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Toilet Challenge

 
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:24 AM   #1
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Toilet Challenge


Any ideas???

Got a slow flushing or at times no flush kohler one piece toilet. The toilet is in a powder room on the first floor. It feeds into a 4" copper stack 4' from the trap. Stack services toilet, sink, shower on the first floor and the same combination in the basement. Stack vents directly through the roof. Plumbing was installed in 87 and has worked flawlessly since then. Basement toilet and all other toilets in the house work fine.

Two months ago we had a huge party and the toilet was used hard. Shortly after I noticed that instead of instantly flushing the bowl slowly filled to within 1" of the rim and then slowly drained. Plunged it and called the plumber and here is what he did:

1. replaced flush valve. this worked for less than a day.
2. rodded the toilet to the stack. didn't find any obstructions. this also worked for less than a day.
3. pulled the toilet and used auger tool (rotor rooter type machine, obviously I don't know jack about plumbing) through the trap into the stack. no improvement
4. came back, removed the toilet and basement clean out. augered up to the toilet flange and from the clean out to the city sewer connection. Again no obstructions. Interestingly this time it worked for about a week.
5. tells me the toilet needs to be replaced. Fine by me but Kohler has discontinued this color meaning the pedestal sink has to be replaced also. Wife says NFG, it matches the floor. F^%(#!

So now with the bowl at normal level, water only no deposits, when I flush the bowl will fill with water and very slowly drain down. Since the bowl is full the flapper is floating and the valve wont turnoff. If I plunge the toilet it may work properly (still slow) for a week before the same thing happens all over.

Going nuts here. Do I have any options, other than replacing toilet?
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:44 AM   #2
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Take a 5 gal bucket of water and dump it into it, if it goes out like it should then the problem is between the tank and bowl, for this check flush ring and blow hole for obstructions. If it tries to overflow with bucket of water then you have an obstruction in the bowl.

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:57 AM   #3
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Maybe you have a dead squirl in the vent on the roof.
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:56 AM   #4
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermaraj View Post
Two months ago we had a huge party and the toilet was used hard. Shortly after I noticed that instead of instantly flushing the bowl slowly filled to within 1" of the rim and then slowly drained. Plunged it and called the plumber and here is what he did:
I got no answers on the toilet issue but I'd like to know what "the toilet was used hard" means.
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:14 AM   #5
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Re: Toilet Challenge


I'm not a plumber, - - but I wouldn't think it would be necessary (or helpful) to replace the toilet.

Sounds like you have an obstruction to me, - - get the lines cleaned out better (and farther). When it got cleaned out and then it worked for a week, - - it was probably still partially obstructed and a week's worth of use built back up on that partial obstruction again.

Again though, - - I don't claim to be a plumber, - - this is just some carpenter's opinion . . .
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Old 07-16-2007, 05:06 PM   #6
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Re: Toilet Challenge


The older Kohler one piece W/C's draw water from both the tank and the fill valve when they are flushed, more than likely you need to replace the fill valve, which will have to be replaced with a duplicate Kohler fill valve. If you pull the tank lid off you will see a 3/4" or so piece of hose coming off the side of the fill and down to the siphon port going into the bowl, sometimes you can get an obstruction there as well (lime buildup) but this is rather rare, if you have an obstruction there CLR will usually clear it up.
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:54 PM   #7
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerToiletSpi View Post
The older Kohler one piece W/C's draw water from both the tank and the fill valve when they are flushed, more than likely you need to replace the fill valve, which will have to be replaced with a duplicate Kohler fill valve. If you pull the tank lid off you will see a 3/4" or so piece of hose coming off the side of the fill and down to the siphon port going into the bowl, sometimes you can get an obstruction there as well (lime buildup) but this is rather rare, if you have an obstruction there CLR will usually clear it up.

Not trying to question your obvious expertise here, - - but still seems to me when I read point #4 in his original post, - - he says the soil pipes were cleaned and then it worked for a week.

Doesn't seem like cleaning the drains would have allowed it to work for a week if the problem was in the fill valve, or other internal parts . . .
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:58 PM   #8
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Try the bucket 1st, I'll let you know what to look for after you report back what happens.
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:04 PM   #9
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom R View Post
Not trying to question your obvious expertise here, - - but still seems to me when I read point #4 in his original post, - - he says the soil pipes were cleaned and then it worked for a week.

Doesn't seem like cleaning the drains would have allowed it to work for a week if the problem was in the fill valve, or other internal parts . . .
The problem he is describing is a poor siphon action, if his main sewer was blocked the toilet would back up into the closest shower or tub, as water seeks it's own level, but he is not experiencing that problem. A W/C works as a perfect siphon, and relies on that action to work properly, insufficient water supply to the bowl leads to a lack of siphon. Did it work better, or was it perceived to work better?
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:24 PM   #10
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Re: Toilet Challenge


OK, - - I guess I'm just figurin' if the blockage was far enough downstream, - - there would still be room in the pipes before it would back up. Then, between flushes, - - it would still be able to drain slowly away.

