Toilet…

After 16 months of ownership, I decided it was time to replace the seals in the toilet. What happens after they age (and these seals are likely 2002 originals) is that they don’t hold water in the bottom of the toilet anymore. This isn’t all that big of a deal, but it does contribute to smells…in the case of this toilet and RV not that big of a problem, but happens occasionally. It’s taken quite a while to get around to it because of the lack of necessity. The toilet has a china bowl with a foot pedal to fill or flush.

Toilet works well, is comfortable, is perfectly fine in all other ways so repair rather than replacement is called for. I debated whether to replace both the seals and the flush ball at the same time but a friend of mine replace her seals and that took care of her problem of leaking so I opted to just replace the seals this time.

Amazon carries the parts for this Sealand Series 500 toilet by Dometic. So I bought the seal kit from them: P/N 385316140

The kit has just two large disks, one of which is grey PTFE plastic. The other is black rubber. Here’s what they look like. See the grey one underneath the black one? That’s how they’re to be installed on the stand. The grey one first then the black one. The grey one has a ‘This side up’ note embossed into the rubber.

First thing is to turn off the water, then press the foot pedal to empty the toilet. Than put on your rubber gloves. There’s a clam shell cover under the bowl that covers the support base from just under the bowl to the floor. That is removed by unscrewing one screw on the water valve side. Open it up a bit and remove. Set it aside.

 Once that’s off, loosen the screw holding the stainless steel clamp and allow the clamp to drop down onto the lower stand (that black section). On mine, the SS clamp screw was way in the back. Once the screw is a bit loose, the clamp can be turned so it’s easier to access.

Then there are two plastic pieces that act, in conjunction with the SS band, to hold the formed ceramic toilet bowl ceramic ring to the base. Remove those and set aside. Then rock the toilet forward so you get your hand behind and carefully tug the water supply out of the friction fit hole in the back of the toilet. Once that’s safely out (and too much enthusiasm when removing it can break the water valve, ask my friend), remove the toilet and either put it in the shower or the tub if you have one. I just put it in a plastic kitchen tub on the bathroom floor.


And here are the two replacement sealing rings installed on the stand. First though, I took a plastic scouring pad with a few drops of Dawn and scoured the ball valve. Then I threw that pad in the plastic garbage bag I had just for this job, along with the old seals.

This picture shows, on the floor, the two plastic pieces that form a ring and that the SS clamp goes around. Those three parts are what hold the toilet securely to the base and keep it from rocking or falling off. The instructions that came with the seals tell you that the grey disk has a ‘this side up’ warning, and it mounts onto the base first. Followed by the black disk right on top of it. Align the U shaped notch in the edge of both disks to the notch that’s on the side of the base, AND, if you have the type of toilet that has an overflow port, there is an additional hole in each disk. Align those if you have the overflow feature. I don’t, so I flipped the black disk over so those hole didn’t align. OK, ready to place the toilet back on…

And that’s just the reverse of removal. First you hold it in position but tilted a bit so you can insert the water supply hose into the hole on the back of the toilet. It’s a friction fit, doesn’t seem loose at all so there’s no worry about it popping out of the hole. Then carefully set the toilet in position, here you need to look inside the toilet and perhaps move it around so the seal edge you can see down inside the bowl is the same all around the opening, do this before you tighten the SS band clamp. I loosely assembled the two plastic pieces and the clamp so I could shift the toilet position and rotate it a bit into position but didn’t have to worry about dropping it. It’s important that the disks are positioned so that the portion that visible inside the bottom of the toilet is visible evenly all around the ball valve. This helps prevent leaks. Once it’s looking good, checked that the rear of the toilet is aligned parallel with the wall, then screw down the SS clamp, keeping the screw itself near the back of the toilet where the plastic has been moulded to leave room for it in when the cover is installed. Turn on the water, check for leaks, replace the cover and you’re done. Easy.

Time for the ol’ water test. Fill with water, and let it sit. A few hours later, it had the expected level of water still inside so the job was a success.

And then I noticed that there was a puddle of water on the floor next to the toilet. So removed the plastic surround and further tighten the SS band clamp. That seemed to do the trick and it’s been dry ever since. Fairly easy job, except the toilet is fairly heavy and bulky, so it’s best if there’s somewhere already available to store it for a few minutes when it’s removed, like in a plastic bin as shown earlier or inside the shower.

