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Old 01-30-2009, 01:28 AM   #1
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Sink drain creates toilet bubbles, greywater always reads full

Last night I noticed that whenever I'd run the bathroom sink, bubbles would come up in the toilet. This doesn't seem to make much sense, as one of these systems is grey and one is black, no?

Additionally, my greywater tank reads flashing red (full) almost all of the time, even with the dump valve open. Things are definitely coming out when the valve is opened, so the tank is definitely draining.

This evening, now the bathroom sink won't drain more than a small trickle. I've had the pipe in the cabinet apart as far back as I could reach; no clog that I can find.

Thoughts? This is on an '06 International 28.

-d
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:42 AM   #2
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Apparently the bathroom sink drains into the black tank, which was full. Monitor panel shows it empty.

Looks like both my grey and black water sensors are broken. Ugh.

-d
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:23 AM   #3
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Hmmm. An 06? It doesn't sound right that the bathroom sink drains into the black holding tank...it should drain to the grey tank. It does sound like the tank sensors need to be recalibrated, but I can't explain the other happenings...please keep us posted on what happens...
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Old 01-30-2009, 07:40 AM   #4
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How about the kitchen sink; is it draining normally?

Brian
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dre00 View Post
Last night I noticed that whenever I'd run the bathroom sink, bubbles would come up in the toilet. This doesn't seem to make much sense, as one of these systems is grey and one is black, no?

Additionally, my greywater tank reads flashing red (full) almost all of the time, even with the dump valve open. Things are definitely coming out when the valve is opened, so the tank is definitely draining.

This evening, now the bathroom sink won't drain more than a small trickle. I've had the pipe in the cabinet apart as far back as I could reach; no clog that I can find.

Thoughts? This is on an '06 International 28.

-d
How are you getting bubbles in your toilet? The flush valve seal should not allow this.
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:50 AM   #6
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I don't know how any of this was possible really. The black tank wasn't *that* full that it would've been bubbling over -- there were just air bubbles in the small amount of water in the toilet, and they'd appear whenever I'd run the sink. It only happened one time, which was the night before the black tank was definitely full.

When the sink stopped draining (well, drained to a trickle), it was somehow draining into or filling up the toilet. When I flushed the black tank, the sink and toilet both emptied, and all was well.

To answer the other question, no, I've never had any backup in the shower or the kitchen sink. I confirmed this when the bathroom sink filled up -- I ran the sink in he kitchen for quite awhile and it was draining normally.

It is going to be some time before I can get to a dealer, so hopefully this isn't some sort of pending doom..

-d
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:34 AM   #7
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I agree the monitor needs to be recalibrated and is a separate problem. On our '08 it had to be replaced too.

The bubbles and where the sink drains are bizarre in the sense if everything was built right, it shouldn't happen. When you opened the toilet valve, did the water rise in the toilet, or did the bathroom sink drain? That would indicate the drain was connected to the black tank by mistake. Has this ever happened before when the black tank was full? Are you sure the black and grey water valve were not open while the cap was on the sewer drain (I'd think the cap would leak, but maybe not)? If both valves were open at the same time, this would connect the tanks and thus connect the toilet and bathroom sink drains. The kitchen sink drain would eventually fill too, but I don't understand why the shower wouldn't back up.

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Old 01-30-2009, 10:50 AM   #8
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Is anyone sure that the bathroom sink isn't supposed to drain into the black tank? We rented a four winds 30' class C in Alaska a few years ago, and both the bathroom and kitchen sinks drained onto the black tank. Fortunately, we had dump provisions every couple of days. Bath and kitchen were both on the road side, with shower on curb side. Near as I could figure, only the shower drained into they gray tank.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:11 PM   #9
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Is anyone sure that the bathroom sink isn't supposed to drain into the black tank?
Good question. My '08 manual says the bathroom sink goes to the "auxiliary" (grey) tank. I would be happy for that sink to drain to the black tank since the black tank is very large for the purpose intended and the grey tank always fills up first.

If d's trailer had a previous owner, it could have been re-plumbed and that would explain this strangeness.

If the bathroom sink drain has been redirected to the black tank, opening the toilet valve may have raised the water level in the toilet and drained water from the sink until all water would be at one level. But, the water may not have been entirely filling the black tank just yet and the pressure from the water in the drain line from the sink could compress the air at the top of the tank just enough to force some air bubbles through the toilet seal. The air pressure in the tank could answer why the sink drain still drained, but slowly.

The way to find out would be to hook up the trailer to city water, open the black tank valve only (and the end cap), run water through the bathroom sink and see if it comes from the black tank. It might take a minute or two. If it doesn't, confirm it's going into the grey tank by closing the black tank valve and opening the grey tank valve. If it comes out neither, you'd better find out where it's going and I don't think something is separating it into O2 and H.

