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Old 08-04-2011, 21:00   #1
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Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Just installed a brand new Groco K head (see pic). After install and a lengthy flush with fresh water it was found to leak..everywhere. We had to tighten all the bolts around the outlet (where the joker valve is ) and tighten bolts around the china bowl where it meets the bronze base. We still have one leaking bolt at the bottom of the head where the chine bowl meets the bronze base, it is leaking out the TOP of the bolt (not bottom). Will call the factory on monday but until then has anyone had this problem with a new Groco K? If so, how did you fix it?

Thanks,
Erika


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Old 09-04-2011, 16:41   #2
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

It's actually possible to CAUSE leaks by over-tightening bolts and screws in components that have a gasket between 'em...'cuz over-tightening will cause the gasket to pucker...and that'll cause a leak. So the RIGHT solution MIGHT be to loosen some bolts instead of cranking 'em down. If they've been over-tightened long enough, the pucker may be permanent...in which case, you'll need a new joker valve and bowl gasker.
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Old 09-04-2011, 17:04   #3
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Good luck. I have installed two of these toilets and they both leaked around the bowl/pump gasket right out of the box (joker valve was OK). Groco site was not helpful.
My solution - hey, it works - is to coat the top of the pump with Life Caulk, set the gasket, coat the top of the gasket, then set the bowl on top. Wait about a day for the caulk to set up, then tighten the bolts - slightly. If it still leaks (of course it will still leak!) tighten a bit more. As Peggie Hall says, over tightening is easy to do and is sometimes fatal to the gasket. Keep tightening little by little until the leaking stops.
This is actually pretty frustrating considering the cost of the toilet and the rebuild kits. I have struggled with these units for twelve years now. Why I ever went with the second one I will never understand, it must be a repressed memory...

Michael
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Old 09-04-2011, 17:31   #4
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

I've had the leaking problem on a Raritan head and Peggy is/was right. The leak went away when I tightened the bolts to snug but not really, really tight.

Rich
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Old 09-04-2011, 18:47   #5
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Over tightening can even crack the china! Be careful. I have the same head for 20 years and did only one complete rebuild where I took the entire thing apart, cleaned it and replaced the rubber. Works a charm. I used to get a leak at the shaft of the crank handle. Those gasket/washers need to be the right ones and in the right position.

It's a decent head and there's a fellow at Groco who is quite helpful... forgot his name.
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Old 09-04-2011, 18:53   #6
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

I have this head and have never had any issues with it. I would try to get a new one from Groco or whoever you ordered it from. It just doesn't seem right that you should have to mess around with trying to fix leaks on a brand new head. At the very least try to get a rebuild kit out of them so you can fix it at no additional cost to yourself. (other than your time, of course).
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Old 09-04-2011, 18:56   #7
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Thanks for the feedback. I did not crank down on the bolts (I think) and I did try to tighten until the leak went away, but then I cranked down hard. but I will try to back it off again. I wonder if a complete removal of the bowl from the base may expose a problem (dagnabbit! I don't wanna do that!). We will talk to groco on monday. Doesn't inspire much confidece, but we are kinda stuck with groco cause nothing else will fit without a lot of modification. Oh well, ain't nothin easy on a boat.
Thanks again for the feedback.
Erika

PS
FYI, in my research for leaky head problem I found out that vinegar can be bad for the valves, just thought I'd pass that along.
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Old 09-04-2011, 20:29   #8
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Erika,

Jeez Louise do I know about getting to the bottom of a mechanical problem and then ooops you discover something and have to undo about 30 things and redo them.

Story

I waited until fall to tackle a diesel leak coming from my fuel injector pump. YIKES I am no diesel mechanic. I got all the exploded diagrams and identified what I thought was the offending part - an o right which cost a buck or two.. then in the off season took the thing apart taking lots of photos. It has some very very tiny parts. Had to take all sorts of things off to get to what I had to fix and even that was a bummer. Got it all together and very proud of myself and was about to test it but decided to clean up very carefully so I could spot a leak. And in my cleaning I discovered a washer in the bilge which was about 1/8" in diameter. I could hardly see it and it required tweezers to pick it up but it was definitely from inside that little pump thingy. YOP diagram showed and I didn't even notice I forget it. Took it all apart.. put the little bugger in with a tweezers and then connected all the hoses with new o rings... clean up and had to bleed the fuel system.. cleaned up yet again and the moment of truth was at hand... 6 hours after starting the project.

