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  Toilet won't flush              
 

If your toilet is becoming difficult to flush then it's probably the siphon needs replacing or possibly just it's diaphragm.(you may find it difficult finding someone to sell you only the diaphragm, and they are different shapes and sizes depending on the particular siphon)

         
 

But before you attempt this just check a few things. Check that you've got plenty water in the cistern. If there's no water in there then the problem is probably with the water inlet valve (see section on cistern overflowing to see how to change the valve)

   
A fairly old cistern picture from above with traditional type ball float, siphon, and lever.  
 
Also check that the flush lever is properly attached to the flush handle and properly attached to the siphon with its metal hook. Sometimes the flush lever gets seized up. The central shaft should run freely within the plastic shaft that bolts onto the cistern.

You may need to replace the handle and handle mechanism. Use a footprint wrench to remove the retaining bolt and unhook the metal hook attaching it to the siphon.
         
             
Detaching lever. Notice quite a lot of lime scale build up within this cistern


If that all looks fine then you will need to tackle the siphon. .

First isolate the water to the cistern. Then flush it to empty the cistern.
Remove the little bit of water from the bottom as best you can with a sponge.

 

       
If your cistern is separate to the wc pan then it's a bit easier to remove the siphon than the more modern close coupled type.        
                 
          close coupled separate wc & pan    
                         

Separate cistern and pan
This is quite straight forward. Unscrew the large plastic nut under the cistern. This holds the water pipe in place. When you've slackened it that should reveal another nut holding the siphon in place. Unscrew that to loosen the siphon. Inside the cistern disconnect the now loose siphon from the hook attaching it to the flush lever and it should then pull out.

Either replace the whole thing( approx. £6) or, if you can get hold of one without buying the whole siphon try replacing the plastic diaphragm only. (pictured below)

                         

Close coupled
These involve a bit more work as you have to completely detach the cistern from the wall to get at the plastic nut holding the siphon in place.
After turning of the water supply disconnect the water intake pipe and the over flow pipe using a footprint wrench.

With a close couples cistern there are a couple of metal butterfly nuts holding down a metal bracket and a large rubber seal which clamp the cistern and pan together. Unscrew the butterfly nuts. If you can't do it with fingers use mole grips to loosen them. (or try a little lubricating fluid like WD40).

After disconnecting the cistern from the pan next you'll have to unscrew the two retaining screws which hold the cistern to the wall. The cistern can then lift off completely to give access to the plastic nut holding the siphon in place.


 
Undoing the butterfly nuts to release the bracket holding cistern and pan together
 
   
  Siphon with retaining nut and rubber washer