Random toilet running and weak flushing. Kohler cartridge style flush valve.

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roadiemoose

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Greetings all,

I know this general topic is covered extensively in this forum as well as others, however I can't find any information specific to my situation.

In 2016, my family moved into a home that was built in 2001. I'm assuming the toilet is original. No reason to think otherwise. It's a Kohler ( i forget the model), but it has the cartridge style flush valve. Maybe 4-5 months ago, the toilet began to run at random times. Is this the same as a phantom flush? The "running" continues for 10-20 seconds. What is confusing me, and I'm NOT a plumber, is that the "running" happens at random intervals. After a flush, it may not run at all for hours or days. After another flush, it may run every few minutes. If i flush the toilet when it runs every few minutes, that usually stops it from running so often. The other interesting change is about every 6th to 10th flush is very weak. What is being flushed, #1 or #2, doesn't make a difference. These are both new events.

What I've done so far.
I'm aware of the gasket/ring at the bottom of the cylindrical cartridge, I tried cleaning it first, no change, so I replaced it. Still no change. I have also read about cleaning the top of the fill valve. I tried that and still no change. The inside of the fill tank was "dirty", so I cleaned that out including the area that comes in contact below the gasket on the valve. We are on a well water system and it is hard water. When we moved in, we installed a softener. I don't see any signs of exterior leaking. My next plan is to do the dye test. I'm assuming the dye test will show water in the bowl, but I'm at a loss for where it might be leaking.

Any thoughts and advice from the pros would be greatly appreciated. I'm stuck at home during this crazy time and trying to shorten the honey do list as much as possible since I don't have a lack of time as an excuse anymore.

Thanks in advance.

Bryan
 

roadiemoose

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Hi Geofd,

IMG_0955 is a somewhat profile view with the tank full to show the tension on the chain and the level of water with a full tank.

IMG_4953 is the overhead with tank empty.

Thank you for any assistance and ideas you might have.

Bryan
 

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bbp

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call the number that is on the tag on the tank 1 800 KOHLER. they will help.
 

Geofd

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So under that yellow cap is the float arm with the water turned off the plastic piece that the arm is attached to twists
Off under i5 is a rubber disc (fluidmaster)#242 I think they are sold everywhere or just change out the valve,calling Kohler can’t hurt either
 

Jeff Handy

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Make sure that white bowl refill hose is not poked way down inside the flush valve too far.
Sometimes that can cause a siphon, which can gradually drain the tank.

It still sounds like a leak at the bottom of that flush tower contraption.

You can take the tank off, and replace that POS with a regular flapper type flush valve, just match it to your hole size, either two or three inch.
 

Jeff Handy

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You can find good videos on fixing problems with the Aqua Piston flush valve on Youtube.
 

Geofd

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So under that yellow cap is the float arm with the water turned off the plastic piece that the arm is attached to twists
Off under i5 is a rubber disc (fluidmaster)#242 I think they are sold everywhere or just change out the valve,calling Kohler can’t hurt either
Checking the. fill tube is a good idea (JH)!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Jeff Handy

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Kohler will send you any parts needed for free.
You will need the model number printed or molded into the back of the tank, inside.
 

Jeff Handy

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You need a small amount of slack in the chain, or the piston will not drop down tightly.

And it can wobble around a tiny bit, so it will not land exactly the same spot on the seal every time, which would explain why the problem comes and goes.
 

Rickyman

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And change that POS aftermarket handle to the proper OEM Kohler handle, those never seem to work smoothly. Like Jeff said you need a little slack in the chain, let out a link or two.
 

roadiemoose

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Is there a stop molded into the yellow peice so you can’t push the tube thru????
Yes, as Rickyman mentions above. This whole contraption has me so confused how it works. I'm sure it's simple. I've flushed the toilet a couple of times to watch where water flows, etc and am not seeing the path of how it fills the tank after the flush is complete.

Anyway, I won't respond to each post individually so you all don't get slammed with notifications, should you have them set.

With that said, thank you all for the advice so far.


Geofd,
you mentioned the rubber disc under the float arm. Are you now referring to the fill valve on the left side of the tank? I removed the top of the fill valve and cleaned out that area, which included a d-ring/rubber disc per videos I found a while back on YouTube. Is this what you are talking about or something even lower on the fill valve? Or am not understanding you at all?

