Remodelling RV Bathroom

by Jaime
(Texas)

Question: I hate my bathroom layout in my motorhome. Since it is only me here, I can brush my teeth in the kitchen sink. Dogs don't mind. I have NO other use for the bathroom sink. And the storage underneath it is basically useless as well. Badly configured due to the useless sink drain pipes! My bathtub is too short, and only lets me sit in it with my chin tucked under my knees. So... I was thinking to take to the sink out and put in a longer bathtub, which I would genuinely appreciate... a 54" like this one would fit fine along the longer wall where the sink is! http://www.mobilehomeadvantage.com/sku.cfm/sub_cat_id/60/ID/11/ (I actually have 60")


BUT. That means the existing bath tub drain hole is on the exact opposite corner from where I would need it to be.

BUT. Oddly enough the drain for the tub is on the opposite side of the black water tank from where the grey water tank is located, so I am guessing there MUST be some kind of play to relocate that drain? (As in, the hole for the drain is in NO WAY located directly over top the grey water tank, so there has to be a pipe run that can be reconfigured, if I can get to it!?)

PROBLEM #2: The bathtub I want to install is 27" wide, but I only have 24" from the side wall of the RV to the edge of the toilet seat. I do have 4+ inches of wasted space between the other edge of the toilet and the "hallway" wall/partition, so I "could" move the toilet over, "just enough" - - UNLESS the idjuts who designed this thing drilled the toilet drain straight into the top of the black water tank? Or is it possible to install an elbow in such a small space to accommodate moving the toilet over?

What do you think? Are there any "hidden" considerations or modifications that I might encounter if I attempt this endeavor?


Robbie: Hi Jaime,

Looks like you've been doing a lot of thinking and I think they are all good ideas.

First: Replacing the bathtub is not a problem and the plumbing can be moved.

Second: The only concern I have is moving the toilet is, if the black tank is located a few inches under the floor your toilet can be moved to the edge of the tank. Most toilets are connected in the center of the black tank and this would allow you to move the toilet a few inches.

Lastly: It would not be an easy task and may require removing the black tank and plugging the old hole and drilling a new one. Using an elbow from your toilet is always a bad idea. It doesn't get the water flow like a household toilet does and would be getting plugged up all the time.

I have no idea how much you use your RV but the changes you are thinking of making are going to be pricey. Be sure and get estimates and also be sure the facility you choose knows how to make the changes.

You are not the first to want changes like this done and I would love to see before and after pictures to show others that visit my website.

I'd love to see pictures of what you have now to further give you advice, please send them to ifixrvs@aol.com and I will review them and get back with you. Also, what kind of motorhome do you have?

Good Luck...
Robbie

Comments for Remodelling RV Bathroom

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Mar 01, 2012
More research on this remodel:
by: Jaime

Since you asked: I am "fulltiming" in a 2000 Winnebago Class C, named "Harrison" (Ford). This is not my first major makeover in this rig.

I don't think it is going to be "all that pricey" really. Not as bad you might think at first glance. First to go, since it will be the most difficult, is the toilet.

I read on another blog that someone SUCCESSFULLY moved their toilet over a few inches by picking the brains of a local plumber and they put together two 45 degree elbows and made it work. In order to accomplish this, a riser had to be built, because the 45's contributed some height ....and they installed a low profile toilet, so you don't need a step ladder to climb onto it lol!

After frugal comparison shopping, I ordered the Thetford Aqua Magic V low profile toidy from americanrvcompany.com. Cost so far is $126.33. The bathtub will come from mobilehomepartstore.com for $189.00 (plus probably freight, I would imagine.) This is the one: http://mobilehomepartsstore.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=120100

Once the new toidy arrives, I will take the old one out and see up close and personal how it all fits together and post back my findings. It seems like I might have to mail order the ABS elbows I need too, because the local Lowes doesn't carry it and we don't seem to have a local plumbing supply shop anymore. Unless I can find one not too far away! (Hope so!)

