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Author Topic: Cloged black water tank drain  (Read 3610 times)
JohnEd
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« on: August 25, 2007, 08:55:38 PM »

 Shocked No crap,

I hooked up to the drain and pulled the plunger.  NADA!  No crap!  Really focuses your thoughts.  I had 5 gallons of month old black tank and the water was up to an inch of the toilet.  And, NO CRAP FLOWED OUT.  A lot of things crossed my mind and falling on my swoard was not the least of it.  FULL tank and cloged tight.  A crowd gathered, sorta like sharks smelling blood in the water, and the park manager was eminently present and watching carefully.  Ever see one of those drain caps that have the garden hose fitting in them for draining gray water into a ditch or wherever?  I carry one of those.  I installed it and got out my air hose, the blower nosel and a rag.  I opened the garden hose fitting and inserted the air nozzel and opened the drain valve and gave it a squirt of 90 psi air.  You could hear that air bubble work its way to the tank and then BURBLE-BURBLE.  A couple more shots of air and a few more comments that "that air is sprayiong sh**t all over the inside of you coach.  2 inch vent with 2 45 degree angles to vent the pressure.  Closed all valves and disconnected the hose drain and reconnected the sewer stuff and she flowed like normal.  They cheered and clapped.  File this under what to do if I EVER!

Having fun in the fast lane,

John
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2007, 09:03:39 PM »

Hi John,

Sounds like one of thoose "bullshitsyou" storys... along with the actual smell.  Grin Grin

Good thinking! it could of turned out really crappy otherwise.

Nick-
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2007, 12:12:40 AM »

I can't imagine the circumstances that would block a 3" drain so thoroughly that nothing would come out.
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2007, 12:55:15 AM »

I can think of many situations that would clog the drain.  Like a big Mexican dinner the night before...
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2007, 04:56:28 AM »

Funny Stuff here guys, it made my day start with a laugh & with a smile.  Good information also for newbies and all of us!!!  Great story Johned.
Gary
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2007, 05:08:57 AM »

I had all kinds of pictures floating around in my head from reading the story. Not the pretty kind either. Grin

Thanks for starting out my day with a smile!

Paul
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2007, 07:04:44 AM »

Good job John Ed, very nice that you didn't have a mess to clean up!

Your post makes me glad I chose a 1.6gpf house toilet for my coach...enough water goes in the tank to keep any clogging from occurring.
Of course, my fresh tank doesn't last as long as someone with an RV pot, but I'll take the trade off to keep from having to 'work' on the black tank.

Jay
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2007, 07:05:49 AM »

The story brought back memories from last summer for me.  Long story short - we were camped in BC - neighbouring rig with two teenage girls and brand new trailer.  Late in the day I and another neighbour got called on because the dad was gone for two weeks and mom couldn't dump the sewer.  It was backing up into the toilet bowl.  After much agonizing over the hose, valve, etc. we determined that the blockage was actually below the toilet in the horizontal 5' run to the black tank.  Neither Don or I could believe that anyone would be stupid enough to build a trailer that way but there it was and this was no low end trailer.  When we left that night the shower was full of "stuff" that we had pulled out of the line with a twisted coat hanger.  I expect those girls are still doing the Mexican thing with the paper.

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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2007, 11:13:33 AM »

 Shocked

Guys,

I swear a holy oath that I had that experience and I resolved it as I said.  You have little appreciation, I am sure, for the dread I was experiencing at the thought of 50 gallons of raw sewage up to my ankels.  I am not that kind of guy and I have never been evicted from anywhere.  I had an electric operated valve at the remote tank outlet in the center of the coach and another at the end of the drain for dumping.  I can only assume that the think clogged with toilet tissue at the tank outlet after sitting for more than a month nearly full.  I have never even heard of this happening and I have had the pleasure only once.  Other than what I did I have no idea how you would "NEATLY" clear that clog as the valve was blocked with the clog and I couldn't close it.  I sympathize with those that feel this is an unbelievable "yarn".....just remember it for that "unbelievable" special occasion when it happens to you or the guy parked next to you.

Its OK to poke fun at me cause I have told enuff other lies to really important Gummint people.

Stay tuned,

John
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2007, 11:26:50 AM »

I don't doubt for a moment that it happened exactly as you described it John.  I know that feeling of dread - try to imagine how much worse it is when it is someone else's ***t that you are expecting to come surging out of the drain valve you are trying to free.  In our case we had the active support of the camp management but that didn't lessen the apprehension about getting a brown bath.

