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Old 01-09-2007, 12:40 PM   #1
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Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!

Sunday morning, I got out the hose and pulled the sewer cap to dump. Bad surprise! Fortunately, I only lost about a gallon of bad stuff.

The Classic 28 has a terrible linkage to the black water valve. Because the valve is in line with the tire, there is a jog in the rod from handle to valve. The rod scrapes at the handle and again when entering the tank box so that it has always been balky and quite ifficult for this 74 year old to operate while squating in the mud.

Anyhow, a closer look showed that the handle had shed the 2 spring wire keepers and had moved out, perhaps 1/2", filling the outlet pipe with "stuff".

With the aid of a blue boy, I now have the tanks drained and the black tank flushed. The valve rod moves only with great difficulty and will not go fully into the closed position. Right now, I'm taking a thinking break on what to do next.

When things settle down, I think that I will engineer some sort of lever to make the valve more convenient to operate. Actually, one of those 12v actuators might just do the trick.
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:47 PM   #2
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Pahaska, so sorry to hear of the icky mess, created seemingly by an Airstream engineers who don't "test drive" what is designed. They seem to have a penchant for arranging difficult essential parts behind tires, don't they? Our '95 has the fresh water drain located between and behind the dual axel tires. In addition to being in an impossible location for these two seniors to negotiate, even when prone on the ground on our backs, the handle to the drain is a flexy plastic that is impossible for us to grip and turn. We can only wonder why, why, why. . .and like you, we are thinking through a retrofit to fix our mess. Again, sorry about yours, and best wishes in your redesign! ~G
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:53 PM   #3
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Why not a pivot? Besides the obvious issue (pushing to open), you can make the actuating end of the lever longer, to amplify the force to close and open the valve. Less effort=more fun.
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Old 01-09-2007, 01:47 PM   #4
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I like the pivot idea too. You could even get an old Hurst 4 speed shifter and mount it at elbow level. How cool would that be? First gear could be the blackwater tank, second could be the greywater, third would be the tank flusher, etc . . . . .
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Old 01-09-2007, 02:20 PM   #5
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And reverse would be.....?
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Old 01-09-2007, 02:29 PM   #6
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Is it still under the 2 year warranty?

R/
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Old 01-09-2007, 02:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
And reverse would be.....?
Backflushing, of course. What else?...
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Old 01-09-2007, 04:36 PM   #8
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Your "stuff"

Even when the 'stuff' is yours it still is STUFF. I think now you have the incentive to redesign what a high paid engineer thought was a good idea.
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Old 01-09-2007, 08:18 PM   #9
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Remove the cap and Surprise!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
Anyhow, a closer look showed that the handle had shed the 2 spring wire keepers and had moved out, perhaps 1/2", filling the outlet pipe with "stuff".
I had the same problem with our 96 Excella this summer. It has the same bent rod going from the handle to the thetford valve. It would not go in all the way, with about 1/4" of travel yet to go. This was enough to slowly fill the drain pipe.
The root cause was a hard deposit inside the valve, preventing it from closing all the way. After flushing and flushing and flushing, I disassembled the piping connecting the black and grey valves to the central drain pipe. I then removed the black valve body. After quite a bit of scrubbing with a plastic scrub brush, the valve was like new. I smeared a goodly amount of thetford valve lubricant all over the seals and moving parts and reassembled. This resulted in the valve handle now going in all the way and sealing like new.

The whole process took a while, but I did not need to buy any valve parts or try to match part numbers. The biggest pain was drilling out the rivets to expose the plumbing and reattaching the panel. It appeared that the previous owner had some work done previously in this area, as there was an aluminum panel riveted directly under the valves and pipes. You may find that you will need to cut an opening to work thru and fabricate a cover once done. If that is the case, it might be better to have an RV shop handle this somewhat stinky job.

Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2007, 08:41 PM   #10
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Bummer. That sounds like my luck. What you describe sounds like a deisign flaw. Airstream ought to made good on that one regardless of warranty.
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:41 PM   #11
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...any way you cut it....it's a sh*&%y job!
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Old 01-10-2007, 06:14 AM   #12
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As I am certain you already know, once the slide backed out, some paper or other debris likely got in the slot preventing the valve from fully closing. Sometimes you'll be lucky and will be able to keep working it back and forth until it eventually closes. I had this happen and was eventually able to get the slot clear without dismantling the valve. If it ever dries out, it will be more difficult to dislodge the obstruction. Looking forward to seeing you at the Texas Vintage Rally and hearing your presentation.
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Old 01-18-2007, 10:48 AM   #13
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The valve on my '71 Overlander long hence stopped providing a perfect seal. While not particularly enhancing quality of life, it was no big deal that cap removal entailed gloves, long-handled pliers, and a bucket. Imagine my delight when, at last un-capping, the cap remained stuck while the PVC pipe abandoned it's inboard moorings, and "stuff" began dribbling from the belly pan. I don't look forward to the repair with particular glee.

While on this crappy subject, I'll relate an anecdote from times past. In the 1970s, I was service manager for a large mobile home manufacturer. A customer called late one friday, saying that he'd noticed a large bulge in the bottom-board of his one-month-old house. I'd seen this before, and it had so far been due to a supply line joint failing in transport, allowing seepage of fresh water. After apologizing for the inconvenience, and stating thay I had no-one available to affect repair befor monday, I asked if he would mind crawling under to slit the bottom board, thus giving the space the weekend to dry out.

Early monday morning I received a call from the owner. He explaind how lucky I was not be at my phone right after he made the cut. Seems someone forgot to cut the opening for attaching the half-bath drain to the main line, and opening it literally washed him from under the trailer in a tsunami of sewage.
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Old 01-18-2007, 03:27 PM   #14
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Again John,you'll design a solution to this. One that Airstream could probably incorporate on the production line. My vote for making you a full time Airstream design consultant.
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