If you're like most people, your toilet's installation instructions and parts breakdown were thrown out or lost long ago. So when the inevitable day comes and you need to repair that toilet, how do you know what to get?
Fortunately, finding the right parts isn't usually too difficult: manufacturers typically place enough information inside the toilet itself to identify the model, and from there it's (ideally) a simple matter of looking up the parts. But you do need to know where to look — and what to look for. Below, you'll find some manufacturer‐specific advice, and learn how to proceed when you can't find any identifying information.
A number of things can go wrong in a toilet; for this article, we're assuming you've already figured out what went wrong and what's needed to fix it. If you're not yet sure what's wrong with your toilet, our troubleshooting guide should aid your investigation.
Find Your Tank Number
With any toilet, the most important and helpful piece of information is the tank model number. To find it, carefully remove the tank lid (though we probably have a replacement if it breaks) and take a look at the inside walls of the tank. You should see some information stamped or etched into the porcelain.
- American Standard tank numbers are four digits long, typically starting with a ‘2’ or ‘4’. Other information like color codes (typically 3 digits) and the date of manufacture might also be found.
- Briggs toilets have model numbers that are four digits long, starting with either a ‘4’ or a ‘6’.
- Caroma tank numbers are six digits, and start with either a ‘6’, ‘7’, ‘8’, or ‘9’.
- Case model numbers will be four digits, typically starting with a ‘1’, ‘3’, ‘4’, or ‘6’.
- Crane tank numbers also use four digits (a few models have 5 digit numbers), starting with a ‘3’.
- Crane often used the same tank for a number of different toilet models, which may cause some confusion. But finding parts is very simple: trust in your tank number! Once you have it, you can simply select the closest‐looking model from our index page — but even if you choose the "wrong" toilet, as long as the tank number matches you'll be fine.
- Delta toilets are identified on our site using the model number, which will begin with a "C" followed by five digits (usually starting with a ‘0’ or ‘4’). Delta tank numbers begin with an "EP" or "RP" followed by five digits (often beginning with a ‘7’).
- Eljer tank numbers are seven digits long and typically begin with a ‘141’, ‘151’, or ‘131’ (example: 141‐1234). Sometimes the number will be repeated on the underside of the tank lid. Unfortunately, we've seen a good number of older Eljer toilets where no number was visible.
- Gerber toilets use hyphenated tank numbers, which are five digits long and begin with either a ‘21’ or ‘28’.
- Gerber tank numbers are stamped on the back wall of the tank. In pressure‐assist models, the number will be closer to the top of the tank; those without pressure assist should have the number stamped just above the water line.
- Kohler tank numbers also follow a four‐digit pattern (sometimes five), often starting with a "K‐". Sometimes a toilet or tank number will have two letters following the number (something like "‐AA" or "‐PB") — these are revision codes.
- Mansfield model numbers are typically three digits long, most of which start with a ‘1’ for two‐piece toilets or a ‘7’ for one‐piece toilets. Their newer toilets will have model numbers that are generally four digits long, most beginning with a ‘3’.
- Don't ignore the gpf rating! Mansfield has taken a somewhat different approach than other toilet manufacturers in remaining compliant with efficiency regulations. Rather than discontinuing and replacing many of their toilet designs, they have simply re‐designed the way those existing models flush — so you could have an Alto Series toilet with a 3.5gpf, 1.6gpf or 1.28gpf rating! They may look the same on the outside, but the way they work and the parts inside can be very different.
- Toto model numbers are a bit more confusing. If you have a one‐piece toilet, your model will most likely start with the letters ‘MS’ followed by six numbers — ending with either a ‘113’ (for round toilet bowls) or a ‘114’ (for elongated toilet bowls). What you really want to focus on are the three numbers between the MS and the 113/114 — this is the actual tank number. If you have a two‐piece toilet, your model will most likely begin with ‘ST’ and be followed by only the three digit tank number.
- If your model number ends with an ‘E’ your toilet is an Eco model that uses the E‐Max® flushing system. Eco models may require different parts than older or standard flush models that don't have the ‘E’, so be sure to look carefully at diagrams and product descriptions to make sure you're ordering correctly. While older flappers, valves, etc. might fit, you won't get the same efficient performance.
- There may be other letters after your model number, but most of these aren't important. A notable exception is the letter ‘R’, which means you have a right‐hand trip lever (which we're betting you were already aware of…). If you see a ‘G’, your toilet has a SanaGloss finish for easy cleaning, and if your two‐piece tank number is followed by an ‘S’, that just means you have a standard toilet (not an Eco model).
