Possible Design Flaw in Toto Drake Toilets: Consider Before Purchasing

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

  1. Plumbs Away

    Plumbs Away Active Member

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    Dec 27, 2014
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Couldn't agree more! Toilet seats are a bacteria bed by their very nature and even with the thick enamel paint, it seems to me that they can absorb bacteria where a plastic seat cannot. It always really amazes me when I see posts in which people say they replaced their plastic seat with a nice wooden one. To each his/her own, but GROSS!
     
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
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    Toto actually makes at least one model of toilet seat out of wood, but it's not cheap! I've only seen it in pictures, but it appears to have an industrial coating on it, at least that one wasn't painted and I think it was hard rock maple. Found it http://www.totousa.com/maple-softclose®-toilet-seat-elongated - a quick search shows it costing in the order of slightly under $200 most places.
     
  3. Merr203

    Merr203 Member

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    Feb 12, 2015
    Location:
    WA
    I registered just to weigh in on this, despite the embarrassing content. We've had a Drake at our house for about 6 years. While my wife has not had a problem with it, I have (during those times when I find myself multitasking #1 & #2, as it were). There were no flushes while sitting down. We have a Toto slow-drop type seat.

    I think Reach4 has the best explanation. There is just this zone where the reflection comes back up instead of going down. I learned to aim off to one side but, it is still a nuisance. Of course any guests may have had issues too -- I certainly didn't check after each visit...

    We also had the occasional clog -- which I blame on our plumbing's very odd venting system. In those situations a plunger was not very helpful due to the shape of the bowl not conforming to the round shape of the plunger. I think I read some other comments about this and the Drake.

    So we are in a new house now and I would like to get a couple ADA elongated toilets but am having second thoughts on the Drake because of all this. Has anyone else who experienced issues solved them with another model?
     
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
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    Bothell, Washington
    "We've had a Drake at our house for about 6 years. While my wife has not had a problem with it, I have"

    I don't know what to recommend for you in this case. Most bowls are pretty similar with all the manufactureres.
    If you have a problem peeing in a bowl, I don't know of a sure fire brand that would work in your case. I don't have that issue, and your wife doesn't either.

    "We also had the occasional clog -- which I blame on our plumbing's very odd venting system. In those situations a plunger was not very helpful due to the shape of the bowl not conforming to the round shape of the plunger."

    I have no problems using a plunger on these bowls. I read that some people do, and all I can think of is that they don't know how to use a plunger.
    The standard rubber plunger has the small end tucked in when it's in the store. When you take it home, reach in and pull out the small end.
    Problem solved. :)

    If you can manage to plug the bowl, and you can plug anything, it may be several factors.
    The brand of paper makes a difference. Charmin is maybe the worst for plugging.
    Sometimes what is deposited is just too large. I would say that maybe 1% of the people calling in may have a medical issue, sometimes it's the medication they are on.
    In that case, they may need a pressure assist bowl. Kohler makes a nice Highline model with the Flushmate tank.
    Or perhaps something with a large trapway. Caroma makes a gravity bowl with a 3" trapway. A bit splashy, but you can flush a potato down it.
    For the other 99%, I'm selling the TOTO Drake all day long. I have sold thousands, and most of those are repeat sales.
    Do they please everyone? That would be impossible.

    And by the way, I often sit down while flushing. Not a problem.
    If I get a call about a plugged bowl, not a problem either. We show the homeowner how to use their plunger so that they can do it next time.
     
  5. Merr203

    Merr203 Member

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    WA
    Thanks for the response (and the forum) but my point was that I've peed in a lot of bowls and the Drake is the only one I ever had a problem with. I'm pretty sure the point of this thread is some people (men and women) seem to have issues with the Drake. As I said, Reach4's diagram explains the situation pretty well. I was just asking the next logical question for those folks -- have you found another model that works better?

    I wasn't too worried about the clogging but I do know how to use a plunger and have plunged a few. And again, the Drake just has an odd geometry that doesn't quite conform to a round plunger. I have read this comment elsewhere. But not a show stopper for me -- it rarely clogged and again our venting situation was, well, unique.

    Nothing's perfect but for $400-$600 I'd like a toilet to be pretty darn close.
     
  6. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Location:
    Midwest
    FWIW: I've purchased six now, EcoDrake's and Drake II's, all 1.28 gpf with sanagloss and elongated and never spent even $400 on one.

    With regards to the problem some are seeing I'll toss in a potential contributor for it: Shorter spacing from the waterline to the rim/seat than some other toilets. Compared to the Sterling's previously in this home the waterline is 3/4" closer. (Both our EcoDrake and Drake II's have 6" separation.) There is also a wider inner rim on the Sterlings, roughly 5/8" all the way around, that also projects down roughly 1/2" lower into the bowl in front. (Keep in mind, I'm not having a problem, and am only using these relatively new Sterlings as a comparison since they are standard builder grade that I've seen in nearly all new homes in the area.)

    Toto is more efficient with their water spot volume, achieving a large but shallow water spot. I'm guessing that the water level being higher is an important aspect of the rapid flush design. The bottom of the trap way on the Drake II is about 2" higher than the Sterling. This sort of difference is likely one of the reasons the flush is so rapid in comparison. However, it also means some differences in potential reflection angles and heights that any material can achieve.
     
