Our first trip to Myrtle Beach will always be a trip I’ll remember. The beach was fantastic, and we scored an incredible RV site oceanside. Each evening we would stroll the beach to soak in those magical sunsets. While we will never forget those sunset strolls, the RV mishap is what will always define that trip.
Like most RVers, I’ve had to deal with many minor repair issues from having sewer hose cut by a lawnmower to blown AC fuses. None of that phased me, not that I prepared but those unexpected RV repairs were nothing compared to the toilet issue. Where do I start?
One Broken Toilet Changed My Mind…
I think I can handle most things thrown at me, as I handle most of the small repair issues around the house but I’m not a handyman either. Now when it comes to computers and electronics, I’m your guy. Car engine trouble, plumbing, etc., you need to call a professional. But knowing that RVs tend to have repair issues, I decided to try to learn more about the workings of my RV. I’ve read plenty of blogs and watched hours of Youtube videos on RV maintenance. So I was armed and ready. At least I thought I was…
In our motorhome, we have a full bathroom and a half. We love the convenience of having that extra toilet. The ½ bath is useful but tucked into a rather small space. After a long day at the beach with the kids, we came back to the RV, ready to clean up and eat. As soon as I walked into the RV I could see on my wife’s face there was a problem. The half bathroom toilet was not flushing and was making a weird sound. When I went to check out the problem, I noticed that one of the wall hooks was missing. Has someone knocked one of the command hooks (don’t we RVers love our command hooks) into the toilet? The toilet has an electric flush with a macerator, not just a simple step flush.
I decided to test the toilet myself. After mustering up the courage, I pushed the switch and all you could hear was the terrible sound of the macerator trying to chew up the metal part of the hook. By the time I got to the toilet, it was too late. I could tell that the metal of the command hook was stuck in the toilet macerator. Keep in mind; we were at a campground in Myrtle Beach. Oh, and did I mention it was a Sunday? All I could think about was how much a mobile RV tech would charge. So I sat outside in my favorite camping chair stewing about the pain of this upcoming bill.
Time to Step Up
Then and there I decided to take a stand. I had seen videos and read blogs to get ready for this very moment. I thought I could handle this issue or at least try. I went in and assessed the situation; the toilet would have to come out if there was any chance to remove the metal hook. The next question was do I have the tools to remove the toilet? Of course, I didn’t, but one of the things I love the most about the RV community is its willingness to help. I checked with a few neighbors and one of them had the tools I needed. Note to self: make sure you have the right tools to handle minor issues.
Now that I had the right tools, I dove right in and I was able to loosen and remove the nuts and bolts and lift the toilet up. Keep in mind how small this space is and you’ll understand how I felt like I was crammed into a closet as I wrestled with the toilet.
Sweating and my back aching, I was able to reach down into the macerator and remove the metal command hook.
I can’t tell you the sense of relief I felt as I set the toilet back down in its place. After tightening the last nut, I felt those nervous butterflies in my stomach.
Would the toilet still work? Have I made any mistakes? I knew the hook was out but was there further damage that I had not noticed? Only one way to tell – hit the flush button. So I reached out and pushed the button…the sound of a flushing toilet was never sweeter. Success, it worked. I had successfully fixed the problem and it hadn’t cost me $100/hour for an RV tech.
You want to know the best part? My late father-in-law was a handyman and could fix or do anything from electrical work to remodeling an entire kitchen, he was your man. My wife learned a ton from her father and I admit it’s always intimidated me that she knows so much about repairs. But after I fixed the toilet, she was really proud of my effort and me. That meant the world to me…and I’m now confident and ready to tackle the next issue that creeps up. Now off to watch another wonderful sunset.
About the Author: Keith is the Dad of Soulful RV Family, an African American family loving the RV lifestyle and traveling as we homeschool our 3 preteen boys exploring all this great country has to offer. Keep up with the Soulful RV Family on Instagram!