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Old 09-25-2018, 09:46 AM   #1
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Macerator Failure ?!

Just had an event when trying to dump the tanks. No effluent at all comes down the hose (yes the end valve is open) and instead it all shoots out at the right end of the hose drum, between the drum and the right hand wall it faces. We've dumped successfully about 30x in the last four months of travel.

The long dump hose is clear; no debris. I tried both tanks, same problem. So the tank dump valves work properly. There is an obstruction after that point and before the beginning of the long dump hose. I tried forcing high pressure water back up the dump hose to dislodge what might be clogging things. With and without the tank dump valves in the open position. No luck.

Ideas? Should i just order the right(?) part(s) and find an RV repair place? I've got clean water running through now so tearing into it should not be too messy.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:11 AM   #2
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There must be some type of slip fitting where the hose from the macerator outlet connects to the inlet of the hose reel. This fitting allows the reel to turn while the inlet hose remains stationary. Sounds like this slip fitting it broken. Or maybe the hose leading from the macerator to the hose reel is cracked/broken?
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:09 AM   #3
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Agreed with Titus, most likely a hose clamp (or clamps, or fittings) slippage, in to and coming out of, the hose drum, rather than any debris blockage. As designed, most blockage would occur within the macerator pump itself at its grinder-pump chamber small outlet(s).
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Old 09-25-2018, 12:18 PM   #4
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I recall a previous post where Airstream sent them instructions on how to remove the hose reel box. Can somebody post those instructions. I may do a proactive hose replacement.
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Old 09-25-2018, 02:56 PM   #5
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The box is held in place with three or four sheet metal screws on the upper corners. Simply remove them and the cover will come off. You must remove the hose from the reel first.

Three possible failure points. The first is the macerater outlet on the macerator. The second is the hose to the reel on the outside of the reel. The the third is the hose to the reel inside the reel. The first two don’t require removal of the cover. All are held on with clamps.
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Old 09-25-2018, 06:27 PM   #6
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Thanks peeps !
Gman (gmillerok1): I'll get to it as soon as I can. I don't think Cracker Barrel management will look fondly on any parking lot repairs. And it's raining here in KY until mid day tomorrow.

Pressure is on to find a worthy location... or a willing repair facility. Wifey don't take kindly to using alternative storage methods. And like Randy Quaid once said, Hey Clark... well, you know the rest.

I'll let you know what I find out.

Cheers,
Mark
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:44 PM   #7
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I would recommend inspecting the short hose from the macerator to the reel, where it goes into a 1.25" to 1" OD (1" to .75" ID) adapter. It may have just slipped off and need re-clamping.

If you want to remove the cover, it is at this point where the hose must be removed from the adapter (my instructions were not that clear).

On the other hand, you may find it just slipped off, and need pushed back on and clamped down on the adapter.

If you decide to remove the cover, you will have to raise the van up a few inches. I used a pair of 2x10" boards screwed together and backed the van up over them to gain enough access to be able to work under there.

Another reason to consider this modification to the waste system.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gmillerok1 View Post
I would recommend inspecting the short hose from the macerator to the reel, where it goes into a 1.25" to 1" OD (1" to .75" ID) adapter. It may have just slipped off and need re-clamping.

If you want to remove the cover, it is at this point where the hose must be removed from the adapter (my instructions were not that clear).
GMILLEROK1 - Is this the short hose you are talking about? I have owned my AI for 7mos. now and everytime I dump tanks, I have this weird feeling about always getting underneath and either looking or feeling for wet spots (like I do around oil plug & oil filter multiple times right after changing oil). Either I read it in some article or maybe your post (not sure which).

I gotta learn to do this coz experiencing bad service
from so called rv service centers when they service the clean parts of our rigs, imagine what kind of service they would do cleaning up my cr** . If I may have to redo the work myself, so might as well do it myself the 1st time. I just hoping I have couple years before needing to.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:03 PM   #9
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GMILLEROK1 - Is this the short hose you are talking about? I have owned my AI for 7mos. now and everytime I dump tanks, I have this weird feeling about always getting underneath and either looking or feeling for wet spots (like I do around oil plug & oil filter multiple times right after changing oil). Either I read it in some article or maybe your post (not sure which).

I gotta learn to do this coz experiencing bad service
from so called rv service centers when they service the clean parts of our rigs, imagine what kind of service they would do cleaning up my cr** . If I may have to redo the work myself, so might as well do it myself the 1st time. I just hoping I have couple years before needing to.
Yes. The lower image is where the short hose must be disconnected from the reel to remove the cover. I am surprised at how far the hose is lower than the macerator on the other side to the tanks (the 3" connection). Then again, I'm really not that surprised at all. That means that after you dump, that hose is almost full back to the tank with liquid, and it just sits there, as well as in the macerator. That's what led me to my modification, because no matter how much anti-freeze you dump in the tank, it won't be concentrated enough to protect the macerator from freeze damage without emptying that liquid first. Once the pump starts pumping air, it won't pump it out.

