Replacing a toilet cistern

Have you ever seen just how curious a 4 year old can be? My 4 year old wondered what was under the impossible-to-replace vitreous china Cistern lid. As a result, I needed a new cistern lid (my 4 year old survived unscathed).

Turns out that you can’t buy a Cistern lid in Brisbane, so read on and learn how to replace the entire toilet cistern…

Materials List

  • Toilet Cistern
  • Small metal strip

The Problem

Here is a picture of my old cistern lid:

Smashed cistern lid

Oh dear.

I decided to try and fix it. Multiple people advised me that this was a bad idea, and I wouldn’t be able to do it. I ignored common sense, experience, and reason and pressed onward.

I glued the lid back together with epoxy. I sanded it. It fell apart. I re-glued it with building glue. I made the mistake of not using expoxy filler and tried to compensate with extra paint (expoxy enamel).

Do not try to fill gaps with extra paint.

It doesn’t work. You end up with a layer of thick ugly paint, which may be liquid paint underneath. The finish will be terrible. You will need to sand it. I ended up with this abomination:

Badly painted cistern lid

I tried to sand it, but the paint hadn’t bonded properly, causing patching of it to lift. There’s a reason why people tell you not to paint ceramic/china toilets.

Time for Plan B!

I managed to find a whole new Cistern on Gumtree for $20. Brand new, never used, but from a different model of toilet. I checked out the measurements on Caroma’s website, and it seemed like a close fit - with only 1mm difference between the mounting holes. Caroma were able to confirm that was a match.

If you are buying a Cistern, measure up the mounting holes for your old cistern (the holes in the top of the toilet bowl), then call the manufacturer to confirm that it is compatible. You will save yourself a lot of potential pain.


  • 2 x Shifter spanner (to remove the water line)
  • Power drill/driver


  • sizing up the enemy


    The before shot. Turn off the water line next to the toilet. Unscrew the seat (this is usually a couple of thumb screws underneath the hinge at the back). Flush the toilet to clear out the excess water.

    Use the shifter spanner to undo the water line. There should be a braided line with a screw on connector. You can use the 2 shifter spanners to undo that connector. Use one to hold the connector, and the other to unscrew the fitting.

  • removing the cistern


    There should be screw(s) holding the cistern to the wall. Remove them, taking care to catch the cistern if it falls away from the wall. In my case I found a large amount of silicon as well, which I have to remove with a knife. Lift the cistern off the bowl. Once the cistern is out of the way, take this opportunity to clean around the bowl where the seat normally sits.
  • Fitting the new cistern


    To secure the new cistern, there are 2 attachment points. The cistern will have 2 bolts that go through matching holes on the bowl, and there will be the screw points on the cistern. Lift the cistern into place (putting the bolts through the holes). Holding the cistern in place with one hand, use your other hand to screw the nuts onto the end of the bolts. Only hand tighten at this point.

    In the photo, note the metal bracket I used to secure the cistern to the wall. Any flat piece of metal will do, I just used a spare bracket I had lying around. Use an appropriately sized screw and fix to a wall stud if possible, or use a plasterboard anchor.

  • put it all back together


    Use your shifter spanner to tighten up the bolts you placed under the bowl earlier. Be very careful not to over-tighten, or you will break the bowl. Attach the water line using the reverse process to step one. Turn it on and allow the cistern to fill. If you see water leaking, turn the tap off immediately and check that the connections are tight enough.
  • all done


    Put the lid on, and give it a test flush. Reattach the seat. All done! Easy, right?


Fix Visual Studio taking a long time to load debug symbols

I lost a good couple of hours tracking this one down. If Visual Studio is taking a very long time to load debug symbols when debugging (think 5 minutes to 30 minutes), try this…

Delete all break points (Debug - > Delete All Break Points).

Sometimes something small like this can be a lot more frustrating than a big issue. Hopefully this saves someone from going crazy.