RV Toilet Valve Won’t Open – What to Do?

An RV toilet valve that won't open can be a big problem. Whether you're on the road or getting ready for your next trip, you don't want to leave with a malfunctioning toilet. Don't worry; we did the research and found a handful of solutions. See our findings below. 

If your toilet valve won't open, there are a few things you can do to fix it. The following solutions may help: 

  1. Clean/replace the foot pedal
  2. Defrost if frozen
  3. Clean the ball valve and gasket
  4. Replace the ball valve and gasket
  5. Replace the water valve
  6. Buy a new toilet

You know the basic steps to fixing your RV toilet valve, but you still need to know how to complete the replacements. Read along as we take you through the process and answer questions you may have, such as how to maintain your toilet, if you can use a plunger on your RV toilet, and should you keep water in the toilet.  

A white toilet in recreational vehicle restroom cabin, RV Toilet Valve Won't Open - What to Do?


How to Fix an RV Toilet Valve that Won't Open

There are several things that can cause your RV toilet valve to not open. It could be as simple as needing a new gasket, or you may need a new ball valve. Since the foot pedal controls the valve/flapper inside the toilet, your pedal could be stuck, preventing the valve from opening. 

Camper RV toilet bathroom

1. Clean/Replace the Foot Pedal

The most common culprit behind a sticking foot pedal is debris. Take a toothbrush and gently clean around and behind the pedal. If this doesn't work, it may be time to replace the pedal. Depending on the brand, you may be able to easily pop it loose. Before purchasing a replacement, make sure the spring is still in good condition. If you need a new spring, it must be purchased separately. 

Some RV toilets do not provide the option of a replaceable foot pedal. In these cases, you will need to replace the entire toilet. 

You can find replacement foot pedals on Amazon.

2. Defrost if Frozen

If water or waste has leaked onto the pedal, it could freeze during the winter. If this is the case, you can place a heater in front of the toilet or use a hairdryer to defrost it. After the ice has melted, clean the mess and apply antifreeze to the parts. 

3. Clean the Ball Valve and Gasket

The ball valve is the flapper inside the toilet that opens and closes to let waste out. It can become stuck if the rubber gasket surrounding it is faulty or covered in debris. If the flapper won't open, grab a pair of rubber gloves and turn the water off to the toilet. 

Take your hand and gently press down on the ball valve. If it does not open, continue to manipulate it until it does. Once open, check inside for any obstructions that may be causing the valve to stick. Remove any debris and apply silicone grease to the parts. 

You can find silicone grease on Amazon.

4. Replace the Ball Valve and Gasket

For this process, you need to turn off the water and remove the toilet from the base. You can watch the video below on replacing the water valve on your RV toilet to assist you in removing the toilet from its base. 

How to Remove the Toilet from the Base

First, locate the bolts on the sides of the toilet. Using a wrench, remove the bolts and lift the toilet just enough to pull it loose from the base. With the bowl still in place, wrap a towel around the toilet. You should have one end of the towel on each side of the toilet base. 

Now, grab an end with each hand and gently pull. This will pop the toilet loose at the bottom so that you can find the wing nut. Lean over the back of the toilet, and unscrew the wing nut from the water supply line. You will now be able to remove the toilet from its base completely. Take it to an open area to work on it. 

How to Replace the Ball Valve and Gasket

Turn the toilet upside down. You will see a rubber seal; remove it. Now, take two large flathead screwdrivers and pry the arm off of the toilet. You will see a set of screws underneath. This is the ball valve actuator cavity. Using Phillip's head screwdriver, remove the screws from the actuator cavity. 

The flapper will now come right off. Open the new ball valve. Apply plumber's grease to all connecting joints and the actuating lever, and push it back into place. If the rubber gasket is worn out, you will need to replace it. Before putting the new one on, apply the plumber's grease. The flat side of the gasket should face downward.

Now, screw the arm back into place, and reassemble the toilet. 

You can get a new ball valve and gasket on Amazon.

