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  1. #1
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Lazy man's plumbing fix?

    I apologize that I don't know the right terms for this.

    I have a toilet that in the tank, the little plastic set screw that's opposite the float ball which is used to push down the button when the ball reaches the desired height appears to have somehow stripped. Either the screw or the hole it screws in seems to be stripped because when I try to adjust it, the first time it presses against the button (when it should stop water flow into the tank), it just loosens all the way up and water keeps coming in.

    I know the right way to fix it is to replace the whole unit from where the water enters the tank through the float ball. What I'm wondering, because the last time I did that with another toilet it made a big, wet mess, can I just get some locktite and put it on the screw and set it where I want it, let it cure a few days and then go with it without replacing everything? Will that work?

    Any ideas?
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  2. #2
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    id super glue the screw in if i was lazy but being me who is only part lazy id replace the fill unit

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    We replaced a toilet out about 8 years ago and put the old one out at the curb for the trash service to pick up. Someone came by and wanted to take it and they asked my wife if it worked. I thought that was kind of odd since you can buy all of the moving parts new at HomeDepot for $10.

    Working on the toilet can be messy though. It helps to have a pump or vacuum that you can use to pump the water out. Also in older houses there can be a problem with the valve at the wall so you might have difficulty in completely turning off the water.

    We had some tile replace in our bathroom recently. The contractor left without replacing the toilet so I decided I would do it. The concept is simple but when I cleaned off the old wax ring I found that the flange was broken and the steel ring that holds the toilet down would not work on one side. Rather than an expensive plumber call to try to replace the flange, I bought a carbide drill bit and some Tapcon screws and mounted the steel flange to the concrete floor. Now when my wife is ready for me to reset the toilet I can just put the new wax ring down, set the toilet down and tighten the bolts.

  4. #4
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    the last time I tried fixing a toilet, I apparently overtightened the bolts fixing the tank to the base, got a hairline crack, and bye bye toilet, so now I'm a it wary.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  5. #5
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    I'd just buy a new unit, $20 for a new fill valve assembly and flush valve/flapper assembly. It's not difficult to take off the tank and swap everything out.
    Or just a new fill valve for half the cost and you can leave the tank and seals in place....
    It's been a while since I saw the old style with an actual floating ball so I'm having a hard time picturing the screw; if you can make it work, do whatever is cheapest/easiest. But yeah, $10 for a newer style fill valve that's a quick and easy install without removing the tank is probably the best bet if everything else is in good condition.

    Thanks for reminding me, I need to replace a fill valve at my grandmother's house (valve itself leaks by).

  6. #6
    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    Just get a new stainless steel screw that fits through the hole, plus at least two nuts, one on each side of the stripped out portion. Depending on the size, you may need some washers too. Ace Hardware should sell all of that stuff, including all the toilet guts so you can compare... they're pretty cheap.

  7. #7
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    If you're talking about where the float's rod connects to the valve assembly, most designs are pretty secure and don't need much help to stay together. You can probably secure the rod with some thin wire wound in a figure eight, or something like JB Weld.

    However, keep in mind that the fill valve is normally open, so if the float should slip loose the toilet will run continuously until you stop it. IMO a quick fix is OK in a pinch, but you need to assess the reliability of the job, and if there's any doubt, spend the $10.00 for a new fill valve assembly.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 11-14-14 at 09:08 PM.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  8. #8
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    If you do end up replacing parts, buying the kit and replacing all of them at once saves a lot of headaches later. And sometimes sooner too.

  9. #9
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    I ended up just replacing the flow valve (and the solid pipe from the valve at the floor to the toilet with braided metal hose due to length issues). Wow, spending the extra couple bucks to go from the basic float ball to the kind that raises along the shaft (fluidmaster?) is totally worth it. The amount of time I saved in trying to bend the rod holding the float ball the right way alone was worth the price and then some. I could have replaced the flapper and all the seals along the base at the same time, but they didn't look like they needed it, and I have a history of being ham-handed and cracking porcelain, so I figured I'd just replace what I knew was broken and leave well enough alone.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  10. #10
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Fluidmaster kites are what I've used for years since that first trip to the hardware store for parts. This guy handed me one and said he was a plumber and that's what he used because they didn't have any problems with them.

  11. #11
    Senior Member ModoVincere's Avatar
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    The kits are cheap at the big box store. It's a 20 minute job if it's your first time.
    Just replace the valve and float.
    1 bronze, 0 silver, 1 gold

  12. #12
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    Now for the satisfaction in taking a big dump in a product of your fine workmanship.

  13. #13
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Oh no. Since when do foo threads de-evolve into threads about poo?

    I'm shocked.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Sorry, StupidlyBrave, for turning foo to poo. Just shop talk as I am a licensed plumber and I have a lot of experience admiring my workmanship. (workmanship spelled very carefully).

  15. #15
    Mystery Meat gitarzan's Avatar
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    Cable ties, super glue and duct tape are the only tools you'll ever need. Sometimes Velcro. Sometimes JB Weld.


    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    Don't forget WD40
    And WD-40.
    Last edited by gitarzan; 11-19-14 at 10:22 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    Is a ukulele player in a mandolin town and banned from all bars by the chief of police unless he leaves his strings and gravy at the front door.

  16. #16
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Don't forget WD40
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  17. #17
    Mystery Meat gitarzan's Avatar
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    I'll admit that when I first read the title of this thread, I thought of some urological contraption involving a 2L bottle, rubber hose, and a Texas catheter.
    Last edited by gitarzan; 11-19-14 at 10:23 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    Is a ukulele player in a mandolin town and banned from all bars by the chief of police unless he leaves his strings and gravy at the front door.

  18. #18
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
    Sorry, StupidlyBrave, for turning foo to poo. Just shop talk as I am a licensed plumber and I have a lot of experience admiring my workmanship. (workmanship spelled very carefully).
    You must be new here.

    Foo does not have a steep learning curve - just read this gentle introduction - poo poo foo

  19. #19
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Flappers are really cheap, and extremely easy to replace ----- do yourself a big favor, and change it now............

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    All you need is "The Handyman's Secret Weapon"


    (Duct Tape)

    Really, just replace it. Toilets gotta work 100% of the time, or you fix them right. No hacking allowed!
    2012 Diamondback Podium 2 - Ready for spring! :D
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  21. #21
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
    Sorry, StupidlyBrave, for turning foo to poo. Just shop talk as I am a licensed plumber and I have a lot of experience admiring my workmanship. (workmanship spelled very carefully).
    This usually happens on the first page.

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