have never, ever experienced or heard of before. You want people to "consider it". Consider what? That this might happen to them when it doesn't seem to have happened to virtually anybody? They should also consider that they might get flushed down the toilet. If they are really, really small, that might happen.

    The fact that you are "working with" Toto and the dealer to "resolve" the problem while you post this post asking people to "consider" the "possible design defect" just smacks of self-interest and a desire to motivate Toto to take the Drakes back so you can buy something that's shaped differently.

    There's no design defect. There's a design. It works. It does a fine job of containing urine emitted by virtually anyone. Apparently an infinitesimal percentage of people have this issue with it. As Cacher Chick says, not all designs work for all people.

    And I think it's pretty amazing that even though you bought your own cheaper seat they sent you one of theirs for free.

    And if you like a hard wooden seat, the Mayfair is your seat. If you want a solid plastic seat, the Toto SS114 is a truly excellent seat. We have both.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
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  5. Nebulus

    Nebulus New Member

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    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO
    cacher_chick, I agree that "one size does not fit all" applies to this case.

    Regarding wjcandee's post:

    1. It is good to that you do not experience this problem with 2 females in your house. Unfortunately, we are experiencing problems.

    2. This post is not to motivate Toto to take action. I will work directly with Toto to resolve my issues. The purpose of my post is to inform people browsing this site (as I did before buying the Toto toilets), that there are people that do not have 100% satisfaction with Toto Drake toilets. I am just trying to inform people of the possible issues (however likely or unlikely) that may be experienced. I will be the first to admit that I do not think this is happening to many. That does not mean that it is not happening at all.

    3. I agree that the design does a good job of flushing contents. However, in my opinion, the design of the bowl results in the splash back for some people. I do not know how many, only that we are affected. I have found a few posts on the internet from others with similar problems (not all Drakes, but Toto models). The absence of a large amount of negative reviews would make me believe that it is a small number that are affected.

    4. They sent me a seat at no charge, which I appreciate. At first, they suggested buying a Toto seat. However, I expressed my concern that I may still have problems with a Toto seat (which we indeed do). I would then be out more money for the seat. They then offered to send me one for free. Once again, I am happy with that, I just wish it would have solved the problem. I would have gladly bought another Toto seat if it solved the problem.

    I will admit that my judgement on the Mayfair seat versus the Toto seat is purely my opinion. I have performed no quantitative analysis on the two seats. I just know which one I prefer. As you describe the Mayfair seat as "cheaper", and "hard wooden", I suspect you have your own opinion too, which is fine.

    5. I can understand how some may take the word "Defect" the wrong way. Therefore, I replaced the word "Defect" in my original post to "Flaw". I hope that conveys the thought better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  6. DeanP

    DeanP New Member

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    Jan 5, 2015
    Location:
    California
    Nebulus, did you ever find a solution? We also bought two drake toilets, and -- although I've lived with my wife for six years in three apartments before this, and never had the problem before -- are experiencing the same problem with our Toto Drakes. (The seats are also Drakes.) We've had them for months, but only today did we sit down and determine who was... responsible. Would love to know if you've fixed things, and how. Thanks.

     
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Bothell, Washington
    I wonder how much of this is whether the old bowls were round, and the new ones are elongated.
    I find that some women "perch" at the end of the bowl, instead of sitting toward the back where the seat is rounder.
    The elongated bowl is 1.5" longer. That should mean even more space toward the front of the bowl.
     
  8. Plumbs Away

    Plumbs Away Active Member

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    Dec 27, 2014
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I have recently noticed this issue at my parents' house although it's not in sufficient quantity that it smells. They have American Standard Cadet 3 elongated ADA toilets that were purchased as a "complete" package -- i.e., wax ring, seat, etc., included. Not too long ago, I upgraded their seats to ones that are a thicker and heavier plastic. The problem did not exist before I replaced the seats. I haven't mentioned it to them. My mom is a meticulous housekeeper and it would really embarrass her. I don't know if it happens with one or both of my parents because my dad has physical ailments that make it more comfortable for him to sit when he urinates. So, I'm thinking it's not a Toto issue....
     
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  9. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered In the Trades

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    The brick goes in the tank, not in the bowl. Oh, and tell Elsie she needs to scoot back a little bit.
     
  10. hj

    hj Master Plumber

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    I am trying to visualize how a stream going down into the toilet can impact on the bottom of the seat, since the angle of most bowls would vector it towards the back of the bowl near the water line, NOT the front of the seat. It would almost require that the stream is hitting a flat, or backward sloping surface for that to occur, neither of which toilets have.
     
