Yep, the subject that many people don’t really like to talk about, the toilet. Now unless you’re going to spend your life going from caravan park to caravan park, you’ll probably need some form of toilet. OK, there are going to be plenty of people on here probably message me saying, but I haven’t had a toilet for years and I’ve got by. But for those days when it’s pouring with rain and you are miles from a toilet, or when you ate some food that hasn’t agreed with you and you really need to get to a toilet in a hurry? You’ll be glad that you have a toilet. Here’s mine.
It’s a nice enough toilet alright, but it’s taking a little getting used to , and as a total newbie to the motorhome life I’ve had a pretty rocky start to things. So far I’ve only used the thing 3 times and each time has been a bit of a minor disaster on one level or another.
The first time I tried to use it was when I went away a couple of months ago on my trial run to Margaret River in the south west of Western Australia. I was staying out side a friends place on 5 acres of beautiful rural views, a magnificent spot, but thats beside the point. One morning I’d woken early and my friend was still sound asleep. He’s living in a converted shed, and to get to his toilet I’d need to go through his bedroom/lounge/kitchen and wake him up on the way through. Not a pleasant way to be woken by someone coming through your house/shed to use your toilet which was only about 6 feet from the head of his bed, with a thin piece of tin between the toilet and his bed. So I decided to use my toilet, after all, I was testing the bus, I needed to try these things out.
So I had a look at the controller. Oh yeah, a controller, not just one button to flush, there’s 4 buttons to choose from.
The toilet is a macerating sucking beast of a thing, so what do you do first? I had heard that you need to fill the bowl first before using it, no problem, press the fill button, nothing happens. Hmm, try all other buttons nothing happens. Start searching for documentation for the toilet to find out what I’m doing wrong but before I can get to far the urge strikes me, there’s no more time keep searching, I have to go. So I go. Into a dry bowl without a means of flushing as nothing seems to work.
Shut the lid, shut the bathroom door, try and work out what I’ve done wrong and why it doesn’t work. Finally I figured out that water pump was switched off at the switch panel in the kitchen, without water, none of the functions work. So water pump on, hit flush. Open the toilet lid to find the “pile” I’d left there 15 minutes before hand, still there. Hit flush again while watching this time and I see the water all flow in the bowl, around my “pile” and down the macerating and sucking, but only taking a couple of bits of paper with it, leaving the rest still sitting there. So now I try all the functions full flushing, filling, quick flushing, emptying, all with no luck. There’s only one last thing to do, you guessed it, I was going to have to manually move my “pile” that had stuck fast to the shallow toilet bowl.
Stick in hand pushing and coaxing my deposit, I keep trying the different fill/flush/drain functions till finally it’s all gone. There’s something you don’t want to have to do every time.
Second time I use the toilet I was feeling a little more confident. This was just a couple of days ago, my first morning in the bus after settlement on my house. No worries, I had just had a lot of my 12 volt wiring in the bus fixed, things labeled, fused, fixed up, I had a brand new water pump I’d installed a few weeks before and I’d read up a little more on the operation of the toilet, along with the usual friends advising me about how they used to do it when they had been on boats in the past.
Fill the bowl with water, this one isn’t going to stick straight on the bowl, do my business, hit the flush.
Try all the buttons, nothings working.
Once again I drop the lid, close the bathroom door and try to figure out what might have gone wrong. Water pump is working so next thing is to check the fuses, and of course the fuses for the toilet are in behind a board on the wall with many screws holding it in. Still after some mucking around I discovered a blown 10A fuse, replaced it with a 15A and went back to flush my problems away. But now the water had all drained away while I’d been mucking around getting to the fuse box and of course I was faced with the same problem as before, everything had stuck fast to the bowl and refused to budge.
So I armed myself with the closest thing at hand for the job and began bulldozing the ‘deposit’ towards the drain hole using a sardine lid from the night before, while flushing and filling.
Man, twice in a row.
So the third morning I wake and need to face my morning ritual again, though I’m hoping this morning will be smoother. New water pump, new fuse, it’s got to work. Now, I don’t know if I just tend to be a little more ‘full of it’ than others, or perhaps mine are just heavy duty cloggers, but again the toilet refuses to flush down my business. I can faintly hear something clicking inside the toilet when I try and flush. More water comes into the bowl, but things seem to be clogged in the pipe going down the drain where the macerator is. So I alternate between filling with water, poking down the hole with a stick, then flushing, being careful not to flush while the stick is in the hole. After a while breaking up the solids with the stick, I flush again and hear the macerator start and the wast goes down the hole. Woohoo…
Since then I’ve tried to plan my ablutions around only going when I can get to a standard toilet and I’m still pretty nervous about the next time I’m going to have to use it, I might arm myself with a stick before hand ready. Though I’m also discovering after some research that there’s just sooo much more to an RV toilet than you might think. Toilet paper can cause major issues to pumps, seals macerators and holding tanks, so can most normally used toilet chemicals. Now I have to find myself some good bugs to go into my holding tank to try and keep down the bad odours and help break down paper and solids.
It’s a whole new world being responsible for your own waste, a world that hasn’t been good to me so far, I’m looking forward to reporting back after the next use that it will have been a pleasant simple experience.