Bubble, bubble, toilet trouble

I was woken up at 5 AM last night by toilet trouble. Our toilet tank is sometimes refilling, sometimes not. When it doesn’t refill, it can be made to refill by opening the tank and poking at the arm on the tank valve. My dad was visiting last week and put a new wax ring under the toilet (to fix a problem with it rocking side to side). Did his fixing the toilet do something to the tank valve?

Any handy Dopers have thoughts on how we (probably the two least handy humans alive, if one is not counting those who are actually disabled) could fix this?

Doubtful. The problem is probably that the float ball arm (the thing you’re poking) is getting stuck in the raised position. Have you tried oiling its hinge?

You could go to the store and buy a $25 toilet repair kit that is easy-peasy to install. I recommend this one because it comes with a flapper (might want to replace that for good measure) but you could buy just the “tower” part and a flapper separately - as some models of toilet need special flappers.

It’s dead simple to do all this. Just need a wrench (or even better - vise-grips) and about a half hour.

When I looked into the toilet tank (bear in mind that I was without my glasses and it was 5 AM), I saw a valve that looked kind of like the one on the left in this image. Twisting the arm horizontally (like you’d twist the cap off a pop bottle) back and forth eventually got the tank to start filling. I don’t think I was moving it up and down, though I could have been (I wasn’t fully awake).

If I wanted to do that, what kind of oil would I use, and where would I put it?

Is there any way to find out if mine does before yanking any parts out of it?

As far as I know, you can put one of those towers in any toilet, and replace your ball arm with it. The whole setup is very adjustable.

As for flappers, I think when I replaced mine I just went to the store and looked at all the offerings. For the most part, the special flappers were for Kohler brand toilets. They only cost $3-5 so I picked one that was all “WILL FIT MOST TOILETS!” and there was no problem. If you have a Kohler brand toilet, it’ll say on the package “Fits Kohler model XXX” and just match it up.

You can also just turn off the water, remove the flapper and take it to the store with ya.

I think the more expensive your toilet is, the greater the possibility you need special parts. For most toilets, everything is standard size. My toilet cost $50 and came in a cardboard box, so I’ve had no problems replacing parts :smiley:

If you’re talking about the thing marked as an arm in that image, it moves up and down with the float cup, which itself moves up or down with the water level. If the float cup starts sticking to the fill valve you should lubricate it.

Ours came with the house, and I think it’s kind of old.

I dunno what to tell you other than “replace the innards, it’s super easy.” If you have one of those tower mechanisms already, like in the picture you posted, then the innards have already been replaced at least once in your old toilet.

Mine stuck for ages, and I lubed it up like RNATB suggested, and that just sort of helped and sort of made a mess. It’s just so much easier to replace everything than to worry about keeping a $20 part running smoothly.

Oh… I hate buying american, being an aussie, I prefer to support australian made, but I must say, that this is the best toilet repair product I have ever bought (twice to date). Simple to install, easy to follow, cheap, no mess no fuss, and it WORKS!! Note: both times I only required the Fill Valve - ie the main part of the system (you can purchase them seperately)

I’m surprised it works on your toilets. Or is it only hotel toilets that have that dual flushing mechanism in Australia? I never opened the tank on a toilet with a dual flushing mechanism, but I assume what I’d see if I did would be somehow different from the mechanisms in our toilet.

I could make some sort of comment here about your toilets flushing the other way from ours, but I’m not.

We have some towels whose label says they were made in Australia. They’re nice towels.

You know what? I Never gave it a thought before, but on those 2 occasions, it was actually an old style toilet using single flush button. Heh… I need to pay more attention.

Regarding dual flush - no, pretty much they are everywhere - except ofcourse in older houses like mine (30 years old).

And, thisis the only pic I could find. How stuff works had a bit of history, but no clear description of HOW it works.

Oh… they’re probably made of koala fur. Very soft!

You mahy not be handy, but you came up with the best thread title of the day, if not the week.