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Old 08-07-2016, 07:12 PM   #1
OldWest
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Default Mod Idea: Toilet Alternatives

1. NAFTA Thetford Bravura with Black Tank

Works.

Typical American RV plumbing setup with a black holding tank and 3" discharge hose. Uses freshwater to flush.

The Thetford Bravura looks good.

For most folks, system works.

Disadvantages.

Black tank may be too small (7-10 gallons depending on source). Some folks report only a few days use before full (maybe hold footpedal down too long). Black tank eats up valuable storage space. Some folks don't like discharge hose.

For drycampers/boondockers, frequency of emptying and lack of convenient dump stations are problems.
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mod Idea: Toilet Alternatives

2. Thetford Cassette Toilet (C400; C403 replacement)

The European James Cook version of our Westies (like most European RVs) used a bench Thetford cassette toilet. The newer replacement version is same fit but slightly curved/sloped on top.

The removable cassette (waste) tank is accessed with Sprinter rear van doors open. The area below the bathroom is open for storage (versus black tank).The toilet also opens up more space in bathroom as the cassette toilet bench style is shallower than the American version Bravura. The cassette toilet can be ordered in either a model which uses its own water supply or a model which plumbs into freshwater tank.

The advantage of the removable cassette tank is the ability to discharge into any toilet. Thus, dumping options are vastly increased. The cassette toilet is good for 50-60 flushes. (Europeans are apparently more flexible re discharging graywater versus often more stringent American discharge of graywater into approved dump stations--varies by locale.)

The prior now defunct James Cook forum (there is a new James Cook Friends forum) has some discussion and a proposal for retrofitting our Westies back to the European cassette version. It would require cutting an opening in rear bathroom wall toward Sprinter back doors and a different shower pan. The costs were high and the proposal apparently never got off the ground.

Now, several folks have done this modification on their own. See Autocamp and Discus (maybe more). Autocamp has a detailed write-up on his blog:

http://eat-drink-men-women.blogspot....oilet.html?m=1

The retrofit is quite extensive, requiring modification of the shower pan and a cutout in the rear wall. The end result is a more spacious bathroom, more storage space beneath bathroom, greater flexibility in dumping, etc.

A big disadvantage is the weight of a full cassette tank. While the cassette tank does have wheels, one still needs to remove and lower to ground. A full tank could weigh 40 pounds or so, which may be an issue for some folks.
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mod Idea: Toilet Alternatives

3. Porta-Potti/Thetford Curve

For folks who want the flexibility of a cassette toilet but do not want to undertake a full retrofit conversion, the replacement of the Bravura toilet with a Porta-Potti like the Thetford Curve may be an option.

The original shower pan remains and, if needed, a larger platform can be mounted onto the original toilet mount (as suggested by Foster in the thread on composting toilets). Autocamp previously reported that the area beneath the original toilet platform is solid plywood built to conform to the toilet stand.

One poster has done this, although no info on which Porta-Potti. The Thetford Curve is quite attractive, should fit (slightly smaller than Bravura but not as shallow as Thetford bench cassette), has optional permanent installation plate, own water tank, 50-60 flushes, etc.

http://www.thetford.com/product/porta-potti-curve/

It is also much cheaper at $125 or so and readily available than the Thetford bench toilet at $600-800 and more difficult to source.

The disadvantages of the Thetford Curve include the weight of the disposal tank, need to fill up the freshwater tank (all through the interior living space), no venting (may or may not be necessary), etc.

For those who may require time to fabricate a DIY composting toilet, this may be a good temporary solution while retrofitting.
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Old 08-07-2016, 08:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mod Idea: Toilet Alternatives

4. Urine Separating Composting Toilet

For boondockers who do not have access to dump stations and toilets, cassette toilets/Porta-Pottis still require too frequent emptying and inconvenient or unavailable disposal sites. Also, composting toilets are most ecologically friendly as waterless and no sewage disposal/treatment plants needed.

Composting toilets offer several weeks or more of use. There are generally two types of composting toilets: the older outhouse/pit version where everything is mixed and the newer urine diverting separation toilets. For most effective use, an exhaust fan is used to dry out the solid wastes.

Urine diverting toilets separate liquids from solids during use. This cuts down odors and also reduces the solid wastes volume and weight.