Jeff Handy,
As i'm sure you've seen from the other responses, the fill tube is completely visible in my photos. Both ends are connected to a solid plastic nipple on top of the fill valve on one end and the flush valve on the other. So i'm not sure there is any chance of a puncture unless the plastic cracked somehow. I agree regarding the wobbling. There's no "track" for the cylinder to ride up and down on. Amazing this works at all, but, it did work for the first 2 1/2 years we lived in this house. I would love to replace the whole contraption, as you suggested, but with my luck and plumbing, that might not be a good idea!! :) But i think i'm going to go for it.

Rickyman,
Just curious, what is different between handles that would have an effect on this in general? Could something change on the handle that would affect this after so many years of working properly? The handle is what the last owners installed to "match the rest of the decor" when they remodeled the bathroom. Thankfully, my wife understand functionality trumps pretty, so if that's really an issue, I can swap that without issue. Just didn't think that would have an effect on this particular issue.


To everyone,

I spoke to Kohler today, they also suggested letting out a link or two in the chain. Again, didn't cross my mind since it had worked for so long. They are also sending me a new gasket for the bottom of the flush valve stating that they had a bad batch manufactured not long ago. The rep mentioned bubbles in the rubber that may be too small to notice but enough to prevent a solid water tight seal.

With that said, would this also have an effect on the flushing power I mentioned or is that a separate issue? Solve one thing at a time?


Thank you all for your help so far!

Bryan
 

Rickyman

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Kohler over engineers everything so you always want to replace components with original Kohler products. I’ve seen those handles before and sometimes they’ll drop all the way and sometimes they won’t. You adjust the chain properly but the next time you flush it will keep the aquapiston up a bit and let water through
 

Geofd

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Yes, as Rickyman mentions above. This whole contraption has me so confused how it works. I'm sure it's simple. I've flushed the toilet a couple of times to watch where water flows, etc and am not seeing the path of how it fills the tank after the flush is complete.

Anyway, I won't respond to each post individually so you all don't get slammed with notifications, should you have them set.

With that said, thank you all for the advice so far.


Geofd,
you mentioned the rubber disc under the float arm. Are you now referring to the fill valve on the left side of the tank? I removed the top of the fill valve and cleaned out that area, which included a d-ring/rubber disc per videos I found a while back on YouTube. Is this what you are talking about or something even lower on the fill valve? Or am not understanding you at all?

Jeff Handy,
As i'm sure you've seen from the other responses, the fill tube is completely visible in my photos. Both ends are connected to a solid plastic nipple on top of the fill valve on one end and the flush valve on the other. So i'm not sure there is any chance of a puncture unless the plastic cracked somehow. I agree regarding the wobbling. There's no "track" for the cylinder to ride up and down on. Amazing this works at all, but, it did work for the first 2 1/2 years we lived in this house. I would love to replace the whole contraption, as you suggested, but with my luck and plumbing, that might not be a good idea!! :) But i think i'm going to go for it.

Rickyman,
Just curious, what is different between handles that would have an effect on this in general? Could something change on the handle that would affect this after so many years of working properly? The handle is what the last owners installed to "match the rest of the decor" when they remodeled the bathroom. Thankfully, my wife understand functionality trumps pretty, so if that's really an issue, I can swap that without issue. Just didn't think that would have an effect on this particular issue.


To everyone,

I spoke to Kohler today, they also suggested letting out a link or two in the chain. Again, didn't cross my mind since it had worked for so long. They are also sending me a new gasket for the bottom of the flush valve stating that they had a bad batch manufactured not long ago. The rep mentioned bubbles in the rubber that may be too small to notice but enough to prevent a solid water tight seal.

With that said, would this also have an effect on the flushing power I mentioned or is that a separate issue? Solve one thing at a time?


Thank you all for your help so far!

Bryan
Well if the chain is to short when you push down to flush the tank lever will swing down faster because there is no slack and pulls the flapper down quicker
 

roadiemoose

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Well if the chain is to short when you push down to flush the tank lever will swing down faster because there is no slack and pulls the flapper down quicker
Sure, but it hasn't been a problem in 3 years and the chain hasn't been adjusted in that time. That's where my confusion comes in.
 
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