How To Properly Replace A Toilet In An RVAnthony Day
This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
When your RV’s toilet starts acting up or stops working entirely, your options are limited with repairs, and replacing it might be the only solution.
Many RV owners have found themselves with this problem only to be confused by how to replace a toilet in an RV.
You must first remove the old toilet by shutting off the water pump and removing the bolts, scraping off the sealant, and removing the toilet. Install the new toilet by dry fitting it to check everything fits, then secure and seal it using the manufacturer's recommended sealant.
The entire process of removing the old toilet in an RV and replacing it with a new one should only take one to two hours to complete. However, we know that it can take longer, especially when you find that you are going to the store several times during the process.
We have had to replace a few toilets in our time and have talked to several others who have had issues with replacing theirs. Having everything you need on hand before the process starts will ensure that your new toilet works perfectly even after driving up a mountain.
Tools And Equipment You Will Need To Replace A Toilet In An RV
Knowing how to replace a toilet and what you need to do correctly are almost entirely different things. Every RV has a different setup that needs to be considered, and many people have mistakenly assumed that they have everything they need already in the garage or toolbox.
We have taken a look at the most commonly used tools and materials needed to replace the toilet in an RV and compiled a comprehensive list. You should check through the tools you have on hand and ensure that you get everything when you buy the toilet from the local hardware store.
- Socket Set: Toilets rarely adhere to the floor of RVs with screws or anything other than bolts and nuts. You should have at least a basic set of sockets to properly loosen the old toilet and attach the new toilet to the floor.
- Screwdrivers: While the toilet may be bolted onto your RV's ground, several connections will require screwdrivers. Having a basic set of these on hand will be a good practice for repairing almost anything.
- Putty Scraper: Wax, silicone, sealant, or even double-sided tape are all things you can expect to find underneath the toilet. Using a basic putty or paint scraper will ensure that you can remove everything before applying the new layer of required sealant.
- Toilet: It should go without saying, but before you can remove the old toilet and install a new one, you should have the replacement toilet ready. Knowing what type of toilet you are installing will mean you already know everything required actually to replace the toilet.
- Extra Piping: During the removal process, you will most likely hurt a piece of pipe or discover a piece that is slowly cracking. We recommend you buy some extra rubber hoses and a few 50mm PVC pipes to ensure that you can fix pipes if needed.
- Silicone Sealant: You cannot use caulk on a toilet stuck in an RV; you need to use waterproof silicone rubber sealant. This is because the toilet will shake and move with the RV, which would cause caulk to almost immediately be useless.
- Toilet Wax Seal: We recommend having this on hand in the RV at all times if you have a toilet that can flush. A wax seal is made to go around the outside of pipes and seal it, usually allowing it to be molded and shaped into the perfect shape for the pipe.
- Scrubbing Pads: While a putty or paint scraper can remove everything that is causing problems, there will be some notches that have the old sealant on them. We recommend scrubbing pads on the floor to clean everything and remove the last bits of old sealants.
- Floor Flange: If you have checked on everything before starting the installation process, you should be able to use the same floor flange. However, we recommend buying a floor flange that works with your toilet just in case the old one is radically different.
- Old Rags: A customary rule to remember when working with toilets is that you cannot reuse rags or scrubbing pads. Once something has been used to clean wastewater areas, they have reached the end of its life and will be disposed of once the job is done.
How To Remove A Toilet In An RV?
Now that you have all of your recommended tools ready, we need to take a quick and fast look at how to remove the toilet. Before you can replace or clean anything, you must ensure that the new toilet you have gotten will work in your RV.
We have condensed these steps into four easy steps to get you ready to have the toilet out of your RV before any problems arise. We recommend moving fast once the process begins because there won't be an S-bend to stop smells from traveling into the RV once removed.
Shut Off Pumps
Before you do anything, you need to shut off the pump that gives the toilet water, remove the water in the toilet by flushing and make sure that the waste has been emptied as well. Doing this while the waste drums are as complete as possible will only result in tears.
Once everything has been shut off or emptied, you need to remove all the connected pipes. Starting at the top of the toilet, remove all water pipes and make sure that any mounts are disconnected as well, loosening the bolts and sealant at the bottom as the last step.
Now that your toilet is completely disconnected from everything, you can remove the toilet, which is, unfortunately, a one-person job on RVs. However, we recommend having a friend close by to help you pick up the toilet and move it into a corner where it won't be a problem.
Removing the toilet should be the most painless part of the process as it should be emptied and disconnected already. If you find that your toilet still has water in it, you need to be extra careful to ensure that you don't end up with wastewater on your leather couch.
Clean Floor And Floor Flange Area
Now that the toilet is entirely out of the way, we need to remove the old sealants; using your putty or paint scraper, lift off as much sealant as possible. Further, using your scrubbing pads, roughen up the surface to ensure it is as clean as possible where the toilet will be installed.
Many people have made the mistake of just trying to install the new toilet without cleaning the floor and end up with problematic seals. A clean surface for the new sealant to work on is essential; otherwise, you will most likely have the toilet spill water at least once while driving.
How To Install Your New Toilet In An RV?
Once your toilet has been removed from the RV or camping trailer, we need to start installing the new toilet. Many people have made the mistake of trying to rush things, usually because of the smell and end up with a toilet that slowly leaks into the floor's wood.
You will be able to install the toilet in three steps, making it much easier than removing the toilet would have been. We recommend reading through the instructions given by the toilet manufacturer, as they may have special requirements we are unaware of.
Check Floor Flange Fitting
You need to check that the current floor flange will work with your new toilet and then either replace it or clean it with a scrub pad. Once that is done, you must dry-fit the toilet over the flange to ensure the pipes are long enough to reach the brand-new toilet.
Usually, you may have to extend the water supply pipes and not much else, because the toilet waste will go through the floor flange. However, we also recommend checking that the toilet sits flush with the floor at this moment.
Apply Silicone Rubber Sealant & Install Toilet, Then Connect Pipes
Once you are sure that the toilet will fit and that all the pipes will be able to reach the toilet, you should remove it and start applying the silicone rubber sealant. The only spot you need to apply this silicone is around the floor flange where the wastewater will be going through.
Every other water connection to the toilet will only require some plumbers tape to adhere to the fittings. However, it should be noted that when connecting plastic fittings to plastic fittings, a plumber's tape is not required as plastic naturally forms a perfect seal when connected.
Test Water Flow And, If Needed, Use Wax Seal
Once everything is dry, reenable your RV's water pump within two to three hours and test the toilet. Make sure to have several towels on hand to stop the flood if something has been forgotten or disconnected.
If you find the seal on the floor is leaking, you can use the wax seal around the bottom of the pool or the outlet pipes. This seal can flex just as well as the silicone rubber and give you extra peace of mind if you don't trust your work entirely.