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BigBoy1
10-25-2016, 10:42 AM
The sealing gasket between the toilet tank and its base has started leaking. The bolts which hold the tank to the toilet base are solid pieces of rust. (Probably the original bolts from when the house was built 25 years ago.) The nuts on the tank bolts are recessed into a shallow portion of the porcelain base so a hacksaw or saws-all can not be used to cut them off. (The nuts have been soaked with Kroil but still are locked solid.)

My question is, can an oxy-acetylene torch be used to cut off the rusted nuts? I'm concerned with the localized large amount of heat being applied to the porcelain base and causing it to crack. Would the heat be a problem? I have considered grinding the nuts off but I don't have an angle grinder. Does anyone have any other way to remove the rusted nuts?

Appreciate any help. Thanks.

A.K. Boomer
10-25-2016, 10:48 AM
can you get a center punch in on the stud? then just drill till they pop?

KIMFAB
10-25-2016, 10:51 AM
The bolts are actually T headed and in a slot in the base.
The flats on the nuts are probably gone anyway so it wont hurt to grab them with a vise grip.

If the bolts are as badly rusted as you say then a couple of turns with the vise grips will probably break them.
Otherwise use one of those vibrating saws.

This should last long enuf to get the job done.
http://www.harborfreight.com/power-tools/oscillating-tools.html

(http://www.harborfreight.com/power-tools/oscillating-tools.html)When done use a waxless seal.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LQIH3XQ?psc=1

Arcane
10-25-2016, 11:16 AM
I just checked the hold down bolts on my toilet tank and mine must be different from yours...on mine there's about a half inch air gap between the tank and the bottom seat part right where the bolts are so I could easily hacksaw my bolts off if needed. If there were no room to do that I believe the best choice would be to carefully drill the bolt heads off from inside the tank and buy new bolts when you are buying a new gasket.

I think trying to use a cutting torch or applying heat even would be risky at best and catastrophic at worst.

Puckdropper
10-25-2016, 11:20 AM
What you need is some properly sized shaped explosive charges. This is definitely one of those problems that can be solved with explosives, duct tape, teflon, and WD-40!

Let's take a look at this from the point of view of catastrophic failure: What happens if the tank cracks? You'll have to replace the toilet. As long as the bottom flange is in good shape, it's an easy swap. A couple hundred dollars and a trip to the store... Not a terribly expensive thing, but still worth trying to save. It's up to you how aggressive to get.

You may not be dealing with rust on the tank bolts but mineral deposits. If you've got some CLR or even plain vinegar it might be worth applying and letting it sit and see if anything useful happens. Do keep these things away from the rubber parts.

I'd probably try drilling first.

enl
10-25-2016, 12:03 PM
If the house is 25 years old, I wouldn't be surprised if the flange is plastic (ABS used to be common in my region, PVC is now).

I would avoid a torch, or the problem may turn into changing the flange rather than the ring, unless you can confirm for sure that the flange is metal.

When you replace it, be sure to use brass closet bolts rather than steel, and maybe a tad of antisieze with the nuts, if the nuts are steel.

Juiceclone
10-25-2016, 12:37 PM
HarborFright angle grinder......don't want torch heat in there.

BCRider
10-25-2016, 12:41 PM
When it comes to houses 25 years old is "just a kid". So the floor flange will be plastic. Especially if the exposed portions of the drains are plastic in the other locations.

But it's not the floor flange which is the issue. Bigboy said it was the joint between tank and the lower unit. That's a whole other enchilada.

Try a magnet on the tank studs and nut to see if they are really steel or if they are brass. If steel then maybe hit them with a little heat from a propane torch then go at them with a wrench. If the flats round over I'd switch to a small pipe wrench.

If they turn out to be brass then clean away the penetrating oil and spray them with CLR at some fairly frequent pierod like every 10 minutes for a couple of hours so it stays wet with fresh product. Then try turning them loose.

gellfex
10-25-2016, 12:57 PM
Wait, I think most of you guys are off on where he's talking about, it's the BOWL TO TANK, NOT BOWL TO WASTE FLANGE!

