The thoroughly modern 2020 Kohler Rochelle

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by andy vh, May 8, 2020.

  1. andy vh

    andy vh New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Location:
    Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Yes it can be done, with a little bit of fabrication, careful fitting and adjustment. When I bought my house in 2002 it still had the early 70s Kohler Rochelle toilet in the main bathroom. But I really liked the style. However, when it started to fail, I found the replacement cost of the odd Kohler fill/flush setup ridiculous. I opted for a Cesco replacement. That too, only worked for about six years. Then I found a Plumbpack product at Menards that actually fit the Rochelle, which also included a flush valve/overflow tube assembly, all for $10. It required some faith in modern 100% silicon adhesives, as I bonded the flush valve body into the bottom of the tank, as the flush valve body was not made for a one piece tank. Everything worked fine and was serviceable with common internal parts. But the flush valve flapper was always finicky, as it became again this year. Constantly going through cycles of working ok and then seeping/hissing again. Even fiddling with various flappers into the flush valve body got to be a hassle trying to make it work with the original Kohler flush handle and arm. It worked ok if you held the flush handle down until half the tank flowed into the bowl. But many incomplete flushes got the "look" from my wife, not too mention the evidence left in the bowl!

    So I tanked all the old tech and went fully 2020 on the 70s vintage Rochelle. I installed a full Danco system, the Hydroclean 660 fill valve and Hydrostop flush valve. SWEET!! Quiet, consistent operation, adjustable water level, even the flush handle action feel modern, not jiggly. The key to the entire setup is to adapt the standard 1/2" tank connection to the Kohler tank with the oversize hole. Long ago I made a spacer/gasket set that sized the tank bottom hole to adapt any standard current fill valve. Next I found out that the modern fill valves (Danco, Fluidmaster, Korky, others) are height adjustable down to a level that fits in the low profile of the Rochelle body. The Hydroclean 660 also has a port near the bottom that allows a 3/8" tubing run from the base to the rim flush on the Rochelle, so that made my choice for Danco. For the rim flush option I made a combination of tubing to size the port down to the 3/8" tube OD, and used the "tank bottom cleaning" function of the Hydroclean 660 the rim flush option for the Rochelle, and it works.

    The rest is simply packaging, meaning positioning the Hydroclean 660 and Hydrostop in a manner to fit all snug together in the tank area. I had to pry the flush valve off the tank bottom to reposition it, and the silicon adhesive I had applied back in 2006 has holding VERY firm. It took persistent care to get the flush valve out. I cleaned up the flange area, reapplied fresh 100% silicon adhesive and set the flush valve position to suit all the new components going in. The rest was just following the Danco instructions. I have a thoroughly modern 2020 Kohler Rochelle toilet, adjustable water and flush levels.

    Rochelle1 (2).jpg
    Rochelle1 (1).jpg Rochelle1 (3).jpg Rochelle1 (4).jpg Rochelle1 (5).jpg
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  2. Edlau

    Edlau New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2020
    Location:
    Chicago
     
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  4. Edlau

    Edlau New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2020
    Location:
    Chicago
    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for sharing your post. I have the old style Rochelle toilet that has the Rube Goldberg brass fill flush setup. I have fiddled with this contraption over the last 20 years and want to upgrade this setup with a modern cost efficient system. Your Danco setup looks very enticing.

    If you wouldn’t mind, could you explain the “spacer/gasket set” that you created to reduce the opening size in the Rochelle toilet to fit the Danco fill and maybe post a few pictures ?

    Thanks much - Ed
     
  5. andy vh

    andy vh New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Location:
    Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Sorry for the delay to reply. Busy with building a garage. The spacer is basically a set of "washers" to reduce the size of the tank port where the original fill valve mounted. I made a PVC washer that fit the OD of the hole and has a center hole to fit the common threaded stub of modern fill valves. Inside and outside the tank I made a large diameter washer from a piece of plastic garbage can. If I did it again I'd use PVC material. The washer had an ID to fit the threaded stub of the fill valve, and on OD to cover the spacer OD. This takes some fabrication, but easy to do with most common hand tools.

