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Old 05-07-2006, 04:35 PM   #1
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Unhappy Help! Yucky clogged shower drain

I just brought my new baby home from the RV hospital where they performed extensive plumbing repairs to replace frozen burst water lines. (The PO had not used the coach in more than 5 years.) After we got it home I noticed the bathroom floor was covered with water and it was not draining down the shower drain even tho' the rig was tilted so the water flowed down to the shower drain. (This is just a temporary parking place, btw). The drain is in a totally unconvenient location underneath the tiny bumpout for the sink. I took the handle off the sink/toilet plunger and was able to get it over the drain and get some pretty good suction. YUCK--GAG! Leaves, dirt, and soapy water--but, surprisingly it didn't really stink. The more I'd plunge the more gunk would come up and I would absorb it with towels. Then I got the idea to open the dump valve. Soapy water, perhaps several gallons, poured out. Unfortunately I was still able to suck yuck out of the drain, perhaps because of the slight tilt toward the drain. Well, I know when I've met my match and it's time to tap into the Airstream braintrust here for opinions and HELP.

Also, there is a sink type sprayer next to the toilet that appears to be plumbed into the toilet. Now either this is a (huh: ) "chocolate spot" sprayer or Wally's version of a bidet. Anyway, it doesn't work at all even tho' it doesn't appear damaged in anyway. It looks like it would be a good thing to have. Any ideas on how to repair/replace it?
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Old 05-07-2006, 04:59 PM   #2
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Sprayer

You're correct. The sprayer is called a "water saver" and is intended to remove "skid marks". Chances are it is clogged up in the spray head itself from mold building up after years of non-use. See if the nozzle will unscrew so that you can clean it out. Worst case, you may have to replace the spray head.
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Old 05-08-2006, 12:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Pahaska. Except here in desert New Mexico it's probably clogged with mineral build up. Any ideas about my drain problem?
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Old 05-08-2006, 01:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady
Thanks Pahaska. Except here in desert New Mexico it's probably clogged with mineral build up. Any ideas about my drain problem?
The '72 trailers had no gray tank. The water that came out was probably just the contents of the piping from the shower to the dump valve.

I doubt that what came out of the drain was leaves. After all, how would leaves get in the shower drain? I'm guessing that you were seeing flat pieces of mild/crud that formed in the P-trap.

The P=trap is a bowl surrounding the drain with an exit pipe high on the side that retains enough water to provide an air tight seal to keep odors out of the coach. When last used, it would have been full of water which would have very slowly evaporated and, in the mean time, provided a nice little growing area for mold.

Does water drain now, even slowly? If so, I would run a stream of water through the drain for a while with the dump valve open and see of that frees it up any. If it doesn't drain now, I would try water under pressure and, if that doesn't work, a chemical drain cleaner. Many modern day drains have plastic and rubber parts, so, IMHO, drain cleaner should not hurt anything.
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Old 05-08-2006, 02:51 PM   #5
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well, the dump valve shouldn't have any effect on the shower, as they're not connected. If your trailer is "stock", it has no grey tank, and the drain from the shower simply drains out onto the ground, bypassing the black water tank in the process. its outlet connects to the sewer pipe BELOW the black tank valve.

I've seen such assorted "crud" come out of my drain system in the spring, too. I suspect that critters might find the empty drain pipes to be a cozy location to build nests, and its not inconcievable that they could get in there, especially if the cap is left off the sewer outlet.

I have one of those caps with the 5/8ths hose fitting, so you can connect a hose for draining grey water into the blue boy...one early spring outing, grey water stopped flowing, so I took the whole cap off, and in it was what looked like it could have been an "ex" mouse. (along with other assorted "crud"..leaves, etc). can't be sure, but it was grey and fuzzy.

under the trailer, there should be an access cover that is covering up the trap for the shower. If its not too hard to get to, you might be able to take the trap right out, and clean it out. otherwise, some kind of snake down the drain would help de-gunk the area. (I've found that an old piece of coaxial cable, like you might have for connecting up your tv, works well in the house when the tub drain gets slow. its flexible enough to slip right down the drain and through the bend in the trap, yet stiff enough to be effective at loosening crud when you spin it around and pull it back and forth).
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Old 05-08-2006, 02:51 PM   #6
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Sounds like your shower is draining just fine. Remember, without a gray water holding tank, it only drains when the dump is open. As Pahaska has already described, the gunk that came out was probably left behind when the drain water in the p-trap stagnated and eventually evaporated after years of disuse.

