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Old 07-17-2016, 06:28 PM   #1
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Toilet Swap ?

Ordered a 2017 Lounge EXT yesterday, and spent most of today reading this forum. Probably the wrong sequence . . .

I would be grateful for any guidance or thoughts about the feasibility of swapping out the OEM toilet (apparently a new Dometic model for 2017) for a waterless Laveo DryFlush. I've examined the parts manual, but get little sense from that as to how the OEM is attached to the floor of the bath unit. The Laveo essentially needs only a flat surface onto which it can mount.

Odd as it might seem, my wife and I are purchasing this vehicle as a more practical alternative to custom upfitting a Sprinter for transporting large dogs between our homes. The AI is actually less expensive, much better trimmed than feasible for any custom builder, with fully integrated systems and presumably much easier to resell than a on-off custom. I will simply remove the rear bench, and install a low partition and removable coverings. We will stay in hotels and be able to visit sights along the way, while the dogs remain in climate-controlled comfort. Our desire and intention is to eliminate a large part of maintaining the vehicle by never using the fresh water or waste systems - hence the Laveo.

Thanks very much,
Don
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:44 PM   #2
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Hi Don


Welcome to the Airforums !

OK,

so ,the first problem I see with this is ,How in the heck are the dogs going to drink out of the toilet with your idea ?

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Old 07-17-2016, 07:46 PM   #3
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Hi Don


Welcome to the Airforums !

OK,

so ,the first problem I see with this is ,How in the heck are the dogs going to drink out of the toilet with your idea ?

Funny, they couldn't drink out of it any,way unless it was flushing.

Why wouldn't you want to use the fresh water or waste water systems? You may be overthinking this.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:49 PM   #4
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How are the dogs going to remain in climate controlled comfort?

The roof AC doesnt work without shore power or running the generator.
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:08 PM   #5
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Appreciate the welcome.

Realistically, my wife and I do not see ourselves using the vehicle as an RV. Engaging the whole fresh/gray/black water system and its maintenance requirements just for an occasional toilet usage would be highly disproportionate.

We would fully utilize the generator, however, as needed for a/c. But since our timing of transition between homes is seasonal, neither the a/c nor heater should be too heavily taxed.

I also imagine that eventual resale value could be higher if the fresh/gray/black water systems were completely unused.
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by don000 View Post
Ordered a 2017 Lounge EXT yesterday, and spent most of today reading this forum. Probably the wrong sequence . . .

I would be grateful for any guidance or thoughts about the feasibility of swapping out the OEM toilet (apparently a new Dometic model for 2017) for a waterless Laveo DryFlush. I've examined the parts manual, but get little sense from that as to how the OEM is attached to the floor of the bath unit. The Laveo essentially needs only a flat surface onto which it can mount.

Odd as it might seem, my wife and I are purchasing this vehicle as a more practical alternative to custom upfitting a Sprinter for transporting large dogs between our homes. The AI is actually less expensive, much better trimmed than feasible for any custom builder, with fully integrated systems and presumably much easier to resell than a on-off custom. I will simply remove the rear bench, and install a low partition and removable coverings. We will stay in hotels and be able to visit sights along the way, while the dogs remain in climate-controlled comfort. Our desire and intention is to eliminate a large part of maintaining the vehicle by never using the fresh water or waste systems - hence the Laveo.

Thanks very much,
Don

If your lounge is like my 2011, there's stuff under the couch, including the inverter/charger. Maybe they redesigned it since mine was built. If not, you won't be able to just put a barrier there.

As for the toilet, I know that hasn't changed. It's held on with two bolts that slide onto a plastic flange with two bolts on either side. It's a standard size. It is a two part flange, with a downspout that goes down inside the tank. But this shouldn't matter. The flange is screwed down to a wood platform under the fiberglass.

