By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Here’s a subject that’s not oft’ spoken of in RVing circles, but from a comfort standpoint, ought to be: How’s your RV toilet seat?
You probably don’t think about the seat on the throne, lest you’re seated on the throne, and the seat isn’t too neat. What can you do about an uncomfortable or worn out RV toilet seat? In many cases, simply replace the durn thing.
Unless you’re “blessed” with an ancient vintage RV toilet, replacing the seat probably won’t require a visit (or contact) with the original toilet manufacturer for an invariably expensive “replacement part.” Drop that lid now and take a look. Does it appear that your seat attaches to the toilet like the one back in your sticks n bricks home? If it does, then it’s likely you can work with an “off the shelf” toilet seat from your nearby Lowes.
But what might cause you to swap out your old toilet seat? Could be that it’s just plain ugly – I know ours could stand a retrofit, but sadly, we’re in the camp of the “ancient vintage RV toilet” that can’t be easily replaced. A friend of ours – who remains anonymous – can explain another good reason: Beware the crack.
The friend is a good sized fellow, and failed to notice a small crack in a toilet seat before easing himself onto it. All was well, until he tried to rise up again – the micro-crack in the toilet seat responded to the assault of his prodigious backside by opening up larger under pressure, then snapping closed like an offended snapping turtle. We’ll allow your imagination to picture the results of trying to stand up and re-clothe yourself with a toilet set biting into your bottom.
Other RVers have reported that they’d like to get a little more rise out of their toilet seat for medical reasons. Oft cited are recent knee or hip replacement operations, where easing down or getting back up off the seat is torture. Yes, you can get a riser for the typical RV toilet, but the rise is only good for a couple of inches – hardly enough to help. While a replacement toilet set here may not be of much help, if there’s enough room around the commode, you may find that a bedside commode from a medical supply outfit will sit right over the top of your existing RV toilet, and a clever funnel-like design allows the contents of the commode to drop down into the targeted toilet. Not only does this preclude having to purchase a riser, a taller toilet, or both, these commodes usually come equipped with handy armrests that allow the user to gain a little leverage on lift-off.
What about the nuts and bolts of replacing your toilet seat? You could simply remove the old seat from your rig, and take it with you to the hardware store, sizing up bolt and hole patterns. If that’s a bit too much for your sensibilities, then make careful measurements, or even tracings on paper or cardboard. You may find that the “bumpers” or spacers that lie between the seat and the rim of the toilet won’t line up as they should. It’s possible to relocate them in some cases, or to simply add a couple of new ones in appropriate locations. Add them how? Some mount with screws, or you could glue them into place.
For you vintage RV owners that have problems finding a seat small enough to cover that equally vintage porcelain RV toilet, check out the Vintage Trailer Supply web site. For less than $20, you may find just what you’re looking for.
And want to get fancy? If you’re working on “shore power,” it’s possible to lay your hands on a heated toilet seat. Afraid of a shocking experience? A low-voltage power supply steps down the shore power to a safe level before the juice hits the seat. Check it out on Amazon.
What’s the bottom line? If you’re RVing, you may as well be comfortable everywhere – even in the biffy.
The ultimate replacement is a bidet seat which is what we installed in our coach. It not only has a heated seat but a warm water rinse and warm air dryer. This is a much more sanitary way to go and totally eliminates the need for toilet paper and it’s possible accompanying problems.
I’m curious what toilet model you have. In looking to do the same thing but don’t want to buy the wrong thing.