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Old 09-26-2017, 07:19 AM   #21
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He HAD to say that.



My best suggestion is to look at my hand drawing again. The stippled area is all open to the black tank. This is what Roadtrek Life was trying to communicate by sawing his in half (that plus I suspect he was venting his anger at such a stupid design).

The interior of the toilet body (not the interior of the bowl) is open to the black tank. Plus, it contains all kinds of little injection-molded (plastic forming machine) ridges and spines. So, when the black water sloshes out of the black tank and up into the inner body of the toilet, it deposits a lot of solid waste there, which then continues to reside indefinitely IN the body of the toilet. It doesn't necessarily come back out again, doesn't necessarily fall back down into the black tank, because of the numerous obstructions inside the toilet body.

It's so absurd as designs go that I know many people will have trouble believing such a thing is possible.


In other project news, we used an endoscope to examine the inside of the tank and its connections last night. It was hard to get the proper images because the consumer versions of those tools have fixed focal lengths. But I was able to get close to the discharge valve both from the inside out and the outside in, and didn't see any causes for concern. No cracks or breaches were visible.

Then we filled the black tank to the top with fresh water and sealed it with a 3" drain plug, before taking it on a drive to slosh things around. There was no visible water elopement.

Given the outcomes of those two tests, the problems we were having appear to have been isolated to the Thetford itself, not the tank system. So it becomes a task of ordering a replacement toilet and installing it.

And immobilizing the black tank. Airstream installed it without physically connecting it to the van, except via the vent line which is anchored in the roof (and which already sheared off at the base some time ago - blog post here), the dump valve, and the toilet gasket. There was nothing in the way of blocking or strapping installed to prevent movement of the tank itself. When my husband released the black tank valve to let the fresh water out last night, the force transmitted to the tank and scooted it a short distance across the floor under the cabinetry, because no toilet was in place to provide another fixed anchor point. I watched this occur from inside the van. This design is causing routine use to transfer a lot of force to the vent and the toilet flange connections, simply because the tank itself is floating free in the interior. That's not healthy for those connections and the resulting material stresses likely contribute to breakage and leakage over time.

Re: this pic below, the plywood that underlies the wet bath's plastic inner overlay was left unfinished when the flange hole was cut. Any chronic leakage in the area of that flange is not a good thing, because the plywood would swell and deform, and also absorb odors and foster the growth of bacteria. So I sealed that edge using red enamel paint (oil-based).

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Old 09-26-2017, 07:49 AM   #22
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Question

New Interstate are also impacted by all that has been discussed here?

Meaning, do I need to pull out my toilet as soon as I get delivery of my AI and inspect and make these preventive modifications?

Rather do it now before it gets used...
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:02 AM   #23
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Two of my three Airstream trailers had ceramic toilets. The first (22' International,) came with a ceramic toilet. The third (Classic 28,) I tore out the plastic pot and installed a ceramic toilet. Ceramic looks better, is easier to keep clean, and simply works better.

I have been considering changing out the toilet in the AI. So far, it has ben just barely adequate, but it looks and feels cheap.

In order to order a replacement, the key dimension I need to find is the distance from the center of the tank opening to the wall. I hate to pull the pot to measure. Does anyone here know that dimension for a 2014.5 Lounge?
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:25 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by wachuko View Post
New Interstate are also impacted by all that has been discussed here?

Meaning, do I need to pull out my toilet as soon as I get delivery of my AI and inspect and make these preventive modifications?

Rather do it now before it gets used...

I don't think the newer Interstates use this type of toilet with that awful void inside the toilet bowel - at least I know my 2013 doesn't have it.
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Old 09-26-2017, 01:04 PM   #25
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I don't think the newer Interstates use this type of toilet with that awful void inside the toilet bowel - at least I know my 2013 doesn't have it.
What model of toilet came installed in yours?