I believe most RV toilets have the standard bolt two bolt pattern, so any RV toilet should fit, although the height of RV toilets seems to vary a bit.
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:41 PM   #7
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If your lounge is like my 2011, there's stuff under the couch, including the inverter/charger. Maybe they redesigned it since mine was built. If not, you won't be able to just put a barrier there.

As for the toilet, I know that hasn't changed. It's held on with two bolts that slide onto a plastic flange with two bolts on either side. It's a standard size. It is a two part flange, with a downspout that goes down inside the tank. But this shouldn't matter. The flange is screwed down to a wood platform under the fiberglass.

I believe most RV toilets have the standard bolt two bolt pattern, so any RV toilet should fit, although the height of RV toilets seems to vary a bit.
This seems to answer my question, thanks very much. I imagine that I can fabricate a plate, perhaps from a sheet of some type of engineered plastic, to cover the drain, using the two bolts that hold the OEM toilet. I can then attach the Laveo mounting kit to this plate. Perfect.

Certainly want to do this transplant operation while everything is still factory fresh . . .

Before purchase I studied many photos of the area under the couch, thanks to the extensive photo albums of individual vehicles in stock and sold on the Colonial Airstream website. Moreover, the general manager of this dealer sent someone out to the lot to photograph this area while we were still on the phone, and I was assured that couch removal involved only a few bolts and undoing a power connection for the couch motor. The only intrusion we noted was a small rectangular volume housing the water heater (photo). My barrier would be forward of that, next to the inward-facing seats. Shouldn't be a problem, but thanks for your warning.
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by don000 View Post
Appreciate the welcome.

Realistically, my wife and I do not see ourselves using the vehicle as an RV. Engaging the whole fresh/gray/black water system and its maintenance requirements just for an occasional toilet usage would be highly disproportionate.

We would fully utilize the generator, however, as needed for a/c. But since our timing of transition between homes is seasonal, neither the a/c nor heater should be too heavily taxed.

I also imagine that eventual resale value could be higher if the fresh/gray/black water systems were completely unused.
I'm sorry for this but I am dumbfounded. You list your location as VT, AZ, CA so looks like some long distance treks in your Interstate may be in your future.

Useage and maintenance of the toilet, macerator pump and black and gray tanks is easy peasy and I can't imagine buying an AI and not using this feature. In fact the bathroom is one of my favorite things about the van. Rest area restrooms are usually fine but many have been closed down do to budget cuts and gas stations are almost never good.

I can't imagine on resale that you would get a single dollar for not using anything in your van. You will have much more wear and tear from the dogs anyway.

Congrats on your purchase and enjoy your travels.
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:03 PM   #9
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I'm sorry for this but I am dumbfounded. You list your location as VT, AZ, CA so looks like some long distance treks in your Interstate may be in your future.

Useage and maintenance of the toilet, macerator pump and black and gray tanks is easy peasy and I can't imagine buying an AI and not using this feature. In fact the bathroom is one of my favorite things about the van. Rest area restrooms are usually fine but many have been closed down do to budget cuts and gas stations are almost never good.

I can't imagine on resale that you would get a single dollar for not using anything in your van. You will have much more wear and tear from the dogs anyway.

Congrats on your purchase and enjoy your travels.
Well, one man's easy peasy is another's disgusting ordeal. Dump stations, winterization, tank cleaning, heating mats, etc. are all things I can happily do without. We would still have a toilet with the Laveo DryFlush. You might want to look into its unique advantages.

Long distance treks are definitely the program, and it seems clear from reading this forum that we've chosen the right vehicle for this. Can't wait for delivery. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:33 AM   #10
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Welcome to Air Forums. For the application you describe, the Laveo looks to me like it might be your best option. It wouldn't work for many people, but you are obviously not a lot of people. The waterless toilet that seems to be the most common these days, judging from DIY TV shows and this recent Air Forums trailer thread, is the composting toilet which requires manual dump of the urine receptacle. If you don't want to deal with water, it doesn't sound like you'd want to deal with that form of water either. Neither would I, frankly.