There are several commercially available urine diverting toilets available. These may be installed without modifying shower pan (may need a larger platform base on top of shower pan toilet base). For actual retrofits, see the thread on composting toilets:

http://www.sprinter-source.com/forum...ad.php?t=42394

Separett Weekend. Beautiful but may be too big for out bathrooms. Has rear exhaust fan. Does not require stirring. Liquids can be plumbed into graywater tank. Solid wastes are contained within a disposable composting bag. http://www.separett.eu/weekend-eu

Air Head. Fits within bathroom space. Has a handle to stir solid wastes, which eventually are scooped out. Liquid wastes are contained in a removable bottle.

The Air Head requires an exhaust fan. For a complete self-contained solution which fits, may be best option. Is expensive at $1,000 or so. Personal dislikes are the price, stirring and later scooping to empty, and the aesthetics.. http://airheadtoilet.com/

Natures Head. Closest competitor to Air Head but slightly too large (deep) for Westy. See Foster's comments in composting toilet thread: http://www.sprinter-source.com/forum...85&postcount=6

Nature's Head is owned by former employees of Air Head.. http://www.natureshead.net/

C-Head. A cheaper alternative to the Air Head and Nature's Head is the C-Head. http://c-head.com/

But the C-Head has a much smaller capacity and may be too large in depth. Also, moves farther away in the beauty contest.
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Old 08-07-2016, 08:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mod Idea: Toilet Alternatives

5. DIY Options.

There are DIY options.

The Separett 500 and 501 kits offer the seat and bowls, while you put together the exterior and receptacles. Need to check dimensions carefully as may be too large in depth (front of seat to back of seat) for our Westies.

http://www.separett.com/torrdass-501-eu

http://www.separett.com/Torrdass-500-eu

Another alternative is the Kildwick Klassic.

https://www.offgriddesigns.co.uk/sho...diverter-white
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Old 08-07-2016, 09:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mod Idea: Toilet Alternatives

6. DIY Design Ideas

The Thetford bench cassette toilet dimensions are perfect for our Westies. Make sense as Westies were designed with them originally.

For a DIY, would need to modify shower pan (don't want water underneath the bench).

80/20 T-Slots could be used to make the framework. The top would hold the bowl and toilet seat. The top might extend out beyond the bench like the Thetford or the bench could be a perfect rectangle.

If don't want to modify shower pan, then make a DIY version in the shape of the shower pan toilet base. The end result would look like a Kohler Hatbox toilet where the top and base are the same size (cylindrical).

http://www.us.kohler.com/us/catalog/...oductId=423609

As the showerpan toilet base is about 16" deepnand 12" wide, the DIY hatbox would need to be slightly wider and overhang the base. The hatbox cylindrical design should be easier to make as could be a single flat metal sheet rolled into shape (Airstream aluminum).
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mod Idea: Toilet Alternatives

7. Air Head Modification

Not sure, but the Air Head might be modifiable to reduce the depth by moving the liquid receptacle to side. Then toilet seat would be deepest part of Air Head and folks without wide stances would have more footroom.

Also, maybe make a one piece cover panel to make Air Head look more like one piece.
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Old 05-27-2017, 10:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Mod Idea: Toilet Alternatives

4. Addition

There's another urine diverting toilet available:

http://www.simploo.co.uk/

It looks about the same size as the Separett Weekend. The Simploo does have the option of a self-contained urine bottle while the Separett Weekend only has a drain.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: Mod Idea: Toilet Alternatives

Don't know if this alternative has been mentioned before. Have not researched in detail if it's even a viable alternative.

However:

1) If this model has the same 'footprint' as the Bravura - such that it will sit nicely on the existing toilet 'pedestal'.
My 'rough' measurements indicate the footprints are close. IE: 330 X 381 (Bravura) vs 345 X 390 (C220 S)

2) If a 'path' can be forged between the rear of the toilet and the van exterior.
There're a lot of wires, hoses, etc. running through that cavity!

Then for anyone who prefers a cassette toilet it might be worth considering...

The main advantage is it does not require modifying the existing shower pan.
The main disadvantage is it would require cutting an access door in the driver side exterior of the van.

Thetford C220 S/CS ( cassette toilet )

Note: In the dimensional diagram they show a 'box' at the rear of the toilet. The CS model has the box whereas the S model does not. I think this is supposed to represent the space required for the 'plumbing' that protrudes from the rear of the toilet. There might be enough space between the shower wall and the van sheet metal to 'accommodate' these 'protrusions' IE: 105mm required vs 127 available.
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