RMA for "The Toilet from Hell' - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-23-2012, 01:27 AM   #1
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RMA for "The Toilet from Hell'

Some time ago I came to the conclusion that the Valterra toilet had to go. It was on its 6th valve and had started to leak again. A Thetford Aqua Magic V would fit, so I got one. Because of the unusual mount of the Valterra I expected the modification to be a nightmare. I noted on this forum that I would document the mod, and because of some interest in this process I am now prepared to do so.

The Escondido Burro 17' uses the Valterra toilet, but when I managed to get it off some time ago I found a completely non-standard mount. An inner structure that did not fit into a standard flange but was fiberglassed into the floor pan as a unit. Etc.

I'm attaching enough pictures to tell the main story, but there are more details which could be shown. I am assuming, perhaps wrongly, that all the E. Burros used this mount. If anyone would be interested in finding out what they are facing please PM me. I could write it up here on the forum, but I doubt there are enough owners who would find it useful. The process turned out to be less messy than I had anticipated.
Attached Thumbnails
Bathroom grate.jpg   Valterra toilet mount.jpg  

Floor cutout.jpg   New toilet.jpg  

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Old 03-23-2012, 06:17 AM   #2
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Nice looking unit Per. What did you do to finish the floor for the new toilet? Or was the footprint the same size and shape?
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:28 AM   #3
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Wow, a throne fit for a king! The finished floor and installation looks very professional. Nice job.
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:47 PM   #4
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When I previously removed the toilet and found what is in picture #2 I wondered what I could do, but this is what I found: Since the toilet was to be discarded I just drilled a long series of 1/4" holes, cut or sawed in between and got the whole thing out by using pliers, cutters, etc. to come up with a rough cutout above the floor as in the picture.

I found that the floor was fine, and fortunately the new flange with stub slid into the original rubber sleeve through the floor. Nice.

I had bought the taller of the Thetford toilets, with pedal flusher and a hand-held sprayer, but even so I wanted the toilet a bit higher, mostly because the pedal should clear the wooden grate on the floor.

The Thetford was placed on a piece of plywood to trace its base contour, 1/2" was added to the line to form a comfortable platform. It turned out that I need to double the thickness, so the total elevation became 1 1/2" from the floor. (Screwed them together after coating everything in epoxy resin and fiberglass mat). The outer top rim was contoured with a 1/4" roundover router bit. Screwed to the floor with SS screws, using thick poly construction cement to fill gaps and make for a stable intallation. The worthless, freely rotating original mounting bolts had to be cut off, ground down, and the holes filled with sealant.

That left a rough gap around the elevated platform which was filled with "Kitty Hair" which is an epoxy with lots of fiberglass strands already mixed in. This stabilized the rough edge of the fiberglass floor pan. I then used a Bondo-like filler (Formula 27, water proof) to fill the rest of the gap and contoured it with a teaspoon.

After mega effort in sanding this tough stuff smooth I primer it with Interlux Pre-Coat and finished it with a couple coats of Interlux Brightside. The result is shown in the picture.

Aided by the Valterra-inspired inspection cover behind the unit the whole thing can now be taken out in less than 5 minutes for further refinishing of the area.

As Gina will attest, the "Toilet from Hell" is a major sore point for the Burro: too low, flush lever awkward to reach, valves mostly a one-season proposition, valve replacement in stock form close to impossible, etc. I'm hoping this mod will erase these memories.
Attached Thumbnails
Platform and flange_edited-1.jpg   Toilet platform.jpg  

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Old 03-23-2012, 02:26 PM   #5
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Per, you did a really great job on the install. My toilet flush valve doesn't seal completely all the time, I wound up putting a ball valve on the refill hose. Eventually I'd like to replace the toilet with something taller.

It looks like you spent a lot of time on creating a pedestal for the toilet to clear the wood grate. Since I don't have a grate like that, would I be able to mount directly to the floor without creating a pedestal?

In most of your pictures, there's some kind of structure in front of the wheel well (one of the pictures has 2 bottles wedged between it and the wheel well.) In the first picture that structure is gone, what was that? I don't have that in my trailer, it's open like it is in your first picture.
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:54 PM   #6
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Thomas: I made the pedestal from two pieces of 3/4 " plywood, but originally the grate did not figure in the plan, I just lucked out.

If you don't use a pedestal, the toilet would sit below the level of the shower pan, a problem if you want it to look decent. On mine, the deciding factor was that a standard flange has a flare-out underneath and would not even fit into the pipe with just one thickness of plywood. With two it was a piece of cake. If your install is like mine the pedestal is a necessity.

The picture you see with the original monstrosity was taken before I decided to use the empty space for a cabinet-type structure. It has three drawers opening into the bathroom and three drawers opening out, by the door.
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New medicine cabinet.jpg   Food drawers 2_edited-2.jpg  

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Old 03-23-2012, 05:29 PM   #7
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Those drawers are quite an inventive use of space!
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:44 PM   #8
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Did you see the heater towel holder Per installed? He's done mods in this Burro I can only dream of...
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:10 PM   #9
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Your work on the shower pan is fab. Seamless repair, great job.
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:54 PM   #10
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Beautiful result, Per, and enumerates all the reasons that after installing a new flush valve on the Valterra in an Escondido 17 and still having a small but persistent leak, I simply added a shutoff in the supply line (thankyou, Donna). My wife and I are both of legal age and are not preoccupied with boys and hair driers, so we may actually be competent to operate ours in this old school way.

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Old 03-26-2012, 09:53 AM   #11
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yes indeed,,,remembering my fathers epic battles with the camper toilet,,,,plus some of my exploits with marine toilets,,,is probably why we decided to just not get one and use campground facilities.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:29 AM   #12
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John: your solution is probably the best for its simplicity, but when one is our age and living in sometimes rainy country the trip to the outhouse at 3 AM is not on top of our list. I'm just hopeful that this toilet setup will do the job, and for once the list of replaceable parts is extensive, unlike........
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