Joy! No more diesel fuel leak from the injector pump. Probably saved myself 300-500 buck it would have cost to get someone to tackle it.

So patience my friend and you still never know if you reassembled it correctly until the moment of truth. Leaks are a bitch. I've been dealing with them for 26 years! hahahaha
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Old 09-04-2011, 23:20   #9
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Re vinegar. It IS bad for soft rubber, but only if soft rubber is allowed to sit and soak in it...which is why you should never leave it sitting in the bowl (there goes the joker valve) and should always pump it ALL the way through to the tank or thru-hull the DRY mode. A cupful, two at most, is all that's needed...and it doesn't have to sit in the hose to work...enough gets "captured" by the inside of hose and whatever is stuck to it as it passes through to prevent mineral buildup. After an hour, rinse out the system with clean water.
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Old 10-04-2011, 17:09   #10
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Peggy and all,
Tried adjusting the bolts, no joy. Took the bowl off and found that they used a sealant? maybe? the stuff is between the china bowl and bronze base, it is very thin almost like pipe thread tape. It coats the bowl and rubber gasket but not uniform and the gasket has some dimples. Here is a link to some photos..
RAIN DOG (sorry couldnt figure out how to post a pic)

i will clean all the stuff off and put it back together. My question is do i use a liquid gasket material or leave it plain?

Thanks for the help.
Erika
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Old 10-04-2011, 17:38   #11
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Neither one...there should be a rubber gasket between the bowl and the base. See part #4 on the exploded drawing here:

http://www.groco.net/SVC-MAN-07/Sec1/pdfs/K.pdf

This was sold to you as a brand new toilet? I don't think so! Call Groco in the morning: 410-712-4242
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Old 10-04-2011, 17:46   #12
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Thanks peggy! not new, that would explain alot. Sorry, when I said liquid gasket or plain I meant plain rubber gasket. I cleaned the gasket of all junk. I tried to put it all back together but got frustrated lining up the damn gasket with the bowl so Brian is in there now trying to get it all back together. Will call groco in the morning.
Erika
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Old 10-04-2011, 17:57   #13
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

It looks like this... my re build progress photo
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Old 10-04-2011, 18:55   #14
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Yes, the gasket is critical. One time when doing my occasional head maintenance I thought it would be a good idea to grease up the gasket (using silicone grease). Big mistake. The more I tightened the bolts, the worse the gasket crept and would not seal. I finally wised up and cleaned off all the grease. Moderate torque on the bolts and all was good.

Does anyone else have difficulty with access to these bolts, especially getting them through the holes in the first place? The there just isn't enough clearance between the bowl and the bowl flange. I usually pre-feed the bolts, but this creates it's own set of difficulties. Any hints?
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:38   #15
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Re: Brand New Groco K Head: Leaks!

Paul, to get the gasket, base, and bowl lined up for "docking" I threaded two bolts up from the bottom of the base so the bolts poke up from the base. I then lowered the china bowl so the upside down bolts captured the bowl. Once in place I put the remain two bolts in proper and removed the upside down bolts and put them in properly. It was a real pain in the butt to do because I had to thread (and unthread) the upside down bolts by hand, but it did help get it all in place (though we still had to shift the darn thing around enough to wonder if the gasket is still lined up well.

Update:
Talked to Patrick with Groco. He said it does sound as if our head was tampered with before purchase. He was not sure what the white stuff was, possibly paint from the head. He did say that the bolts are supposed to be wicked tight, to the point you are afraid to crack the bowl. He offered to send me a new gasket but Brian and I decided to trade it out a whole new groco K head through West Marine where we purchased it.

Thanks,
Erika

PS
Another idea for "docking" the base to china bowl is to just have 4 pieces of dowel stuck in the base bolt holes to help guide the china bowl down while keeping the gasket in place.
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