I volunteered that it wouldn’t cost much to replace the guts of Thea’s toilet and would certainly be cheaper than replacing it in its entirety. If it did work, we would have saved a lot and if it didn’t, we wouldn’t be out much. Besides, I’ve done the whole tank replacement before when I had to. It was ages ago and under duress but I did it. This time it’s something that I wanted to try.
In point of fact, it cost under $25 for Korky’s complete, full and universal toilet repair kit from Ace Hardware. The kit includes replacements for everything inside the tank except the flush handle. I came home with it and got out every tool that I thought that I’d need; a big flat-blade screwdriver, various wrenches, sockets, variable crescents and multiple channel-locks.
Turned off the water. Drained the tank. Sopped up the excess out of the tank that never drains. And started demolition.
Fingers are amazing tools. To take the tank off, I used the big flat-blade screwdriver to loosen the bolts and my fingers to unwind the nuts. Take the hose off of the float. Well, when I put in the bidet I had to finger-tighten everything. So fingers took everything off again. Take the gasket off the drain. Fingers. Take the flange off the drain mount. Fingers. Put on the new drain stem and flapper. “Caution: do not over-tighten.” Use fingers. New float installation. Finger tighten.
The kit provides a sponge-gasket designed for compression to be placed between the tank and the bowl. Tighten mounting nuts until tank is level and stable. Do not continue tightening if tank and bowl touch. Here, my fingers are not cutting it. Channel-locks are awkward. Pliers more so. Variable crescent wrench keeps falling off the nut. Standard 13mm socket worked but the bolt stem is too long. Hey. I knew there was a reason that I owned a 13mm deep socket. It’s perfect of this job and I only have a handful of deep sockets. I must have it for this reason.
I had to do the dance of the ratchet four times over the course of three hours before I was satisfied that the installation was finished. The first time I thought that I was done, there was a major puddle. Ratchet/bolt/nut. 1. 2. 3. , 1. 2. 3. , 1. 2. 3. Tighten each of the three bolts. The second time I checked there was a blob of water. Ratchet/bolt/nut. 1. 2. 3. The third time there were a few drops of water. Ratchet/bolt/nut. 1. 2. 3. The fourth time everything was dry but one more for good measure.
Of course there’s still the realization that if I were paying myself for this job, what with the three and a half hours it took to get from demolition to the final tightening of the installation, I couldn’t have afforded to hire me to do it.