Answers to questions about RV Repair and Maintenance from RV expert Dave Solberg, author of the RV Handbook and the managing editor of the RV Repair Club. This column appears Monday through Saturday in the RV Travel and RV Daily Tips newsletters. (Sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you do not already receive one.) Today Dave discusses a reader’s complaint that their RV’s toilet won’t hold water.
“2021 Puma destination camper. Toilet doesn’t hold water. Can’t soak to clean, or have water in it so when you do #2, it flushes easier. I cleaned around the seal after we got it and it started to hold water. Now it’s not again. I can hear the water going into the black tank. We got the Puma in June this year.” —Kathy
The first thing I would recommend is to contact your dealer or the Puma Owner Relations Department to document the issue you are having as it should be under warranty. Even if you are going to attempt it yourself it needs to be documented in case you have other issues down the road.
There are a variety of toilet brands and models. However, the most common are Dometic and Thetford. Both use a similar method to seal the bowl and hold water. Economical units have a ball-type valve that rotates when the pedal is pushed. Other models have a spade valve that slides shut. Both utilize a rubber gasket commonly called a blade seal that the valve pushes against to create a seal that holds water.
Something could be preventing the valve from sealing
Since you indicated cleaning the seal did work for a short period of time, I would suspect something is getting in the groove of the seal and preventing the valve from making a full seal. This could be calcium or lime from extremely hard water, which can be filtered at the campground source. I have found some water has small sand particles in it that can clog up almost everything. I would suggest using an inline filter and cleaning the valve and seal more often. Also, Thetford makes a toilet seal cleaning product that I would use more often.
It could also be that your seal is getting dried out and becoming hard and brittle. This will also prevent it from sealing and holding water. The Thetford product can also help with this as it is lubricated. It conditions the rubber, making it softer and creating a better seal. If the problem starts to occur more frequently while trying these procedures, it’s time to replace the blade seal.
Read more from Dave here.
Dave Solberg worked at Winnebago for 15 years developing the dealer training program, as marketing manager, and conducting shows. As the owner of Passport Media Creations, Dave has developed several RV dealer training programs, the RV Safety Training program for The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation, and the accredited RV Driving Safety program being conducted at rallies and shows around the country. Dave is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.
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