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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2007, 11:55:09 AM »

John,

This is a good argument for using plenty of flush water and having one tank. This is no place to try to save water.

If you must have two tanks rig them so the grey water dumps into the black so it will empty easier.

It might have been better if you had hooked up the garden hose to the fitting and used water pressure plus the solvent effect of the water to break up the clog.

Also, if you clean out all the little microbes every time you dump then you lose their help in dissolving the solids.
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2007, 01:30:19 PM »

I have seen this happen several times at campgrounds. The owner hooks up the drain hose to the sewer and the coach and then opens the drain valve. Over a period of time the water all passes thru, but the solids and paper remain in the tank. Pretty soon the tank is half full or more of waste material and no water can get thru. Sure is a mess to try and clean up.
Richard
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2007, 01:50:35 PM »

I see this all the time too, you would think that they would learn but they don't seem to.

When the valve of a full tank is opened the incoming air pretty much stirs things up with all the bubbling and keeps it flowing.
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2007, 08:57:37 PM »

I pray I never see it!!!! But when I was up at Ickes Surplus I seen a clear elbow that had an attachment to shoot water thru it to clear the clog and rinse the tank. Have you seen it?? It looked pretty cool and like it would more than likely do the trick. I think it was 24.00 but worth every penny if it works just once!

   S**tty thought,
        Chaz
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2007, 10:11:03 PM »

Gus,

If the tank hadn't been full right up to the bottom of the toilet I would have used water.  As it was I could have expected water to push it out the roof vent.  Can you imagine all that s**t running down the sides of your coach and onto the ground around you.  BRRRRR!  Bad thought.

John
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2007, 03:07:31 AM »

Chaz, here is something similar to what you described.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=280145412976&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=018

or maybe this one.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/RV-HYDROFLUSH-898466_W0QQitemZ330159951720QQihZ014QQcategoryZ50069QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Don't know if it works or not, am thinking it might not be a bad idea, or maybe a crappy one!

Paul
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2007, 06:10:03 AM »

About five years ago, I had a challenging incident draining my black water tank.  I was on a trip and had let the tank get about 7/8 full.  It was time to dump, and I hooked up the hose. I pulled on the valve's T handle, and it came off it my hand. Instead of opening the valve, the handle broke internally where it had rusted, leaving me nothing to grab on to to open the valve.  I was at a pull-up dump station, and other folks were waiting, so I had to abort the dump.

For our next stop I made sure that we had a campsite with sewer hook up.  It took me over an hour of fiddling with the valve, and I was eventually able to get it open slightly (1/8?).   I probably had as many folks walk by and stop to chat as I ever had.  What's the facination with somebody poking around with their sewer lines?  Eventually I was able to drain and replace the valve.  Not fun.
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« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2007, 10:19:48 PM »

WEC,

I have no idea what the facination is but I had at keast 15 standing by at high watch waiting for an "event".

The devicve I had was a simple sewer cap with a water hose hook up in it with a cap for the water hose.  Its purpose is to allow you to drain your gray water away from your coach.  CHEAP and you could make one.

Horrible story about the handle breaking off.  Reason alone to change those out as a PM on say...6 month intervals...for me.

I feel vindicated now after thinking many thought I was blowing smoke or shooting sh*t.

Thank you all.

John
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« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2007, 05:49:18 AM »

... I pulled on the valve's T handle, and it came off it my hand. Instead of opening the valve, the handle broke internally where it had rusted, leaving me nothing to grab on to to open the valve. 

That's the fear I had when I built my tanks, so I put a valve on each side. I've not had to use the other side, but it's there, just in case. Of course if I don't use it once in awhile, I suppose when I do need it, it'll be stuck, or rusted, or some such sh**. Maybe I'll use that side when I dump my tank this fall before winterizing.

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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2007, 06:07:38 AM »

I too put in two valves.  The main set I used electric valves, and when the one failed on the black tank side, I was VERY happy to have the backup dump valve!  I have to take the failed valve off, and if I'd done that while the 58 gal tank was half full, shudder, I hate to even think about it.
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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2007, 06:36:31 AM »

That's the fear I had when I built my tanks, so I put a valve on each side. I've not had to use the other side, but it's there, just in case. Of course if I don't use it once in awhile, I suppose when I do need it, it'll be stuck, or rusted, or some such sh**. Maybe I'll use that side when I dump my tank this fall before winterizing.

