Another Plumbing Leak/New Access Panel

ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
It seems my very first discussion here on the forum was a bit of a premonition. I've discovered a leak in the hinterlands behind the toilet...
The leak is at the fitting where the pump outlet hose connects to the CW distribution system. I can see a slow but continuing drip coming from the crimped connection between the PEX itself and the male side of the threaded fitting. If I twist the connector the fitting actually turns in the PEX. The photo below shows the location I'm referring to, but on my [email protected] the connection is closer to the pump so I am able to see it (barely) through the access door. 

That crimped fitting is going to need to be replaced, so it looks like I may be the guinea pig for building an access panel in the wall behind the toilet. This will necessitate removing the toilet and carefully cutting as large a hole as possible in the plywood wall. To cover and seal the hole I'm thinking a simple sheet of  heavy plastic with a gasket screwed tightly over the hole once the repairs are made.
So at the moment I have two questions...
1) Has anybody removed the toilet? Is the seal between the throne and the tank reusable or is it something that will have to be replaced? @4ncar, you posted this photo in another discussion, maybe you have some insight?

2) Any other bright ideas?
Thanks!

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Comments

  • RatkityRatkity Member Posts: 3,757
    Ut oh!!!! What are you going to do? Doesn't seem like you have a choice except to make that hatch two-piece somehow, and keep it waterproof?
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • VernaVerna Administrator Posts: 6,154
    @ScottG, it seems like @ChanW had some instructions for pulling the toilet and what kind of seal to use (it’s not like the home toilet seal). 
    Verna, Columbus, IN
    Patiently waiting for my 2021 [email protected] 320S  Boondock
    Towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost
    [email protected] Administrator
  • PhotomomPhotomom Member Posts: 2,206
    edited May 2019
    Somebody replaced the standard toilet with an ADA RV toilet but I can’t remember if he posted it here or on one of the myriad FB [email protected] pages. I remember asking him and he said the process is just like a house toilet. If you’ll look back at my post about the leak I linked a YouTube video that shows a guy removing the same toilet we have. 
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    edited July 2019
    Thanks. The video was helpful--it looks like it's a rubber gasket (as opposed to a wax ring) that can perhaps reused. If not, new ones are readily available.
    I think what I'm going to do is just cut a hole and install a thick plastic cover over it. I'll put a compression gasket around the edge and just screw it tight to the wall, which is entirely constructed of 3/4" plywood. It will be much like the access panel to get behind the shower, only thicker and with a little water resistance added to it.
    In the past I've considered an actual hatch like the one to access the pump, but that seems like overkill.
  • db_cooperdb_cooper Member Posts: 597
    This doesn't address your current problem, but will reduce the amount of water hitting the back wall when showering.  We put a strip of Velcro across the top of the back wall of the shower and hung a clear plastic shower curtain, cut to fit,  that drapes over the toilet.  When not showering it tucks neatly to one side of the toilet.

    It really cuts down on having to dry the toilet seat after each shower, and eliminates water hitting the back wall and access door.
    2015 Max S Outback | 2010 Xterra



  • 4ncar4ncar Member Posts: 742
    @ScottG it’s a foam rubber ring as opposed to a wax ring. It is very easy to remove to toilet: pop the beauty caps off the stool bolts, remove the two nuts and off the toilet comes. Of course, be sure to disconnect  the water supply. Get a flange plug like this shown below to plug the hole into the black tank. Life will be sweeter if you do! The one I have is red, that’s what you see in my pic.


    TV- '16 Chevy Colorado LT Crew Cab-DuraMax
    2018 320S Outback
  • ChanWChanW Member Posts: 2,754
    edited May 2019
    Yep, it's definitely easier than you'd expect.

    If I remember right, the replacement valve 'kit' came with a new drain seal.  (Rubber, not wax)

    While I had ours out, I added a shutoff valve to the supply line, so I could isolate the toilet next time, if I needed to...
    Chan  -  Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 S Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl
     
     [email protected]'ll_Do_Ya
  • lkc001lkc001 Member Posts: 549
    @ScottG Please report back with instructions on how you did all of this.  Would be very good info to have in the files here!  Good luck!
    2016 Nissan Frontier SV V6 4x4
    Finally!  New Owner of a 2017 Tab 320S! 
    Woohoo!
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    edited May 2019
    Ok, the toilet's out. Took about a minute and a whole lot easier than a real toilet--mostly 'cause it's a whole lot lighter.  ;-)  This is good, since he toilet will need to come out whenever the new access panel comes off.
    The foam ring stayed on the closet flange, partially glued there by the copious quantities of caulking used under and around the flange. To reduce the likelihood of damaging it, I've left it in place for now pending a clear need for a new one. I've got a couple on the shopping list, along with one of those sewer hole plugs, a shutoff (or at least a cap) for the toilet water supply stub, and maybe even a shower curtain. Thanks for the ideas.
    I've marked out an opening directly behind the toilet, for which I have a piece of heavy plastic for a cover. I'll probably make the cut today and further evaluate things once I get a better look around back there. I'll be sure post a followup and details once I'm finished.

