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Old 03-03-2016, 04:20 PM   #1
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2000 25' Excella
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Toilet Replacement, 25-Foot Excella/Classic

I know that there have been many threads dealing with toilet replacement, including some in the last few days. Because of the physical space constraints, toilet replacement becomes a model-specific issue very quickly. Successful replacement in one model Airstream is often irrelevant in other models.

I have a 2000 25-foot Excella in need of toilet replacement or repair. The existing toilet is the typical RV toilet of many years, the Thetford Aqua Magic Galaxy/Starlight. The problem is the usual problem with these over time, i.e., it no longer holds water in the bowl. This is due to a combination of accumulated debris in the seal groove, hardening of the seal over time, or perhaps pitting or roughness on the valve blade. I replaced all of the seals on the toilet last year; a nasty job that I donít recommend doing. Moreover, it didnít solve the problem. A simpler, cleaner, albeit more expensive, repair would have been to replace the entire blade assembly. That repair would cost a little over $100, and could be done fairly quickly versus the individual rubber seal approach. The cost in time and money inevitably raises the repair/replace question.

In the 25-foot Excella/Classic, there are relatively few replacement options due to the confined space, and the flange/toilet bolt pattern. Thetford only makes one modern toilet with the 10-4 bolt pattern, the Bravura. The Bravura is also plastic, not a big deal to me, but it is bulkier than the old Galaxy/Starlight. Iíve built a spreadsheet comparing dimensions for all of the toilets built by Thetford and Dometic. It narrows down to either the Thetford Aqua Magic Style II, or the Dometic 310. Actually, because the toilet in the 25-foot Excella/Classic sits on a raised platform, the low profile Dometic 311 would be the appropriate Dometic model. Other than the Bravura, all replacement toilets use the 9-3 bolt pattern, thus requiring an adapter to convert the 10-4 pattern to the 9-3 pattern. The adapter for the Thetford toilets is relatively simple, inexpensive, and apparently fits up inside the toilet housing. The Dometic adapter is about $40 or so, made of plastic, adds slightly to the height of the toilet, and since itís visible once installed, it would be purchased in the same color as the toilet, i.e., either white or bone.

The critical dimensions are the overall depth of the toilet, the width (a problem with the Bravura), and the distance from the center of the discharge throat to the back wall of the water closet area. In the 25-foot Excella/Classic the distance from the center of the discharge throat to the back wall of the water closet area is an issue only to the extent that if that distance is less than the Galaxy/Starlight, it means that the toilet will project further forward and somewhat into the doorway opening to the bathroom. That is, it has the potential to become a knee-knocker going into or out of the bathroom. The Bravura, the Aqua Magic Style II, or the Dometic 310 would project into the bathroom door opening about 1 ľ inches further than does the Galaxy/Starlight.

So finally, my question(s): Have any 25-foot Excella/Classic owners out there replaced their Galaxy/Starlight toilets?
What did you replace it with?
Did it become a knee-knocker by projecting further into the bathroom doorway space?

The other option is to buy the blade valve assembly for the Galaxy/Starlight, and hope for better results than I had with my seal replacement.
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Old 03-03-2016, 06:22 PM   #2
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How about some pictures. I am replacing the toilet in my 25' 1986. I found I could remove the flange and for about $12 purchase a new flange and a 3' - 45 degree sweep that will replace the original setup.

Perhaps I missed what you are trying to do. If I am on the correct track, I purchase a porcelain bowl toilet that came in two heights to handle the two applications: floor mount or raise floor mount. The new flange will handle any toilet sold.
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Old 04-28-2016, 08:36 AM   #3
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1987 25' Sovereign
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We are having toilet issues as well in our 87 25" Sovereign with the side bath. It has the Aqua Magic Galaxy Starlite low profile toilet. The toilet leaks in the back at a valve when the toilet is flushed. Trying to decide whether to try and repair or replace. Unsure which toilet would be the easiest fit in our space. It looks like most of the replacement toilets are 3 1/2 inches taller than the one we will be replacing. There is a medicine cabinet on the wall above the toilet so our space is limited.. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:00 AM   #4
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What is the distance between the center of your black tank hole and the wall? Thetford and Dometic have drawings showing this dimension.

Kelvin
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Old 07-24-2016, 10:15 AM   #5
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1991 25' Excella
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???

