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Old 06-07-2016, 06:42 PM   #1
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Electric Auto-Drain dump valves

Has anyone out there had problems with either their black or gray electric (Auto-Drain) valves? My black tank electric valve opener gets stuck open and does not fully shut afterward. This in turn will not allow me to open and drain the gray water side because you cannot open both drains at the same time. I replaced the Auto-Drain and it closed, but when I went to open again to flush tank, it opened and would not fully shut again. The indicator light remains on showing it is still not closed. When I removed the original control, I checked the blade valve for any binding. It was very smooth both opening and shutting. I do not believe there is anything preventing the blade to fully close, such as toilet paper. I am starting to believe it is the switch and not the valve that maybe the issue. Any other ideas?
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:02 PM   #2
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Same thing happened to our Interstate. I disconnected the motor from the valve shaft, then manually opened and closed the valve. It felt like something was jammed in the valve when I tried to push it in. Pulled it open and pushed it closed with some force and it popped free and opened and closed easily. Put it back together and it has worked fine since. It is easy to access and remove the nut that connects the motor to the shaft.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:18 PM   #3
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A couple of years ago, my black tank valve light (on the switch) wouldn't come on although I could empty the tank successfully. I suspected there may have been debris on the valve preventing it from fully opening. So I repeatedly flushed it through with the black tank flush, opening and closing the valve each time. Eventually the problem went away. Why not try that. The blade may be clean but not the seal.
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:05 AM   #4
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Thanks

It is at the dealer right now, to check on whether it is valve, switch or electric mechanism itself, but if they can't find the issue I will try manually opening and closing valve numerous times as well as flush the tank several times to see if the valve starts to work properly again.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:45 AM   #5
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I forgot, so I should add to my previous post that I did refer this to the dealer who told me the bulb in the switch had blown and blown bulbs are not eligible for a warranty repair. But I subsequently noticed the light did very occasionally come on. That's why I persisted with the cleaning.


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Old 06-08-2016, 11:35 AM   #6
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UKDUDE, the bulb is good in my case. My problem is the opposite. The bulb comes on when I open and will not go out since valve does not close fully. I am with you that it is most likely something stuck in the valve itself. I am going to start emptying the toilet chemicals out of the drop-in little bags until I am done with the ones I have now. Then I will go to something else that does not use the plastic bags. I also saw online a comparison of various toilet papers. Oddly enough the test showed Charmin Ultra Soft to be even better at dissolving than the Thetford Aqua Soft, which I am using presently.
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:37 PM   #7
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Well, our trailer is not an Interstate, but, after a number of years of black-water tank valve and drainage problems, we found the plastic disk which had been cut out of the tank at the time the drain pipe was installed. The disk's shape helped it move around quite freely without ever fully blocking the drain and valve.

We later heard about similar problems with other trailer brands.

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Old 06-08-2016, 02:36 PM   #8
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Just got a call from dealer saying it is not the Auto-Drain valve, but rather the switch. Here's the kicker, they want $475 to install a new switch. I inquired as to why Airstream warranty did not cover it and they said because the system was not an Airstream product, which is covered under it's own manufacturers 1 year warrant. Which in my case has long gone. I asked whether the entire panel that includes the black, gray, macerator and retractable switches had to be replaced for this as it came as one unit and could not have just the single switch replaced. Still waiting to hear back on this. It's time for an extended warranty. I thought I had a 3 year Airstream warranty and was waiting till next year to take one out. Any suggestions on this front? Thanks
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kupchu9702 View Post
It's time for an extended warranty. I thought I had a 3 year Airstream warranty and was waiting till next year to take one out. Any suggestions on this front?
Extended warranties are a crapshoot. Chances are, the extended warranty wouldn't cover items like this either, unless it's specifically an all-inclusive bumper-to-bumper warranty. Since the original Airstream warranty didn't cover installed components manufactured by third parties, there's a good chance that any extended warranty also wouldn't.

And even if third-party items are covered, the extended warranty isn't free. Carefully evaluate the cost of the warranty versus the estimated cost of repairs to see if it's worth it. For a significant percentage of owners, it's not worth it, because warranty companies are in business to make money just like anybody else, and the way that happens is for collections exceed disbursements.

I decided in my own case that the extended warranty wasn't worth the money, and subsequently I was proven right. The money I would have spent on an extended warranty would have been more than the cost of repairs I ended up paying for.
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:26 PM   #10
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I checked around for extended warranty prices shortly after buying mine and they were insanely high. $3K-$4K. So far after five years, I've spent about $25 to replace the Maxx fan gear box and lifter arm. Like Protag, I think I made the right choice.
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Old 06-08-2016, 05:30 PM   #11
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That's odd... If you can hear the motor partially shut the valve, then the switch is working, which I assume is the case because you say the valve does not fully shut when you hold the switch. If you don't hear the motor run when you push the switch in the close direction, then the dealer's diagnosis is correct. If the switch is indeed bad, a replacement double pole double throw momentary switch runs about $5.00. It might be pretty straight forward as a DIY project. Don't know for sure as I have not taken mine apart, yet.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:43 PM   #12
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You are correct, there is no motor sound or activity when you try to close. It's like one side of the switch the close side has a short and the open side is still functioning correctly. Is say short because every now and then it catches and closes. I would replace just the switch myself if I could find where they are sourced from. I just wanted to keep the same look.
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Old 06-09-2016, 03:26 PM   #13
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I say short because every now and then it catches and closes. I would replace just the switch myself if I could find where they are sourced from. I just wanted to keep the same look.
Actually I believe the switch contacts for closing are remaining open, not shorting. Quite possible you could remove the switch and disassemble (if possible) and clean the contacts to see if it could be made functional again.

FWIW, my lites never worked and since it's easy to tell audibly when it completes each operation, I never worried about it. Not sure if it was the bulbs/LEDs or the switch contacts at the valve.
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