Bigboy, can't you just drill out the head from above, inside the tank? If not, the head of the bolt should be well above the bottom of the tank with rubber and metal washers, a Dremel or a 4" angle grinder can get in there and take off the head.

On the other hand, if it's really an old "full flow", pitch it and get a good low flow toilet. Don't be afraid, they've gotten them right after getting them wrong at 1st which save them such a bad rep. I've installed over a dozen inexpensive American Standard Cadet 3's in my home and rentals, and they work great, no 2nd flushes ever. I think they've gone up a bit and are now $150.

flylo
10-25-2016, 01:24 PM
Sounds like bowl to tank so can you get a thin blade between the bowl & tank & cut them off? Something with no set in the teeth, like a Bosch bayonet jigsaw blade or even try a coping saw blade?

Lew Hartswick
10-25-2016, 03:07 PM
I continually find it amazing and rather disturbing that so many people respond with a "solution" that is completely un-related to the question/problem.
:-(
...lew...

flylo
10-25-2016, 03:19 PM
Lew, may I ask how your post helps BigBoys1s problem or is an idea of a solution?

A.K. Boomer
10-25-2016, 03:27 PM
Lew, may I ask how your post helps BigBoys1s problem or is an idea of a solution?

Ditto on that -- I mean - at least we were trying to help :p

plus in doing so might be some "related help" in fact I think mine was even better tried from the tank to bowl as there's at least a clear shot area with to get to with a drill - unless the tank is freakish in design...

SGW
10-25-2016, 03:34 PM
Been there....
I would avoid heat. The bolts are probably pretty fragile at this point. If you can get Vise-Grips and/or a 6-point socket on the nut at all, you'll probably be able to break them off. If not, I'd drill the heads off.

When I replaced mine, I used a couple of 316 stainless bolts, nuts, and washers so I'll never, ever, have the problem again. I got them at McMaster-Carr.

Lew Hartswick
10-25-2016, 04:09 PM
"Trying to help" with answers that have NO application just clutters up the entire thread. That is my complaint.
As to how my comment "helped" the original poster, I was exactly as much help as a LOT of the other replies that had nothing to do with the PROBLEM.
So There. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. :-(
...lew...

A.K. Boomer
10-25-2016, 04:18 PM
No - it's whining about threads that are related and can actually help that clutters up threads - and then having to correct the whiners like this post adds even more - very counterproductive - again re-read my first post - Nothing would change my approach from the base to the top tank...

some people just seem to want to pick out flaws all day long without adding anything useful... Geeze.

MikeL46
10-25-2016, 04:19 PM
When I replaced mine, I used a couple of 316 stainless bolts, nuts, and washers so I'll never, ever, have the problem again. I got them at McMaster-Carr.

Unless the 316 nut and bolt gall and sieze, which 316 is prone to do. If possible, use anti-sieze with 316. We used a lot of 316 in chemical analysis instrumentation. Brass is a much better choice.

Mike

pinstripe
10-25-2016, 04:32 PM
I continually find it amazing and rather disturbing that so many people respond with a "solution" that is completely un-related to the question/problem.

Sometimes people misunderstand the question. They aren't doing it to annoy you :)

GEP
10-25-2016, 04:44 PM
No - it's whining about threads that are related and can actually help that clutters up threads - and then having to correct the whiners like this post adds even more - very counterproductive - again re-read my first post - Nothing would change my approach from the base to the top tank...

some people just seem to want to pick out flaws all day long without adding anything useful... Geeze.

