Florida Keys

Florida Keys
Frangipani aka Plumeria

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rv Toilet Install-Part One, Plan B, and Part Two


Cudjoe Key, Florida (high 78, low 68)



We were happy to see the new RV toilet arrive right on time Friday the 13th. 

Al has installed a few residential toilets over the years, and never had any problem, but of course Rv toilets are not the same.

We removed our Aria Classic. No problems there.  I did the lifting to spare Al’s shoulder. 

We soon noticed the closet flange on the motor home floor, wasn’t quite right as far as the bolts matching up to where they needed to be on the new toilet.

This is a picture of a similar product, however the one on the floor is apparently cemented in. You can’t remove it, and you can’t turn it so that the openings for the bolts are where you need them to be.


As it turned out,  the OEM toilet Monaco used doesn’t attach to the closet flange at all.  The seal fits into it, and that is all.  It’s attached with two lag bolts, which are much further apart than the bolts on the closet flange.

What was Monaco thinking?   Why didn’t they install the closet flange so that if you ever needed to replace the toilet, it would match up to other toilets. 

One good thing is that our Monaco motor home has a wonderful feature in which you can turn off the water for each individual item. It’s extremely handy to be able to turn the water off  just for the toilet, and still have water elsewhere in the coach.  It was nice to be able to wash our hands while working on the toilet.

We were extremely frustrated and after a lot of research and head scratching, we came to the conclusion that the new toilet was not going to work for our motor home.  We considered drilling new holes into our closet flange and using lag bolts to mount the new toilet, but the base wasn’t as wide as the old toilet and it would have been wobbly anyway.




By this time, we were tired and frustrated.    We decided to go with Plan B, although we weren’t exactly sure what that was at the moment.  Shortly afterwards got an email saying part for the old toilet was now available.  They had been on back order and no one knew when it would be available.

At that point, we decided to re-install the old toilet and wait for the parts.  At least we would have a toilet, even though it had to be flushed manually.  At this point we were thankful for that much.

There may be a way to make the new toilet fit without a major ordeal, but since the parts were on the way, we decided to stay with the old toilet.  It’s actually a much nicer toilet and is a solid one piece of porcelain, instead of the cheap plastic base like the new one.


So…..it looks like we have made an expensive mistake, and learned an expensive lesson.  Anybody want to buy a brand new porcelain Thetford Style Plus toilet?  We’ll give you a good deal!

Aqua Magic Style Plus


The new parts arrived, but we were dreading it and  procrastinated a few days.

We finally got brave enough and tried again.  There are a lot more parts on an Rv toilet than a residential toilet and the instructions weren’t very clear on how to replace the foot pedal, but al figured it out.  As it turns out, the original toilet had some parts that weren’t attached quite on center, which causes the foot pedal mechanism to rub against the side of the toilet. He tried to remove that part, to see if he could center it correctly, but it was tightly bolted down and he was afraid he would break the porcelain if he kept at it.  We would really be in trouble if he broke the porcelain base. He decided to file away the porcelain area that rubs and hope for the best.

Next step was to reinstall the toilet.  It’s much heavier than the one we had ordered and it’s a lot harder putting it back in than it was to remove, but I managed.  Al couldn’t even help me because there is no room in our tiny bathroom.  Al screwed it back into the floor with the lag bolts.

The next step was to reattach the water line, and this is where we had the problem.  For some reason the heavy duty blue water line had shifted a little and didn’t match up to the back of the toilet, although by feel it felt like it was in line.  It doesn’t bend much and only goes up and down a half inch or so.  We both tried and tried and couldn’t get the darned waterline attached.  Of course you’re doing it blind because it’s behind the toilet and only one hand will fit behind the toilet.

Again, we were happy to have the separate water disconnects in the motor home. We had water to the sink in the bathroom, and could turn off the supply to the toilet.  We now had a working foot pedal, just no water supply, but we were better off than we were before!

So, that work around worked for about a week with us both trying again and again to get the waterline to attach.

Finally, Al suggested I try to take a picture to see if we could see why it wouldn’t screw on.  I did, and then he saw the water line was a little high.  He managed to shove it back down a little and was finally able to attach the water line to the toilet! 


So….my advice for you all is to buy spare parts for your toilet, because if/when they break, you’ll be very glad to have them on hand.

What an ordeal!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Meet Mr. Barracuda


Cudjoe Key, Florida (high 85, low 75)


We’re expecting a cold front in a few days bringing a little wind, so we may not get on the boat for a few days.  It’s predicted to get down to 75 for the high and mid to low 60’s at night.   burrrr

We try to take advantage of each day where there are light winds, sunny skies and calm seas,and that  is exactly what we did yesterday.

We headed back out to the Atlantic side and did a little fishing.   We don’t need to worry about Al hurting his shoulder with the size of the fish he was catching.  :)



This pelican flew in and waited nearby, hoping for some fish cleaning scraps.  Sorry Pelican.


We were being watched by the ever present blimp known as Fat Albert.


We heard the sound of freedom all afternoon as the Navy fighter jets flew overhead. They always give me goose bumps and we love watching them.  No pictures though, they are just too fast.

After fishing for an hour or two, Al wanted to head back out to Looe Key Reef.  The water is always so beautiful, we love just being there.

In a previous post, I mentioned our fish finder and some of you wondered what it was.  It’s an electronic device that is mounted to your boat which tells you the depth and water temperature, as well as a view of the bottom, and any fish who happen to be swimming by. They have improved greatly over the years.

You can see on this next photo there were some larger fish below.

The ocean mostly consists of flat sandy bottom, which is not where most fish live.  Fish like some sort of  structure on the bottom, whether its a reef, rocks or a shipwreck. You can see from the fish finder that this bottom was not flat.  The old fish finders used paper which had to be changed when the roll ran out.  The new ones are just like a computer screen, much nicer unless you want to rewind and see what just swam by.


We got to the reef and headed towards one of the mooring buoys in the shallower water.  8.3 feet to be exact, as you can see from the fish finder.

This colorful sailboat passed right in front of us.


I was trying to get a picture of the beard Al is trying to grow.  Can you see his furry face?   I think he may be about to give up on it, but he really hates shaving, so we’ll see.


The water has warmed up to the point we’re ready to get wet.  Almost 82 degrees.  Sherry would have been in 10 degrees cooler, but not us!

I sat on the dive platform with my feet in the water to test the water temp.  This barracuda came up so say hi.  I think he is the same one who swam all over the reef right beside us last year.  I think he may have grown a little though. 


I have a long handled camera mount that can attach to my underwater camera and go in the water.  I stuck my camera in the water and photographed Mr. Barracuda.   I was a little worried that he might try to take a bite out of it, but he didn’t seem interested.



He is a pretty big boy.  It was hard to tell for sure from the surface but probably between 4-5 feet long.


He has quite a toothy smile.



There were actually 2 other barracuda but he chased a smaller one away and the bigger one only came for a short visit.

We had the usual school of Yellowtail Snapper.


They seem to know you can’t catch them on the reef since it’s a marine sanctuary.  They come right up to you, but you go outside of the sanctuary and you can’t find them.  Darn…they are very good eating.


Mr. Barracuda had plenty to eat if he was hungry.


All too soon, it was time to go, so we disconnected from the mooring buoy and headed to shore.  It’s only about a 20 minute run back to Venture Out.