This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy thru these links, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Under normal circumstances, the toilet in your RV retains water in the bowl. The most important reason for that water is to block odor from coming up into the living space.
The proper method of use in an RV is to hold the water valve open after flushing to allow about an inch of water to sit in the bottom after the valve has closed.
When that inch of water mysteriously disappears awhile after flushing it’s an indication that the rubber seals around that large valve have gotten hard or damaged and are no longer doing the job.
Aqua Magic RV Toilets
Aqua Magic toilets produced by Thetford are the most common toilets found in all but the most expensive of RVs.
There are a few other brands, including some that are ceramic and similar to what you find in a home.
If your RV cost less than $100,000, odds are pretty good you have a Thetford Aqua Magic toilet.
One nice feature of the Thetford RV toilet is the fact that Aqua Magic parts are readily available. As a result, repairing rather than replacing the RV toilet is a common practice.
What Can Go Wrong With An RV Toilet?
The RV toilet is a straightforward device with pretty much only 2 areas that may cause you any problems:
- The blade seals for the wide valve at the bottom of the bowl — explained above.
- The water valve — water continues to run when you release the water valve control handle (or pedal, depending on your model).
Of course being that the whole toilet is plastic, if you happen to break any parts, you will find most are readily available.
How To Repair An RV Toilet
To repair your RV toilet, follow these steps:
- The first step is to turn off the water pressure — either by turning off the “City Water” valve or turning off the on switch for the on-board water pump.
- Flush the toilet to bleed off any remaining water pressure and to empty all water out of the toilet bowl.
- The toilet will have to be removed in order to work on it, as repairs are made from the rear or bottom side.
- Remove the 2 bolts (one on each side) that secure the toilet to the floor. You’ll then be able to lift the toilet away from the wall and access the water connection at the back side of the toilet. With the water line disconnected, you can then remove the toilet to a nearby work bench or table.
- You might want to lay a cloth rag across the hole to help keep odors at bay, and to prevent anything from falling into the black water tank.
- Unlike house toilets, RVs don’t use a wax ring to seal the toilet to the drain pipe. Instead, you will have a rubber ring that will act as the seal.
- Depending on what portion of the toilet your repairs are concerned with, refer to the parts diagram that comes with the repair kit for disassembly instructions. Be sure when you order parts for the specific brand and model number of your RV toilet.
- If you’re repairing the blade seals, before you reinstall the toilet in the RV, pour a quart of water into the toilet to make sure the new seals will hold water.
- If you’re replacing the water valve on the back of the toilet, once you have reinstalled the water line, pressurize the water system to make sure the valve doesn’t leak. If it passes this test, then go ahead and bolt it back down to the floor.
- It’s recommended that you install a new rubber seal between the toilet and the floor flange when you reinstall the toilet.
Toilet problems can really put the damper on a good RV outing. Fortunately repairing them isn’t really as bad as it sounds. The stinky part stays in the black water tank.
I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller… you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I’ve shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide! Many of them have over 25K shares.