Thursday, September 5, 2013

One-Piece Toilet Won't Stop 'Filling' -- Broken 1B1X Lever

The failure pictured below is infrequent, but inevitable, on the 1B1X fill/float valve.

At the centre of the photograph, note the crack in the white plastic lever. That crack renders the lever no longer rigid -- the lever can flex. Consequently, the rising float can never exert enough downward force on the valve to close it, and the water just keeps on running and running and running.

I can see no practicable way to repair that, short of replacing the valve/lever assembly. Home Depot has a replacement part, as probably do many other places.

Ordinarily, this failure only results in wasted water; the needless water flow just goes down the drain. In the unlikely, unfortunate but conceivable event that the failure happens to coincide with a clogged toilet, that's another story. Such a coincidence of trouble will result in quite a spectacular flood unless the toilet's water supply valve is turned off right quick. (And please don't ask how it is that I know that.)

Anyway, a new valve/lever affair is in order, and that should be an end to this problem for another thirteen years.

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The New Part Just Arrived -- MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2013

Here's what you get if you order Home Depot's JAG part.

It's the entire float valve assembly along with some tubing and a new float rod.

The last time I had to deal with this, back in May of 2000, I was able to get just the top portion of the float valve with the lever from a plumbing supply house, and only replace that much of the float valve assembly. I wanted to do the same thing this time by simply transferring the new part's top portion to the old valve body, but I couldn't.

This part 'looks' identical to my old one, and it's no doubt functionally identical. It's not quite physically identical, though.

On the top of the old valve is embossed, "1B1X SHEATH BALLCOCK  COAST FOUNDRY & MFG. CO.  MADE IN U.S.A.". On the top of the new valve is embossed, "Anti-Siphon Fill Valve  33270". On the new valve, the three fastener holes lie on a slightly smaller radius than do those on the old valve. Hence, the top portions of the two valves cannot be interchanged.

Then,  when I went to replace the whole valve, I discovered that the old diverter valve wouldn't fit the new fill valve. Time Out!!

This was rapidly going south, and I was thinking to return the part to Home Depot and just start from scratch with a proper plumbing supply house. I decided to sleep on it. The next morning, the obvious occurred to me -- why not swap only the levers? -- it's the broken lever, after all, that's the problem.

That meant grinding off the peened ends of two pivot rivets, but that's easy to do. So, I did that, and the toilet is working properly again. Here's a view of the new lever on the old fill valve.

I used a 1/8" cotter pin for a pivot pin -- it fits perfectly.

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A Tip Regarding The Use Of Adjustable Wrenches

When using an adjustable wrench in an awkward spot like the underside of a toilet tank to tighten a fill valve's nut, I find I'm forever messing up the wrench's adjustment and having to reset it. Here's what I've taken to doing:

I wipe the wrench's head clean, set the wrench for the subject fastener, then I apply masking tape to both sides of the wrench. That works very well for me, and saves me a lot of aggravation.

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In Conclusion

Something is not right about the Home Depot's part.

When one sees a part/specification number like '1B1X', one expects that to mean interchangeability with any part calling itself '1B1X'. That certainly wasn't the case here. If you ever run into a problem with an alleged '1B1X', my advice would be to take your actual part with you to an honest-to-God plumbing supply house, and seek their help with it.

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