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Old 09-30-2011, 03:40 PM   #1
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Help! Used Flush King wrong; popped something!?

Today at the dump station, using our new Flush King, I accidentally turned the water hose on with both valves shut... the valve on the Flush King itself and both black/gray valves closed. Almost immediately there was a POP! and then yucky water streaming out from some holes in the bottom of the tank.

I was able to get both tanks empty through the slinky without making much of a mess on the ground from the tank leak. Now that we've got everything cleaned up, I'm at a loss as to what to do next. What broke when the pressure got too high? Is it something I can fix or will I need to get an appointment somewhere? We're full-timing and currently in Burlington, Vermont and the thought of not using our plumbing systems for the weekend isn't very exciting.

If anyone has recommendations for service near Burlington, that'd be appreciated as well. Help!
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:32 PM   #2
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I'm not really familiar with these things, but from what you describe, plus the fact that gray and black tanks were closed as well as the flush king slide valve, my guess would be that the pressure somehow broke one of the valves loose from the tank -which one, you probably know from the nature of the "yucky water!"

If one of the tank slides had broken, then the pressure would have just released itself into the tank and nothing should have leaked into the belly of the trailer.

If the pipe between the flush king and the trailer valves had split or come away from the trailer valve then I would think that all you would get in the belly pan would be clean water from the flush king, so from your description, it seems that somehow the mistake has allowed at least one of the trailer valves has been caused to release tank contents into the belly pan.

I have never had to access the valves on my trailer yet, but I thnk that if I did, I might be inclined to cut an access hatch into the belly pan to get at the valves and then seal it up with a sheet of aluminum and pop rivets so i could easily gain access again if I had to.

Just talking out loud here, that may be more easily said than done, I don't know. Also maybe it isn't all that difficult to drop a big ection of the belly pan so may not be worth the trouble.

Seems to me I have seen where other folk have done that though.

Burlington Vermont is a nice spot to spend a while anyway! We camped there last summer for a week.


Good luck, be interested to know what you find. ............ Brian
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:44 PM   #3
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There is an Airstream dealer in or near Burlington and Colin Hyde is not far away on the other side of the lake.
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:56 PM   #4
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Thanks Brian.

Your thoughts are helpful. I suspect the black tank's valve busted or unset somehow. Don't suppose both could have burst simultaneously, but I wouldn't be surprised. It seem. like the stream of water out the bottom of the pan increased as I opened each tank valve independently, which I suppose could indicate that the drain pipe itself developed a leak, just before exiting the pan (where the black & gray tank pipes connect to the drain pipe).

I've never seen the contents of the metal tank pan, but I've looked at the parts manual and think those two theories are tops. Looks to me like the pan is connected with thirty 1/2" bolts or so. I'm tempted to drop it and see what I find, but well aware that might not be pleasant (and the fact that we're in a public campground, it might not be a considerate move). And even if I could diagnose the problem, not sure I'd be able to fix it myself anyway. Can anyone verify that the pan will drop out just by removing these few dozen bolts? (There's some sealant around the drain pipe, but that looks loose, too). Tempted to just go for it.

Will keep you updated. Thanks again.
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Old 09-30-2011, 05:05 PM   #5
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Josh,

I've never seen the valves Airstream use, on their tanks, but typical slide valves like that are a sandwhich secured by four small screws.

If you had say 30 psi water pressure working against the 3" diameter face of the slide valve, I guess that would develop about 200+ pounds of force, or 50 pounds per screw which maybe could cause one or more screws to give.

The valve parts could then move away from the tank flange allowing contents to leak out.

Just a theory!


Brian.
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Old 09-30-2011, 06:43 PM   #6
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rv service

My Sisters live in Burlington, and while there I have used Petes RV for service on my Airstream. Petes RV is located at 4016 Williston Rd, South Burlington, Vermont

Regards,

Reganzo
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Old 09-30-2011, 07:14 PM   #7
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Triage update

Well, I couldn't get ahold of anyone tonight and ran out of daylight to drop the tank pan, so in the interest of triage, I tried adding a bit of water in each tank. First a little in the gray, then a bit more, then a lot... no evident leaks. Did the same thing with the black tank, using the flush inlet, and again, no evidence that the leak is before the flush valves.