Right on tell them A.K. Boomer :o

PStechPaul
10-25-2016, 06:34 PM
Actually, it might be a good idea to remove the toilet to work on it, and then you can replace the bottom flange gasket and mounting hardware, and perhaps replace the flush mechanism as well.

https://www.plumbingsupply.com/toiletrings.html

https://www.plumbingsupply.com/images/wax-free-toilet-seal-fts-4-med.jpg https://www.plumbingsupply.com/images/tk-490-10660.jpg https://www.plumbingsupply.com/images/pas-tank-to-bowl-set-237ss-med.jpg

duckman
10-25-2016, 06:40 PM
If it's 25 years old I'd replace it with 1 of the new high volume flush and it only uses about 1 gallon the one that I put in has a 4" flap valve in the tank, before this was put in the toilet would plug up 3 or 4 times a week (daughter ran a day care), no more plugs with the hvf. It was about $120.00 complete at Home Depot, all the mounting hardware, and a soft close seat and cover (day care kids would slam the cover, with the new seat and cover they would come out with dour look on there faces because they couldn't slam anything).

gellfex
10-25-2016, 07:54 PM
If it's 25 years old I'd replace it with 1 of the new high volume flush and it only uses about 1 gallon the one that I put in has a 4" flap valve in the tank, before this was put in the toilet would plug up 3 or 4 times a week (daughter ran a day care), no more plugs with the hvf. It was about $120.00 complete at Home Depot, all the mounting hardware, and a soft close seat and cover (day care kids would slam the cover, with the new seat and cover they would come out with dour look on there faces because they couldn't slam anything).

You sure about that 4"? The ones I use are 3" and that's big, standard is 2". I do think it makes a big difference, it's a much better flush than one I had with the loud pressure tank that scared the bejeezus out of my then little kids.

KIMFAB
10-25-2016, 07:55 PM
Just re looked at this and noticed that Lew was right. I inadvertently gave some completely unrelated info.:mad:

It's interesting that in our interest to help we sometimes get ahead of ourselves and put out unrelated but good info and this brings out other good but unrelated info about our info being unrelated.

In an attempt to save myself here I will mention that I just did the tank to bowl thing ( 6 pt deep socket and vise grip)
I had a heck of a time finding new washers, the ones out there were too hard and leaked. Finally made some out of rubber sheet.

kitno455
10-25-2016, 08:34 PM
Reach down into the tank with your 4.5" angle grinder held vertically. A couple swipes will take the heads off the bolts, and they will drop out the bottom.

allan

kendall
10-25-2016, 08:56 PM
My favorite tool for cutting bolts/nuts in close quarters is a dremel with a cut-off wheel. Never used them on toilets, but have on a couple ancient pedestal sinks with litigious owners sitting on my shoulder.

SpoonerandForker
10-26-2016, 12:11 AM
It is a little know fact that gravity seems to increase as we age, making the taller toilets a great energy saving device.
Consider replacing with a new higher toilet. When you get old, you will be surprised at how intelligent you were when younger.

Puckdropper
10-26-2016, 01:27 AM
Just a thought... Could you get this under your mill spindle? The flat bottom on an endmill would make a very controllable cut and allow you to remove material exactly where you need to! Maybe someone could draw a picture of the procedure and submit it for the April issue of HSM?

In all seriousness, a 1/4" flat router bit and palm router will do the same thing if for some reason drilling doesn't work. Usually the bits are carbide tipped, so they should go through the metal pretty easily. You can get 1/8" cutters on a 1/4" shank.

Lee in Texas
10-26-2016, 03:41 AM
I'm a plumber. My approach would be a sawzall between the tank and the bowl. Putting force on the bolt head can chip or break the porcelain. It's possible that rust has bonded to the porcelain, which is another can or worms. That happened in my house and removing the bolt took a chunk or porcelain with it. Commode was out of production so the whole thing had to be replaced. If you do a repair rather replacing the entire commode, make darn sure you get solid brass bolts. I'm sure your bolts were brass plated steel. I've seen those get rust spots within a week of installation. You may need to go to a plumbing supply store. Lowes and Home Depot around here have brass plated steel only.

Also replace your supply line. After that cone-shaped washer has been compressed for a long time, it can get tiny cracks when compression is taken off, causing a drip. Get a quality supply line. I like Brass Craft. On my work phone, I have a photo of a supply line with a crack in the threaded plastic section. That crack happened while the family was away. The neighbor helped them out and turned off their water when he saw it coming out of the front door. Thirty five thousand dollars in flood damage because of a cheap part.

