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Old 06-21-2007, 08:21 PM
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Bill Bill is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: The mountains of Scottsdale, AZ, and the beaches of Maine
Posts: 9,259
Default Removing the TM toilet

It is not a happy day when you decide you have to pull up the TM toilet for some reason. But although it is not fun, it turns out to be a reasonably easy task. This tutorial will walk you through the steps, as I performed them when I had to pull the toilet out of my TM.

This information expands on that found on the Thetford web site, at [dead link - thanks, Thetford]


To remove the toilet, you will need the following.
A stubby #2 or #3 Phillips screwdriver – about 2 inches long at most. Most people don't have a stubby, but there are several good alternatives. One is a right-angle Phillips screwdriver. Another is a Phillips bit for an electric drill or electric screwdriver - you can chuck the bit in a small ratchet (socket) wrench, or hold it with your fingers and use a ” open-end wrench to turn it.
A flashlight (preferred) or a drop light on an extension cord from outside the trailer.
A drop cloth, or a piece of plastic such as a garbage bag cut open.
A simple “hook”. A heavy wire tent stake works well - you grip it with a pair of pliers when it is time to pull it. Or straighten out a heavy wire coathanger, fold it double, and bend the folded end at more than a right angle (Photo 1).

Before you do anything else, remove both the upper and lower halves of the bathroom door, leaving the hinges on the doors. Set them (and their screws) out of the way. The work area is very tight. The door makes it nearly impossible to get in there, and if you try, you may break the door or rip out the hinges.

Here are the disassembly steps.

1. Make sure the black water is completely drained. Then fill the toilet with fresh water, and to the normal charge of deodorant. Run the flush mechanism for several 10-second bursts, and then drain the toilet. Repeat, using clear water with no chemical.
2. Disconnect shore power from the TM, and disconnect the battery.
3. Spread the plastic on the floor just outside the bathroom.
4. On the top rear of the toilet, unscrew the two Phillips-head screws that are farthest from the wall, and lift off the hood. This will expose the Flush switch, some wires, a fuse, and the flush motor in its black rubber case (Photo 2).
5. With your fingers, pull the rubber case apart, and remove the top half with the motor in it (Photo 3). DO NOT LOSE THE WHITE PLASTIC SLEEVE THAT CONNECTS THE MOTOR SHAFT TO THE PUMP SHAFT! (Final photo below). Set the hood, and the motor in its rubber case, in the sink. By removing the hood and the motor, you have untethered the toilet so that when you get it loose, you can simply carry it out.
6. Get down on the floor in front of the toilet. Run your fingers along the trim strips at the side of the toilet base, about an inch off the floor. On each side you will feel a Phillips-head screw. Remove both screws.
7. Pull each trim strip a bit to the side, away from the toilet. Each strip is also held by a screw at the back, where the screw hole is a keyhole shape, rather than round. Push the trim strips backward and wiggle them around, until they pop off the screw head and can be removed entirely. Set the trim strips aside.
8. The toilet is held down by a pair of sliding wedges (Photo 4). The next step is to lie down on your belly, and peer under the toilet with a flashlight. To the left and right of center, you will see the big end of each wedge, resting in a brass-colored track. Reach in with your hook tool, drop the end of the hook over the end of each wedge, and pull it toward you until you feel it release. You may have to pull hard, and it may help to have someone else sit or stand on the toilet lid to take some of the pressure off the wedges. See note below.
9. Stand up, grasp the toilet on both sides, and lift straight up. Being plastic, it is surprisingly light. Move back into the hallway, and set it on the drop cloth or plastic sheet.

Once the toilet is off the floor, you can take it outside, and turn it over. The underside looks like Photo 5. Clean it all off with the blast of a garden hose. Now you can see the slide valve on the toilet, as well as all the gaskets.

Clean up the floor flange (Photo 6, sorry for the poor focus). This is the place where the toilet connects to the underfloor plumbing, and you want a good seal.

Fix whatever problem led you to lift the toilet in the first place.
Note 1: If you dis-assemble the toilet, removing the top from the base to expose the inside, you will find that there is a cone made of galvanized screen material inside. When you re-assemble, the cone must face in the same direction as when you removed it. It is not reversible! Mark the front of the cone in some way to assure that you put it back correctly!

Reassembly is pretty much the reverse of the above sequence. Before starting reassembly:

Make sure that the gold-colored nuts on the floor flange bolts (Photo 6) are at the right height. According to Thetford, the underside of each nut must be exactly 1-11/32 inch above the floor. In Photo 6, the nut on the right has been adjusted, but the one on the left was screwed down during the cleaning, and must be readjusted.

I suggest replacing the old flange gasket (a 4” gray foam ring, not shown in any photo), available at RV stores for less than $5. Just slide it over the outlet on the bottom of the toilet, before lowering the toilet into place. You could hold it in place with a thin layer of silicone sealer while you reassemble. Note that you must buy the foam donut at an RV store or the service department of an RV dealer. It is NOT the same as the foam donut for a household toilet, which is what you will find at a hardware store.

TM uses gobs of silicone seal (Photo 5) in this area. You should remove it all, from both the toilet and floor flange, since once it is disassembled, it will never fit right again. I don’t know the reason for all this silicone.

Set the toilet in place over the flange bolts. To replace the wedges, put them back in the brass-colored tracks, and push them home with a long screwdriver. Tap the end of the screwdriver with the heel of your hand, or light taps of a hammer, if needed to snap the wedges into final position. Once in place, is the toilet solidly tethered to the floor? If it is loose, remove it and lower the flange bolt nuts a half turn and try again. The toilet should be solid on the floor, and should not rock. If it rocks, it will leak.

Your toilet may or may not have a “locator disc” screwed to the floor under the right front leg. The TM factory seems to have been pretty informal about installing it, even though Thetford says it is important. If you don’t have a locator disc, make sure the legs are tight to the floor once the wedges have been reinstalled.

Note 2. On a few toilets, it has been found that the wedges were installed backwards, with the small end facing you. If the big end, seen in Photo 4, is away from you, then you will have to PUSH the wedges off. When you put them back, turn them around so the big end faces you.

Note 3: In August 2020, one of our members was able to find an on-line supplier for the wedges. Go to

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