I am wondering what the original poster ended up doing. Rebuilding Starlite or going with a new toilet?
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Old 08-05-2016, 09:29 AM   #6
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1991 25' Excella
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As part of my cleaning of black tank and replacement of both waste valves and piping, I decided to replace the Thetford Galaxy with a new toilet. After a bunch of research, I went with the Thetford Aqua Magic Style II. New toilet has a porcelain bowl. Much better than the plastic Galaxy.

As part of the project I removed the existing built up pedestal that was made out of particle board and built one made of exterior plywood. I used Sign Board for the outside surfaces. Its an exterior plywood with a paper surface, takes paint really well.

I built the pedestal as low as I could because the new toilet is taller than the old one. I replaced the existing floor flange and down pipe with new as well. This allowed me to place the hold down bolts at the 9 - 3 position that the new toilet uses. The old was at more like 11 - 5

No clearance problems at back wall or sides.

I got what I feel is a screaming deal on the new toilet, though Amazon seller PPL Motor Homes. It was $151.82 for the water saver package with free shipping. When it arrived the toilet seat cover was cracked. PPL has great customer service, they immediately refunded $30 to cover the damage. I bought a new seat from Menards for $13. Total cost to me $134.82 for toilet. The floor flange and related parts not included.

Not even a close call, between replacement or rebuild of the old.
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:40 PM   #7
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Toilet Flange

Quote:
Originally Posted by TOPORANGER View Post
I replaced the existing floor flange and down pipe with new as well. This allowed me to place the hold down bolts at the 9 - 3 position that the new toilet uses. The old was at more like 11 - 5
Can you tell me how to remove the old flange?
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Old 08-08-2016, 11:10 PM   #8
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My 25 ft has a toilet that is on a pedestal made of wood. The front of it has a door. I can pop it off and get to the clamp that holds the pipe in the tank....I recently broke my flange when replacing a flush valve. Replacing it took just a few minutes.
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Old 08-09-2016, 06:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRH View Post
My 25 ft has a toilet that is on a pedestal made of wood. The front of it has a door. I can pop it off and get to the clamp that holds the pipe in the tank....I recently broke my flange when replacing a flush valve. Replacing it took just a few minutes.
Can you tell me how you removed it?
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:00 AM   #10
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1989 25' Excella
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The original toilet bowl in my '89 Excella would not hold water. The blade groove was clean and the valves were OK, too. Somewhere, maybe on this forum, I read that cooking oil may soften the seal. I put cooking oil in the bowl before we left for FL in December. I added more when we returned in early April. After a short while in the warmer spring weather the seal did soften enough to hold water! That has been at least 2 seasons ago and it is still holding water. If you can wait a while to give the seal a chance to soften, this is an easy, cheap try that MAY fix the problem. When we leave for the winter season, I add more oil to keep the seal in condition. So far, so good!!

Dan
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:50 AM   #11
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1991 25' Excella
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This may help

Here are some pictures of the toilet pedestal from my 91 Excella. I replaced it with a pedestal made of 3/4" exterior plywood.

Pictures shows the access panel that allows you to get to the clamp that holds the down pipe into the tank. My original pedestal was covered with carpet. You'll have to remove carpet to get to access panel. Yikes it was made of particle board and covered by carpet!! In a toilet app, not good.

On some threads on this board, it has been noted that the flange is removable from the down pipe. (A 3 inch street elbow). I found that my flange and elbow were cemented together and not able to be separated. I believe The new flange and elbow the cost was under $10.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Picinisco View Post
Can you tell me how you removed it?
I loosened the clamp that holds the down pipe from the flange in the tank neck and pulled it out.

My pedestal looked just like the one above other than being made of oak paneling that matches the rest of the trailer.
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Old 08-13-2016, 05:20 PM   #13
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Black water flange.

This is the flange that I need to remove. How is it attached?
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Old 08-25-2016, 01:22 PM   #14
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2000 25' Excella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TOPORANGER View Post
I am wondering what the original poster ended up doing. Rebuilding Starlite or going with a new toilet?
I finally got around to addressing the Thetford/Galaxy in our 25-footer that would no longer hold water. As I mentioned in my original post, Iíd already attempted the less-expensive, complete seal replacement approach without success. Iím guessing that the blade itself had become rough over time, and would no longer allow a complete seal. I was unwilling to try that again, so I debated replacement of the whole mechanical assembly (Thetford part #24203 for the ďparchmentĒ foot pedal) or replacement of the entire toilet.