If you are concerned about the possibility of breaking it or causing a leak, call a licensed, reputable plumber. Tell them what to expect.

BigBoy1
10-28-2016, 01:05 AM
Sorry I haven't been able to monitor this thread as family medical problems have now taken front row.

The bolts which are the problem are the ones which hold the tank to the base -- NOT the bolts which hold the base to the floor. I'm thinking that grinding the rusted heads off just might be the way to go. I really don't want to crack/break the porcelain with heat. Perhaps a quick trip to Harbor Fright just may be in order to get a one time use angle grinder. Thanks for the insights.

ahidley
10-28-2016, 01:56 AM
Geeze I read three pages and the tank still isn't broken$!!!

elf
10-28-2016, 01:59 AM
Can't you just move? :cool:

danlb
10-28-2016, 12:41 PM
When faced with a similar problem during my bathroom renovation, I took the whole toilet outside to work on it. After only a half hour of messing with it, my neighbor pointed out that I could get a $100 rebate from my water company for switching it to a water saving model. Then I found a second rebate from my state. They paid me to replace my toilets with much nicer models.

... And I did not have to mess with the old one anymore. :)


Dan

A.K. Boomer
10-28-2016, 12:52 PM
Sounds like a California thing lol

danlb
10-28-2016, 01:00 PM
Sounds like a California thing lol

Yep, it is. We are in a multi year drought, complete with rationing. The old toilet used 7 gallons per flush, and the new one uses as little as 1 gallon if there is no solid waste. That's more than 500 gallons a month saved. And the new design is much more comfortable! **

Dan
** The simple pleasures for old folks include a comfortable throne.

Dave C
10-28-2016, 01:07 PM
It is a little know fact that gravity seems to increase as we age, making the taller toilets a great energy saving device.
Consider replacing with a new higher toilet. When you get old, you will be surprised at how intelligent you were when younger.
As an added advantage, the taller toilet will keep your aging balls above the water :<)

danlb
10-28-2016, 01:13 PM
As an added advantage, the taller toilet will keep your aging balls above the water :<)

Not quite there yet, but it is nice to have that extra room in front too, if you know what I mean. Reminds me of an old joke;

Young man standing at the urinal brags "Dang, this water's cold". Older man at the next urinal upstages him with "Yeah, and it's deep too."

Dan

A.K. Boomer
10-28-2016, 02:05 PM
the new one uses as little as 1 gallon if there is no solid waste.



So smart - so what do they do have two different lever's?

I have three filled up beer bottles in my tank top on my older one - I think I tried 4 before and it started to have "mis'flushes"

I do hope things get better for you guys that way, your state is also so important to the nation for produce and everything.

I will add this;
when modifying and older toilet to save water and yet get maximum bang for your flush DO NOT lower the tank level - this will give a weaker flush and you can only save so much that way, raise the tanks water level as high as you can go without overflow, then add suitable containers to take up space --- the typical beer bottle is actually a pretty good shape - the smaller top keeps much of the remaining water at a higher level, this packs a good initial punch for those stubborn "guinness loafs" that seem to have a mind of their own and not want to go down...

dave_r
10-28-2016, 02:11 PM
Some have 2 levers/buttons, some have a single lever that you activate either partially or fully.

danlb
10-28-2016, 04:19 PM
So smart - so what do they do have two different lever's?

.

My model is a Kholer and it has two levers that are nested, with one slightly longer than the other. Use only the tip for lever 1 and you get the small flush. Use the body of the lever and it turns both levers to give a full flush.

The design of the bowl is slightly different too. It has a jet at the front that blasts the contents into the drain. There is a secondary water flow from around the rim to wash the sides off. Very efficient.

I don't know if it will last more than 35 years like my last one, but I'm hoping it outlasts other modern appliances.

Dan