6 Responses to Toilet…

  1. Ron Higginbotham says:

    We also have a 2002 Journey DL 36GD we just purchased with 42k miles. The former owner installed a composting toilet. We would like go back to the conventional toilet, but I haven’t located the water lines that feed the toilet. Can you tell me where they are in the bathroom? I’ve looked all around the toilet and see nothing. Weather has been crappy here since we brought it home 3 weeks ago, so haven’t dug into it too deep.
    Also have you had any issues with the lights circuit breaker tripping under fridge and fuel guage not working. Didn’t know if these were common issues.

    Wow, a ’02 Journey with only 42K miles. I’m so jealous. Mine had 70K on it when I bought it.

    Just checked the brochure for your rig, and it’s exactly like mine as far as the BR goes. My toilet, as you face it, has the water supply coming up through a 1″ diameter hole on the left side. The hole is around 5″ from the bathroom/living room wall, and 6″ from the outside wall. And with a 1/2″ PEX pipe coming up from below that goes to the toilet. If you can’t find your pipe, than I suspect the PO customized the RV to come with the composting toilet. Which means the techs at the factory could have done anything with the setup. But…water is likely available just below the toilet, if they left the plumbing there. Or you might have to run your own plumbing over to the water bay. I can tell you though, the newer PEX plumbing is a joy to work with. So that’s not that hard of a DIY project.

    Those CBs are for 12 volt lights, so the first thing I’d check for is a bulb that acts weird when you shake it a little. Or a loose light fixture, which I’d remove to inspect. It sounds like either a bulb, socket, or intermittent short in a light fixture. You never know though, if you can’t find anything strange while you’re wandering around messing with the bulbs, then you might have a bad CB or whacked associated wiring.

    The fuel gauge is a ‘hole ‘nuther story. That’s a bit more complicated. You might pull the back cover off the dash, and check the wiring and especially the connectors back there. Disconnect the connectors, spray with contact spray, check again. If that doesn’t reveal anything, yikes, time to check under the rig. I have noticed that Winnie has used very nice water sealed connectors everywhere, so that sort of leaves the immersed sender in the tank. Fingers crossed that it’s not.

  2. Ron Higginbotham says:

    I’ve had the coach in storage since I brought it home. The CB was tripped when we drove it home and he did disclose that it was and had been a problem. After parking it in storage, I’ve tinkered with it a bit. None of the compartments lights work either, so I assume those are tied to it. 1 day, I reset the CB for the fun of it and it didn’t trip and worked for a couple of day while I worked on other things, but then all of the sudden it starting tripping again and now trips as soon as you reset it.
    I pulled the dash apart and there are 4 wires going to the guage with 2 of them hot. One had 4.5V and the other 5.6V. Friday I crawled under it at the fuel tank hoping I could get to the sender, but no way without dropping the tank . Thanks for the reply.

    Sounds like water inside one of the bulb sockets.

    With the fuel sender, not sure about that. If it were my rig, naturally, I’d try to get specs on it’s output. You’ll often find electronic voltages around 5.0V as much automotive circuitry runs at that voltage. Back in ’02, and even today. So anything on those wires between 12V and 5 down to ground wouldn’t necessarily trigger an in depth evaluation. Need a schematic for that. Keep plugging at it though. Someone may have a fix already.

  3. Ron Higginbotham says:

    By the way, I really enjoy you’re site. Very informative. I would not have known about lubing the fan hub if I hadn’t been on you’re site. That is my next project.

    Thanks for that. Hope you get some use from it. Some things you might be proactive about are the front windows, they tend to leak; and the surge tank. I don’t know which chassis you have but you might have one. The pictures of mine are in the ‘Radiator & Cooling System’ section. Be sure to check it out. I’m replacing mine now as it started to crack, than leak.

  4. Ron Higginbotham says:

    I have the Freightliner chassis. I did read the info about the surge tank and front window issues. Seems like the more I read, the more nervous I get about ownership. We won’t use ours much as I’m years away from retirement, so probably every other weekend kind of thing April thru October or so.

    They are big, complicated machines that are basically houses that are subjected to a mini-earthquake every time they’re on the road. You should be nervous.

    Since you only have 43K or so miles on it, nothing to worry about really. At least for a while. Spread the preventative maintenance out over a couple summers. First thing to do would be to put that stick on gutter over at least the front windows. (See the ‘Weather Proofing’ thread here on my blog). And inspect the rubbers around all the windows carefully. If they are in the right place, are still tight against the panes and pliable, no gaps, than the stick on gutter should be all you need to do about that potential rust or window leaks for years. Most owners get a leak at the top of the windshield and the gutter eliminates that problem. Some owners have indicated a leak from the running lights over the front windows so those should be inspected too.

