Fixing the Potty

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A week or so ago Mr. M discovered that the toilet in our guest bathroom seemed to have a leak. An investigation confirmed that, yes indeed, there was a leak from the bolts that hold the tank to the base. Since we are pretty much frugal do-it-ourselfers, we are sure that we can fix the simple problem.

It took us a week to cross into the USA, so we could buy the right parts. In the meantime, we found out that some of our grandchildren will be visiting us for a couple of weeks, starting on July fourth. We really needed to get on that repair job!

The parts we bought were in a kit; 2 longish bolts with various washers and a larger ring for the middle of the tank. All we have to do is remove the old bolts and washers and replace them with the new ones; right? So here begins the adventure.

First we shut off the water and emptied all of the water from the tank. Then we removed the flapper thingy and the flush handle. Easy peasy! Then:

Mr. M: “Just hold the top of this bolt with this gigantic screwdriver while I turn the nut underneath.”

First the gigantic screwdriver didn’t quite fit the slot in the top of the bolt. It slipped off. Then I could not restrain the bolt when he turned it (even with both hands!). The whole thing just rotated. We tried a variety of other screwdrivers, a pair of channel lock pliers, a quarter held with pliers (it actually fit the slot quite well), more pliers, and more screwdrivers. It became quite apparent after many tries that the bolts were corroded together.

A quick trip to the computer confirmed that this seems to be the norm. Then Mr. M thought he could saw the bottom of the bolts off with a little saw that we use to make screen frames. No luck! It was too big. I suggested that we try my trusty Dremmel with a cut off blade. It wouldn’t fit under the back of the toilet either.

Inside the tank were some weird fiber washers under the top of the bolt. First we tried to pull them off with some needle nosed pliers. Those little washers are tough! They inspire colorful language, not to mention interesting physical positions. Try cutting through them with the Xacto knife then pulling them off with the needle nosed pliers. Quite a bit of time and struggle later: success! The washers are off!

Now for the Dremmel action! Only about eight cutoff blades later both bolts are off.

After carefully reading the package, we reassembled the toilet with the new bolts and washers. Our toilet is ready for the kids and it only took about a half of a day to fix it! Just another day in Baja California!

One thought on “Fixing the Potty

    Flash said:
    July 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm



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