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Old 02-03-2023, 07:49 AM   #1
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Thetford Tecma Toilet Controller 36398

Our Thetford toilet stopped flushing in our 2015 Winnebago 42QD. The repairman did something to it, and it flushed a time or two. Service call was $150. We called him back and he told us he had tested everything and the only thing it could be is the Controller. He said they weren’t available so “good luck.” He was nice and told us how to do almost everything with the toilet ourselves, but he’s not God and can’t make the controller appear. Everywhere we look, these are sold out and on back order. Thank goodness it is our 1/2 bath and we do have one working toilet. We are paranoid to overuse our remaining toilet. What are people doing who only have one of these and it isn’t working? We’ve called Thetford who doesn’t seem to care. I assume this part is made in China. There has got to be something compatible with this part. So many people are desperate to find it. Many are replacing the entire toilet. Strange, they are available on new toilets. It has been unavailable for too long, and time for the RV industry to take responsibility and action to get this part and maybe many others made outside of the current source.
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Old 02-09-2023, 09:23 AM   #2
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I totally agree with you! I have been looking high and low for the Tecna toilet controller 36398 (April 2006 to Present) for my Entegra Aspire. Even my RV shop has been looking everywhere. We've even tried eBay... NOTHING. Seriously... there has got to be another compatible piece.
Are you considering replacing the whole toilet? What would be the cost comparison?
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Old 02-09-2023, 09:55 AM   #3
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I have this one as a spare, but itís another part number. Newmar got me a new one as the membrane on the front had a tear, even though it still works fine.

Maybe check with Newmar parts dept?

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Old 02-09-2023, 01:20 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tip... unfortunately, Newmar does not have the Tecma toilet controller 36398 part either. Darn! Still at a loss as to what to do...
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Old 02-09-2023, 02:05 PM   #5
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Locate a Thetford service or customer service number and ask them. Perhaps there is a new part number that will work.

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Old 02-10-2023, 09:27 AM   #6
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Thetford Tecma Toilet Controller Part 36398

I spoke with Thetford before replying to these messages. I first asked about the two different part numbers. She was aware of that. Even though 40025 is on the controller, the part number is 36398 and it is made in Italy. Since our controller just went out in December, I asked how long this shortage had been going on, so I could assess my position. She said since Covid they didnít have enough workers. She didnít know for sure how long it had been going on. I told her that some people were putting in new toilets, and I couldnít understand how they were available for new toilets, but not for repair. I also stated that I had read a lot of reviews of new parts not working, so a new toilet may not be the answer either. I remarked that Thetford must be happy to be selling so many new toilets, yet I understand the labor shortages we have been having since Covid. Perhaps the quality is not there for new toilets if they are being made hastily by unskilled labor. We discussed that some suppliers often ship parts directly to the consumer, but Thetford does not. She said they trickle in and 1st priority is to dealers who need controllers replaced under warranty. Second priority is their dealers, and I would have to buy it through a dealer. She advised me to check with marine retailers, that some carry the RV version even though the marine version is not compatible with the RV version. Some marinas are trying to help the RV customers knowing the customer has no direct buying power. A marine retailer can order anything from Thetford. I personally spoke to a marina that said they had not previously carried the RV version, but was now ordering them, trying to help the public. The marine retailer had a waiting list and said they trickle in. They havenít received any in a long time.

I accepted Thetfordís answer about not having workers, but I also see a remark on the forum that there has been a problem since 2006. I believe the problem should have been resolved if it has gone on that long.

As for me, my problem is in my 1/2 bath so we can get along for a while. However, I explained to Thetford that we were flushing less in the other bathroom when possible because we are afraid that one will go out also.

We are calling marinas that sell Thetford in our area and encouraging them to order that part and to let people know via their website they are trying to get them. Thetfordís advice was to order from a dealer and just wait.

We wonít be ordering a new toiled for now. Most RV dealers who order a specific part require you buy it when it comes in. So, if you try ordering from multiple RV repair dealers, you may end up having several come in at once. I do doubt that will happen under these circumstances.

