RVing can be a unique way to enjoy the benefits of camping without having to deal with its hardships like bathroom access. What if your toilet is leaking? Do you know what to do?
You could choose to take it over to a local dealership so it can be sorted, however, that is quite expensive, fixing the leak that seems to stem from the toilet’s base is something simple that just about anybody can handle it.
If the toilet in your RV is leaking onto the floor, the main cause could be a worn seal between the RV’s black water holding tank and the toilet. If you want to fix this issue you will need to do the following:
- Purchase a flange seal which has been created for your RV’s toilet
- Turn the water supply off
- Drain the toilet by flushing it
- Move the toilet away from the floor
- Change the seal
- Place the toilet back
- Switch the water supply on
Tools you need
Repairing a toilet leak in your RV is something that you can do as it does not require you to be technically sound. You simply need to gather the necessary equipment and tools. Thankfully, you do not require any specially created equipment to sort out a leaky toilet, however, there are a few tools you require.
You will need a new seal for the RV toilet
Considering that RV toilets do not use regular household plumbing parts, you will have to get spare parts that have been created for your particular RV toilet. Seals and repair kits are sold online and by RV dealers.
A socket or wrench set is necessary
An RV toilet is typically kept in place by 2 to 3 bolts. While it is possible to utilize, a crescent wrench using good sockets or wrenches can be a better fit. There are some models that place the bolts in hard to get to places. You could use a socket set in conjunction with an extension bar and u joint to reach them.
A putty knife
This might be necessary as there are times when the flange becomes gummy making it difficult to remove. You can use a putty knife to pry it off.
When plumbing fittings are disconnected, it is always best to place a sealant on the pipe’s thread before you reconnect it.
A mirror can prove useful as it can help you check the back of the RV toilet for any signs of a leak.
Towels specifically old towels can be useful here as there is always a bit of stray water when any plumbing fix is undertaken. These towels can help keep things dry.
Having to pull a toilet is something that can get quite messy. Additionally, difficult to reach places can be accessible when your toilet is moved. It makes sense that you clean these places since you can. Don’t forget your cleaning supplies.
Steps involved in troubleshooting and fixing
Verify where the leak is coming from first
Prior to pulling the RV toilet up, you should take the time to figure out where exactly the leak is emanating from. It would be frustrating to pull the toilet out only to discover the leak is emanating from another location. At this point, you can utilize a hand mirror to check the bottom and back of the fitting to know if it is in fact leaking.
Monitor the bow for a crack and ensure that water is not leaking from higher up. Other places where common leaks happen are the flush and water inlet valve. Looking around the exterior of the bowl could also help you doublecheck the model.
Turn the water off
It is important that this be the very first step you take when dealing with plumbing issues. The majority of RVs are equipped with a water valve that leads to the toilet. The supply can be switched off at this point.
If you are unable to find this valve or if your RV does not have one, you can turn the water off by disconnecting the water hook-up or turning the water pump off. As soon as this is done, you should flush the toilet. Doing this ensures that the toilet is completely empty of water and since the water supply is shut off, it cannot refill.
Disconnect the toilet so you can remove it
Typically, an RV toilet is kept in place with 2 or 3 bolts. These bolts might be covered, so you should be searching for caps peeking out at the toilet base. You will have to remove the caps using a putty knife to loosen them up.
At this point, you can use a socket or wrench to take the nuts out. the location of these bolts tends to vary depending on the RV manufacturer. Some RVs might take a page from household toilets by using 2 bolts, with one on either, while others might use a front and back layout. Others might just use 3 bolts.
Take the water supply hose off from the inlet valve. This will enable you to move the toilet up and away. if the water supply has not been disconnected, then it is unlikely you will be able to actually move the toilet at all.
Once the toilet has been moved, you will want to place a plastic bag over the drain hole. While this might not be completely necessary, it can be good to protect you from accidentally dropping tools in the drain. Additionally, it can help curb the foul smell.
Take out the flange seal
To take the flange seal out, you will first have to locate it. Sometimes it might be just right on the drain hole or it could still be on the toilet. It has to be removed. If the flange seal has become gummy or it was created from wax, it will have to pry loose with your putty knife. It is important that the toilet’s base, as well as the flange on the drain, is clean so that the seal can connect.
Clean the toilet base
Given that the toilet is not in the way, you can take the time to clean that area while it is accessible. Ensure that the area is scrubbed clean.
Change the flange seal
As soon as everything has been cleared, the replacement flange seal can be put in place. It should be centered right above the toilet drain. If there are any unique directions on the seal, ensure that they are followed.
Place the RV toilet back
Before doing this, ensure that the plastic bag or rag placed over the drain is removed. After doing that, put the toilet back. Ensure that it is centered on the drain and the flange seal. It is imperative that the drain, flange, and toile are properly connected. Once the toilet is seated properly, screw the bolts back on. To help you get a better connection between the flange and RV toilet, you can sit on it to ensure that it stays in place whilst you tighten the bolts.
One thing you should never do is overtighten the bolts. If the bolts are too tight, it could damage the toilet if it is plastic. If it is porcelain, it could break. The bolts have to be firmly in place; however, they do not need to be tightened like a wheel lug nut.
Connect the water supply back
To do this, you will have to ensure the threads are clean on the supply nozzle. Pipe sealant or Teflon tape should be applied on the threads to ensure that there is a fresh clean to stop any leaking. This is important as there are times when the sealant on supple hose would lose its strength after being removed.
Test the RV toilet out by turning the water on
Once everything has been reconnected, you can move to turn on the water supply so you can test the connections. The toilet should be flushed a couple for a couple of times to ensure that there are no leaks. If the steps above have been followed diligently then you should not have leaks anymore.
At this point, your RV toilet is completely fixed and you can be confident that it won’t have an issue when you go camping. Just ensure that you follow the directions and never skimp on the sealant.