    I went to Home Depot and found some 4" diameter end caps from which I could cut the material needed. To make the spacer the PVC can easily be bonded together with PVC cement to make it thick enough to match the thickness of the tank bottom. Once I had it sized I bonded it into the tank bottom with 100% silicone adhesive (Home Depot) and let that set. Then I bonded the washer inside the tank again with 100% silicone. Once that all set I could mount the fill valve to the tank just like any standard style toilet. Slide the other PVC washer over the valve stub and turn up the valve nut.

    Years ago I had replaced the Kohler fill valve with this product from Cesco, because it was a direct replacement for a lot less cost than Kohler:
    https://www.cescobrass.com/Model16ak.cfm

    That valve assembly worked ok, but eventually needed maintenance due to internal leakage common to old tech fill valve designs. So I copied the way the Cesco valve mounted to make the spacer/washer set to suit other fill valve installations. For the rim flush function I routed the tube from the tank cleaning function of the Danco fill valve to the port on the Rochelle tank. Just find a suitable plastic tube fitting to fit the port in the Rochelle tank to which the tubing of the Danco valve can connect. Again, 100% silicone works great to bond the fitting into the rim flush port.

    My installation of the Danco products takes some fabrication and creative product shopping at Home Depot. But its all easy products to modify and produce. Once I had a way to install a common fill valve, and a way to bond a common flush valve into the Rochelle tank, its easy then to find a modern fill and flush valve set to update the Rochelle functions. What got me going on the Danco products is the sizing of the fill valve, and the flush valve that fits the tight areas in the Rochelle tank. The cable operated flush handle also gave me more options to fit everything in the limited space available. If you need other detail pictures of the Danco products installation I can do that too.
     
  6. andy vh

    andy vh New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Location:
    Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Nuts, the Danco Next Hydrostop flush valve I installed in my Kohler Rochelle update, about a week after the initial installation the toilet started to slightly refill about once an hour indicating and internal leak. I adjusted it thinking the stationary seal was not fully seated, no better. I took it out and reset it per the Danco instructions, no better. Yesterday I installed a brand new flush/overflow tower, and reset the Hydrostop. And it did it again!!
    So I drained the tank down below the water level of the Hydrostop valve seal. So any water in the tank is only maintained by the silicone seal of the flush riser tower. And I added blue food color die in the water to see if any leaks into the bowl. So far, an hour later the bowl water is still clear. I'll let it sit for about six hours and if it does not leak into the bowl, I'm calling Danco technical support.
    20200603_143228.jpg
    this shows the blue dyed water in the tank and clear water in the bowl. If you enlarge the photo you can see the water level is below the flush valve seal, but above the seal level of the flush riser, about an inch deep. I lowered the water level below the flush valve seal at 3:30 this afternoon. Came back from a dinner cycle ride at 7:30, and no blue dyed water in the bowl, and no water level change in the tank. So it proves the flush valve riser I silicone sealed into the tank bowl is not the leak source. I rerouted the actuator cable for the handle thinking it may bind up and keep the seal from fully seating. I then turned on the water and filled the tank. Less than an hour later I heard the tank slightly refill, so the Danco Hydrostop IS the leak source.

    I really like the Danco product for its compact size and efficient flush action. I estimate the original five gallon flush is now reduced to less than two gallons and it effectively flushes everything down the pipe. I can easily adjust the tank water level at the fill valve float, and I can easily adjust the flush valve to fine tune the amount of water to flush. Its all some great design, but the internal leaking issue is not tolerable.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  7. Edlau

    Edlau New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2020
    Location:
    Chicago
    Hi Andy,

    Thanks much for your detailed explanation. Very helpful. My issue is my wife who would not tolerate having the only 1st floor toilet out of commission for more than a day. Plus the work area around the tank is pretty tight. If I could only put the toilet on my workbench.

    I’ve seen the Cesco 16AK fill valve on their website. Do you think the Cesco fill valve would fit the hole in my Rochelle toilet without any fabrication or special washers ?

    Thanks - Ed
     
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