Dave Solberg

Troubleshooting an RV Toilet

Dave Solberg
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Duration:   2  mins

While there’s not too much that can go wrong when it comes to the pretty simple appliance that is an RV toilet, there are a few things you should know about your toilet in order to properly troubleshoot the rare problem that might arise. Trust us, you don’t want to be unfamiliar with your toilet when you’re somewhere up a mountain in negative temperatures and discover that the bowl won’t hold water…

You’ll typically only have to worry about one key part of the RV toilet, and that’s the seal that separates the basin from the drain and retains water. This little component is liable to become clogged if you flush anything that ought not be flushed, and it’s also prone to cracking when left for long periods without use. In this quick lesson, RV expert Dave Solberg teaches you about some of the things you should be aware of when maintaining an RV toilet, including what to do in the vent of a clog or seal crack.

Pre-Trip Checklist

The dos and don’ts of an RV toilet

From time to time you may encounter an issue with your RV toilet, such as when the seal doesn’t seem to want to close completely, which results in a half-full or empty basin. To help you take care of this problem, Dave introduces the common causes of a malfunctioning toilet, as well as what to flush and not flush, and then he teaches you a simple trick to troubleshoot a faulty seal.

First things first, never flush paper towels down and RV toilet (or any other one, for that matter). Let’s just get that out of the way. Secondly, to avoid serious issues down the road, always take action at the first sign of a clog. Dave teaches you how to use a common household implement to get this job done. Furthermore, as soon as you see evidence of a seal or valve that won’t properly hold or shut, do yourself a favor and apply toilet seal lubricant and conditioner. Or if you’d like to avoid the added cost, some vegetable oil will do in a pinch. This is equally important when winterizing your RV for a roadtrip late in the year or storing it for hibernation.

Oftentimes a faulty seal occurs through no fault of your own. In certain parts of the country you’ll utilize hard water that can cause lime buildup along your drain and pipes. For that issue, there’s CLR. A healthy dose of this magic mixture, and your problem will be quickly solved!

In addition to clearing any blockages and treating lime buildup, you should also be sure to check your toilet and its components for any cracks that can lead to leaks. The attached sprayer is a common culprit, so Dave recommends a couple of solutions if you discover a faulty or leaking sprayer. With his simple tips, you’ll be able to shore up any problems with your RV toilet, and you can guarantee to give it a long lifespan and get your full money’s worth!

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37 Responses to “Troubleshooting an RV Toilet”

  1. Elaine Hulse

    We have pop up camper starcraft comet with a toilet shower combo but when we unwinterized it the button to flush toilet didn't work. We looked and fuse is good, all electrical connections hooked. Any ideas why doesn't work????

  2. Jeffrey

    Another little trick to fixing your toilet seals is: If your toilet isn't holding water, you may have a defective seal as Dave said. But, it is possible that the seal may have become DRY and won't hold water. This happened to me and a real simple solution is to pour a POT of Hot water in the bowl and let it sit. When you check it in several hours, you should have standing water in your bowl, since the HOT Water has reshaped the seal and it should work fine without having to replace the seal. Haven't had a problem since!

  3. Hannah

    Hi there! I bought a 2006 Terry that had on Ed been lived in, but sat for a bit unused, with no water or climate control operating. The toilet flap is stuck shut and will not open at all, but when adding water to the bowl, it won't hold water either. Any advice?

  4. Mike Allen

    My macerator toilet won’t flush. The water is on and the green light is on the switch.

  5. Mary & David Paul

    How can I reattach the black tank valve underneath attached to the green in my 4100 cyclone toy hauler

  6. Ron

    the toilet in my rv won't flush. Water will come in but the slide at base will not open

  7. Willie Spurlin

    Our alverez or flap will not open when wee press the peddle what do we do

  8. Larry Reed

    Have Thetford toilet in our 2005 meridian itasca motor home and our toilet is leaking. Do you know how to figure out the model for new gaskets and seals?

  9. Jason Hapner

    New RV’er here.. have a 2020 FR Rockwood 2892BH. Great fiver, but have nothing but plumbing issues since day 1. Generally loose fittings seem to be the culprit, but now the toilet seal wont keep water in the bowl. Again new to this, but not sure how to troubleshoot it. I am very handy and can definitely do it y’er self, but overly cautious with this rig. Any help is greatly appreciated. - Jason

  10. Judith

    My commode is leaking around the base on the floor. We checked the flat slide that open to release the waste and scrape some build up off but noticed still small trickle on the floor next morning. Is there a seal like a regular commode u can replace.

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