I'm on my third pump in seven years.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gmillerok1 View Post
I'm on my third pump in seven years.
GMILLEROK1 - Thank you for tips. Ugghh, that average little over 2yrs per pump, oh boy
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Old 09-26-2018, 06:18 AM   #11
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The modification by gmillerok1 is a great way to dump the tanks if the macerator or hose reel fails. But I could not find all the parts needed to make his modification. So I found a much simpler way to drain the pipe between the knife valves and the macerator. I drilled a 3/4" hole into the bottom of the PVC pipe between the valve and the macerator. This lets me drain that section when winterizing. I plug it with a 3/4 rubber stopper that is secured with a large hose clamp that goes around the PVC pipe and over the stopper.
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:30 PM   #12
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To close out this thread, here is what ended up happening:

Being on the road, with no easy place to get underneath and effect repairs, and limited time before we traveled on beyond a major city, I decided to let ahem Camping World of Georgetown KY dive into it.

The minimum 1.5 hours x $135/hr elapsed; things were apart and the problem identified. The elbow connection inside the hose reel was literally not connected. How in the heck did that happen? I had the AS dealer in Maine pull off our bent metal bracket that holds the large effluent hose, reshape the bracket, and reinstall. Could they have uninstalled the small-hose reel and disconnected the fittings inside only to partially tighten the connection inside that cylinder?

Anyway, CW estimated an additional hour to repair, which I authorized. We were there more than FIVE hours total and I was beginning to fume. When I calmly asked the service agent if they too thought this process took way too long, I was informed I would only be paying for the 2.5 hours that I authorized. Wow. That was the right thing to do and they came through without argument. BTW, their facility and store were very impressive; best CW I've seen. Recommend.

Things seem to be fixed. Wish I'd had the time and place to do it myself but if their tech had that much difficulty wiggling fingers and needing another tech to assist to get things reattached, I'm glad this is how it went.
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Old 09-30-2018, 10:08 PM   #13
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Tronadora, thank you for the update. So glad it is fixed.
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Old 09-30-2018, 10:13 PM   #14
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Glad to know it was 1 of the 3 things I mentioned. More than likely, the clamp was not securely tightened, and was pulled off the elbow when the hose was pulled out from the real. Or, there was tension on the hose, and it slipped off when the hose was reeled back in.

Another thing to remember-don't pull the hose completely off the reel all the way to the elbow fitting!

For what it's worth, it would take me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to do that repair. But then, I'm not charging anyone $135 an hour!
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Old 10-03-2018, 02:45 PM   #15
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Well, in this case the disconnect was between two hard fittings (no hose was involved) on the hidden inside of the hose reel. Not adequately accessible from the outside. I got to see that part with my own eyes. The poor fellow could secure the 90 degree elbow but then to also attach the small hose was impossible so he had to remove the whole reel assembly.



Not sure how it all worked out but know it involved a second pair of hands. I was glad it wasn't me in some hardware store parking lot. I'd be done with an entire six pack and then unable to reason my way through to the final solution.
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Old 10-03-2018, 05:44 PM   #16
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Macerator Failure ?!

Been there! Ours did the same thing last spring, after 4 years of use. The plastic elbow blew off the brass fitting from the macerator.
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When we examined the plastic elbow, the last 3 or so threads were damaged, suggesting that it wasnít tightened fully when assembled.

We made a repair on the road by cobbling together a bunch of brass components, see https://meprettybird.com/macerator-hose-reel/

After we got home, we found a combination of 1/2 inch brass components that replicated the original geometry. Now all is well.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:20 PM   #17
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Thanks for clarifying where the failure occurred. My guess is that part of the problem is the pump is designed for a 1" ID hose, not .75" and that puts extra pressure on any fittings, as you no doubt found out.

I'd like to do away with the reel altogether.
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:17 PM   #18
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We made a repair on the road by cobbling together a bunch of brass components, see https://meprettybird.com/macerator-hose-reel/

After we got home, we found a combination of 1/2 inch brass components that replicated the original geometry. Now all is well.
LINEOLATED - I bet the cobbled together bunch of brass components lasts longer than them plastic elbows. AS prob should've used brass to begin with, given its a moving water connection. Same thing happens with those elbows in garden hose reels. I hope to check mine soon. Thanks for info
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:32 AM   #19
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I too am going to check mine soon. Kinda hate to spend time on something that is working fine, but better in the driveway than at a dump station. From what I can tell, the slip connection was not the problem that Lineolated had. The problem was with the fittings that were downstream of the slip. The slip fitting is apparently between the grey plastic filling on the left outside of the reel box and the brass fitting on the left inside of the reel box. Gotta wonder if the slip fitting is next to go, and if I should replace it too? Went to the AI parts manual I downloaded long ago and could not find the hose reel or anything downstream of the macerator.
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