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    I see old men pee on the floor too, and they also blame the toilets. I have to point out to them that the pee goes in the bowl, not on the floor. That's a tough one to explain, because they aren't used to looking closely at the floor of their bathroom. Some of them should be sitting down while using the toilet.
    Or at least turn on the lights and wear glasses. :)

    And as they get older, perhaps they should not assume it's long enough to point downward anymore. Sometimes it needs some pointers, even if it's just your hand pointing it downward.

    Seriously, if you pee at the angle you are peeing at, then choosing a bowl for the way you pee is going to be difficult.

    I'm selling the Drake standard height elongated for $249.99
    I have the ADA Entrada for $179.99
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021 at 10:05 AM
  8. Plumbs Away

    Plumbs Away Active Member

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    Location:
    Tennessee
    I think we've gotten a little off topic here, but it happens. LOL! My paternal grandmother, God rest her, was convinced that both of her toilets were leaking because she said the rugs she had in front of them always smelled like urine. She had me replace both toilets but it turned out that they weren't the problem. It was my grandfather. I suspected as much to begin with but she wasn't trying to hear that. This was in 1994 or '95 and the best thing available then, to my knowledge as I had not yet heard of Toto, was the Kohler Wellworth. They worked fine for my grandparents but she didn't like the idea of the low volume flush so I made adjustments for them to flush with more water.

    As for sitting down to pee, I admit that I do that when I have to get up in the night. If I turn on lights, it wakes me up, and I don't want surprise splashes and puddles in the morning. I can wash my hands in the dark with no messy issues.
     
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Bothell, Washington
    I sell repeat sales all day long. Just saying that most people don't have your problem. I don't think they will redesign the bowl for you.
    I have them in my home, and I don't see it. But since they don't work for you, now you know.

    On the other hand, when I was going through cancer issues, the TOTO with Sanagloss was almost the "only" bowl that worked for me.
    Sometimes with other bowls and brands, it was pretty bad. Some bowls would take up to five flushes and people would be pounding on the bathroom door wondering what the hold up was. Even the toilets in the hospital were bad to use. Then I would come home to my Ultramax II with Sanagloss and double cyclone, and whoosh! Done in one flush.
    So you see, what didn't work for you works great for me and my customers.
    Just saying. :)
     
  10. Betti

    Betti New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2015
    Location:
    California
    Hey - I'm here to support Nebulus and the others who also have experienced this not too common problem. I'm a female as well and absolutely have never peed on the toilet seat or (OMG) on the floor in front of the toilet until this toilet was installed in my bath. I was so surprised to see such a posting. I've absolutely never discussed this embarrassing situation with anyone at all. I just assumed that its a problem with my urethra or something. Maybe it has something to do with me rocking the 40s but I certainly wasn't attributing to my toilet. But, there's a thought. I too believe, having peed in toilets for over 40 years and never experience such a problem with any other toilets that Nebulus may have a point. Thanks Nebulus for defending your wife's honor. Women love that sh*t!

    I can assure you I keep a very clean house and toilet. So I have been silently horrified about this little secret and luckily it only happens with me about 10% of the time. Its generally when the pee stream is really strong like when your bladder is overly full. Not only does some splash on the top of the toilet seat in front but it even has landed on the floor at times! I've never, even b4 this happened, kept a rug around my toilet, that just doesn't appeal to my sense of cleanliness. So there's never been any odor associated with the condition because I clean the mess up immediately and no one's the wiser.

    The one fall-out from this situation is me frequently changing my toilet seat because we like wooden seats with metal hardware (preferably non-tarnishing pewter) which as you probably know aren't the cheapest. But unfortunately this condition has the underside of the toilet seat where I'm presuming the urine hits more regularly growing a nasty blackish fungus that won't be cleaned by any products I use despite my borderline clean freak ways. Girls don't see it but boys do. Not until I read this post did I ever attribute this condition to the toilet itself. That never occurred to me. But maybe I don't have a deviated urethra, maybe its all TOTOs fault. :). All joking aside, it is something worth considering, that possibly the design of this toilet is a contributing factor. I occasionally use other toilets in my home and can't ever remember this happening elsewhere. And yes, I do sit back in the seat and I'm not an obese person, etc. So Nebulus I feel you brother, and Mrs Nebulus, you especially..

    P.S. In all other regards I find this to be a quality toilet
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  11. KSID

    KSID New Member

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    May 11, 2018
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Just thought I would chime in here... yes this is years later but still relevant.

    Just to be clear, I am a woman, I have never had this issue before with any toilets, elongated or otherwise. I am a designer by trade and I researched toilets here before purchasing for my own renovation.

    I happily spec’d Toto toilets and even got the washlet. I even saw this post prior to purchasing and disregarded it for all he reasons stated... I ended up with 2 UltraMax toilets and a promenade - all elongated ADA height. Just started using them in December.

    This is a problem with every single toilet.