I'm about to do my Usual Thing - say to hell with RV suppliers and catalogs, and inquire with the marine / boating community as to what kinds of toilets they prefer.
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Old 09-26-2017, 02:47 PM   #26
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My 2014.5 has an Aqua Magic IV installed that I really do not like. I would very much prefer a ceramic bowl.

I just went to the storage yard and measured from the drain center to the back wall. There is enough space to install a Dometic 320 with a ceramic bowl, but the way the water line enters the bath could pose a problem. The water line comes in at the center rear of the toilet and has a shutoff valve with a crimp ring, pointing straight toward the drain. The Thetford has a large opening at the rear that almost extends to the drain. There is a crimped elbow to a vertical PEX to the toilet water inlet. Unless the Dometic has a similar rear opening, it would be very difficult to reconfigure the plumbing. The first crimp ring is right against the rear wall and it would be very difficult to make any change there.
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Old 09-26-2017, 03:25 PM   #27
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I phoned my contact at AER Supply in Seabrook TX, which is where I got the Vitrifrigo fridge. They are a wholesaler that supplies a lot of the retail marine shops which, in turn, support Galveston Bay's fleet of ninety thousand (!!) registered pleasure boats. So if there's a product trend, they've likely seen it.

They reportedly don't distribute Thetford toilets at all. Too many problems. Not worth it.

There are about a billion marine toilets in numerous configurations. Many have macerators built into the toilet itself, because in marine configs, the black tank may be located some distance away from the head itself. Plus there are manual pump models, etc. etc.

Of the purely-gravity models, they recommend the SeaLand 500 series, *if* they can be made to fit the available space. There is a 300 series which is cheaper. I'm told that it's basically impossible to get replacement parts for those - if one part goes, you throw away the entire toilet. That line was intended to target the lowest-end OEM installation scenario. Cheap as could be achievable for sellers who install toilets in their new units to be sold (boats, RVs).

Here's where it gets a bit confusing: SeaLand was acquired by Dometic, so the terms tend to be used interchangeably. Plus, product descriptions are imprecise on the internet and forget about having thumbnail pictures accurately represent the version of the product that is being described. Lots of errors there.

Page 3 of this user's manual states that an 11-inch minimum distance is needed from the back wall to the center of the flange. The T1N Interstate mid-bath only has about 10 inches, so the 500 series may not be a do-able option for us.

According to AER, if the 500 series can't be made to fit, there really is no higher-ended alternative in a gravity model. The default becomes the cheap 300 series. That's what Roadtrek Life put in, apparently.

FWIW.
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Old 09-26-2017, 06:23 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
What model of toilet came installed in yours?



I'm about to do my Usual Thing - say to hell with RV suppliers and catalogs, and inquire with the marine / boating community as to what kinds of toilets they prefer.

Mine is also a Thetford Aqua-Magic.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:11 PM   #29
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I was just now looking at the 2017 parts catalog. They have changed to a Dometic potty. Here is the info.

690707 Toilet, Dometic 301, Short height, White
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:28 PM   #30
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Craptastic! It got delivered ahead of schedule!


This is what a new Dometic 310 looks like from underneath. Sloshing black water can still penetrate the neck of the toilet from below, BUT, the difference with this model (vs. Thetford) is that a plastic stopper shield has been inserted to prevent that material from accumulating in the interstices of the toilet body. My finger is pointing to that shield in the photo below.

The big test comes later today or this weekend - the fit test. Measurements aside, I never 100% believe that anything will fit until I see it actually installed and fitting.

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Old 09-29-2017, 03:04 PM   #31
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You meant to say that the real test comes after taco night...
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:14 PM   #32
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Burrito night.
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Old 09-29-2017, 04:36 PM   #33
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Gotta tell this one

Today, I took the AI in for a service B and a front-end alignment. Rainy, cool day in Austin and all the big doors on the Sprinter shop were closed.

