High Tank Toilet Repairs

Repairing Antique Wood High Tanks

Truly Antique tanks will usually have a copper tank liner, a brass fill valve, and a siphon-type flush valve.

The fill valve may come through the bottom of the tank as shown at right, or fill from the top of the tank.

fill valve may come through the bottom of the tank

Repair washers for flush and fill valves this old are generally not available unless you want to attempt cutting your own repair gaskets from rubber sheeting. Fortunately, new replacement parts are generally available.

Top-fill ballcocks are inexpensive and easily replaced.

Bottom-fill Ballcocks are also fairly inexpensive and easy to replace. In our own repair shop, we use the phenomenally reliable Fluidmaster 400A Ballcock. We wouldn’t use a plastic fill valve unless we felt it was the most reliable thing on the planet. By replacing the plastic nuts on the bottom of the ballcock with solid brass nuts, the plastic is hidden. For Museum-quality restorations however, we also carry solid-brass old-style fill valves.

Picture (above) shows an obsolete siphon-type flush valve. Lifting the iron “question mark” starts a siphon which drains the tank and flushes the toilet. Washers and parts for these are no longer available; complete replacement is the suggested option.
Flush Valve (above) is the “standard” size, (fits 2-3/8” hole.
Flush Valve (above) is the “standard” size, (fits 2-3/8” hole.
The 24-FV4 (above) is made by Bathroom Machineries to replace obsolete siphon-type and other flush valves that require a 2" hole in the bottom of the tank.
The 24-FV4 (above) is made by Bathroom Machineries to replace obsolete siphon-type and other flush valves that require a 2" hole in the bottom of the tank.

A common problem in replacing the flush valve in old wood high tanks is the hole in the bottom of the tank is typically 2″ in diameter; too small for a modern 2″ IPS flush valve that requires a 2-3/8″ minimum hole size. Depending on the condition of the tank, this may be solved in a couple different ways.

If the wood around the flush valve hole is a little rotten (common), or if it is tapered around the hole, we suggest backing the existing hole with a scrap board and using a 2-1/2″ hole saw to enlarge the hole in the tank to accept a standard 2″ flush valve. Our heavy brass flush valve (pictured at far left) has the extra-long shank needed to go through the extra thickness of most wood tanks.

If the tank is in good condition, you may want to consider using our special 1-1/2″ flush valve (24-FV4, pictured at left). We custom manufacture these flush valves as a replacement for obsolete 1-1/2″ and 1-1/4″ flush valves that fit a 2″ hole.

The flush lever is the part that is most likely to be in good enough condition to reuse. If the lever is missing or broken, we offer a nice
heavy-duty replacement lever.

Most antique wood tanks are lined with a copper liner. In our own shops, we NEVER use the original liner as we have to warranty anything we sell. Copper liners can be repaired using solder or epoxy; if a safer replacement is desired, our seamless vinyl tank liner may be used. Remember, the tank liner only has to fit inside the tank, it doesn’t have to fit like a glove. Any extra space between the liner and wood can be filled with styrofoam blocks or spray foam. For odd-size tanks, we have a local sheet metal shop fabricate custom stainless steel liners for us. Check with shops in your area, odds are good you’ll find one that can make a custom liner for you. With a new liner, flush valve, fill valve, and flush lever, your antique high tank should be as good as new! Remember: The staff at Bathroom Machineries are problem solvers! If the information on this page hasn’t answered your question, don’t hesitate to call or email for further assistance.

You can even send your complete tank and our custom shop can refurbish and water test the complete assembly and send it back to you perfect working order!

Marking a seamless poly tank liner for holes
Marking a seamless poly tank liner for holes
A custom stainless steel tank liner made for an odd-size tank at a local sheet metal shop.
A custom stainless steel tank liner made for an odd-size tank at a local sheet metal shop.
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