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racerted 08-22-2006 08:30 PM

Challenge: Toilet Leaks through bolts but only when flushed!
Absolutely frustrated here and I'm an engineer too. I replaced the guts of my toilet (second one) with standard Fluidm**ster replacement kit. And I can't get it to stop leaking but only when I flush the toilet. I've replaced the flange gasket several times. It does not leak between the bowl and the reservoir. It only leaks down the bolts that connect the reservoir to the bowl.

I don't get it. I used blue pellets to color the water. When I just took the reservoir off, the flange gasket was completely dry with no indications of not seating properly. I didn't think the rubber gaskets under the brass washer and wing nut was really there as a water sealing surface. Is the flange gasket the only water containing component other than what is inside the reservoir itself?

I have a two bolt configuration for the reservoir.

Thanks for any suggestions and I have rebuilt it several times with all new soft goods to no avail. I thought about a cracked reservoir but wouldn't that leak all the time? It doesn't.


racerted 08-22-2006 08:51 PM

Additional info
I wasn't that clear. When I fill the tank with water, no leaks. When I flush, it only leaks (drips) from the tank to bowl bolts.

Bonus 08-22-2006 09:59 PM

Try putting some grease on the tank bolt washers.

redline 08-23-2006 01:40 PM


Originally Posted by racerted
It does not leak between the bowl and the reservoir. It only leaks down the bolts that connect the reservoir to the bowl.


Do you have rubber washers on the tank bolts?
Where is the first place that you see water after it is flushed?

racerted 08-23-2006 11:31 PM

Installed exactly as directed
I have built and rebuilt with new washers, flange gaskets, etc. Leak only comes from bolts/wingnut that holds tank to bowl. Drip rate is a drip a second. I have rubber washers against porcelan in tank and under bowl. Metal washers between wingnut and rubber washer.

If the flange gasket is installed correctly (flush with tank) and tank is centered over the bowl, how is water getting to the bolts. There should be no path. Also it doesn't leak when sitting there. Only when flushed.

Ron The Plumber 08-24-2006 04:38 AM

The flushvalve in the center could have a crack in it, sounds unlikely but could be it, when I install new bolts I put them in this order.

Bolt > Rubber Washer > Through Tank > Rubber Washer > Metal Washer > Nut > Set Tank on Bowl > Metal Washer > Wing Nut.

With this order I know I will have a positive seal on both the inside and bottom of tank.

Never had a problem yet.

Mike Swearingen 08-24-2006 06:24 AM

Ron (a pro, I'm not) always cringes at this, but it works everytime for me...smear a little clear silicone caulk on the dry washers.
Good luck!

joasis 08-24-2006 07:04 AM


Originally Posted by Mike Swearingen
Ron (a pro, I'm not) always cringes at this, but it works everytime for me...smear a little clear silicone caulk on the dry washers.
Good luck!

I have done this also, it works. I have noticed that the "toilet in a box" deals from Lowes and HD are prone to problems like this, since they are the very bottom in quality. I disposd of one due to a defect where the flapper sits in the bottom of the tank...just wouldn't seal properly...and now I think there is kit to fix these problems. We did quit using the el-cheapo toilets in the spec homes due to problems.

racerted 08-24-2006 01:07 PM

Being an engineer I'm not just looking to fix it. I also want to know why! Anyways, I have a second Fluidmaster kit to fix the third toilet in the house. I'll try that one and see if any different. I've been trying to avoid the caulking and lube on rubber washer. It shouldn't be necessary and it wasn't there on the original.

Any opinions on one piece toilets other than they are expensive? I don't want to pay $300+ to fix a $20 problem.

Ron The Plumber 08-24-2006 05:55 PM

Yes one piece toilet are expensive, before you buy one, try the way I install new tank to bowl kits in the order I do it, oh and while the tank is off, and you have the bolts installed, take tank outside and test it without it connected to the toilet. Also before you set it back on bowl, tighten up the that large nut on the bottom of the tank flush valve.

redline 08-24-2006 06:39 PM

This is not condensation from the tank?

redline 08-24-2006 06:43 PM

Have you replaced this kit twice for the same problem?
What was the initial problem?

Describe each step as how you removed the tank and guts.
Describe each step to re-installing the guts and tank.

Do you have a photo?

racerted 08-24-2006 10:11 PM

Definitely not condensation. I have replaced the kit in upstairs bathroom last year. This is the second toilet that I've worked on. I managed to get it right on the first one but have had no success.

Ron, I'll give it a try installing your way but just don't have much confidence. Your method assumes the leak is coming from the tank. I think it is coming from the connection between the tank and the bowl. You said to basically to seal the tank from both sides with rubber washers but there will be no seal on the bottom of the bowl. Maybe I should just add a rubber washer there also. Can't see how that would hurt.

And by the way guys, I really appreciate your help. Either you get paid for this or really just want us DIY'ers to succeed!

Ron The Plumber 08-24-2006 10:13 PM

We want you to succeed

If you seal the tank my way, then no gasket is needed on the bowl, the only other place leak could be is from the flush valve seal or there is a hairline crack somewhere on the bowl.

See picture below,

Now see Below tank to bowl, if the toilet leaks only after you flush then it will be between the bowl and tank, the gasket as seen below, is it a thick foam or a thin one, you did install a new tank to bowl gasket right?

redline 08-25-2006 06:34 AM

I was also thinking that there may be a hair line crack in the tank but it has been said that it "only" leaks when it is being flushed?:confused1:

See what happens if you remove the water line that goes into the overflow and just allow it to put water into the tank?:confused1:

Have you installed the rubber gasket between the tank and the bowl upside down?:confused1: (I am not sure how this would allow the water to get onto the tank bolts)

Is this a power assisted toilet?

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