Monday, August 24, 2009

Toilet Bowl Seal Replacement

Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 15:30:53 -0000
Since they would no longer hold water, I've just replaced our toilet bowl seals and thought I should post some of the procedure.

"Merlot" is a Rear Bath model which we picked up from the factory in October of 2002. We spend four or five months each year on the road. Consequently the bowl seals and surrounding parts have received seven years of 'regular appreciation'. Before leaving on our odysseys the ball valve would be waxed with Pledge, the seal edges lubricated with Petroleum Jelly, and we always maintain a frequent cleaning schedule. Nevertheless, since a good deal of our travels were in areas with hard water, the inevitable finally occurred.

I began the project by using Art Bergman's wonderful archives to collect and print pertinent data that had been posted over the years. ( upkeep donations are appreciated ) Another area of information is the very valued efforts of Terry Tanner at http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Techsnoz/ .

With these and the Sealand Owners Manual I knew that I was soon going to be having a face-to-face with that porcelain bowl - and areas beyond, so I sanitized the previously-rinsed-out black tank with water and about a 1/4 gallon of bleach. I brought this sterilizing solution up to the level of the bottom of the bowl for a brief time before emptying the tank again. Ordinarily Bleach is not recommended for the black tank since it destroys the beneficial bacteria and may damage the emptying tank seal. Given the circumstances of what I was about to do though, I ignored this caution. (We will add the good enzymes to the tank at the beginning of the next trip.)

I then made sure the water pump was turned off. ( Terry T. emptied his fresh water tank to be doubly sure ) The toilet bowl seal replacement 'should' begin with knowing which Sealant model had been installed so that the correct replacement parts could be ordered and be on hand for the job. Of course, one could always guess which model Lazy Daze had used from the drawings found in the Sealant Manual, but the manual also stated there was a sticker on the bowl which gave this information . . except someone with a sense of humor had placed it at the upper rear of the toilet bowl. Maybe it's just me, but I found twisting myself virtually upside down and reading it backwards from a mirror a tad awkward. In my best "Tool Time Tim" impression I removed the bowl to get at the sticker! This led to the discovery that I could have simply pulled it off and read it. (The sticker now resides in the Sealand Manual.) Obviously I didn't, but I would strongly recommend ordering the replacement parts ahead of time because each comes with a better set of directions and photos than can be found in the owners manual.

I proceeded by removing the toilet seat, the plastic skirt that surrounds the toilet base, and a similar plastic housing encasing the flushing foot arm. With these out of the way there is access to the next step which is to disconnect the spray and water input hoses. Have a rag available as there may be some minor water still lurking about.

The black base and bowl are held together by a stainless steel ring band that encircles two plastic clamps that squeeze together and bind the bowl to the base. This is a very simple concept, except the screw fastener on the ring clamp is located at the rear of the bowl. The previously mentioned mirror comes in handy in placing a screw driver or 5/16th wrench to the screw mechanism for loosening said clamp. This awkward location turns out to be the only correct position that will provide even clamping pressure for the two clamps. With the ring band amply loosened the plastic clamps are removed, but the stainless steel ring band remains.

The heavy, and potentially slippery, bowl is now free to be lifted off. This fully exposes the black plastic pedestal and the screwed-to-the-floor base. There is now better access to the base bolts, which hold these two together. (The black base need be removed only if the system is leaking at the base.  If the problem is a failure of the bowl to hold water, the base should not need to be removed.  Editor) I unscrewed the nuts and washers and left the caulked bolts in place. The pedestal base can now be lifted off which exposes the "Floor Flange Seal" which probably will need replacing.

I took the base assembly outside for better viewing and was dismayed by the Calcium build up inside. It had such a heavy coating that I filled a suitable container with water and a gallon of vinegar to soak overnight. (I had two different shaped five gallon buckets, but only one was wide enough to allowed the full immersion of the pedestal.)

What a difference the vinegar bath made! When they were rinsed it was much easier to see how the ball valve, seals, and spring cartridge were to be removed (and replaced). Here is where the Sealand directions, that come with the new parts are very instructive, so I'll leave you to read that part.

The re-assembly of everything was merely a reversal of the removal. All the replaced new parts were the same as I had removed - with the exception that the rotor shaft was made of brass and had two "O Rings" where as the original was plastic. You'll need to buy a tube of Silicone Grease to lube those "O Rings" as Sealand for some reason - although requiring it - doesn't send any with the new parts. The other slight difference was in the "Floor Flange Seal" which was a somewhat different shape.

For ordering parts I had phoned Sealand at (800) 321-9886 and they automatically transferred the call to my closest regional distributer. They were very knowledgeable and sent everything Priority Mail, which I received in two days. My only possible criticism is in the cost of these parts, but then how can you put a price on years of "regular appreciation" . . . after all, is it not . . . The Throne?

The following parts were for Sealand Model 510+
--1 385316140 - Bowl Seal Kit $33.33
--1 385318162 - Ball/Shaft/Cartridge Kit $39.78
--1 600341549 - Foam Floor Flange Seal $12.26
--Shipping 6.00 Tax 7.00
Sorry, no photos, but I hope this may help someone down the road.

Contributor: Bill Atkins

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