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Yes, I know this has nothing to do with the topic of this board, here, but if anyone has any interest in responding, please do so! If I haven't resolved the problem by then, I will probably post about it in a few days on the LYBM or other board.

In summary, after an attempt to repair a toilet part (flush valve assembly unit), with a strong young friend's help (he knows nothing about home repairs, but he is strong and young), I am left with a heavy leak from the base of the toilet tank every time I flush.

This heavy leak comes from the section which I think is called the "flush valve seat" hole, or juncture where the water conduit from the toilet tank is attached to the toilet bowl base.

Anyone who doesn't know a darned thing about toilets, you are just like me! I actually know very little, but started to research starting about 3-4 weeks ago. My friend doesn't know anything about home repairs, but he is willing to help. This is the primary video link I used to explain the component and the (ideal) process:
How to Fix a Toilet - Flush Valve Replacement - Part 2 of 2
(Three and a half minute demonstration video)

If you are as uneducated about plumbing as I am, you may also find this prequel, #1 of 2, very useful. You might want to watch this first.
Also for possible reference (I reviewed this one as well):
An overview and detailed outline of the equipment and tools needed.
How to Fix a Toilet - Flush Valve Replacement - Part 1 of 2
(Two and three-quarters minute video)

The problem? We managed to remove the tank, disconnect the old parts, and put in the new parts, but unfortunately now there is a strong leak every time we flush the toilet (depress the toilet handle which raises the flapper). The water leak is coming from the hole in the tank, or the flush valve seat area, no matter what we do. We've taken it apart and reassembled about five times on Saturday. My friend was leaving Saturday evening for the weekend (he stayed extra hours to help me, delaying his plans), but he will come back again I think tomorrow, Tuesday to help again.

I've learned a lot about toilet plumbing parts in the last several days, but please forgive me if I have the wrong terminology and concepts.

Some background: This toilet I had was installed in/around 1997 to replace the original, accidentally cracked toilet. It was installed efficiently by two non-licensed handymen referred by a friend who did it in about an hour (I think) and very affordably (I think it all cost about $350, which I think was about half of what it would have cost otherwise).

I had bought the replacement parts from online for my toilet, a Gerber #28-790. The website I used (and parts) are at this link:

When disassembling and removing the old parts on Saturday, my friend and I noticed that the handymen had used some sort of goo (I believe it was many layers of "plumbers tape" a.k.a. "teflon tape") to help waterproof:
- the left toilet tank bolt (there are two on my toilet) and
- the flush valve seat area.

After the chaos and frustration of Saturday afternoon, I've spent the last 48 hours watching the above video link repeatedly (and reading other articles), and I notice some discrepancies between what I have (or had), and the video.

(1) my Gerber kit does NOT include an "external seal" which is mentioned/demonstrated in the above video. If reviewing the video, this is demonstrated in the video #2 at 1:49 - 1:51; it is also listed in video #1. This is the seal that comes after inserting the new flush valve assembly into the tank. Is this a factor?

(2) my lock nut is reversed. Please see video #2 at 1:51-1:53. In this video, I note that the exposed (bottom facing) side of the lock nut is the side with the perforations and tiny partitions. In at least two occurrences throughout the video, I note that it seems the plumber is explicitly checking (and turning over as appropriate) which side of the lock nut is to go on. I note that my ORIGINAL placement of the lock nut by my two plumbers, the outside-showing (meaning bottom-facing) side of the lock nut is the flushed (smooth) side. How critical is/was this detail of the "top" versus "bottom" of the lock nut?

(3) My tank bolt kid did not come with flat washers (video #2 brief reference at 2:10-2:12) and I wonder that this might help?

Meanwhile, I had been to my local (two small) hardware stores Saturday afternoon in attempts to get additional items, advice, etc. The first one wasn't helpful (though older and larger, they are notoriously apathetic and not usually helpful to women seeking help) and the second one was nice, but did recommend I try tightening the bolt tanks (and lock nut) as attempts.

When I got home from the second hardware store, I tightened the tank bolts a bit more. My fear is in overtightening (nightmares of cracking the porcelain as well as being told in the past to never overtighten certain things). Still a distinct gush.

I also talked to a female friend of mine on the telephone. She's done some bits of home repairs in the past. When I told her that I suspected the original handymen might have used plumber's teflon tape, she told me that she's used some sort of waterproof foaming sealant for toilets. She doesn't know terminology (she is very hands on and visual), so we weren't quite sure if we were talking about the same thing.

Any suggestions or advice?

Thank you!

Lois Carmen D.

P.S. Unfortunately I am trying to avoid the expense of hiring a plumbing which I fear might be several hundreds of dollars. This month and April, I am budgeted for certain expenses already so this is a bad time of year.
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Incidentally, the toilet bowl itself is functional. To flush, I keep a large bucket filled with water handy to pour into the bowl. Though awkward, I am SO grateful just to have indoor toilet facilities at all. I was having worries that I might need to go to a nearby restaurant or other every time I had to use the toilet.

FWIW my strong, young friend reminded me of this old saying. The best laugh I had all weekend!

If it's yellow,
let it mellow.
If it's brown,
flush it down.

Lois Carmen D.
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I can only sympathize. After trying (and not succeeding) to replace a flush valve mechanism, I have determined that it is better for me to have a plumber to do the work. The only repairs I will do on toilets in the future is to replace the toilet seat when required. I just don't have the patience and skills. But I admire your willingness to tackle the project.
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But I admire your willingness to tackle the project.

Thank you. Frankly if I didn't have my strong, young willing friend, I would have never tried to tackle it by myself.

As a bit of an update, last night after posting on this board (I think it took me more than half an hour to compose it and post), I posted on the LBYM board and got a nice response with some advice at

Short story, the rec was to get plumber's putty PLUS a thing I am calling the "external seal." I've updated it and so far, still trying to figure out a method since I can't yet find this "external seal" in any of the local hardware stores. Am frustrated. Right now, this moment, I am seriously debating just using "plumber's putty" as the only additional element to try and stop the leak.

Since March (and next month, April) is a tight month for me and my toilet tank started to give me problems just a few weeks ago, I felt it necessary to try and repair it on my own. As of this morning, I think I've spent about $50 on supplies (I have gotten a new flush valve assembly, fill valve, toilet handle, I can't remember what else, a pliers, plumbers putty ) If necessary, I can keep using the old bucket of water to flush until May, when I hope I'll have some room in my budget to hire a handyman (I just received a recommendation from a hardware store to consider this particular handyman, if I run out of do-it-yourself options).

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If you are in any kind of community with Water Issues (i.e. trying to save water, water saving toilets, et cetera_) your local utility (depends whre you live) may be able to help with this, especially if you can be documented as low income / disabled etc.

A local "st vincent de paul" group (find a catholic church in your zip code) could also help, or maybe even just know a plumber who would donate assistance.

I know these are not exactly the kind of help you are looking for but at 2 am they are the kind of things that come to mind for me!

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