    Next thing would be to put Eternabond tape (2″ roll is around $30 for 50 feet) on the back of the surge tank. Check for any cracking first but I doubt you’ll see any or if you do they’ll be very tiny (your tank doesn’t have many miles on it). You need only inspect after every trip by checking for weeping from the tank. And you likely won’t see any weeping for 5 years.

    Just happened to run into this today on iRV2.net that I thought you might be interested. It’s a listing of things people have discovered that ‘could potentially’ cause problems with our age and brand of RV. My comments are [bracketed]:

    (1) Windshield leaks caused by rust between the glass and windshield frame. [Prevention is key – add stick on rubber gutters over the windshield.]
    (2) Front hood and rear engine door compartment doors becoming disconnected from their metal brackets/hinge assembly because the epoxy failed on the metal side. In most cases, incorrect surface preparation was the contributing factor. [This also happens to the lower rear grill that covers the lower portion of the radiator. Fix is to drill holes, than use stainless hardware. Flathead screws would be best as they are the least visible and won’t catch on things.]
    (3) Headliner material on the ceiling panels sag due to deteriorating foam backing and the glue used to attach the ceiling material. [Prevention – keep moisture low inside the rig. May have to invest in a dehumidifier if you have a humidity problem. There are companies that specialize in repairing this type of issue, luckily it’s rare.]
    (4) Basement rust. Sheet metal used to construct the basement compartments seem to be subject to rust. If the coach has lived where they put salt on the roads or has been along the ocean cause then make sure to look for rust around the basement compartments. [Treat the undercarriage with Jasco Rust preventative. It’s thin enough that it can be put in a spray bottle and sprayed on. It stabilizes the rust so it won’t spread or do any more damage.]

    And I’ll add –
    [5] Fiberglass roof can be damaged when subjected to strong winds. Sections of the roof can be ripped right off. This occurs if the roof edge seam seal isn’t checked and repaired regularly (every 6 mo per Winnie). [Prevention would be to either inspect and repair the seam seal every 6 months, or do what many of us do, run 2″ Eternabond the entire length of the roof line on either side, and 4″ Eternabond on the end cap seams.]

    All these preventative measures use low cost materials (comparatively) and only take a few hours. And they are all discussed in detail on this blog.

  5. Ron Higginbotham says:

    Maybe you can help answer this for me. I worked on the 15 amp light circuit breaker that keeps tripping tonight. It’s on the bottom row 3 breaker from the left under the fridge. I replaced the CB and still trips. I then disconnected all lights that are connected to the CB, galley lamp over sink, makeup light and the reading light by the recliner that mounts on the side of the galley cabinet. CB still trips. I then removed the wires from the makeup light switch and bathroom fan switch and still trips. The only other thing I see that the JE wire goes to is called the front courtesy light switch. Wiring diagram shows a front and rear courtesy light both having switches. Any idea where these lights are? I can’t figure it out. That’s the only thing I have checked yet.

    As I indicated in my email about this issue, it’s probably either a bad light bulb in the courtesy lights (under the kitchen cabinets, and they sort of light the floor at night), or the patio light. Trick is to take a similar light bulb as the bulbs in that string, and through magic of jumper wires or clip leads, connect it across the 12 volt CB that keeps blowing (for you lurkers, Winnebago uses many 12 Volt circuit breakers in some of their lines whereas most manufacturers use the cheaper fuses). Now, if there’s a dead short in the string, the light you attach across the CB will glow bright. And it will prevent any harm to the circuit. Down stream of the CB and your test bulb, if there’s a bulb with a shorted filament, the other bulbs in the string will glow dimly, but the shorted bulb will be dark. Usually it’s a simple matter of finding the bulb that looks the strangest and replace that one. If it’s a shorted wire, the bulbs in the string will glow dimly up to the point where the short is, allowing you to narrow it down to a certain area.

    • Ron Higginbotham says:

      I figured it out. It’s the aisle lights. The rear works and the front doesn’t because it’s tied to the same CB. I’ll check it tomorrow. If that all checks out, then I guess I’ll take it to the shop and let someone smarter than me figure the short out.

      Happy to hear you’ve got it narrowed down to one string.

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