SINCE I am tearing everything out, and actually already tore out all of the carpeting in the entire rest of the rig. And am fixin' to replace a piece of the hallway floor between the kitchen and bath that has developed a sag, GUESS WHAT? Yeah, I'm going to do the floor too. I have marine grade plywood already cut to fit for the hallway job.

I have decided on cork flooring from Globus. http://www.corkfloor.com/tiles.html This will be the pricey part, but I think it will be worthwhile to not have a cold floor in winter anymore. Since I am going to have it my way, and I'm very fickle, I'm struggling MOST with a color scheme lol. For that I am using http://kuler.adobe.com/#themes/search?term=userId%3A243670 and I think I am going to using something along the lines of Carnival and/or Phaedra. I'll have to make a decision pretty quick so I can at least get the bathroom floor down while the fixtures are out and before I build the riser for the dislocated toilet.

But all I have done so far is clean out the two vanity drawers, so nothing much yet to take pictures of. I will send some once I start actually digging in to this.

Thanks for getting back to me, and thanks for your interest. I hope you enjoy this as much as I am. Incidentally, I am not the least bit concerned about resale value for this rig, so tearing it up and down is strictly my perogative. I also had all my axles weighed and I am well under the safe weight allowance for this vehicle, so we're pretty much good to go with whatever I choose to do here.

Mar 02, 2012
Jaime`s toilet change...
by: Anonymous

I liked the amount of work you put in to researching all this... you can join my company anytime; but, just to add my couple-of-cents, I have to agree with Robbie on the toilet re-model. I know two folks who added elbows to their system during similar resizing of the bathroom... and both eventually ran into problems with flow and blockage. It only takes once and it`s a bear to unblock. Good luck on the changes.. and safe traveling to ya.

Sep 08, 2012
What the heck were they flushing? ;-)
by: Jaime

I think the 45s as elbows will be ok for my personal flushing purposes. If I could find 30-ish degree drain pipe angles that would be better, but would probably add too much rise to the sit-upon. But I don't flush anything that shouldn't be flushed, including paper of any sort.

Sep 08, 2012
Update
by: Jaime

I was working on this a little more today. Got sidetracked with other things over the summer, and I probably won't get any more done on it after this until October.

I just FINALLY got the bathroom sink base tore out. What a job! I thought it would be an hour or two job when I finally got a round tuit. It took me THREE. DAYS. And it should not have been as tough as it was, but Winnebago put screws in the most ridiculous places, and I wanted to be careful and not cause serious damage. This isn't a demolition job!

One of the angle plates holding the base assembly to the wall, was behind the sink bowl so no screwdriver would fit, so the sink had to be removed completely to pull that one screw. Have you ever seen how the sink is fastened into that thing? Oh and those screws were rusty because the sink was apparently never sealed. But the sink couldn't be removed out of my way until the faucet was removed.

I had purchased "Gator Bite" PEX caps from Lowes a while back to cap the tubes off. Those are a knock off of Shark Bites, btw. The first one I put on leaked all over the place. So being in a different town, I went in search of flair-its and found everything BUT 1/2" flair-it caps. I even had one "Master Plumber" tell me that "there is no such thing". :/ (Of course there is. I just didn't want to order them online and have to wait for them.) Anyway, I picked up PEX plugs and put two more of those "Gator Bite" fittings over the plugs with a lot of teflon tape, and so far that is holding. I'm using water from my tank and shutting the pump off when not using the water "just in case".

Then what? Oh the brilliant Winnebago engineers had the electrical entangled through the drawer assembly in such a way that the back support for the drawers had to be sawed apart to free it from the electrical. Then I discovered a pipe strap for the sink drain also preventing removal of the sink base assembly. Oh and THEN I discovered that the base was stapled to a bit piece of that paper thin faux wood stuff that was somehow wedged under the bathtub, but no way to get a pry bar on it. So I went ninja on that and ripped that out lol.