As for the toilet sprayer, in my '76 Safari, it only worked when when the flush lever was depressed. Of course, you must have your H2O pump turned on or be hooked up to city water.

Hope this helps.

Ken
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Old 05-08-2006, 03:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klevan
Remember, without a gray water holding tank, it only drains when the dump is open.
that is not true; in fact, it drains wether or not the dump valve is open or not.

here is a picture of the underside of my trailer, with the belly pan off. the dump valve is up at the top. the pipes entering the sewer outlet are below the dump valve. the only thing hoding drain water in there is the twist-on sewer termination cap. with that removed, the shower should drain, regardless of the dump valve's position.

other years/models had slightly different arrangements, but the galley, lav, and shower drains all entered the sewer outlet DOWNstream from the black water dump valve.
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Old 05-08-2006, 04:12 PM   #8
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Thanks for the correction Chuck, but why did Blu Hwy Lady's gray water pour out when she opened her dump valve? Hmmm? Methinks she may be plumbed differently.

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Old 05-08-2006, 04:45 PM   #9
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well...how do we know it was "grey water"? could've been soapy water that was left in the black tank. it just came from the "rv hospital"...who knows what they did to it?

could be plumbed differently, too. but pre-grey tank "stock" configurations had no valves to control sink/shower drains. they should have put them in, if for nothing else, to prevent back-flow when the black tank is opened. and there IS a potential for that. (ask me how I know ). but as far as I know, the factory never did.
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Old 05-08-2006, 08:42 PM   #10
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My trailer has only one tank for both gray and black. I don't know if soap residue could stay in a tank, literally for years and then get foamy again when things get wet, but maybe that's were the soap suds came from when I opened the dump valve. Judging from the amount of copper tubing installed (and the price of repair) I'm sure they had to run a bunch of water through to make sure things didn't leak. I thinking the diagnosis of a clogged P trap might be the problem. And, for the person that suggested it was probably mold stuff, not leaves...yes, I am certain that small leaves came up with the gunk. Who knows how they got in there. That's the adventure of owning these things, isn't it? Indeed, just having it home is an adventure. When I was moving some scrap lumber out of the way while my boyfriend backed the trailer into its temporary spot, the first board I picked up had a baby rattlesnake under it. Thank goodness mom was nowhere to be seen.
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Old 05-09-2006, 09:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady
My trailer has only one tank for both gray and black.
If that is the case, then the trailer was modified by a previous owner, and we can't tell you how it works; you'll have to tell US.

even better, why don't you ask the techs that worked on the plumbing system? they've seen it; they should know what is there, and what they did to it. soapy water in the black tank could be because they cleaned it out when testing for leaks, and left some in there to prove it doesn't leak.

If it is stock from the factory, then there is one tank, ONLY for black. grey water drain pipes enter the sewer exit pipe below the black tank valve, bypassing the tank entirely. (check the pic I posted).
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Old 05-09-2006, 09:50 AM   #12
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Leaves

As to the leaves - small critters could have brought them in at some point and made a nest with them - you said it hadn't been used in over 5 years.
If the previous owner left the dump valve open, it could have been a cozy home for some furry little thing(s).

Good Luck!

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Old 05-09-2006, 04:03 PM   #13
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Unhappy my problem: now with pictures

After reading everyone's thoughts on my drain problem I decided to crawl under the trailer and see what was going on as well as read the very badly photocopied owner's manual. The owner's manual does state that the bath and kitchen drains bypass the holding tank. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like that's the case with mine. Based on Chuck's description I found what looks like the access cover to the bath drain. I tried to take it off but the screws seem rusted in place. Before I dig into this any further I thought I put up some pictures of my "experiment". Is this the drain access?


Here's the thing I think is supposed to be the drain hose for the sink&shower. Note, it looks like there was another drain hole before.



Same deal under the sink (sorry a little out of focus). Again it looks like the original drain hole is on the right.


Now, the really bad results of my experiment: First I ran water down the sink in the bath. I heard dripping outside and thought, "great, it works." Wrong! I went out and looked and despite the dump hand being in and the cap on, soapy water was dripping out. The same thing happened with the kitchen sink. Now what?
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Old 05-09-2006, 04:05 PM   #14
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well the images didnt' exactly get in the right places, but I think you can get the idea.
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