I don't believe you would realize any resale advantage from not using the water systems, though. Or if there were a small advantage, it would not be detectable due to the steep initial depreciation.

FYI, a year or more ago, there was a Forum user who was building beautiful large dog kennels specifically for the Interstate. I can't remember the name, but if you do a search, it might come up.
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:53 AM   #11
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Hello, welcome to Air Forums. You certainly have an unusual application and I wish you the best.

Regarding the toilet removal. After the two bolts are removed and the toilet is pulled off and you see the flange described in the previous post... consider "plugging" the open hole. Hardware stores and home centers sell expanding rubber plugs to fit such holes.

I'm not certain if the toilet flange will be flush with the floor. If it is, that fine and you won't have to remove the flange. If it's not flush you may be able to leave it in place and your intermediate plate that you referred to may be able to accommodate the flange with a hole or a recess to allow everything to sit flat. Otherwise the flange can be removed (at least on my trailer it was removable) by remove the few flat head screws that hold it in place and then unscrewing the flange. If the flange needs to removed you can then plug the hole with the same type of expanding rubber plugs.

If the toilet has never been used it may not be necessary to plug the hole but I would want to plug it regardless.

Let me know when you decide to sell your Interstate. I'll be looking for a good used unit with everything working. Oh wait... you won't know if everything is working and some of the seals may have dry rotted because they've not been used. Darn it, my wife is allergic to dogs. Maybe that whole top-dollar resale thing won't work anyway.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:13 AM   #12
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We just purchased a Laveo dry flush for our 66 Tradewibd rehab. Certainly our situations are different but I think they are a great option if you don't want to deal with everything that goes along with the waste system in the trailer. I actually started a thread to get some feedback before ordering one but I did not get a single response. I was quite surprised by that as I thought others would be interested in it also. We have not yet "installed" ours. Bolting it to the floor will be the easy part for us but we have to modify our fiberglass surround to accommodate it. That's gonna be a little tricky. We're working on that now. Best of luck with your install and you have some lucky dogs. Here's my lovable girl, Sophie.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:42 AM   #13
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I appreciate the additional comments. While I have no experience with RVs, it seems to me that the Laveo toilet could be of interest to anyone wishing to eliminate the black water system and dump stations, even if they otherwise wish to retain the fresh/gray water systems. I will therefore post photos of the conversion, after delivery of the vehicle in September.

My thought about using a sheet of engineered plastic is that it is resilient, sanitary and would be easy to machine so that it fits tightly over the flange, perhaps with an added gasket, as well as accommodating the bolt locations and attachment points for the Laveo. Fortunately my son has a mini-CNC mill that could make this (and perhaps more if others have interest).

The dog is too large for any kennel, and I would not subject any dog to a kennel for the thousands of miles that we anticipate traveling. My intention is that the area behind the rear wheelwells will be the dog zone, while the front of the vehicle is for humans only. Naturally I've ordered the air suspension, but I also plan to build a low partition across the vehicle, add padding and a velcro-secured tub of waterproof material to protect both the dog and vehicle finishes. I think I can replicate the Interstate's standard finishes on the partition, using Wilsonart laminate, aluminum extrusions and marine hardware. The GM at Colonial suggested repurposing a wardrobe door, but I'm not sure about the dimensions.

In some article I read, an Airstream executive was quoted as stating that only 50% of Interstate buyers intend to sleep in their vehicles. Perhaps my application is not so unusual.

Resale value is not a major focus, but for me one of the greatest impediments to buying a used RV would be inheriting someone else's black water system. I can't be the only one who thinks this way. In any case, the "resaleabilty" of an AI will surely be vastly better than the custom conversion that I had tried to design and build.

Thank you again.
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:56 AM   #14
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You wouldn't be able to eliminate dump stations if you only used the fresh water. Dumping the gray water anywhere other than RV dumps or sewer connections is unlawful in most states I believe.
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