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Rudy64

12:35PM | 10/18/02
Member Since: 10/17/02
13 lifetime posts
Bvplumbing
On our upstairs toilet, I had a variety of leaks and problems. The leaks were from the tank, but the toilet also rocked on the floor. Turns out that after pulling the toilet, the plastic flange has a crack on one side, where the bolt would go to mount the toilet.

The flange has four screws attaching it. Two are larger than the other. Two of the screws do come out relatively easily, but the other two seem to just rotate in place. I'm guessing these are bolted on from the bottom (in other words, inside the floor). So, it doesn't look like I can remove this flange easily! Especially with 1" ceramic tiles on the floor. Since this is a 2nd story bathroom, any pipe access from the bottom would require a hole in the kitchen ceiling. Definitely not an option!

I don't want to leave it as-is and hope for no leaks. It's more a matter of deciding if it's worth trying to remove this flange to replace it, using some kind of "retrofit" flange that really wasn't made for it, or looking for some kind of repair kit. I have some industrial CA adhesive that would possibly weld the pieces back together, but I know it won't take that kind of stress.

There is this device:

http://www.wantasub.com/bayflange.html

But I don't know if it would apply to what I have.

Any other ideas?

Thanks,

-= N =-

Smartcore

01:03PM | 10/18/02
Member Since: 08/30/02
16 lifetime posts
What kind of pipe do you have? Cast iron,copper, or pvc?

Rudy64

01:13PM | 10/18/02
Member Since: 10/17/02
13 lifetime posts
Aaaah, my slip-up.

Pipe in the floor is PVC. Flange is plastic.

-= N =-

Smartcore

01:49PM | 10/18/02
Member Since: 08/30/02
16 lifetime posts
Pvc. That's a tough one to do without removing either a piece of the ceiling downstairs or part of the floor around the flange. The ceiling will cost less to repair than the floor will. This is in order to repair it correctly. There are some repair methods available but I'm not a big fan of just patching it up. There's a couple of steel flanges that can be screwed into the floor and they sit on top of the existing flange. Something you can find at any home depot.

Rudy64

04:24PM | 10/18/02
Member Since: 10/17/02
13 lifetime posts
I was afraid of that. It feels like two of the screws on this flange are attached with nuts underneath. And to get at those, I'd have to find out exactly where in the ceiling to do the surgery. (For that matter, this pipe may even be located over a wall, since it seems to go down a couple of feet before changing direction.)

The only things I could find at my Home Depot:

1. An "installation" kit by Fluidmaster, which I think not only included the flange, but all hardware and the supply-line plumbing (flexible braided water line and shutoff).

2. A brass flange, with not even a set of instructions. It apparently would screw into the floor in place of the old one...?

It's too bad that someone doesn't make a repair kit. I somehow picture a thin steel plate, with the same openings as the flange, that could sit on top of the original. (Actually, this could be attached to the plastic flange with a handful of small screws.) Then, likely, some kind of large washer to put under the head of the bolt, in order to spread the load out over more of the flange.

Thanks,

-= N =-

Smartcore

03:47AM | 10/19/02
Member Since: 08/30/02
16 lifetime posts
There is a kit called a spanner flange. It's just a slice of metal with an oval cutout for the bolt. It slides underneath your flange. I'ved used them in quick temporary fixes but as a plumber I can't warranty that so it's not something I would do on a job. As far as your bolts being nutted underneath that's not very likely but I suppose there's no telling what someone may have done in recent years. If you decide to tackle this project and do a thourough repair I think you'll be more satisfied and sleep a little easier when done. Once you open the ceiling,wall, or wherever that pipe may fall I think you will find it's not as difficult as it seems. Here is a link for the spanner flange.http://www.cornerhardware.com/hardware/Plumbing/Toilet_Repair_Parts/Mounting_Bolts_Parts-536.html

Rudy64

05:41AM | 10/19/02
Member Since: 10/17/02
13 lifetime posts
The way our bathrooms are laid out, it appears I may have to remove a kitchen cabinet (!) to get anywhere near the flange from the bottom. But I also wonder about being able to get that spanner underneath the flange. I'd have to break away some tile to get to it. One other problem is that this flange was never on there straight, so where this section is cracked, the bolt is nearly at the end of the slot to mount the toilet.

