How do I move this toilet base?
March 14, 2017 12:06 PM   Subscribe

So the wax ring in my basement 'utility' toilet finally failed. Difficulty level: Unusual toilet.

I'm pretty sure I can manage the actual seal replacement process, but I'm hung up on moving the base. You see, it's not an ordinary toilet with the cistern directly mounted on the base, the cistern is bolted to the wall and connected to the base by way of a 90 degree elbow. I got out my channel locks and removed the pipe nuts, figuring it was some sort of compression-type fitting and the elbow would just fall out once the nuts were released, but so far as I can tell it's still firmly connected. Any suggestions? If it boils down to a full disassembly and new rubber seals all around, ech. And I'm assuming the prior occupant didn't grout the toilet to the floor (and that's why it doesn't move now that I've removed the flange bolts), which is a possibility.

I'm not necessarily opposed to a complete replacement - the current one is obviously the antithesis of a low-flow toilet, but $150 is $150, y'know?
posted by Kyol to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
And FWIW, I live somewhere where water rates are ridiculously cheap. Although my community's sewer rates are nearly doubling in the current decade, that one toilet is still a miserable fraction of my total household water usage, making the amortization against a new toilet pretty lousy.
posted by Kyol at 12:25 PM on March 14

You might want to inspect the inside of the cistern--is there anything you should loosen from there?
Also, take a look through this information on how this type of toilet is refurbished and installed;
there might be useful notes
posted by calgirl at 5:17 PM on March 14

Ah yeah, that pretty much confirmed what I was afraid of - it sounds like removing the base starts with removing the tank from the wall, then working your way down the elbow and refurbishing the seals. Bleh. But it does suggest that they're moderately in demand for restoration-minded types, so it might be worth reigning in my inner Peter Gabriel and removing it cleanly.

(And once I've gone to that much work, it might just feel straightforward to refurbish it myself. At least now I have the right words for what I'll need, so I can burn that bridge once I've successfully pulled it off the wall.)
posted by Kyol at 8:25 AM on March 15

Either hire a plumber or just get a new toilet (plumber's opinion)
posted by Captain l'escalier at 11:24 AM on March 16

So to follow up (has it really been a month? *sigh*) - ultimately the tank was fixed to the wall by more than the obvious screws. Once I had removed them, no amount of gentle persuasion was going to move the tank, so I settled down to pull all the obvious fittings off the tank and it wasn't long before I had freed the top end of the elbow. Once that was removed, the base end of the elbow was held on by another 2.5" nut and it came out of the spud cleanly.

The remainder of the work was pretty much straightforward plumbing. (Aside from the prior seal being crusty old plumber's putty that had gotten everywhere. Blech.)

I also discovered that while the big national hardware/home improvement stores don't have the necessary 100 year old plumbing supplies, my neighborhood Ace/True Value has a decent selection. Which makes sense, local homeowners are still dealing with older fixtures.
posted by Kyol at 6:50 AM on April 10

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