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OT - Toilet Plumbing Question

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  • OT - Toilet Plumbing Question

    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.

    Being ROAD KILL on the Information Super Highway and Electronically Challenged really SUCKS!!

    Every problem can be solved through the proper application of explosives, duct tape, teflon, WD-40, or any combo of the aforementioned items.

  • #2
    can you get a center punch in on the stud? then just drill till they pop?


    • #3
      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.

      When done use a waxless seal.
      Last edited by KIMFAB; 10-25-2016, 11:02 AM. Reason: add power tool and seal
      Guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bend, chip, crack or peel


      • #4
        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.
        Last edited by Arcane; 10-25-2016, 11:19 AM.
        Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


        • #5
          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.
          Last edited by Puckdropper; 10-26-2016, 01:21 AM. Reason: Typo


          • #6
            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.


            • #7
              HarborFright angle grinder......don't want torch heat in there.


              • #8
                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.
                Chilliwack BC, Canada


                • #9
                  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.
                  Location: Jersey City NJ USA


                  • #10
                    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?


                    • #11
                      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.


                      • #12
                        Lew, may I ask how your post helps BigBoys1s problem or is an idea of a solution?


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by flylo View Post
                          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

                          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...


                          • #14
                            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.
                            Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                            Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                            Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                            There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                            Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                            Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


                            • #15
                              "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. :-(
                              Last edited by Lew Hartswick; 10-25-2016, 04:15 PM.