I was taking a walk to kill time when all the doors went up in a hurry and the mechanics scattered. Seems they were putting my rig on the hoist when some part of the hoist ruptured the PVC hookup between the black water tank and the black valve Fortunately, I had dumped the tank last Sunday, after a week on the road, but I had used it later while working on the AI at the storage yard.

It cost me about 2 hours of waiting while they made two trips into town for PVC cement and PVC parts. It's still rainy, so I haven't examined their repair job yet.

Biggest downside is that I had to drive the 35-miles through Austin in peak of the Friday afternoon rush rather than beating the famous Austin traffic home.
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Old 09-29-2017, 08:13 PM   #34
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Today, I took the AI in for a service B and a front-end alignment. Rainy, cool day in Austin and all the big doors on the Sprinter shop were closed.



I was taking a walk to kill time when all the doors went up in a hurry and the mechanics scattered. Seems they were putting my rig on the hoist when some part of the hoist ruptured the PVC hookup between the black water tank and the black valve Fortunately, I had dumped the tank last Sunday, after a week on the road, but I had used it later while working on the AI at the storage yard.



It cost me about 2 hours of waiting while they made two trips into town for PVC cement and PVC parts. It's still rainy, so I haven't examined their repair job yet.



Biggest downside is that I had to drive the 35-miles through Austin in peak of the Friday afternoon rush rather than beating the famous Austin traffic home.


This maybe the reason why my local Jiffy Lube and Oil Can Henry did not even want to do simple oil change for my rig little generator ;-0!!!
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Old 09-30-2017, 06:49 PM   #35
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It Is Done, it functions, but it's not the quality that I wish we could pay for:

UPGRADING THE TOILET IN AN AIRSTREAM INTERSTATE
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:19 PM   #36
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Try a “squatty potty” for a lightweight foot rest.
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Old 10-13-2017, 06:10 AM   #37
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Humorous post-script:

ClassBWarned shared my toilet investigative blog post with Roadtrek, in an attempt to apply a wider logic so that they might comprehend the true root of his problem and thus fix it, as it must be fixed under his warranty.

Our ensuing email exchange went like this:

ClassBWarned: "I shared your story and so far [they] have completely dismissed your findings."

InterBlog: "Denial - not just a river in Egypt."

LOL
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Old 10-13-2017, 06:55 AM   #38
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Humorous post-script:

ClassBWarned shared my toilet investigative blog post with Roadtrek, in an attempt to apply a wider logic so that they might comprehend the true root of his problem and thus fix it, as it must be fixed under his warranty.

Our ensuing email exchange went like this:

ClassBWarned: "I shared your story and so far [they] have completely dismissed your findings."

InterBlog: "Denial - not just a river in Egypt."

LOL
Dismissed or ignored?
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Old 10-02-2018, 10:16 AM   #39
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Postscript to this thread,

in which Classbwarned did what several of us have done and replaced his Thetford pot with a Dometic, and in the process made a video showing how leaky his de-installed Thetford really is.

Ugh, these Thetfords are the grossest most unsanitary things I've ever seen, and yet Airstream is still installing them in megabucks rigs... Earth to Airstream, are you listening?!

http://classbwarned.com/?p=305
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Old 10-02-2018, 02:15 PM   #40
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On my 2018 EXT Lounge, AS installed Dometic 301. Not sure when they switched to 301 and/or if they did this because of Thetford issues. My 301 all plastic & looks & feels cheap & sounds like it will break everytime I sit on it (140 lb. little guy). So I replaced with Dometic 321. I don't know if the old 301 had Thetford-type issues. I checked my old 301, I saw nothing of the sort you diagrammed, even after I turned upside down. But only had mine 7 mos. Maybe plastic toilets should be replaced every few yrs.? I think if I was limited to only plastic toilets, I may replace every few years. I will take apart my 321 in 12 months to see how it does. It a crappy job, but someone gotta do it. Better me than some rv tech who wouldnt do a good job because it's a dirty job but has no problem taking my money.
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