Now I think I am going to have to replace some of the original pex tubing from the city water inlet to the rest of the supply line. The original installation is poor. I know PEX is flexible, but this looks dangerously stressed. I'm surprised that tee hasn't blown apart. Also I am going to have to relocate the electrical outlet that is on the wall by the now nonexistent sink. It should have been a GFI in the first place. I guess I will just run it to the opposite wall by the light switch by the door.

One thing always leads to another, doesn't it?

Winnebago was none too happy about my pictures and comments about it on facebook either lol. Too bad. I was raised that you don't install anything you aren't willing to sign your name to.


Jan 01, 2013
The New Toilet is IN
by: Jaime

UPDATE! I finally had time to tear out the old toilet and install the new one two inches over. Helpful was having a "spare bathroom" to use in case something went wrong. And it did. :-)

Taking out the old toilet I discovered 8 thoroughly corroded 4 inch screws holding the old toilet flange in place and it took me three days of experimenting with different extraction techniques to free that beast.

Installation of the new toilet 2" over was a breeze and only took a few hours of measuring twice... cutting once...

I used two 3" 45 degree elbows for the drain. No problems with that at all so far and it has been in place for about a month. I can't remember the grade of that pipe, but NOT the heavy stuff, which adds an undesirable 2" to the height of the toilet. The 3" pipe is a perfect fit to the top of the tank and the bottom of the toilet. My plywood platform is 15" wide by 13" deep and 6" tall. Height includes the "box lid".

I used the plastic "base" of the original toilet to measure and template the holes I needed to cut in the plywood "lid" for the new toilet. I discarded that old plastic base because it also adds undesirable height to this project.

I reinforced and anchored the box to the floor with angle braces that I found at either ace hardware or home depot that is made for doing that. :-) And I supported my new plywood toilet base with 1 x 2 "rafters".

13" depth of the box to the wall gives me room to get behind the toilet.

If you flair the ends of your new pex tubing by applying just a LITTLE bit of heat (from a lighter) and using needle nose pliers and vaseline, the PEX fittings go on very easily. DO make sure your cuts are straight. Use a tube cutter made for that.

I installed an inline PEX valve in the rear of the toilet, but discovered that it only slows and does not STOP water flow, so that was $11.00 wasted. I might have gotten a faulty valve but would be hesitant to use them again. I didn't want to redo my pex, so I just left it in place.

When I installed my screws for anchoring, I dipped each one of them in vaseline to hopefully inhibit the type of corrosion that I discovered on the tear out.

This new toilet assembly is easy to remove if needed for repairs or replacement down the road, and the BEST news is, I now have room in my bathroom to install a 54" x 27" bathtub.

Jan 01, 2013
NEXT...
by: Jaime

NEXT I will tear out the old tub and install the new one. I will have room next to that for a new closet that will house a 10 gallon electric water heater dedicated for bathtub use. These are available at Sears, Home Depot... etc.

Temporarily it can share the circuit that is dedicated to my microwave, so long as I am mindful not to run both of them both at the same time. I will also be upgrading my electrical to 50 amps and will give them their own circuits when I do that. I have discovered that a properly insulated residential type water heater retains HOT water for at least a full day, far more efficiently than the Atwood, so I can heat water for my normal trips and not burn propane. Also having weighed all 4 corners on my rig, FULL, I know that I am UNDER weight, and DO need to add some weight to that side of the rig for balance, anyway, so I not only is the weight of the extra water not a concern, but for me it is actually a good thing.

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Robbie Warford, San Diego RV Repair

Hi, I'm Robbie. Welcome to Money-Saving-RV-Repair.com!

Like the name implies, this site is all about helping you save money while keeping your RV in tip-top shape--and that is all about you having the knowledge to do so.

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But I also love empowering RVers with the knowledge they need to make the right decision on repairs, or to make the fix themselves--and that, my friend, is the reason for this website. I hope you enjoy.

Or, learn more about me, my RV service practice, & this website here.