Ol’ Plumber Joel…

Yeah! Some months after Claire moved into one of the fifth-wheel trailers here, I happened to notice that her toilet didn’t flush. I asked her if she wanted me to have a look at it, and she said no: She just used the hose from the shower to flush it. Okay.

Well, that trailer’s going on the market soon, and Landlady would surely get more money for it if the toilet worked. Since there is now nobody around to say me nay, I figured, “what can go wrong?”


Question the first: Is the toilet getting water at all? A slightly loosened fitting explosively answered that question. Oops! Tighten it! Tighten it! Then go turn off the water.

Now, full disclosure: My toilet doesn’t flush either. But that’s because the valve is all chingered up and I’m not going to spend large amounts of money I don’t have for fixtures in a trailer that – if all goes well – will be reduced to parts very soon. (Landlady has developed a heavy hate for the rather large collection of trailers on her ridge.) So “Yes, the toilet’s getting water” wasn’t really good news. If it’s not the pipe, it must be the toilet.

But unlike mine, that toilet is practically new. T installed it only a little while before he died, and it hasn’t gotten much use since. So I dismounted it and pulled it out into the light to see what was what.

Here’s an immutable fact of life: The water on Landlady’s property isn’t just hard: It’s positively crunchy. Only a fool would actually drink it, absent serious thirst. So any pressure-reducing orifice that hasn’t gotten all calciumed-up just hasn’t been around long enough. I took the valve off the toilet, sprayed it off, and looked for places where the calcium could build up. If I could get at the offender, maybe I could fix it. If I couldn’t, well then I couldn’t.

Turned out I could. I worked a pipe cleaner through the offending hole, and a garden hose demonstrated that what hadn’t passed water through before now did. I put the whole thing back together, and then my only problem was getting the cheap-ass pipe fitting to stop leaking whenever I turned the water back on. Toilet flushes!

It doesn’t flush well, mind you. But then as I recall it never really did.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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2 Responses to Ol’ Plumber Joel…

  1. Pat H. says:

    Joel, complete toilet “innards” can be replaced for about $15.00. That’s everything in the tank from the water inlet line inwards.

    But, since you’re going to scrap the trailer, if it can’t be sold, that’s probably irrelevant.

  2. Joel says:

    In a normal household tank-type flush toilet, that sounds about right. The valves that RV toilets use are a completely different design. Also not available in hardware stores, and so much more expensive than they have any business being.

To the stake with the heretic!