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Bolts on bottom of tank. How tight is too tight?

I had to replace the inner workings of my toilet. Everything went smoothly until we replaced the bolts at the bottom of the tank. The tank to bowl kit that we got gives instructions on placing the bolt, washer, gasket in the toilet tank, then a nut, gasket, washer and wing nut under the tank. The last instruction is DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN. We can't get either of them to stop dripping. I am terrified I will overtighten and break the tank. How do I know how tight is too tight? Help please. I can't afford a plummer.

A. Spruce
Re: Bolts on bottom of tank. How tight is too tight?

As long as you've got a rubber washer/gasket under the head of the bolt, you can snug it down pretty darned tight before worrying about breakage. Basically, you want the gasket to mushroom out from under the head of the bolt a little when the nut is tightened. I personally like a rubber gasket on both sides of the tank, I don't know if it was a typo the order you listed, or if that was the listed order as per the instructions.

This is how I do it:

  1. bolt
  2. washer
  3. gasket
  4. tank
  5. gasket
  6. washer
  7. nut

Tighten until the gaskets mushroom out a bit. You don't absolutely need the second gasket under the tank, but it's a nice back-up.
Now install the donut on the bottom of the tank neck and place into position on the bowl. From the underside, install another washer and nut and tighten them equally, side to side. It isn't even necessary to use a wrench here, as you can carefully press down on the side of the tank to compress the donut and finger tighten the nut until snug. Move to the other side and repeat. Repeat this process a couple times until you've gotten as much of the slack out as possible.

That's about it. By tightening the bolts to the tank, you've stopped this location as a possible leak, and you won't risk overtightening the nuts under the bowl and cracking the mounting flange. :)

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