RV Toilet Won't Hold Water

RVing can be a unique way to enjoy the benefits of camping without having to deal with its hardships like bathroom access. It is something you can easily take for granted. At least till something stops working as it should.

When your toilet is flushed, it is supposed to hold a little bit of water back in the bowl. It might not be as much as what you will find in a regular toilet, but it is sufficient enough to stop any odors from coming out. What do you do when your RV toilet does not hold water?

Basics of an RV toilet

You would be surprised to know that an RV toilet not holding backwater is a common issue. You simply have to search on any RV forum and you will discover that you are not the first to face this.

The first thing you should know is that there are several varying RV toilet models made by different manufacturers. However, the most widespread RV toilet is Thetford’s Aqua Magic. It is possible to find other brands installed in more luxurious RVs, however, most RVs use Thetford.

While it is easy to believe that a toilet as simple as the one in an RV can’t develop a gault, this is not always the case. A major sign that something is wrong is when the RV toilet does not hold water.

For the most part, you do not have water in your RV toilet simply because the rubber seal also known as the blade seal has become damaged, or even becomes hard till it could not properly work anymore.

When the blade seal in the RV’s toilet fails, it does so because it is unable to properly function anymore. Trying to solve this issue is simple. All you have to do is remove the old blade seal and put a new one on,

 Fixing a toilet seal on a leaking RV toilet

If you know your way around plumbing or you are particularly handy, you could look to dismantling the entire RV toilet so you can replace the blade seal.

If you are unsure of your skills, there is nothing wrong with enlisting the help of a professional. This is because improperly or incorrectly fixing a toilet could result in all sorts of issues.

If you feel up for handling this repair job, then the very first thing you will have to do is to purchase the appropriate repair supplies for an RV toilet. This repair supply also includes the essential blade seal for the RV toilet. 

Selecting the right repair kit for your RV toilet

As stated earlier, the most widely found toilet model in an RV is the Aqua Magic kit by Thetford. However, this does not mean there aren’t any other varying models to select from. It also does not mean that the toilet in your RV has to be this model. This is why it imperative to first determine the kind of toilet you have in your RV.

The best way to do this ideally is to consult the RV’s owner’s manual. Doing this is quite easy and you will get all the information you require. A blade seal can be purchased at just about any hardware store that sells RV parts.

It can be purchased for about $16 to $30. Most RVers believe that they will have to pay an exorbitant fee to have their RV toilet hold water again, so this can be a pleasant surprise.

Process of replacing the seals in your RV Toilet

Turn the water off

This must 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 empty of water and since the water supply is shut off, it cannot refill.


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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 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 blade seal

To take the blade seal out, you will first have to locate it. The blade seal can be easily found at the bottom of the bowl. It has to be removed. If the blade seal has become bad or hard, it will need to be carefully removed so as not to damage the RV toilet’s bowl.

This part of the repair process has to be delicate. It is important that the toilet’s base, as well as any other parts that get sealed, are 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 blade seal

As soon as everything has been cleared, the replacement blade 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 blade seal. The drain, blade, and toilet must be properly connected.

Once the toilet is seated properly, screw the bolts back on. To help you get a better connection between the blade 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 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.


An RV toilet has to be one of the most important aspects of the RV and the role it plays in ensuring the entire camping experience is a happy one cannot be understated.

This might seem like placing too much significance on a toilet, but think about how unhappy and frustrated you would be if you in the middle of your trip your toilet broke.

Well, this article aimed to help you troubleshoot why your RV’s toilet is no longer holding water while highlighting the necessary steps to fix the issue.