But you're the plumber, - - so I'll stick to carpentry . . .
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:39 PM   #11
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Re: Toilet Challenge


OK here is a list of know problems when the toilet does not flush like it should.
  • Fillvalve not working correctly, the fillvalve plays a vital role in how the toilet functions, it fills the bowl to the proper level after each and every flush, the bowl refill tube that runs from the fillvalve to the flushvalve inside the tank must have good flow, without it working correctly toilet may at times seem sluggish to flush, the role that it plays , it fills the toilet to the operating level after each flush.
  • Obstructions in Blow Hole and or Flush Rim Holes Clogged up flush rim and or blow hole will in fact make the toilet flush bad or not at all, then will cause the water in the toilet bowl to swirl around and around in a circle, blow hole creates the siphon action to start, flush ring creates the tornadic action in the bowl, water not able to pass fast enough from the tank to the bowl will cause problems. Hard water a number one cause for clogged holes.
  • Clogged Flush Valve Passage yep it can happen, seen it, those blue cakes that you find in toilets at times, they can float and get caught up below the flapper. Once again if water can not pass fast enough from tank to bowl, it will have problems.
  • Object in Bowl Passage Way even a q-tip can create a problem, can't tell you how may times I pulled something weird out of the toilet bowl.
  • Mailine Clogged Yes a good cause but is not always a case, diagnosis is needed, if the mainline is clogged you will notice other problems, water will seek the lowest points in the line, when a backup happens you might find water coming up in the tubs or showers, running water in a sink close to toilet will cause the toilet to bubble up, water seepage at toilet base, if wax seal is shot.
  • Vent Clogged this is the most talked about for a problem, but let me just say one thing about this, the odds are slim to none, it's just not a problem sure you might say tree leaves or birds nest, never in my 30 years found it to be a problem, unless the vent out the roof is 1-1/4".
  • Wax too much wax under the bowl, too much wax under bowl could squeeze inward and choke off the inlet to the mainline.
Now you all and pick a choose which one of these problems I listed is the OP problem.

Last edited by Ron The Plumber; 07-16-2007 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:45 AM   #12
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Last night I tried the bucket full of water tip. It drained a little faster but was still slow. This led me to believe that may have more than one problem.

First I went to HD and got a rigid WC drain cleaner. Went to town for about 1/2 hour and now it drains much faster. You can also see a much more pronounced siphon in the middle of the bowl.

I took the fill valve off to confirm that it is the proper kohler unit. The plumber had replaced this on his first visit. It is the proper unit. Also took off the hose from the fill valve to the bowl. Its clear. Any advice on how to get this back into the bowl?

When I flush with water only in the bowl it works pretty good. When I put a big wad of TP it slows a little but does not back up like before. This leads me to believe I need to do more work with the Rigid WC tool. Nothing came back into the bowl or was trapped on the tool when I took it out. It clearly made a bid difference. Just wondering what it is I am cleaning out that leaves no trace but requires so much force to break up?
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:53 AM   #13
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Pull the toilet take it outside put it on blocks and test it's function that way, IMO you have a object in the bowl trap, just the other day, I pulled a toilet and found a flat plastic toy, a Mac D toy in bottom of it, times it would flush good, add paper, it slowed to stopping up. Once out side flip upside down look inside to see what could be there, reason to test outside, this will insure you the problem lies in the toilet and not the mainline.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:07 AM   #14
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Do you use the Rigid tool outside also? Any other suggested tools for probing the trap?

When the plumber took the toilet off the last time we both looked at the bottom to make sure nothing was visible in the trap. He rodded it both ways. Apparently what ever is inside the trap lets the rod through but was to big for the tip of this rigid tool.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:18 AM   #15
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Run the auger from the bottom of the bowl backwards, I don't use the rigid one. What you might do and could help, run auger through once pulled and you have it outside, attach a cloth, not a large cloth to the head and pull it back through the trap, this will help in pulling back what ever it is that could be in there, the idea behind the cloth is hoping the cloth will trap the object on the pull back and bring it back with it.
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Old 07-17-2007, 07:58 PM   #16
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Re: Toilet Challenge


I bet you got a Trojan in the toilet trap - try flushing with the auger in the toilet working the auger - make sure them little holes around the rim are free and clear all the way to the outlet in the bottom of the toilet. or someone flushed a ping pong ball


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Old 08-03-2007, 02:46 AM   #17
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Re: Toilet Challenge


The flapper is not closing properly?
This is a one piece Kohler? what is the model number? (take the tank lid off, turn it over and look at back side. There is a trouble-shooting sticker on many Kohler's of that vintage. The model number is also there.. it'll be like K-4123, or some such.)

That clear tube you took off may be clogged. This really sounds to me like you have a tooth brush or a perhaps a comb stuck in the trapway. This can be a difficult thing to see and will require pulling the toilet. You'll need an inspection mirror as well. Look from both ends.

Take a picture of the unit and inside the tank as well. This might help us figure out the problem.
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Old 08-04-2007, 08:20 AM   #18
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Re: Toilet Challenge


When I was working maintenance we ran into a similar issue with a toilet... Finally took it out and turned it upside down and found the pair of sunglasses that was causing all the same problems you are having.
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Old 08-13-2007, 11:50 AM   #19
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Re: Toilet Challenge


find someone that has a mini seesnake and look in the WC trap. I find stuff in the traps all the time with my mini seesnake
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Old 08-13-2007, 12:38 PM   #20
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Re: Toilet Challenge


Might as well join in this guessing game. What kind of pipe serving the main? Had on acting similar once. Had to periodically rod it ( the main )out. Found a flat spot in the old main on the bottom of the pipe. I figured this flat spot was catching a little bit of solid each time solids were flushed making it seem like the problem was fixed when it was rodded out only to clog again when enough paper, etc, had collected in the flat spot. When you had the party, could someone have run over it? Parked over it?

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