How to Fix a Toilet Without a Chain

If your toilet doesn't have a chain but it has a flapper, it probably has a lever arm that controls the flapper. The lever arm on a no chain toilet flapper toilet, such as a Mansfield toilet, extends from the flush handle to a rod connected to the flapper. It works the same way as a chain, but unlike a chain, it can never be too long or too short and it never falls off. It can crack or break, though, and when that happens, it's easy to replace.

Plumber repairing the mechanism of a toilet
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How to Fix a Toilet Without a Chain

If your toilet has a push button on the top and no flapper, it might be a pressure-assist toilet, such as a Sloane Flushmate. Poor flushing can be due to problems with the water supply or with the pressure tank. Except in cases in which the tank is cracked, you can fix most of these problems yourself, usually without tools.

Mansfield Toilet Lever Replacement

The toilet handle arm on a Mansfield toilet doesn't actually raise a conventional flapper. Instead, it raises a no chain toilet flapper, which is a small circular disk that seals water out of the flush valve when the tank is full. The seal on the flapper can bind, requiring you to use extra force to push the flush handle. This can cause the plastic lever arm connecting the handle to the flapper to bend or break. When the toilet handle arm is broken, you can find an inexpensive replacement at most hardware stores.

To replace the toilet handle arm, open the tank lid and unscrew the plastic nut securing the handle to the tank. You can usually do this by hand. If not, use a wrench. Keep in mind that it's a reverse thread nut so you have to turn it clockwise to loosen it. Unhook the other end of the arm from under the flapper rod and pull out the entire handle arm assembly through the hole in the toilet tank. Insert the new handle arm assembly and slide the plastic nut onto the end. Hook the end of the lever under the flapper rod and tighten the nut by hand – turning it counterclockwise – to secure the handle arm assembly to the tank. You can use the same replacement procedure when only the toilet flush handle is broken.

Pressure-Assist Flushing

A Sloane Flushmate is another type of no chain toilet flapper toilet. But there's one major difference: This toilet, and others like it, doesn't have a flapper at all. Instead of a conventional tank filled with water, it has a sealed pressure tank containing a certain amount of air that gets compressed when it fills with water. This type of toilet usually has a push button on the top of the tank. When you press it, a valve opens and lets the water out. Because the water is under pressure, it pushes the contents of the bowl into the waste line. This flushing mechanism has many advantages over a conventional gravity flush valve, and about the only disadvantage is that it's loud.

Troubleshooting Poor Pressure-Assisted Flushing

When a pressure-assisted toilet doesn't flush well, the cause could be poor water pressure at the water supply. The first step in troubleshooting is to disconnect the water supply and check. There should be enough pressure to fill a gallon bucket in under a minute. While you have the water disconnected, check the screen on the inlet hose for debris that could be obstructing water flow.

Next, you'll want to check the air intake on the pressure tank, which is a small aperture on top of a vertical pipe attached to the tank. Put a spoonful of water on the hole and flush. The water should get sucked into the aperture. If not, unscrew the cap and clean the screen inside. If it's damaged, replace it. After you do this, make sure the armature connected to the flush button actually pushes down the rod on the flush cartridge. Adjust it if necessary.

If you're still having problems, unhook the actuator and remove the flush cartridge by pulling it out. Replace the O-rings and check for leaks. Replace the cartridge if it's cracked or otherwise damaged.

Chris Deziel

Chris Deziel

Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience, and he is also an avid craftsman and musician. He began writing on home improvement topics in 2010 and worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. He currently contributes a monthly property maintenance blog on A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at