- Universal Rundle toilets will usually have a four‐digit tank number starting with ‘4’ (there may be more numbers indicating specific features). The date of manufacture should also be located somewhere inside: this can be important because once Universal Rundle was bought by Crane and became Universal Rundle Crane (URC), many of the internal components changed. For example, a Saturn 4012 made in 1987 may use very different components than a Saturn 4012 made in 1992.
- A problem unique to Universal Rundle toilets is that some newer series of toilets re‐used a model number from an older series. The Astoria toilet made after 1995, for instance, has a model number 4470 — the same number that was used for the New Venus series toilets in the 70s and 80s.
Once you have a model number for the tank, you can begin the parts search by visiting the model number listing for your manufacturer and finding the corresponding page for your toilet.
Hint: Use your browser's find feature (Ctrl + F on a keyboard, or in the menu of a mobile browser) to quickly check if your model number is listed on the toilet index page.
We show parts breakdowns for most toilets on our site, and offer a wide variety of replacement parts, from old actuators to newer flush valves. Some toilet models use several different tanks that require different parts, so make sure you're looking at the correct parts list — tank numbers are included in the headers for each section.
There are times when older parts will be discontinued and replaced by an entirely new part, which we make clear in our parts listings. Note also that some discontinued parts may not have an official replacement, but can be replaced with third‐party "universal" parts (fill and flush valves, flappers and trip levers being the most common). We refer to these as "will fit" parts, and have verified that they will work in a given tank. You'll see a lot of this with Universal Rundle/Crane especially, as that company has been out of business for some time and many of their parts have been discontinued.
Another company that's had its doors closed for a while is Case, for which parts can be hard to come by. To make matters even worse, Case had a habit of changing parts to meet manufacturing demands or to increase efficiency — so an older valve that has the same part number as a newer one may actually be slightly different, and require older repair parts that are no longer available. Be aware that all of our Case repair parts are the "new" versions, intended for use with the most recent iteration of their given valve. Sometimes these newer parts will work on an older valve, sometimes not: we cannot be certain what will work in your toilet.
Can't Find a Tank Number?
If you don't see anything on the tank walls, try looking under the tank lid. If you're lucky, the tank model number might be found there, sometimes with additional number/letter combinations and even manufacture dates. However, there's a better chance that the only number you see is for the lid itself, which won't help you figure out what parts you need. If you do find a number, look for it on our toilet model cross reference page; if it's not listed, you can assume it's merely a lid number. So, what then?
Hopefully you at least know the manufacturer of the toilet (they'll usually slap their name on between the seat bolts, but it could be noted elsewhere on — or in — the toilet). If you can find no identifying information whatsoever, you can stop reading this and head on over to our guide to finding "will fit" parts.
When you know the manufacturer of the toilet, you can visit their index page to view photos of the models for which parts are available. Take a close look at your own toilet, and compare it to the photos — you may be able to make a quick identification just based on its unique external features (the shape/size of the bowl and/or tank, a unique lid, the location of the handle, etc). It may be that you find your toilet right away, and the diagram and parts shown on the toilet's parts page match perfectly — if so, congratulations! You're the envy of many a frustrated toilet owner.
If you can't readily identify your toilet based on photos of the exterior, it's time to go inside the tank. Make a mental note — or better yet, take a picture — of the inside of your tank. Open up the parts pages for any toilets that appear similar to yours and compare the parts. You should be able to at least narrow down the list of potential models when parts don't match up. Some toilets utilize highly unique parts, making things much easier. For example:
- Eljer had a couple of models with guts like nothing else. In particular we remember the Eljer Silette which used the #79E Indiana Brass fill valve that had its gasket at the top; the tank had a built‐in shroud that the valve fit right into — that's right, a built‐in, non‐replaceable, porcelain toilet part! Unfortunately, that valve was discontinued years ago, and because of the design of the tank, a universal third‐party valve simply won't work. To the best of our knowledge no replacement was ever specified.
- Some Toto models use a flush valve with a distinctive counterbalance flapper. Flush valves can also be an easy tell: some may use square‐ish mounting hardware while others have a simple threaded locknut to secure them.
- Some Mansfield and Kohler models use a canister‐style flush valve. These valves utilize the same trip levers as their flapper‐using counterparts, but in operation the entire top of the valve is lifted, with water flowing in from all sides. Canister flush valves only come in three types — 3.5gpf, 1.6gpf, and dual flush (which are distinctly different from the other two) — so it's fairly easy to determine which style you need. Measure the existing valve or the inside of the tank to figure out what height you need.
If you're unable to match the numbers or parts found in your toilet to any of the toilets for your manufacturer, don't give up hope just yet: you may be able to use universal parts to keep things working (unless yours is a Case toilet, which require OEM parts). A bit of measuring and research should help you find something suitable. Learn how to find "will fit" parts.
Find Your Toilet Model By Picture