Watch this YouTube video to assist you in replacing the ball valve and gasket:


5. Replace the Water Valve

If the water valve is the problem instead of the ball valve, follow these steps for replacement. 

The first thing you need to do is turn off the water supply to the toilet. Use the above-mentioned steps to remove the toilet from the base. Turn the toilet upside down, and find the piece from which you unscrewed the wing nut. This is the water valve. You will need to remove the screw from the valve. 

Now, you will need to pull the valve gently until it pops out of place. You will see a rod connected to it. Use a pair of pliers to carefully disconnect the valve from the rod. The water valve will come off in your hand. 

You can purchase a new water valve on Amazon.

Open the new valve, and connect it to the rod. Now, push the valve back into place. Put the screws back in, and you're done. You can now reassemble the toilet and turn the water back on. 

Watch this YouTube video to help with removing the toilet from the base and replacing the water valve:


6. Replace the Toilet

If you go through all the above steps and your toilet still isn't working, it is probably time to buy a new toilet. 

You can check out RV toilets on Amazon.

Why does my RV toilet keep filling up with water?

The most common cause of an RV toilet that keeps filling with water is a faulty water valve. This is a simple fix that you can do without hiring a plumber. Use the steps above to guide you in putting a new water valve on your toilet. 

Why won't my toilet flush in my RV?

There are a few reasons your RV toilet may not be flushing:

  • Faulty water valve
  • Broken ball valve
  • Faulty foot pedal
  • Blockage in the tank or hose
  • The black water tank is full

Faulty Water Valve

If your toilet won't flush, your water valve may not be working properly. This will prevent water from running into the toilet. You may also have little or no water pressure. Check your water source for pressure. If this is not the culprit, but you find there is no water running into the toilet, it's time to replace your water valve. Use the instructions above to do this. 

Faulty Ball Valve

The ball valve is the flapper in the bottom of the toilet. It opens and closes, letting waste flow into the black water tank. Press the foot pedal to see if the flapper moves. If it doesn't open, the ball valve may be stuck or faulty, disallowing the toilet from flushing. Follow the steps above to aid you in troubleshooting the ball valve. 

Faulty Foot Pedal

If the foot pedal is obstructed, it will keep the ball valve from opening, preventing the toilet from flushing. Press down on the foot pedal. If it does not move, follow the steps above to troubleshoot a faulty foot pedal. 

Black Water Tank is Full

If the black water tank is full, you will be unable to flush more waste into it. It may even begin to back up into your toilet bowl. Find the buttons that indicate the level of waste in your tanks. Press the black water tank indicator. If it shows the tank is full, empty it. 

Blockage in Tank or Hose

According to RV Share, if the flapper opens and water runs into the toilet but does not flush, you may have a blockage in the black water tank or the hose. Use a tank wand to assist in removing the blockage. 

Click here to view tank wands on Amazon.

Will a Plunger Work on an RV toilet?

If you are dealing with a minor obstruction, you may be able to remove it with a plunger. However, it will only work if the clog is near the top of the tank. Make sure to add a small amount of water to the bowl. Cover the hole completely and plunge. If this does not work after a few minutes, you will need to use other methods to remove the obstruction. 

Should you Keep Water in an RV toilet?

You always want to make sure you're doing the right thing to maintain your RV toilet. Your RV toilet should always have a small amount of water in the bottom. It will automatically retain water unless the rubber seal is faulty. However, we recommend flushing your toilet often to help avoid clogs. 

How do I Maintain my RV toilet?

To maintain your RV toilet, make sure you use plenty of water when flushing. Use tank cleaners regularly, and keep the gaskets and valves periodically changed. 

In Closing

There are several things that can cause your RV toilet valve not to open. The most common culprits are the ball valve, water valve, and foot pedal. Follow these guidelines to help troubleshoot your RV toilet. 

If you need additional help, check out these other posts on our blog: 

RV Toilet Won’t Fill With Water – What To Do?

RV Toilet Leaking At Floor Base—What To Do?

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