Thursday, April 1, 2010

Replacing a SeaLand RV toilet valve

A December cold snap descended upon the Pacific Northwest. We were headed for a 12 day cruise to the Mediterranean and I was in a hurry to winterize the coach before leaving for the airport. I opened the water line valves and blew out the residual water from the pipes. In my haste I forgot to clear the water from the toilet valve.

While I was enjoying the sunshine of Italy my SeaLand water supply valve froze up. As the water in the valve froze it expanded and broke the valve. When I came back and hooked up the water again I was greeted by a puddle of water being fed by a constant dripping from the ruptured valve.

I didn't have a replacement readily available and since it was Christmas Eve it was going to be a few days until I could find one. We couldn't use the water elsewhere in the coach because I didn't have a shut-off valve to isolate the toilet water supply valve. I installed a separate water shut off valve to the toilet. Now we had use of our shower, sinks, and laundry while we waited for the replacement valve. We were even able to use the toilet by manually filling and flushing, using a pitcher of water supplied from the sink.

Most RV and marine toilets use the same concept for sanitation by using minimal amounts of water for flushing waste into a holding tank, but that's where the similarity stops. Each manufacturer has several models, each with a different parts list. I will show you how I replaced the water supply valve on my SeaLand model.

First I broke out the manufacturer parts list and ordered the correct part.The replacement valve comes with the valve, new screws and directions.
First I removed the plastic toilet base cover which is held together with one screw.
The wrap-around cover separates and is easily removed.
Next I removed two screws that hold the plastic lever in place.
When you take off the plastic cover you see the metal arm that activates the valve when it is raised or lowered. The metal flushing arm is levered on a nylon plunger and when rocked backwards or forwards depresses the plunger valve, releasing water into the toilet bowl. In the photo below the arrow indicates where the valve ruptured. The frozen water expanded and pushed the brass cap off causing it to strip the threads on the plastic housing.I removed two screws that held the old valve in place and threw them away. The directions say to throw the old screws away and use the new screws for a better fit. I loosened the hose clamp and removed the bowl supply hose (the top hose in the photo below). I also removed the threaded water supply hose and replaced it with a brand new hose.
The valve has a stainless steel wire screen filter on the incoming water supply side. This screen can sometimes become clogged with debris and restrict or prevent water flow into the toilet bowl. It plays an important role in protecting the valve mechanism. Before I mounted the new valve I put a dab of petroleum jelly on the nylon plunger. This step is important because it helps prevent wear and allows smooth operation of the lever.I attached the new valve to the new supply hose using Teflon tape and reattached the bowl supply hose with a hose clamp. Using the supplied screws I attached the new valve. I turned on the water supply to make sure it worked and there were no leaks. Satisfied everything was water tight, I replaced the plastic covers and cleaned up the work space. Next time I'll remember to winterize this important valve along with all the rest.

On a roll - Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing


Anonymous said...

""We couldn't use the water elsewhere in the coach because I didn't have a shut-off valve to isolate the toilet water supply valve. I installed a separate water shut off valve to the toilet."" <<<<<<<< could you show us how to do that

Porta John said...

My Dads RV toilet was extremely hard to replace, it took him almost 2 months, I can imagine trying to do the SeaLand model, We almost went out and got a porta toilet rental, and strapped it to the back like a quad or motorcycle. Have you ever seen and RV with a porta potty on the back, cruising down the highway?

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