If it has been replumbed, at some time it would be a good idea to check out the job to see if it was done well and there are no leaks.

Gene
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:04 PM   #10
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I also have a '06 CCD. You are correct that the bath sink draines into the black water tank. How do I know? I found out the hard way. One time I was flushing out the black tank and, with the drain valve closed, became distracted by a fellow Airstreamer (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) and my wife somewhat excitedly called my attention to the fact that the bath sink was overflowing with a rather smelly liquid!!! Proof positive that the bath sink drains to the black water tank and/or that I am easily distracted.

Also, when the kitchen sink, 1/2 full or greater, is drained, regardless of how full the grey tank is, water backs up in the shower. Go figure.

The good news on the tank sensors, is that they are covered by a lifetime guarentee. This summer, while on a 18,000 mile road trip, the black sensor went out. A call to the mfr. (not Airstream) said that the factory had incorrectly installed the black sensor, gave me the proper install instructions, and sent me a new sensor. Easy to deal with.

We have over 68,000 miles on our silver baby and have loved most every mile.

Good luck. cleach
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Old 01-30-2009, 05:24 PM   #11
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If you're outdoors in New York in January, maybe the gray tank is full of frozen water.
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:07 PM   #12
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Vent stacks!

Plumbing 101 - hot is on the left, cold is on the right, payday is Friday, the boss is a son-of-a-B****, and sh** doesn't run up hill. (The plumber's creed taught to my by my uncles who were plumbers. Uncle Paul did the plumbing in the Football Hall of Fame).

Sh** doesn't run up hill but it can be forced up hill by having a clogged vent stack, a clogged pipe OR your trailer off level.

When I drain my kitchen sink, I can get momentary burping or even backup in my shower - But it doesn't happen unless the trailer is nose high, or tilted somewhat up on the shower side. In a house there are normally vent stacks for the kitchen, every bath and even the laundry room. There are none on my kitchen sink. If there were one, it would have to run up the sidewall of the trailer to the roof. My guess is that there may be only one vent stack for the gray tank and one for the black... and they may join together into a single pipe that goes to the roof (imagine a double sink drain turned upside down). I should have paid more attention on my last factory visit.

Bubbles coming up through the toilet when you drain the bath sink means your bath sink definitely discharges into the black tank. It also means your seal needs to be cleaned or possibly replaced.

OK, If mud daubers or squirrels or whatever have dropped debris down the vent stack and no air is escaping when you add liquids and the drain is closed you create air pressure which will either bubble, or if the drain pipe into the tank is under the water level... you'll back up liquid.

It used to be said that SOB's often had vent stacks just cut into the top of the tanks and not secured properly - letting the pipe eventually slide down INTO the tank eventually resting on the bottom and becoming non-functional. In newer Airstreams, is it possible they've adopted this cost saving measure? Modern vent stacks should be PVC and preventing them from falling into the tank would be as simple as gluing a fitting to the stack that was bigger than the hole for the stack pipe. Of course that should also be glued to the top of the tank. If you're rinsing your tanks and let them overflow you know your black water vent stack is perfect if water starts cascading off the roof... if it isn't good, you get backups in the toilet and possibly bath sink.

If the vent stack has debris in it, just use a plumber's snake (remove the big tip on the end) and run it up and down to clean. If it's a wasp nest apply mucho bug spray first, then wait. My brother, an enterprising soul, used an M-80 flushed down the toilet in our house to clear the vent stacks. We had Cast Iron Sewer lines and vent stacks - they don't make them that way any more - so don't try that stunt ever!

If your vent stack has no sewer odors something is wrong. I suppose it's possible someone might have actually forgotten to hook up the vent stack.

If you're leaving your gray water gate open, it may even be possible that you're getting back pressure from a campground's sewage system... causing Ick in your trailer. Poo does FERMENT, and fermentation means tiny bubbles... eeeeeeuuuuhh... Consider leaving off the donut seal and try discharging water into the sewer - see if there is no backup when the sewer can "vent" (not a good idea if you have neighbors really close or if the wind is blowing toward your unit).

Paula
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:50 PM   #13
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I'm glad that by now my "63" vintage TW has the BUBBLES worked out!! I do wish you all the success with the prob.
Good Luck!
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:28 PM   #14
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Oh the glamour of trailering that is never mentioned in the ads. The best part is it is the same for all..........from the SOB owner to the Luxury Prevost owners. Pooh is grand
Good luck with your problem.....I know we all can relate
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