  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Administrator Posts: 2,632
    I upgraded the stool in our travel trailer in AZ as the upgrade was better than repairing the water intake valve.  This is one of those projects you think may become a horror story, but after you’re done you look back and smile as it takes much less time than originally anticipated.  Make sure you share some photos too.  
    Mike 
    Howell, Mi
    2019 [email protected] 400
    2016 Silverado 
  • BrianZBrianZ Member Posts: 1,194
    Good luck, @ScottG! And I hope Mike is right.
    I hope you make a generous sized new access hole, so you can get to both sides & to allow enough room to get arms & tools inside as needed. 

    I was thinking that those crimping tools for the pex clamps are quite large, and I seem to recall Dale Helman suggested shark bite connectors may be an option too, as they are just push-up without any crimping, soldering, etc.  I've used them for copper pipes and they were a breeze & have never leaked, but I've never connected pex pipes before.

    -Brian in Chester, Virginia
    TV: 2005 Toyota Sienna LE (3.3L V6)
    RV: 2018 [email protected] 320S, >70 mods 
  • RatkityRatkity Member Posts: 3,757
    I have to say that I've used the shark bite connectors with some trepidation. I was wrong to worry. They are tight and no leaks.
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • 4ncar4ncar Member Posts: 742
    edited May 2019
    Just a thought: rather than cutting an additional access, why not cut the whole wall as a panel, including the hatch? You could cleat the bottom, and install a backing cleat on he top. This way you can still use the stock hatch, and be able to remove the whole thing later IF needed... just a thought...
    TV- '16 Chevy Colorado LT Crew Cab-DuraMax
    2018 320S Outback
  • HomebodyatheartHomebodyatheart Member Posts: 2,235
    @Dalehelman recently swapped thrones successfully. Good luck @ScottG!
    2017 [email protected] 320 Max S silver and cherry red, [email protected] ("Bug" aka my [email protected] pod), TV 2015 Toyota Highlander aka Big Red
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    Part 1: Demolition
    I probably won't wrap this project up for another few days so I'll post an update in the meantime. Once I figured out what I wanted to do, carrying it out was relatively easy.
    I marked out an 8.5" x 10.5" hole centered directly behind the toilet and under the existing hatch. The size was dictated by the piece of plastic I wanted to use as a cover. The height is perfect for the space, and in any case I couldn't go much wider without bumping into the black water stink pipe.
    It should go without saying that before I started making any cuts I double-triple-quadruple-checked behind the wall to make sure I was steering clear of any tubing or wires. The plumbing runs have been reconfigured a bit in newer [email protected], so if you try this be sure to confirm locations on your own trailer!
    I started by cutting the corners out with a 4" hole saw, then connected the holes with straight cuts from a trim-size circular saw and a small hand saw. Voila, [email protected] guts revealed!
    The hole is roomier than it seems. I can easily reach all the threaded connectors, and even stick my entire head in to take a good look around. Most of the plumbing and wiring is down below the bottom of the hole, in the space just forward of the black tank.
    The fitting I need to reach is just visible in the lower right of the opening in the second photo. I got a kick out of the tag on the connector hose--yeah, right... I'm pretty sure the leak I'm experiencing stems from snugging up that threaded connector without being able to adequately support the lower fitting that attaches directly to the PEX.
    I'll post Part 2 once I get the cover fabricated. The cover is 1" wider than the hole all around--you can see the faint pencil marks showing where it will be located once installed.




  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    4ncar said:
    Just a thought: rather than cutting an additional access, why not cut the whole wall as a panel, including the hatch? You could cleat the bottom, and install a backing cleat on he top. This way you can still use the stock hatch, and be able to remove the whole thing later IF needed... just a thought...
    Not a bad idea at all, though in my case I would have to have to work around the external black water vent. Also there is not very much up above the pump that would ever need to be accessed. You'd also need some sort of a flange to ensure that water from the shower didn't find its way behind the wall.
    Maybe the next lucky pioneer will take this on.  :-)
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    And thanks for the info on the shark-bite style connectors--I'll look into them. I was also a little skeptical at first, but if they work, they work!
    There are quite a few options for connecting PEX other than the common crimp rings and plastic connectors, including stretch fittings and bolt-on varieties. There's not a whole lot of working room inside the hatch, but I'm sure I can find something that works.
    And if it doesn't, I'll just pop off my new hatch and fix it again!  ;-)
  • lkc001lkc001 Member Posts: 549
    Following!
    2016 Nissan Frontier SV V6 4x4
    Finally!  New Owner of a 2017 Tab 320S! 
    Woohoo!
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    edited May 2019
    @Dalehelman, @4ncar, @Fergie, and any others who may have added a toilet shut-off valve...
    Can anyone confirm that the stub coming out of the wall is a standard 1/2" NPS or NPT connector? Thanks!
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    edited May 2019
    And what I'm really asking, if anyone knows, is what's the male thread on this fitting? It connects to the hose from the outlet of the pump, and as best I can tell is identical to to the toilet stub.
    I'd like to replace this with a brass fitting (like the Shark Bite) but I want to confirm if this is standard 1/2" MNPT fitting, and if it will work with existing connector on the hose.



