The Destroilet

As I mentioned I owned and lived in a blue 1959 GMC school bus that had been made into a motor home by a wood shop teacher from New Jersey. I had purchased it from him in Corvallis in 1972 while working on my Masters in Science Education. I think I also mentioned that it had, among its other conveniences, a Destroilet.

The Destroilet is a gas burning toilet, for those who don’t have a sewer connection or septic system, like on a house boat, or a mountain cabin, or in an old blue school bus outfitted for travel (and with a dirty old man bus driver poltergeist who steals bras and checkbooks named Buster). It was simple and elegant. You crap into the hopper, close the lid and the propane burner comes on and burns all but the most stubborn remains which have to be cleaned out after the Destroilet is cooled. Any smell goes up the exhaust pipe.

But, there are a couple of things you need to know if you are going to be a responsible Destroilet owner. First, don’t park too close to anyone else in the RV Park. The smell when it burns is not popular depending on which way the wind is blowing.

Second, if the kids have been using it and you get up at night and sit on it to pee without turning on the fan because you don’t want to wake anyone, re-think that option because you will parboil your butt, as my wife found out. Ouch!

Third, while there is a very complete user’s manual that comes with the Destroilet, it does no good if you don’t read it. When the Destroilet quit working I used the user’s manual to completely disassemble it and carefully arrange the parts all the way to the front of the bus. But since I could see no reason for its dysfunction, I re-read the instructions. I found something I missed on the first reading, something at the beginning that either said WARNING, or ATTENTION, BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE. What is said was that if your Destroilet was not working, not even turning on, not even the fan, then you should check outside first. Check the exhaust pipe which occasionally gets pinched when you brush a tree limb. Since there is a butterfly switch in the exhaust pipe which isn’t turned on when the fan can blow air out, the rest of the thing won’t work.

Sure enough, the exhaust pipe was pinched together. I got up on top of the bus and pried it open to a sort of roundness it wanted and climbed down. But the Destroilet still didn’t work. BECAUSE IT WAS DISSASEMBLED, AND ITS PARTS WERE LAYING ON THE FLOOR, FROM THE BACK OF THE BUS TO THE FRONT!!!

I carefully reassembled the Destroilet, following each direction and picture in the owner’s manual. You know what? It worked just fine. How about that?

As a consequence, I had a new mantra in my life: Read the instructions first, all of the instructions.


4 thoughts on “The Destroilet

  1. Lloyd,
    Is there any chance that you still have the Destroilet owner’s manual.
    I have a later model Destroilet that did not come with a manual. I would be glad to pay you to scan or copy the manual and send it to me.
    The key with the Destroilet is regular cleaning and maintenance.


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