A minor endoscopy into the drain pipe reveals something a bit suspicious. Of course, having never looked in there before, I'm not sure if this is abnormal or not, so I'm posting a photo. The black tank enters the drain pipe on the left. The gray tank enters straight ahead. To me, it looks like the gray tank pipe is not seated squarely with the drain pipe. Peeking in the gray tank's valve stem hole, I can clearly see the pipe clamp securing the two pipes together -- but is it? I cannot say for sure.

Suspicious or no?

Josh
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:52 PM   #8
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I'm confused . . . are there leaks or not?
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:27 PM   #9
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There are leaks, but they're on the exit-side of the valves. With the valves shut, there is no leakage, but as soon as one is open, things get messy. Having searched & found this thread, 2air describes this problem exactly and solution entirely:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f163...one-69712.html

It seems the flexible tubing that connects the gray valve to the drain pipe has come loose. Black water was leaking out from there because at that point (after the valves) it's all one Y-shaped pipe.

Tomorrow I will take 2air's advice and elevate the street side, cut an access panel into the tank pan, and attempt to repair the connection point that blew out. I'll try to post pictures.
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:04 AM   #10
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If you get in a bind and need a tool you may not have or a helping hand, I will be heading to the Burlington area at some point tomorrow.
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Old 10-01-2011, 07:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worksology View Post
There are leaks, but they're on the exit-side of the valves. With the valves shut, there is no leakage, but as soon as one is open, things get messy. Having searched & found this thread, 2air describes this problem exactly and solution entirely:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f163...one-69712.html

It seems the flexible tubing that connects the gray valve to the drain pipe has come loose. Black water was leaking out from there because at that point (after the valves) it's all one Y-shaped pipe.

Tomorrow I will take 2air's advice and elevate the street side, cut an access panel into the tank pan, and attempt to repair the connection point that blew out. I'll try to post pictures.



Great detective work! sounds as though it might not be that tough a fix after all.

The only part I'd be a little nervous about would be cutting the belly pan not knowing what might be above the cutting area and how much clearance I have without damaging anything.

The idea of cutting a small hole and then expanding it as you can see better where you need to go sounds good.

At times I find tins snips a bit tough to use in such applications. I have a couple of sets of hand operated "nibblers" and also an air nibbler left over from my car restoration days that I find handy for jobs like this - just used one last week to cut the eavestrough at our house to install an extra downspout.

I would probably pop rivet the repair patch in place.



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Old 10-05-2011, 03:11 PM   #12
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Resolution

In short, the predictions above and especially the post by 2air linked above from last year were exactly correct. It's been rainy here in Burlington, VT, so it took me several days longer to repair than I'd hoped, but all told, it only took about 90 minutes for the full fix. I'm attaching some photos to help illustrate the repair.

First, I drilled a small hole in the tank pan to give me a place to start working with the tin snips. Then it was a pretty easy task of cutting a large enough hole to work in. In hindsight, the hole I made was probably larger than necessary since I didn't start the hole directly below the pipes. Not really a big deal though.

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In the next photo you can see where the gray tank drain pipe had slipped out of the flexible tubing. Fortunately the pipe clamp screw was facing down (notice that the other clamp wasn't) so it was very easy to loosen further.

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I slipped a screwdriver between the flexible tubing and the pipe and worked it around the perimeter, which slipped the two together again nicely. Then I re-tightened the clamp.

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After a trip to the dump station to test for leaks (none), I sealed up the hole with a sheet of galvanized steel and some large pop rivets.

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Done.

One thing to note: when blindly cutting with the tin snips, I managed to cut through the black tank's sensor cable. I haven't fixed it yet, but looks like a simple wire splicing will do the trick. Two steps forward, one step back.

Thanks again for all the emergency help!
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Old 10-05-2011, 03:33 PM   #13
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Try and replace that steel patch with aluminum or place a membrane between the two - after a while you might get some disimular metal corrosion.
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Old 10-05-2011, 03:38 PM   #14
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Try and replace that steel patch with aluminum or place a membrane between the two - after a while you might get some disimular metal corrosion.
The tank pan is galvanized, not aluminum.
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