Replacing the entire Thetford mechanical assembly is far simpler than seal replacement because all moving parts (including the blade) and seals are replaced as a whole assembly rather than as individual pieces. Itís about three times the price of the various seals, about $100, but if you do choose to rebuild, I recommend this approach; the package also includes a new flange seal. Clearly, at $100+ to rebuild, it strains the normal repair/replace cost ratio.

The toilet on my Excella toilet is installed on a raised platform, 10 inches above the floor, which also houses a furnace duct. The Dometic 310 low rise toilet (actually, the low rise 310 is the model 311) seemed to provide the best fit in the very confined space. The critical dimension is the location of the toilet discharge throat relative to the back of the toilet, and thus relative to the back wall of the toilet area. My toilet area back wall clearance would accommodate the 310/311; however the position of the discharge throat moved the entire toilet 1 3/16 inches forward into the doorway of the bathroom. Not entirely a deal buster but not ideal either. The other issue pertaining to a new toilet is the flange bolt pattern. I originally described the bolt pattern for the Galaxy/Starlight as 10-4; itís more accurately an 11-5 configuration, while virtually all newer toilets (except Thetfordís Bravura) are a 9-3 bolt pattern. Adapters are available for an additional cost of about $60.

I called Airstream, and they assured me that my flange was screwed, not glued to the connecting pipe between the toilet and the tank. I called my dealer service department, and they confirmed this, though the techs said that they can stick a bit, likely due to remnants of pipe dope that may have been used in the making the connection. If not glued, the floor flange on my toilet should be rotatable from the 11-5 to the 9-3 configuration. Since itís not possible to firmly hold the connecting pipe between the flange and the blackwater tank, one potential problem might be the amount of torque needed to rotate the flange, and the impact of that torque downstream on the connecting pipe to the tank.

The floors and walls of my Airstream toilet area are in excellent condition, and I decided that I didnít want to turn a two hour job into an even more expensive multi-day job should something go wrong, and Iíd have to rebuild the box, re-wallpaper, etc, possibly even replace the tank should something very bad happen. While the china toilet is much more aesthetically pleasing, the overall toilet ďexperienceĒ should be substantially the same whether china or plastic, and Iím not one to spend a lot of time in there. Consequently, I chose to re-build my Galaxy/Starlight with the mechanical assembly package.

The project took a little over an hour start to finish, and so far, so good. While the Galaxy/Starlight is uniquely designed to make the project far more difficult than it should be, I successfully completed the project. The difficulty lies in the location of the mounting bolts, i.e., the 11-5 pattern, and the difficulty in accessing those bolts with a wrench. There is an access hole on the top of the toilet, just under the seat, and if you pop that out, you can see the rear mounting bolt. Itís not directly in line with the bolt, so I tried using an extension with a u-joint and socket, but the offset is a little too much to work properly. You certainly canít put the nut back on using the access hole for anything other than visual access. I accessed the nut from behind, bending my wrist in an awkward position, and using a ratcheting Ĺ inch box-end wrench, I slowly removed the nut, using the access hole on top as a peep hole for visual access. Unfortunately, that places your face where youíd rather your face not be.

The front bolt is behind the flush pedal mechanism. While easier to access than the rear, it can be awkward holding down the spring-loaded pedal while trying to turn the mounting nut. Because you have to press down on the pedal to remove the front nut, itís best to remove the front nut first while the rear nut is still holding the toilet in place. Once both nuts are removed, the toilet lifts off fairly easily, and nothing fell into the drain while lifting the toilet off. Then you can turn the toilet upside down, remove a half a dozen screws, undo a couple of hoses and remove the entire mechanical assembly. Itís a clean procedure, compared to the distasteful mess of opening the assembly to replace the individual seals.

Re-installation isnít much fun either, as access to the nuts and bolts is just as difficult as with removal. I lubricated the flange seal with Leslies Pool and Spa Lube. Itís difficult aligning the holes in the toilet with the bolts in the flange as the only one that you can even partially see is the front, with difficulty. Itís best to install the nuts in reverse order of removal, i.e., rear bolt first, accessing the bolt from behind the toilet with your fingers, while viewing through the sight hole, then slowly ratcheting it down. A thumb wheel ratchet might work better than a ratcheting box-end, but I didnít try mine. Anyway, with the rear partially secured, you can, with difficulty, hold the flush pedal down with one hand, and slowly ratchet the front nut down with the other hand. Then, alternately snug them both up. Thereís a fair amount of compression required to squeeze the flange seal.

My re-build holds water in the bowl as it should, and I've detected no leaks in the plumbing. Knock on wood.
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