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Old 12-27-2010, 11:14 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by John Geisen View Post
Hi Red,

I'm not certain we solved our problem but we did seem to work around it. I did everything mentioned above from the more knowledgable airstream members on the forum. Found no blockages anywhere.

In the end, the drain plug that Debbie mentioned seemed to work quite well. Also, for some mysterious reason I don't think we cooked as much this past summer. Maybe it was the heat. So, cleaning dishes was more one at at time instead of filling the sink like the previous year.

I'm inclined to believe it is a simple design failure by Airstream. Running a sink-full of water into the grey tank seems to exceed it's ability to accept that amount all at once so it temporarily backs up into the shower (yuk) an inch or two and then drains from the shower. A plug in the shower seems to be a good work around.

I wish I had the real fix but not sure there is one.

John
John.

The issue is venting.

Check the complete venting system for the gray tank. All the piping and connections.

Lastly, have some colored water in the gray tank. Red usually works fine. Drop a weight rope down the vent pipe from the roof, and see if it has red on it when you remove it.

It's a remote answer, but perhaps the connection to the gray tank, is blocked by the tank itself. Fittings are "spun" onto to the tank. The center of that attachment, must be cut out so that there is now a hole in that tank.

Dumb, but it could be.

Andy
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:50 AM   #16
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I agree venting can be the problem. If a vent is stopped up, air in the drains has no where to go fast enough as water tries to displace that air and it can force water into and up another drain lower than the sink.

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Old 12-27-2010, 01:20 PM   #17
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Is it ok to just pour a little Drano clog remover down the vent pipe? Or pour boiling hot water down the pipe?
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:24 PM   #18
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Negative on the Drano. Probably has lye and will melt something. Sal.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:45 PM   #19
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The vent pipe and drains are usually made of ABS, a black plastic. I think it's brittle and more easily melted than PVC, but it's cheap, so it's used for drains. Since people pour all sorts of chemicals down the drain, I expect it can take some pretty noxious chemicals, but I'd check before using something like lye. I'd try a snake first and try to dislodge a blockage that way.

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Old 12-27-2010, 02:01 PM   #20
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It has lye, and the PVC vent pipe and ABS tanks are not affected by lye. Nor are brass or ABS drain fittings, PVC cements, etc.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:23 AM   #21
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Hello

Hey, I have the same problem with my 2005 28 ccd. I checked for blockages as airstream recommended and found nothing. I think the problem is the grey water tank is not vented properly. There is a cheater vent at the kitchen sink which I have replaced. There is also a roof vent but unfortunately does not go directly into the grey tank, it ties into the kitchen drain line. When empty kitchen sink the drain line
fills and there isn't a way for the air to escape from the grey tank. This displaces air from the tank comes up into the shower drain.
The quick solution is a good plug in the shower but the kitchen sink drains very slowly, my wife hates it.
Other solution we have used is keep the grey drain valve open when you park and hooked up to sewer and the air escapes in the drain.

Im looking at a permanent fix which may involve running a flexible rubber vent hose from the top of the grey tank under the shower and tie into the vent which is the closet.
Has anybody done this?

Thanks
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:14 PM   #22
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Our 2004 Bambi Safari has the same problem. I will try Andy's suggestion. We have cleaned out the vent that exits the roof....we have back flushed....snaked...Plunged till our arms fell off...used baking soda, vinegar....filled sinks with water and the shower....then dumped one tank at a time....dumped together....used water softener....plugged the shower drain.... Unplugged...used the white stick for sink drains....All other drains are fine. It is just the shower. I have also cleaned the cheater vent in the back hatch...I did notice a pressure sensitive cap there. Perhaps this cap isn't doing its job? We've left it off...screwed it down tighter...place a hand over the vent.... This has been so frustrating. One would think that if it is a design issue, Airstream would make it right.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:41 AM   #23
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This has been a frustrating journey. Our problem seems to be solved "if" we leave the grey take open even if the black tank is closed. As mentioned earlier perhaps by having the grey tank open venting it is not a problem. Boon-docking seems to be a real problem for us. I wonder if there are boon-dockers out there who do not have this problem. I thought we had narrowed the problem down to a specific model of Airstream but now it looks like it could be a broader problem.

Does Airstream moderate this forum and make suggestions. Andy and Gene appear to be an expert but it would be interesting to get a more "official" response.

John
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:42 PM   #24
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Only if I had this problem myself and had solved it would I be considered anything close to an expert. I'm just guessing in the dark world of sewer lines.

There are a couple of common answers to drain problems. One is a clog in the line slowing or stopping draining. Another is a clogged vent—as water travels down the drain, it has to displace air to move quickly, so a properly placed vent allows the air to vent and the fluid to move on.

There are 2 types of vents—the simple one usually seen is a pipe, often black, you see coming out of a roof on a house or an RV. It may have a cap on it to prevent water or snow from getting in. There is a European style one now sold in the US that acts to equalize the air pressure and is installed in a drain line, is only about 3 to 5" high and looks like it has a cap on it. You smell nothing. It can be installed under a sink or other places and substitutes for the standard venting system. I don't know if Airstream has ever used these.

I suspect the problem in some Airstreams is poor placement of the roof vent—the kitchen sink is full, the plug is pulled, the vent moves the water quickly enough in the first length of grey water line, but by the time the water gets under the shower, air pressure has built up ahead of it again and the path of least resistance is upward through the shower P trap and drain. A plug in the shower may solve this. Otherwise, you would have to make sure there is not a clog—a clog may be partial and contribute to the problem, but make it worse. The system would work, but be slow. Leaving the grey tank drain open appears to allow air to escape—ok with hookups, not ok boondocking.

You could backflush the system with compressed air. This is risky because you could blow a seal—I don't know the system well enough to recommend this. But if you like adventure, use a Flush King, put an adapter on the hose connection on the side for a compressor, and blow air through the system. I would not use a lot of pressure. You should get air out of the drains and the vent. This may dislodge a clog. Water will come out of the drains first because of the water in the P traps—this is not a desirable way to wash your face. You could have people you don't like stand in front of each drain for face washing and hair, grease and food bits.

Adding a vent may be necessary. I suppose lowering the belly pan and seeing how to could attach something to the grey tank would be necessary. My feeling is there is not enough space to add much of anything, but I don't know.

John, you have a 5 or 6 year old trailer. Did you get it last year and discover this problem, or have you always had this problem? Has this developed over years? If the latter, sounds more like something is clogged if it worked before.

Before using drain cleaner, I'd read the label carefully to see what plastics are compromised by it. There is no doubt Drano is pretty effective, but it is more potent than I feel comfortable with on plastic, but best to check. There are many liquid drain cleaners, some of which you mix yourself, of varying effectiveness.

Gene
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:54 AM   #25
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Well I added a vent directly from the grey tank and fixed the problem of burping and back flow into the shower on my 2005 28 International.

The fix is as follows:

You can remove a panel directly under the shower in the 28 International. You can gain access to the top of the grey tank by removing a small section of the flooring plywood.
Through this access I drilled a 1 inch hole in the grey tank. Purchased a 1 inch metal pipe flange which I bolted over the hole with self tapping screws and sealed with silicone. Connect to the pipe flange a 90 degree with nipple to take 1 inch rubber hose. ( Similiar to built in dishwasher drain hole).
I ran the 1 inch hose under the shower through to the vent which runs up through the closet. The vent pipe was cut beneath the closet (There is an access panel) and a 90 degree installed to tie in the 1 inch hose. (This is also similiar to dishwasher setup)
Venting was definately the cause of the problem and now all is fixed.
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