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Old 10-29-2011, 10:10 PM   #1
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Question Waste valve handle and rod pulled out of the valve

I pulled on the Black Tank drain valve handle this morning to empty the tank as we prepared to leave the RV Park and get back on the road and the whole rod, rod extension and handle pulled out of the valve!

The valve has been hard to operate the last few times and I knew a new Waste Valve was in my future, but I was hoping it would wait until we where parked in Florida.

We will be OK until we get to Florida but then… how am I going to get the valve open to empty the tank and flush it so we can put in the new valve?

Here’s the “poop” on the project:

Valve: Black Tank Valterra 3” Waste Drain Valve (blade type gate valve)
Rig: 1995 30’ Land Yacht LE

Just can’t wait to get started on this project!

Any ideas or lessons learned from experience will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:26 PM   #2
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I believe that rod screws into the waste gate internally to the valve assembly. Is the rod threaded? If it is, try threading into the hole and maybe get lucky and catch the gate and pull it open to dump normally.

Good Luck. Take pictures (not really).
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:02 PM   #3
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You can add another gate in place of the outside cap, using the same type of slots to use the pins, close it and then mess with the actual valve, if you can get it open once, your secondary valve will hold back the flood.
When you get to Fl replace the original, and either keep the secondary or remove.
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:56 AM   #4
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This is a nightmare situation that I have often considered how I would deal with, I really don't know, maybe I'd just leave it to an RV dealer although generally I like to do repairs myself if I can.

I don't know this but I'm guessing the pull rod is threaded into the gate (maybe it is molded in?)

If it is threaded, maybe you can stick a wooden matchstick or something similar in the hole in the gate and get the thread to bite enough to pull the valve?

Another thought - if you are able to access the end of the gate. At places like Harbor Freight, you can buy slide hammers for auto body work. They often come with different ends, including a sort of tapered pointed thread - like a self tapper.

I wonder if that might engage the gate and then use the shock of the slide hammer to break the gate free. Just thinkin' out loud, I don't know if you can get at the bade of the valve to do this - never seen the AS design.

Maybe you could get a septic tank outfit to pump the tank via the toilet in order to make it at least less off an unpleasant repair?

I'll be interested to see how you make out so I can learn for when it is my turn!

Brian
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:28 AM   #5
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So sorry Barnacle Bill. I currently have a small pair of vice grips clamped to the rod to use as a handle for the waste tank valve. Handle broke off a few months back. Never realized the whole rod could come out. Getting it pumped out first sure does seem like a good idea. Maybe one of those "port-a-john" places could help with that.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:08 AM   #6
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The rod clipsa on the blade of the valve, so if it pulled off the valve, you're stuck. It's going to be messy, and most RV service places put a surcharge on that kind of repair, for obvious reasons. Good luck, and I really don't need pictures, the mental ones are gaphic enough...
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
The rod clipsa on the blade of the valve, so if it pulled off the valve, you're stuck. It's going to be messy, and most RV service places put a surcharge on that kind of repair, for obvious reasons. Good luck, and I really don't need pictures, the mental ones are gaphic enough...
If that is the way it works, would it be possible to get at the assembly with a dremel tool and cut away enough of the two side plates of the valve i order to get a pair of vicegrips onto the blade in the area of the clip and pull the valve that way in order to dump the tank and then install a new valve?

I have no idea how much space there is to work around the valve. Guess you need to drop the pan in that area - or maybe cut an access hole.


Brian.
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:08 PM   #8
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Well, today’s the day. I am going to cut the rest of the blade housing away from the valve and use vice grips to grab the blade and pull it open and drain the tank. Then after flushing the tank, I can remove the old valve and install a new one.

This is where the monster lives! There are a few things to remove before you can remove the panel.



Once the panel is off, there it is! Way in the back and nice and hard to reach…



It turns out the rod does not screw onto the blade of the valve. The end of the rod had a detent and it looks like there must be some kind of clip arrangement. I’ll know more after today’s adventures.





I wish I could have found an exploded view of the Valterra gate valve, but my web searches did not turn anything.

I used a Dremal tool to cut off the end of the blade housing the other day to see what I could find but you can’t see much wearing into that little slit.