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    IL
    pix_5.png
    To help visualize:
    Drake II Two-Piece Toilet, 1.28 GPF, Elongated Bowl
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  12. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    Yakima, WA
    I suppose people have different habits, but it seems strange to me that a person would flush the toilet while still sitting on it. This would require twisting around to reach the flush handle. Just wondering?
     
  13. ben in il

    ben in il New Member

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    Location:
    Illinois
    We've not had the problem to the extent the posters above are having. We've got an older two piece Vespin, two Soirees, and a Drake II. The only place I've noticed any upsplash on the bottom of the seat is on the Soiree. No complaints on splash back from the ladies of the house, it only got noticed from the male view when flipping the seat up, so I just give it a quick clean as needed.

    I do think there is a geometric algorithm that comes into play. The variables: angle of incidence (user) or angle of reflection (bowl angle). Area/depth of the water spot in the bowl might factor in too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  14. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered In the Trades

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    It's the brick, I'm telling you. It's the brick.
     
  15. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Location:
    Midwest
    It's known as a "courtesy flush" used to minimize odor. It gives the fan some time to clear the air...

    And with many of the builder grade toilets they are a good idea to minimize the frequency of clogs. I required the kids to do them before we got our Totos, although it was more of a "flush after x sheets of toilet paper" rather than a true courtesy flush.
     
  16. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    This so called "courtesy flush" means you double the water usage. My 1.6 gpf Toto Drake would then require 3.2 gallons per use. For those with an old water hog that would result in 6 to 7 gallons per use. Seems to me a reasonable water spot deals with most of the odor and keeping a can of deodorizer handy easily clears up the rest. As I said in my first response, we all have different habit, many learned as children. This may be one of them.
     
  17. Wallijonn

    Wallijonn Member

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    You may want to try a Toto seat. It is higher in the back and so may angle the urethra lower. Or try a round toilet.

    Besides the feminine problem of urine splash, I've heard that when the woman keeps sitting while flushing that there may be some water splash from the front. A not so obvious solution may be to have the woman put her underwear lower so that she can get a wider leg angle. Obviously that isn't always a solution in public places as no one knows what hits the floor.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  18. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Location:
    Midwest
    Water spot only deals with a portion of the odor. Courtesy flushing is more common (expected) in communal bathrooms rather than at home. Didn't learn of it or hear the term until I was an adult.

    I agree about the water use, but it isn't a factor in the builder grade toilets because they already require holding down the handle and dumping twice their rated capacity just to clear the bowl on a "good" flush... The intermediate flush for paper is to avoid likely clogs that require a plunger and frequently involve a mess and quite a stink. The rental I'm moving out of has toilets like this (ironically about 2006 vintage from what I can tell.) It wasn't my first rodeo so I knew how to handle the problems which quickly "surfaced"--and I really missed my Toto's. Extra flush volume and extra flushes if more than a few pieces of paper were used became mandatory procedure and I haven't had to plunge any since.

    If it was up to me local/state/feds would conduct usability tests and condemn most of the builder grade models because of their poor performance and multiplied water use in the real world. But it is not up to me, so the majority of toilets sold are poorly equipped to do their job and very wasteful of water.
     
  19. koa

    koa In the Trades

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    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Maybe some plastic wrap stretched across the front of the bowl might help keep the splashing from getting on the seat.
     
  20. Nebulus

    Nebulus New Member

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    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO
    Dean P, sorry to hear that you are having the same problem. When I contacted Toto and explained the problem, they were nice enough to send a Toto brand seat, but the problem remained the same. Other than replacing the toilets, there appears to be no solution. My wife has clean the bottom of the seat after each use (a step that should not be necessary). This problem is causing the bottom of the seats to slowly deteriorate. They will need to be replaced earlier than they should have been.

    My wife has noticed that a stronger stream causes more splash than a weaker stream. Let me also reaffirm that my wife knows how to use a toilet. This problem exists only on the Toto toilets installed in my house. This was not a problem with the previous toilets. One of the previous was a standard size and one was an elongated model, so I do not believe that the elongated model is the problem.
     
  21. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Location:
    Midwest
    Don't use the "enameled wood" seats. I've had issues with them on both Toto and various builder grade toilets (the latter were toilets and seats that I didn't install.) They will stain over time on the bottom and sometimes even on top...and the bottom can deteriorate. I've gone to plastic seats to avoid this problem.
     
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