Yet Another Plumbing and Heating engineer


Restoring a cast-iron high-level WC cistern

Please note: I don't offer this as a service. I did this job as a one-off and present it here to hopefully inspire others with what can be done with a bit of ingenuity

WC before As found the cistern of this ancient and rather splendid high-level cast-iron WC was suffering from a crack in the casing (at the top right of the cistern)...

cistern as found

... and the pivot rod by which the handle operated the bell syphon had (after some 100 or so years of operation) rusted through.

inside of cistern as found

close up of pivot rod mechanism

Close-up of the pivot rod and the part of the cistern it should locate in.

The cistern was removed for repair. This entailed cutting the flush pipe since the coupling to the cistern was (unsurprisingly) siezed too solidly to undo. (This in turn entailed refitting the cistern about 50mm lower, and of course lowering its mounting brackets to do so.)

cistern inside

The cistern was cleaned up, the crack filled with epoxy and the cistern re-painted. The original cast-iron bell syphon and lever mechanism were discarded, after cutting off the handle to re-use in the new mechanism. A flap-type flush valve and Torbeck inlet valve were fitted to the cistern, and a lever mechanism made up out of 15mm copper tube and fittings (with the original handle attached) to operate the flap valve. A length of lead pipe is used to provide weight to return the handle and chain after flushing. It was necessary to re-locate the inlet valve to the opposite side of the cistern, fitting it in the hole vacated by the overflow pipe (the new flush valve providing an internal overflow arrangement).

cistern with new fittings

WC after

The WC with cistern re-fitted.