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Old 09-24-2018, 01:28 PM   #1
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What to expect when removing toilet / black tank

Hey guys. I acquired a 76 Overlander from a person who had been living in it and treating it rather poorly. I have pretty much gutted it with the exception of the toilet, which is still standing. I have no idea if the prior owner had been having bowel movements into this thing, and I really don't know what to expect when removing this.

Should I just go ahead and disconnect the toilet and then remove the black tank? Any chance that feces rains on my face as I'm under the trailer sliding this thing out? Should I wear a plastic poncho as if I were at a Gallagher show?

Thanks for any advice. I posted this on the plumbing section but didn't really get any helpful advise.
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Old 09-24-2018, 02:23 PM   #2
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Geez, certainly find thyself a dump station, open up, flush and dump before you do anything underneath!

Find one with a hose you can run into your toilet, to rinse out thoroughly anything that may be lurking in there.

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Old 09-24-2018, 03:25 PM   #3
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Find a nice, bright LED flashlight with a sturdy, convenient wrist strap. Trust me on the wrist strap.

With water off in the trailer, use the foot pedal on the toilet to open the valve and shine the well-restrained flashlight into the opening. The condition of the tank can be inferred from what you may, or may not see in the tank. A visible well dried out "brown mound" is not a good sign. I'd also suggest lots of ventilation while you are doing this inspection.

If there are significant deposits remaining, it's time to get a flushing wand that you can insert into the toilet, hook the tank dump up to a drain or dump station, and thoroughly clean out the mess. Then burn the contaminated clothing...

Admittedly not for the squeamish, but it's gotta be clean and EMPTY before you try to get under there and remove it. A poncho is NOT going to be sufficient protection--and a full tank weighs enough to be a crush hazard if you are under it... BTW, much of the stuff that Gallagher used his "Sledge-o-Matic" with was nice fresh fruit...

Just be careful, and wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment. Hazmat suits may be overkill, but Tyvec painter's coveralls may not be a bad idea, along with good chemical goggles and rubber gloves.
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:50 PM   #4
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Here's me on another nasty Job involving bird crap. Telescope restoration.

I still got sick.
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Old 09-24-2018, 04:08 PM   #5
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Here is an example of a cleaning tool for the tank...YMMV:

https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Flexibl...cm_wl_huc_item
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Old 09-25-2018, 09:49 AM   #6
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There are a number of contractors that do just bagSeveral years lack & gray tank cleaning.o, while in Quartzsite, I had the https://www.yelp.ca/biz/rv-proctologist-quartzsite clean out my tanks. There are a number of others who do this as well. They use a modified pressure washer and feed the hose end into the tank - amazing what comes out! It's well worth the $200 to have these guys do the job. With my current AS I had the dreaded brown pyramid that totally blocked my tank. It took the guy about 2 hours (and $150) to completely clean it out - no dissembly necessary.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:18 AM   #7
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Is the trailer mobile? If so, I would rill the tank half full and drive to a dump station and empty and flush it. Just taking the toilet out is one thing. Removing the tank another. If immbole, then either have a tank cleaning service come or clean it yourself. I oaid 200 for a hydro clean before I did the valves on a stationary trailer that I bought. Did not regret it.
You know what is bound to be in the tank.
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:40 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the pointers. The tank is mobile, so I could take to a dump station. Do dump stations typically have the means to flush the tank out as well? For instance, if I were to purchase a flexible cleaning tool to flush it, do cleaning stations typically have a hose that I could hook this up to?

Also, I'm not opposed to having a cleaning service clean it for me, but I'm curious if these old tanks tend to hold up well over time. I wouldn't want to pay $200 to have the tank cleaned if it's cracked and needs replacement anyways, if that makes sense.

Is it reasonable to assume that on a 40 year old trailer I'd be able to continue using the original tank?
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Old 09-25-2018, 02:52 PM   #9
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What to expect when removing toilet / black tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by licoricewhip View Post
Thank you all for the pointers. The tank is mobile, so I could take to a dump station. Do dump stations typically have the means to flush the tank out as well? For instance, if I were to purchase a flexible cleaning tool to flush it, do cleaning stations typically have a hose that I could hook this up to?

Also, I'm not opposed to having a cleaning service clean it for me, but I'm curious if these old tanks tend to hold up well over time. I wouldn't want to pay $200 to have the tank cleaned if it's cracked and needs replacement anyways, if that makes sense.

Is it reasonable to assume that on a 40 year old trailer I'd be able to continue using the original tank?


Hi - a few thoughts.

Hoses at dump stations are usually cut off at the end - I think to prevent people from thinking they can be used for potable water. Theyíre usually only meant to spray down the area or flush out your slinky.

I think if you put some enzymes in the tank and fill it to 95% and let it sit for a few days - the combo of enzymes doing their job and driving it to the dump station just might be sufficient to move most of the stuff out. Other advice here about flashlights and such are worth paying attention to.

Personally - if it were me - Iíd pay to have it removed and replaced with a new tank. Not that thereís any good reason to spend that much money for something that could be treated many other ways (including my suggestion here) but I would honestly just rather spend extra bucks to know I had a clean start and a not-40-year-old-tank than constantly being reminded of the POís poos (visual pun fully intended there...).

Youíre mileage can and should vary. No wrong answers here - just the one you resonate with most. Good luck!
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Old 09-25-2018, 06:48 PM   #10
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The easiest way to thoroughly clean a black tank where there is stuff stuck to the inside of the tank for G-d knows how long, possibly hard as concrete, is to have it cleaned with a pressure washer system like I mentioned in post #6 above. If you try to DIY, you will, in all probablity, once it is done, realize that if you had to do it all over again, you would opt for the tank cleaning service.
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Old 09-25-2018, 06:51 PM   #11
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Bags and bags of ice and a good long drive.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:06 PM   #12
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Plumbers deal with these sort of things all the time, and don't seem to get too exercised about it. Some wear gloves, others don't. I did.

The PO of my trailer was diligent about cleaning, so I just wiped down the exter, and unbolted the toilet and took it out to the driveway and pressure washed it thoroughly to a sparkling clean condition. When I'm ready to reinstall it, I'll use new seals.

Oh, and I used a 4" plastic cheese tub to plug the flange hole, and that has worked well.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:05 PM   #13
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Yep, plumbing is a dirty job. We like to say good plumbers have a poor sense of smell. Cleaning a dead skunk out of a sewer pipe can be rather nasty. But we humans are generally water proof and clean up pretty easily.

I have a 75 Overlander that I have removed the old holding tanks (black and grey). I did flush and dump them first. I removed the toilet so I could see in the tank to verify it was dry. I found it rather neat the way Airstream had hinged the tank pans so the tanks easily slipped out the rear of the trailer. Both the black and grey tanks were broken in my trailer. I have now installed new ones of larger capacity.

You can take a look at my project thread and read how I did this job. Trigger warning: It is a big job in my view. A little cussing may occur. There are all sorts of "while I'm at it" projects that add cost and time. But I wanted an Overlander in very good condition when I'm done.

David
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