That is what we did, a dump on each side of the bus.  We have been at dump stations in several locations where dumping from the passenger side was easier.  As far as PM, if you have Valterra valves, they can be disassembled, lubricated and re-assembled.  Jack

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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2007, 12:21:10 PM »

John,

I forgot you said the tank was full, my idea was not too good!

The PO put my drain on the right side and, of course, all RV parks are on the left. I thought about changing it to the left but after reading these posts it is obvious that the way to go is one on each side.

Great idea and I'll be changing mine this winter. Half the handle on my valve is broken off now so I am living on borrowed time-at least it broke on the outside but it is VERY hard to open.
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2007, 02:57:39 PM »

... Valterra valves, they can be disassembled, lubricated and re-assembled.  Jack

But not if your tank is full  Roll Eyes

Valterra makes a repair kit that has new seals and such in it. I bought a set when I bought my valves, but haven't needed it yet.

I've been very happy with my valves, so far. My Father-In-Law used an electronic valve. We had problems with it, initially, till we figured out the flange was flexing due to the tank fittings.
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« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2007, 03:09:43 PM »

Gumpy Dog (aka Craig),

I changed over to the electrics and the black would not work after the first few uses.  It tried but stalled.  I was ticked and I knew that they would not do anythig as it worked when I unbolted it from the system.  After studieing the rascal I figured out that I had a motor for the "small diameter" valve installed in a "large" or regular size valve.  Factory assembly error.  I was still miffed at all the extra work I went through to get SMART on the ways of the electrical(sic) valve.

Great idea going with dumps on both sides.

John
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« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2007, 01:36:18 PM »

The electric valves I bought only came in one size, so I had to use them for the 3" bl;ack valve.  After the tank had sat for 3 months (I don't always use it enough to need to dump more than that) The valve stuck just a little, and the electric motor didn't have enough oomph to work it.  Couldn't use the manual part of the actuator either, so I jsut replace it with the manual valve.  Naasty job, and while the electric was more convenient while it worked, it was really inconvenient when it didn't.  Thank goodness for the backup valve, so at least I didn't have to pull it apart and dodge 30 gals of poo.  But still not fun to crawl under the bus to work on it.  Hosed it off good.
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« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2007, 03:06:19 PM »

Again I need to mention I don't have a converted bus yet! But my Setra's have pneumatic valves for dumping the toilet into the "extra tank" I love them as so far knock on wood they have always done what they are supposed to! Also I say "extra tank" instead of holding tank as they are not near big enough to be holding tanks! FWIW Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2007, 05:26:06 PM »

H3,

I had a 3 inch valve with the innards of a 2 inch valve.  It operated like you described....no omph.  The correct one would break the entire valve if it got stuck cause it was a stout motor and gear reduced.  I hope you saved your valve as you can probably exchange it like I did.

John
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« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2007, 08:16:23 AM »

Why would a person need an electric valve? As of this moment, I have dumped a tank 1 time - last night - and am curious.
 Honestly. I have such little experience with this I'm not sure if it's something I should think about or not. And trust me, this is not something I can do easily. Not that it's a pleasant chore for anyone, but I couldn't even change a babie's diaper!!! Tongue  Good thing I never hd kids!!  Wink

   Still learnin,
      Chaz
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« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2007, 08:26:07 AM »

In my HUMBLE OPINION electric is needed only when needed. If it can be done manually I prefer that. Less to go wrong and trouble shoot electrically speaking. I don't mind manual at all, because it's cheaper and I'M CHEAP!

Paul
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« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2007, 08:40:35 AM »

Why would a person need an electric valve? As of this moment, I have dumped a tank 1 time - last night - and am curious.
 Honestly. I have such little experience with this I'm not sure if it's something I should think about or not. And trust me, this is not something I can do easily. Not that it's a pleasant chore for anyone, but I couldn't even change a babie's diaper!!! Tongue  Good thing I never hd kids!!  Wink

   Still learnin,
      Chaz
Chaz, in my opinion, the height of laziness. LOL Since you should be at the drain to install the drain hose, why not just then pull the valve? Of course, I never left the drain hose connected while I was parked and never never leave the hose connected and the valve open.
Richard
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« Reply #30 on: September 02, 2007, 09:14:15 AM »

