Toilet Repair – Replacing the Flush Lever and Flapper

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,582
    Les Zell, Contributing Editor with The Family Handyman magazine, shows you how to replace the flush lever and flapper on a standard bathroom toilet.

    Les Zell: Hi! I am Les Zell, Contributing Editor with The Family Handyman magazine, the leading Do-it-Yourself magazine, and today we're talking about toilet repair. So, we're going to focus now on the flush lever and the flush valve, this is the mechanism that lets the water out of that tank to flush out the bowl.

    And the first thing, you are going to want to do is properly remove this flush lever, and it's important to remember that this is the one part of the toilet that has a left-hand thread on it most of the time. So I am going to out my channel lock on it, and I am going to turn it what would be backwards. It's one of the only left-handed nuts mostly that you'll find in a toilet. And now I'm going to remove the flush lever, unhooking the flush valve seal, and I'll pull it out of here. Now this is a proprietary flush lever for this particular toilet. You could go to the big-box hardware stores and find something like this, they're very inexpensive and try and bend it but we find that they also are not high-quality. So what I'm going to use for this, if you don't have the correct one or you don't want to pay extra money is, I am going to use a universal floor lever that you can find at most hardware stores and we're going to put this in to replace the old flush lever. Okay, I am going to disassemble this flush lever so that I can insert it into the toilet tank. And again, that's another left-handed nut. We want to make sure we have our notch positioned to receive the notch in the handle, like so, and then we're going to snug this up on the inside. And there is a rubber gasket, so it doesn't need to be very super-tight but we want to get it tight enough so they won't loosen up. And now we're going to position our flush lever right here and the bolt through the rod and then we're going to attach our wing nut from the bottom with a screwdriver. There, now our flush lever is attached and installed. It's going to need a little fine-tuning or adjustment here so we're going to bend it in just a little bit and then we're going to snug this screw up so that it's tight, there. Now our flush lever operates and we should be able to hook it up to our flush valve seal. We're going to remove the old one by pulling these rubber pieces off of their ears, and you might want to save that so that later on, you can make sure this is the right one and will work properly in your toilet. Now we're going to insert our new flush valve seal onto the ears. Now we're going to adjust our chain so that there is just enough chain that it doesn't pull the flush valve seal up off of the flush valve and it's short enough that it will give it a complete stroke. So we're just going to disconnect this hook from the chain and we are going to insert it down to the last loop of the flush lever, and now we're going to lift our chain and measure the dimensions. I'll adjust that down a little bit. We're going to adjust the dimensions so that this last hook right here or loop goes right onto the hook. There, now we have a real short stroke and it should lift it high enough to flush. I am going to pinch the hook shut so that the chain won't fall off it. Now, if you follow these tips, it will work properly. There are many variations to it but this simple fix is a real good basic way to get started doing your own repairs.

    Videos in this Series