    No I haven’t reached out to Toto because honestly what are they going to do. And yes - it happens regardless of where one “perches” front or back.

    Had I known I would have had to go with a different brand. Otherwise I love the toilets and washlet (except trying to find the best cleaner without harsh chemicals - I’ve ended up with Ecover which I really like).

    Just to reiterate- I’m a designer (not a decorator) function is THE factor which must be met-sadly Toto does not for this gal or her family. I suspect many women don’t really want to bring this issue up if they experience it.

    So for anyone/Ladies researching, definitely consider it a possibility.
     
  12. UserX

    UserX New Member

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    Jun 5, 2018
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Signed up just to comment on this thread...which I found by searching the internet for "Toto Ultamax II splash". I'm a man and I've had the issue while seated. Splash back, splash on the underside of the seat, and even splash/flow over the edge and down the front. I also know my wife's had the issue because when I go in and decide to stand, flip the seat up, and the splash on the lower edge goes running. Its the only negative about an otherwise great toilet...wait no it isn't, the Ultramax also doesn't clean itself very well. It will flush anything but it frequently leaves streaks and swirls of feces on the bowl ( and this Toto has the Sanagloss coating). Wait a few seconds and a second flush allows it to clean itself up but that really shouldn't be necessary, especially with the Sanagloss. Honestly, I could live with that but the splash that sometimes ends up in the floor is bad. I knew we couldn't be the only customers to have this issue.
     
  13. Niccolo

    Niccolo Member

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    Jul 16, 2018
    Location:
    California
    Reviving an older thread, we have three Toto Drake toilets in our home and the missus has the same issue with splashback under the front of the seat that others have reported. She swears she's never had this issue with other toilets. I'm sure a different seating position or angle would resolve it, which is why some report having this issue and others not. I'm otherwise quite happy with our toilets, but based on this experience would have chosen something different.
     
  14. Brad Anesi

    Brad Anesi DPDISXR4Ti

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2020
    Location:
    New York
    I've recently installed a couple Toto Drake toilets and my wife seems to be suffering from the dreaded splash-back when peeing. It is NOT a flush issue; she stands before flushing.

    Any suggestions on remediation appreciated.
     
  15. Brad Anesi

    Brad Anesi DPDISXR4Ti

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    Location:
    New York
    I have a solution. I just installed Toto seat# SS154#01 (manufactured Jan 2021) and it solved the "splash-back" issue for my wife. This seat is thicker and thus higher towards the rear mounting area, and so it changed the angle of the butt on the seat.

    I'm not sure if this is the new "standard" seat that Toto sells or if they sell ones with different angles. Either way, it would seem they realized they have an issue and engineered a new seat as a solution. That said, Toto customer service seems reluctant to admit there is an issue. The first person I e-mailed with was unable to comprehend the issue at all. She insisted that I had to send a video of the issue occurring. I told her I believed it would be illegal to send unsolicited porn. The 2nd level tech at least understood the nature of the problem but indicated that he had never heard of it happening before.

    At least the story has a happy ending and I'm not pulling out a toilet I just installed. I've been otherwise happy with the operation of the new toilets. FWIW, I've tried to sell the old Flushmate toilets (whole or as parts) on eBay and Facebook Marketplace with not even one inquiry. They may hit the bottom of the dumpster soon.
     
  16. Niccolo

    Niccolo Member

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    Jul 16, 2018
    Location:
    California
    Appreciate the update and the direct message alerting me about it (having made my toilet decisions, I don't hang out on the forum, so I would have missed this post). I've found that some but not all women (and at least one kid, though that might be user error) are affected by the splash back issue so many have reported. I have Bemis toilet seats that are both the most comfortable I've found, are slow-close, and have an easy-removal feature for cleaning. I don't think I'll upgrade for now, but it's nice to know there's a possible solution out there. I'm surprised a seat could sufficiently change the user position and angle, and it makes me wonder whether that's user-dependent.
     
  17. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    It's not the toilet bowl, it's the person sitting.
    If someone is peeing over the edge, it's going to happen on all of the brands. Some guys like the round bowls because it pins the penis downward.
    Most of us don't like our penis touching the seat though. We like that extra 1-1/2" of room for our penis. And yes, some women may need to position their body so that the urine goes downward and not forward.
    I've heard from some women that it's not comfortable perching on the end of an elongated seat. I remind them that the back of the seat is where you sit, not perched on the front.
     
  18. Brad Anesi

    Brad Anesi DPDISXR4Ti

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    Location:
    New York
    Hi Terry- I had suggested that to my wife early on and indeed she found *some* improvement by positioning her butt back further. But apparently she's got a strong stream and the problem still persisted. The new seat seems to have made more of a difference.
     
  19. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    TOTO makes three models of the Drake

    First generation, Drake
    CST743
    CST744

    Second generation, Drake II
    CST453
    CST454

    Third generation, Drake Dual flush. Here they totally changed the design of the bowl, making it much shallower.
    CST746
     
  20. Brad Anesi

    Brad Anesi DPDISXR4Ti

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    New York
    Both of the ones I just purchased are CST744 . I wonder if perhaps this issue has been addressed somewhat by the later models.
     
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