In my HUMBLE OPINION electric is needed only when needed. If it can be done manually I prefer that. Less to go wrong and trouble shoot electrically speaking. I don't mind manual at all, because it's cheaper and I'M CHEAP!
Paul

Amen to that.  **it handling should be kept as simple as possible.  The POs of this coach put the valves right there under the tanks at curb level right next to the spigot for the hose.  A clean, simple design.  On our previous unit however I eventually installed an electric valve.  That was because it was designed by the geniuses at Fleetwood who had, in their infinite wisdom, buried the black tank valve deep under the trailer and then run automotive throttle cable to the curb to actuate the valve.  Then to cap things off they sheeted the underbelly of the trailer such that you couldn't get at the valve without tearing everything apart.  The valve worked for about a week and then the throttle cable seized up.  I took the trailer back to the dealer a couple of times but eventually gave up on that nonsense and replaced the valve with an electric which worked flawlessly for the rest of the time we owned the trailer. 

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« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2007, 11:52:08 AM »

Chaz,

This was in a Winebago and the black tank was in the center rear of the coach and high up  mtd to the floor behind the gen on one side and storage on the other.  My dump valve was on the end of six foot of multi 90 degree bends of abs drain pipe.  Worked just fine and the pipe gave me an extra few gallons of capacity.  I was headed back to McKeesport, Pa. in Oct. and I wanted to freezproof my holding tanks.  I left the long run of abs exposed and installed a multi coil of flex tubing in the in 2 inches of polyisocynite foam  that covered the bottom of the tanks and also wrapped it around all my pipes for gray water.  I had imbeded remote thermometers on both tanks to monitor their actual temps and also imbeded the bulb from a freez switch from a heatpump.  The freeze switch was set for 35 degrees and when it contacted it turned on my house water pump and opened a water valve from a washing machine that put hot water from the propane fired hot water tank to the heating coils.  I switched it on in the winter and left it on and whether I was home or asleep or gone it automatiocally kept all my lines and tanks from freezing.  My fresh tank was in the coach and also protected caus the hot water drained back into the fresh tank and that water ran hot for awhile before the system caught up with itself and shut off.  All I needed was propane that would last a couple weeks on a fill and battery that would go a month with that trickle intermittant drain for pump power.  I installed a rod to the gray tank as  that was a straight shot under the coach.

In my bus I expect to use the hot water to heat my fresh tank in the same way and to build my black and gray over my fresh so the heat from the fresh will raise their temps.  I will be able to adjust the temp of the fresh to achieve this.  Holding the temp of 100 gallons of water at 35 degrees in a well insulated tank should cost Huh? I don't want to heat the entire wet bay and worry about door seals as well and have the tank heated through convection although many are having success with that methode.

My 2 cents worth.

John
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« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2007, 01:10:42 PM »

A number of years ago we were at a race where the rv's were packied in tight and you couldn't just leave. So they had a disposal truck come around every couple of days to empty the holding tanks, The guy operating it was a mexican fella and his method was to place the dump hose in a 5 gallon pail and his suction hose in the same pail. He didn't have a direct connection to the rv dump valves. So he got everythnig ready and asked the owner to pull the valve. Of course there was sh*t everywhere including over him. He was yelling :"meester,meester, shut eet off".

Big mess.

Fred Mc.
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« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2007, 01:12:40 PM »

john ed, the company only makes the 2" valve, so I just ate it.  Manual is of coursse better, I had only used the electric because of the inaccessible location of the valve.  I have since figured a way to wiggle my hand around the tire and frame to get at the valve.  I'm still a little close to the $#!% waterfall when it opens, but I havent had to dodge any water drops yet.  My black tank is high in the bay, and the drain is low, so when its even half full, there is a lot of head pressure.  makes for a fast dump for sure, but exciting if all the connections aren't secure.
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Jim Stewart
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« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2007, 01:27:40 PM »

Quote
My black tank is high in the bay, and the drain is low, so when its even half full, there is a lot of head pressure.  makes for a fast dump for sure, but exciting if all the connections aren't secure.

  HA!!!!!  Exciting??!! I guess!!!!!!!  LOLOLOL  Oh my!!!! I'm thinking pure panic attack!!!!  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

   Scares me!!!!!!!!!
        Chaz
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