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I've got one that's doing the ol' dribble for a few minutes after flush. Ran out to the store today to get new seals with the plan of replacing the inlet seals and scraping out the gunk. However, it appears you can't buy just seals any more. Everything is a complete inlet side replacement. With how cheap they are, no surprise, the seals used to cost nearly that much! However, other than a couple that listed very specific toilets they say "fit almost all toilets"... Is this one of those things you just have to buy, try, and throw away if it doesn't fit? Other than carrying the old parts into the store and trying to look at them for comparison, is there a standard?

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Exactly where is the leak? On the pipe going into the tank? In between the tank and the bowl? From the flapper seal into the bowl? A the floor level around the bowl? –  bib Sep 27 '12 at 16:39
    
Internally in the fill tube. Doesn't seal/seat properly right away, takes a few minutes to "settle in" and stop the water flow from the inlet. –  Brian Knoblauch Sep 27 '12 at 19:07
    
Is it leaking into the tank or onto the floor? –  bib Sep 27 '12 at 19:55
    
Leaking into the tank. –  Brian Knoblauch Sep 27 '12 at 19:58

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are a few odd flapper styles, such as American Standard (read non-standard)

am sdt flapper

Others offer flapper and seat combo

flapper seat

Then there are simply universal flappers of various designs

flapper

Steps to repair:

  • remove the flapper
  • see if seat seems smooth and intact
  • if not, get a flapper/seat combo based on the type of flapper removed
  • if it is sound, check the flapper attachment mechanism
  • both pins/prongs should be intact
  • if not, get a flapper and mounting mechanism based on type of mechanism in tank
  • if it is sound, you may just need a new flapper
  • take flapper (and attachment ring, if needed) to store to be sure of match

Most recent flapper attachment mechanisms are plastic rings (old style were brass with bolts) that snap around the inlet tube.

SUPPLEMENT: Based on the added comments, it sounds as if your fill valve is clogged or broken. The valve may look like this (a relatively recent type)

fill valve

The arm on top rises with the float around the tube and shuts off a valve internally. On this type, the top cap can be removed by pressing down on it and rotating counterclockwise. There is often grit in the valve, right under the cap, that can interfere with its closure. You can clean out the grit, reinstall the cap, and the valve may work fine. If not, replace it for less than $10.

There are other types of fill valves, including some older brass ones that may be harder to service. It is usually easier to replace them than fix them. They are pretty standard, height being the primary difference, and there are adjustable height valves available. They install pretty easily, but be sure to check for leaks from the bottom of the tank after installation.

There are a few newer, more complicated filling and flushing mechanisms, but you would need to provide a picture for info as to how to service.

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Ended up replacing the fill mechanism with one identical to your last picture! –  Brian Knoblauch Oct 7 '12 at 1:28

Anecdotal:

I had to replace the lever in my Toto toilet. I went to the store, asked for a lever with a dual 45 degree bend "S" in the lever. The guy got me one. I had to return it, because Toto has multiple lever models with dual 45 degree S bends in them. I never thought they were that specialized.

In short, it depends.

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From my experience, most toilets with a separate tank and base that you find in a home are standard. The few exceptions I've seen are:

  • Some bolts attaching the tank to the base may be a slightly different size, and if your old bolts are a smaller diameter, you should reuse them. Forcing a larger bolt can result in cracking the toilet, requiring a complete replacement.

  • Newer high flow/low volume toilets may have a larger opening for the flapper. Measure the diameter of your flapper valve and compare that to what's in the store.

  • Some fancy toilets have a pressurized system to flush fast. They have a distinct flush, the lever will often bounce back when you flush it, and it will have more than a simple flapper valve inside.

  • You may have a hard time realigning the line from the shutoff valve to your toilet if the previous plumber used a solid pipe and compression fittings instead of a flex line. A replacement flex line is pretty standard, and it's worth it to pay extra for a high quality one since this is under constant pressure.

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