OK I’m off to put on the hazmat suit and get to work. More later…
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:54 PM   #9
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That last photo was all I needed to see, ughhhhh.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:57 PM   #10
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Old valve removed new valve installed!

It’s done!

I used the Dremel tool to remove the rest of the blade housing. (Wingeezer and I where thinking the same here) By cutting about 1” at a time, I wound up cutting away the housing right down to the valve.



At this point I could see the end of the valve’s blade and the place where the rod was attached. I looked like the right side was damaged.



I used a Dremel high speed cutter like this one to cut away enough of the housing to get the Vice Grip to grab the blade.



Then, very carefully, I pulled the blade out of the valve. I was afraid if the blade came all the way out I would be doing a Robin Williams moment with the poop fountain.



I got the valve open, with little mess, and drained and flushed the tank. Then removed the old valve and installed the new valve.



Spreading the two pipes on either side of the valve to install the new valve was one of the hardest parts of the job. The gaskets need to be carefully seated to avoid leaks and make the valve work smoothly. I used generous amounts of Vaseline to hold the gaskets in place during installation.

Upon inspection of the old valve after removal, it appears one of the old gaskets was not installed correctly. It was pinched and crimped and may have been the reason the valve was hard to operate. It’s the one on the right…



And the answer to the question, “How does the rod attach to the valve blade?”

Like overlander63 said, the rod sort of clips on the blade of the valve.



With the blade removed, it looks like rod is molded into the plastic blade. In my case it looks like the plastic on one side of the blade/rod connection broke away and the rod pulled out of the blade.



I can’t tell you how glad I am that this job is done!
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:31 AM   #11
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Great write up - I've always wondered how I would handle this problem it it happened to me. I can imagine your relief at having it all sorted out.


I suppose it might vary from model to model, but how difficult is it to get at the valve, and when you can see it, is there much room to work around it?

Did you drop a section of the belly pan, or just cut an access hole that you later put a patch plate over?


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Old 11-10-2011, 12:01 PM   #12
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Valve Access Notes

Thanks Brian. I couldn’t find a post on how to do this project so I thought I’d write it up. I hope it will help someone else in the future.

I’m sure the access to the valve will vary, but if the valve is a Valterra Bladex waste valve, the replacement should be the same.

The valve was deep behind the locker back and there was not much space around it to work. Someone with short arms would be in trouble.

You could not see the two bolts on the rear of the valve so they had to be removed and replaced by feel alone.



This valve replacement was done on a 30’ Land Yacht LE Motorhome, so the valves are located behind a locker that contains the water and sewer hookups and an out-door shower.



First you have to remove all the hardware; shower, hot and cold drain valves, city water hook-up, sewer hose storage and valve handles.



Then you remove the back of the locker that all this stuff was mounted on and you have access to the tank drain valves. The black tank is deep in the back (of course).



I hope this will help someone with this same project in the future. If anyone needs more help or advice, you can email me

bill.thompsonn@gmail.com


Cheers,

Bill
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:06 PM   #13
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Great write up! Every time I pull the handle on our valve I worry it's going to come off and I'll be dealing with a similar fix (It's 40+ years old, let's face it, it's going to happen sometime). Now that I've seen it, at least it doesn't look too scary.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:10 PM   #14
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Bill,
I just wanted to say thanks for this post. I had the same exact issue and this was the only instruction I found on the internet that covered it, and in amazing detail too.

I wanted to add a few things in case anyone else runs into this issue:

Yes, the blade will come out completely once the box has been cut away. If you pull it out while there is stuff going through the pipe, it will come out the slot where the blade valve was.

If your tank is full, as soon as you pull the blade valve out a little, there will be some liquid that leaks out. It isn't a lot, so long as you don't pull the blade out completely, but it is enough that one should be sensitive to where they're dumping the tank.

The valve shouldn't leak so long as the blade is pushed all the way in. In my case, I removed the retention box at my house and then drove to the closest dump station to empty the tanks, so I was a little concerned that the valve might leak on the drive. It didn't, but I did put a strip of duct tape over the valve to make sure the blade didn't vibrate out on the drive.

Finally, I must admit that this wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. If you take your time and are careful, this should be a relatively clean job. Oh, and due to the location of my valve, I used a hacksaw blade to remove the retention box. The plastic is fairly easy to cut through.
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