I wonder if any other stores locally would carry this spanner. Probably need to find a plumbing supply store, since the big box stores likely won't carry it.

Also noticed on that same page you pointed to, directly beneath the spanner flange is the brass flange that Home Depot sells. I don't know if it's possible to somehow remove this old flange, and put the new brass one in place. (Not sure how it would line up with the pipe, in other words.)

Won't be an easy job either way!

Thanks for the lead,

-= N =-

[This message has been edited by Rudy64 (edited October 19, 2002).]

rpxlpx

04:15AM | 10/21/02
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
I think I would make an extra effort to find a way to remove those two screws (or bolts). Could you possibly cut the heads off - maybe with a hacksaw - or grind them off? I know it would be labor intensive, but if you've got the time and energy, it sounds like that could save a lot of $$ and possibly a lot of grief.
If they're brass, it shouldn't be too bad.

Rudy64

07:05AM | 10/21/02
Member Since: 10/17/02
13 lifetime posts
I've thought about sawing the screws off. But now I have a correction!! (Which is a good one!) I thought about trying the two smaller screws again. One still won't back out, but the other one did. Just enough to where I could grab it with Vise Grips. Pulled right out! So it's just a case of someone putting in screws that were too small, and turning in place. (I've had too many experiences with hidden, slipping nuts!)

I did go to Lowe's (Home Depot was useless, as always) to look at options. They did sell a "spanner flange" to put underneath this flange. But on the next aisle over, they had a large selection of new flanges. From looking at the options they had, some of the flanges cement onto the outside of drain pipe.

Went back up to look at the flange again, and there is a small gap in there where I see what looks like PVC cement oozing out. Removing this flange, without major surgery to the wall and/or ceiling (where I'd actually have to splice in a new section of 3" PVC pipe), does not seem possible.

What I CAN do now, though, is pry up underneath the flange. There is enough play in the PVC pipe in the wall below where I can pull up the flange enough to get the repair spanner flange underneath it. I have no doubt the spanner flange will work well, as it will be supporting the bolt from underneath, where the original flange is still solid. Since these bolts can't be tightened all that much without cracking the porcelain, it should work well.

I think we're past the worst of it now, though. I'll report back after I attempt my repair!

-= N =-

Rudy64

04:58PM | 10/21/02
Member Since: 10/17/02
13 lifetime posts
This project has turned into an expensive leak repair!!

Once I discovered I could remove, I decided to pry on the flange to see if it would move. Fortunately, there was enough "give" in the pipe that I could pry it up by a good half inch. This gave me enough room to slip the flange spanner underneath. (This repair part had two screw tabs on the outside radius--a trip to the cutoff wheel took care of those!) The flange spanner is now acting as a large washer, and holding the bolt just fine!

With that out of the way, I took the toilet bowl and tank outside. Got out the power washer, and cleaned the bowl until it looked like new. Then I did the tank. Inside, outside...then turned it over to clean the bottom. Whereupon I noticed the tank was cracked, likely when the previous owner over (or the builder) overtightened the bolts to the bowl. The crack was blue, and this explains where all that water was seeping from for all those years! (It was odd--the floor behind the toilet never felt wet, but the blue gunk kept accumulating.)

So, it was back to Home Depot to return a bagful of repair parts, and off to Lowe's to buy a Bold New Look Of Kohler "Wellworth" toilet. After all this fussing around, it took me all of a half hour to plop the new toilet onto its new seal, bolt it down, attach the tank and water supply, and give it a test run. Aside from needing a new supply line (bought a nice braided line with rubber gaskets), it works great! This Wellworth came well recommended for about ~$100, and it seems to flush better than some I've seen.

So, rather than the rubber rotting out on the old toilet, it was a nearly invisible hairline crack causing the leak. If anyone's in the southeast Michigan area wants a free, cleaned-up Mansfield No. 15 toilet bowl with a cracked (repairable?) tank, come and get it!

Thanks, all, for the help!

-= N =-

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