Our recent experience with an RV toilet

Our readers wrote:

> Our Thetford toilet, the one with the front flush pedal, overflowed inside the motorhome. This was clean water. The bowl just filled up and overflowed. Has anyone had this problem before and if so what do you do?

> This ALMOST happened to us. It didn’t overflow, but, my wife sat down and got her bum wet.

> It only happened once, but it makes us nervous about leaving the rig for the day with the water turned on at the pedestal.

> I think the fresh water connection on the back of the toilet is leaking but I can’t see back there even with mirrors and flashlight much less get a wrench on it to tighten. Does anyone know how the toilet comes out where I can work on the problem…please.

Here’s our recent experience with an RV toilet:

We have a Thetford toilet installed in the second bathroom of our Coachmen bunkhouse. We also had a leak… actually two, sometimes. Steve decided it must be the inflow valve and ordered a new one. This was probably a year ago. Yesterday we fixed it. It wasn’t a really big problem because the first leak was the inflow valve that leaked water into the toilet bowl. Trouble was, if I didn’t watch it, it would fill up the bowl and overflow. We are full timers and most of the time around the house to check on it. But I discovered that if I closed the flush valve slowly …with the foot pedal … the ‘second’ leak would let the water from the first leak leak into the holding tank. So we didn’t really have to repair the inflow leak on an emergency basis. We waited until we got to Lancaster, the home of my #1 son Mark, who is very slim. If you would see the very small second bathroom in our bunkhouse model you would realize why his slimness was very important.

I read the instructions that came with the new valve, and I had also tried to see the workings on the back of the toilet with a mirror, but upside down and reversed was not helpful. The instructions sent with the replacement valve kit and flange from Thetford were helpful. They listed what we needed to gather up before we began the project: towels, plastic trash bag, one cross point screwdriver and another straight one, needle nose pliers and a 1/2 inch open end wrench.

Next was a list of what to do before beginning. This of course included the suggestion of draining the holding tank and using their Thetford holding tank deodorant but we skipped over that one and also the one where they want you to dress like an on-duty hazmat cleaning crew. I had already cleaned the toilet.

Now we were ready. Mark sent me to shut off the water where we were connected to his house. There are usually two nuts bolting the toilet to the closet flange in the floor. Using the wrench Mark undid the bolts on either side. Not hard to find because the little white cover caps were not there. Turning the toilet around a bit he removed a black rubber O ring that holds the shroud together. The instructions said there were two but we only found one.

He removed three mounting screws, and a spring using the needle nose pliers then disconnected the water source from the old valve. This is where the towels came in handy. Just follow the step by step instructions. The process seemed so basic I probably could have done it myself except I couldn’t fit in the space where Mark was working.

Reverse the process to install the new valve. Hook up the spring, replace the O ring, install the new seal flange on the base of the toilet and line up the holes with the bolts. Crank ’em down tight… but not too tight.

It’s as easy as reading and following the directions … and they offer those in three languages.

While we had the toilet unbolted we put a 2.5 inch riser under it … but that’s another whole story.
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