The RV industry as a whole seems not to care about the consumer after the sale. Perhaps some pressure from large numbers of consumers would help. I canít assess what is true, but I do know in a lot of cases, Covid gets blamed for everything.
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Old 02-11-2023, 05:35 AM   #7
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Wow, Ronelainef! Thank you SO much for taking the time and effort to talk to Thetford! Your post is the most comprehensive and detailed answer I have seen or heard regarding the missing-in-action (MIA) controller piece. Since I have a dealer who has been looking for this 36398 part for over one year (and counting), I am not sure I have any faith that I'll be able to find the piece anytime soon.
My RV shop also pointed out that the contacts she has had from the shop that has it on backorder said that the part is MIA due to COVID. There we go with the COVID blame game on repeat.
Again, it has been on backorder for over one year. I am losing faith that we'll be seeing the part, if at all, anytime soon.
This brings me to the next alternative of replacing the whole toilet. Especially if Thetford has been having this issue since 2006. I am researching prices and possibilities for the toilet replacement route. I"ll let you know what I find out.
Again, thank you for your awesome post!
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Old 02-12-2023, 05:47 AM   #8
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Thetford Tecma Part 36398

Thank you. I was able to find one on Amazon yesterday. It hasnít been shipped yet. I looked just now, and they have 3 available. Also, some arrived at I was on their wait list. They are in Washington State and I am in Florida. They had 12 in stock yesterday. They were more expensive. I backed out of their website and went to Amazon, just in case, and sure enough, they had 3 yesterday. Let me know if you are successful.
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Old 02-13-2023, 06:34 AM   #9
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Holy Cow, Ronelainef! I just ordered the piece from Amazon too! $277.16 with tax. Thanks SO much for the tip! How in the world did you find this after years of looking for the piece?! We must have had the good fortune come to us once we bonded together through this listserv!
Amazon states that the piece should arrive sometime next week, around February 22nd. We'll see how it goes...
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Old 02-14-2023, 09:31 AM   #10
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Thetford Tecma Controller

You are welcome. I was hoping you would see the post in time since they only had 3. I have gotten confirmation that some have arrived at other places also. They are all higher than Amazon. I was crossing my fingers, because I ordered right before messaging you. My credit card was charged immediately but no shipment until today. Thatís because it is not being shipped by Amazon, but by one of their suppliers. I have notification that mine has been shipped. So thrilled that I could have been of some help. Letís just hope they both work. Keep me updated≥
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Old 02-17-2023, 07:07 AM   #11
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Thetford Tecma 36398 Controller replacement

We got the controller, replaced it, and now the lights on the display are blinking. We turned the power off to try to do a reset and it didnít work. Anyone have any suggestions?
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Old 02-17-2023, 08:52 AM   #12
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It's one of the parts in my RV that I'm looking to make a better and cheaper replacement for. The rubber on one of mine is broken, so if anyone has a spare rubber part, I'd be interested in it. Will keep an eye on this thread :-)
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Old 02-17-2023, 12:05 PM   #13
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Thetford Tecma Toilet Controller

We installed our new controller today. Just the blue lights on the wall flashed. Then we found that the red and black connectors from the controller needed to be switched. After that, the toilet worked perfectly. We did numerous test flushes. Everything was fine. Used the toilet, and the tank added water, then added more water and wouldnít flush. Now what? That was the same problem we started out with. A service man fixed it, and when it started doing it again, he said it had to be the controller and he showed us how to install a controller if we could find one. We did a successful installation, got it working, and now back to square one. Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 02-19-2023, 10:16 AM   #14
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I am SO sorry, Ronelainef, that the problem has reappeared after finally finding and installing the piece! Ahhh! That has got to be SO frustrating!

I received the missing piece in the mail two days ago. I haven't installed it yet. Once I get it installed, I'll let you know how it goes. I probably won't be able to install it until at least March.

Let me know what you end up doing. Are we facing the formidable conclusion that we must replace the whole dang toilet? Likely around $2-3K to replace, yes?
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