Home>Discussions>BATHROOMS>90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts
17 posts / 0 new
Last post
wgoldstein
90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts

I am trying to repair a 90 year-old toilet whose wall-mounted tank connects to the bowl without bolts. I can't find any apparent brand markings, although I did find the numbers "1 603H", 28, and 1916 on the tank lid. No online searches have turned up any results on what kind of toilet this is or what type of parts to use.

There's a pipe running from the bottom of the tank (via the flush mechanism) to the top of the bowl. As far as I can tell, the system relies on pressure and washers to ensure a tight seal, but the standard rubber washers I bought at home depot don't seem to be doing the trick. I've tried plumbers epoxy but it still leaks.

I've been unable to repair the flush mechanism without it leaking, and as a result am unable to even begin to figure out how to reconnect to the tank. I'd like to replace the whole flush mechanism, and pipe/connection to the bowl, but I don't know what parts to use, or even where to look.

The attached picture shows the pipe and connectors running from the tank to the bowl. The black is the dried out old washer that had fit in the bowl. Again - no bolts...

I'm feeling pretty good about having successfully reinstalled the toilet bowl and remounted the tank on the wall, so I'd love to finish the job. Anyone have any recommendations or ideas?

A. Spruce
Re: 90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts

I would take the all the parts between the tank and the toilet to a plumbing supply house and speak with them about it. From the looks of it, it uses crush washers, basically, a rubber sleeve on the pipe gets inserted through the hole in the tank and toilet. When the nut is run down behind it, it crushes the rubber sleeve causing it to expand and seal the hole. This is a guess, mind you, from looking at the pictures you provided (thanks for that, very helpful! )

wgoldstein
Re: 90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts
A. Spruce wrote:

From the looks of it, it uses crush washers, basically, a rubber sleeve on the pipe gets inserted through the hole in the tank and toilet. When the nut is run down behind it, it crushes the rubber sleeve causing it to expand and seal the hole.

Thanks - that sounds exactly right. Now that I have a name for the washer I can ask around.

Do you think I'll be able to readily find replacement parts? I'm hesitant to pull apart the flush mechanism (although it looks fairly standard) because I think I'll have to saw it off to remove it, as it is either one piece (unlikely) or rusted/welded/soldered in place.

Thx

A. Spruce
Re: 90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts

Measure the approximate length, including the parts that penetrate through the tank and toilet. Measure the outer diameter of the tube. Take this info along with the picture to a supply house so that they can see what you're working with and talking about. You should be able to get parts, or at least new parts that will work. You will need to go to a plumbing supplier and not just a hardware store or big box.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: 90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts

You might start here http://www.deabath.com/Hightank/Specialty/specialty.htm or here http://www.antiqueplumber.com/servlet/the-2086/Brass-Toilet-Spud/Detail The offset pipe, 2 nuts and 2 slip washers are one assembly, the parts with the black tapered washer and nut are called spuds.
Jack

wgoldstein
Re: 90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

The offset pipe, 2 nuts and 2 slip washers are one assembly, the parts with the black tapered washer and nut are called spuds.

Thanks Jack - more info for me to bring to the plumbing supply store! Always hard to figure this stuff out when you don't have the exact lingo.

wgoldstein
Re: 90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts

Ok, well I found a replacement spud, and think I have successfully installed it. I also bought a replacement flush valve, and now I'm having problems installing it without it leaking.

Questions:
1) are there different shapes of flush valve washers or are they all a standard bevel?

2) How tight should the nut on the flush valve be? Can it leak if I overtighten, or is it leaking because I'm not tightening enough?

3) I bought a plastic flush valve instead of brass (which was in there before) because it was 1/5 the cost. Does this make a difference?

Thanks!

JLMCDANIEL
Re: 90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts

Check the size. Some of the brass flush valves are 1-3/4" and the plastic are usually 1½".
Jack

wgoldstein
Re: 90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts

Well, the new plastic flush valve is the same size as the old brass one. Neither fits tight in the tank outlet, though (should they, or should there be some play - say 1/4"?).

The old flush wasn't leaking before the repair, but was necessary to remove for the rest of the work.

Do I need a different size flush valve, or just a different washer?

Thanks for the help!
-Will

JLMCDANIEL
Re: 90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts

¼" play seems like it is a bit excessive, but you might try filling the gap with a generous amount of plumber's putty. Put a bead around the hole on top before you insert the valve assembly, then fill the gap and a bead on the bottom before you install the washer and nut.
Jack

wgoldstein
Re: 90 year-old toilet with no tank-to-bowl bolts

Jack, you've saved my week. The putty did the trick and my toilet is once again functional. Plus, this was a good learning experience for me.

I appreciate the help!!

Pages

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.