  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 777
    edited May 2019
    what does the label on the pipe directly above it say?  I would just take one or both piece with me to the local hardware and fit make sure.

    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter 
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    Cbusguy said:
    what does the label on the pipe directly above it say?  I would just take one or both piece with me to the local hardware and fit make sure.
    Nothing of any use, unfortunately. Just the brand, certification fine print, and the admonition to only use it in accessible locations...
    I have the hose with me and will be headed to the plumbing store later today.
  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 777
    I had a hose that looks very similar that I put in a bathroom faucet remodel a few years ago,   well the insert was plastic and failed on new years eve,  flooding the bathroom,    I went to Home Depot and found the replacement and it had a brass insert instead of plastic.  
    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter 
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    I found the Shark Bite push on fittings at my local Home Depot. The hose threads nicely on the 1/2" MNPT fitting and seems like it will seal up properly, but I'll reserve judgement until it is installed.
    The hose itself does have a plastic insert, but we'll save that potential problem for another day...
    I should be able to swap the fitting later today or tomorrow and will report back then.
  • FergieFergie Member Posts: 121
    To ScottG:

    To answer your question about the supply pipe, I'm sure the plastic fitting for the toilet water coming out of the wall was a 1/2 inch standard fitting. Also, even though in the [email protected] we are not dealing with very high water pressure compared to typical household situations, as I said in the original post discribing details of replacing the toilet valve,  I alway use teflon tape on threaded plumbing connections to 1) make sure there are no leaks and 2) to make them easy to disassemble if the need ever arises.

    Good Luck in your extended repair project!

    Fergie
     
  • BrianZBrianZ Member Posts: 1,194
    @ScottG, it's a 1/2 x 14 pipe fitting.
    See:
    SHURFLO (244-3926 Elbow Adapter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002IZJ7D6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_thZ3Cb0B5GCDH
    .. which I used to make some pump tubes for winterizing.
    -Brian in Chester, Virginia
    TV: 2005 Toyota Sienna LE (3.3L V6)
    RV: 2018 [email protected] 320S, >70 mods 
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    Part 2: The Leak
    This turned out to be stupidly easy. Cut pipe below old leaky fitting (see photo above, with drip). Push new 1/2" PEX to 1/2" MNPT Shark Bite fitting onto stub. Hook everything back up and test for leaks. Say "phew" when there are none.
    Despite all the glowing endorsements--and my own eyes--I still can't quite accept that the Shark Bite fitting actually work. I'm glad they do, as it would have been challenging to install a crimp or clamp fitting in there just because the tools required for those are pretty large and awkward.





  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    Part 3: The Panel
    The cover panel could probably have just been screwed to the plywood wall, but I wanted to ensure that the screws wouldn't strip out with vibration and repeated removal/replacement so I installed anchor nuts in the four corners of the opening.
    The cover itself was repurposed from an old 3/8" thick plastic cutting board. It was well used so I prettied it up a bit with the sander. I used vinyl foam tape to make a water-resistant gasket on the back side, then screwed the cover into the anchor nuts with wide-head machine screws.
    The toilet was reinstalled using the original gasket, which was still serviceable. I still intend to install a shut-off for the water supply, but that can be another project later in the season.

    I'll leave it that for now, but if anybody has questions or wants additional information, don't hesitate to ask!


  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,782
    BrianZ said:
    @ScottG, it's a 1/2 x 14 pipe fitting.
    See:
    SHURFLO (244-3926 Elbow Adapter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002IZJ7D6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_thZ3Cb0B5GCDH
    .. which I used to make some pump tubes for winterizing.
    @BrianZ, don't worry, I already appropriated that idea from you as well, and built the same pump winterizing kit.  :-)
    I even thought to check the specs on those fittings, but 1/2 x 14 didn't directly match anything coming up on the PEX fittings. Regardless, the standard 1/2" MNPT appears to work! 

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