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Old 07-12-2015, 04:27 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Strafford , New Hampshire
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 13
Need some Plumbing help!!!

Being new to the camper and vintage airstream world I have lots of learning to do. So last year I hired someone from the campground to give me some pointers and tutorials on how to close up after being connected to the camp ground as I had never done it before.
Sadly I learned that you can't even trust you the people you pay to help you to do the right thing.
Enter my problem. I learned this week that he never showed me or even told me that I had to empty the black tank.
Now I have a full tank which has been sitting for a year, and a valve that won't open. I was under the impression that I was connected to the sewer and that it was going directly in. When he showed me how to disconnect I asked "is that it? Can it really be that simple? Yup came the reply.
I have spent the better part of 4 hours spraying wd 40, up into the valve, in the valve stem.
The valve stem broke off. However I got some of the aluminum away from the dump connection and was able to reconnect the valve lever back to the stem.
A 1963 Flying Cloud does not have the best handle to pull on. But Pull I did, and then some more and more. To no avail. I called a big RV place and they won't touch it cause the tank is full.
I guess the million dollar question is what if I can't get the valve open. What are my options?
Has anyone had such a mess to deal with?
At this point I don't ever care about saving the black tank. After fifty years I think it is time for an upgrade. But where can I turn? Any suggestions would be helpful, diagrams a miracle.

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Old 07-16-2015, 04:42 PM   #2
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1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
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Posts: 1,451
Tow it to an incredibly remote place out in the woods where the trees look like they could use some fertilizer. Then saw off the black tank dump tube and get the heck out of there.

"Between what matters and what seems to matter, how should the world we know judge wisely?" - E.C. Bentley, Trent's Last Case
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Old 07-16-2015, 07:23 PM   #3
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1999 34' Excella
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Hillsboro , Texas
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Not good.. very bad... bad as bad gets.. bad..

I would do this....
Call a local 'honey wagon' (the 'Septic Vacuum tanker')... or one of those 'port-potty' outfits. Spread disposable plastic between door and cover bathroom around toilet.

Have them come in with their 'vacuum' line and suck all the stuff out of the black tank. Rinse a few times... have them haul it away...

Now, call a 'RV Service' guy who will agree to 'service' the valves.

Benefit... no visits from your friendly local EPA helpers.. An RV tech who will be appreciative of your efforts... A functional Black Tank!

Now, if the RV Tech can be there when the 'Honey Wagon Angel' shows up, should the toilet require removal or repair, you have your resources 'on site'...
Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
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Old 07-16-2015, 08:25 PM   #4
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1972 Argosy 20
Snoqualmie , Washington
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Posts: 484
I think the rubber gasket on the blade in the toilet is stuck due to "stuff" drying out and forming a glue of sorts. Can you see the blade valve from beneath the trailer? You may have to remove some of the belly pan. The good news is that whatever is causing to stick is probably water soluble. First, I would recommend squirting WD40 around the edges of the blade valve. Don't be shy about using WD40 - it won't hurt anything and should eventually dissolve whatever is causing it to stick. This may take a couple of days. To speed it up, once you've got a goodly amount ( a term of science ) on the valve, you could try GENTLY tapping the exposed flat part of the blade to assist the WD40 penetrating around the perimeter.
Alternatively, you may have a mechanical issue, where the metal rod that runs from the "t" pull back to the blade valve is stuck on something. Inspect this pretty closely.
In either case, I think you should be able to un-stick it with a little work. The important thing is don't force anything.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:29 PM   #5
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1968 24' Tradewind
1967 17' Caravel
Northborough , Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 136
The guy with the honey wagon and a follow up RV tech is going to cost you... here is a better solution.

Go buy a macerating pump. It is specifically designed to deal with ****.
It grinds up what it sucks in and then pushes it to wherever the hose connected to it goes. In this case a 5 gal bucket with a tight lid that you can dump in the toilet or directly into your sewer. When empty to the best of your ability then just stick that bucket or a smaller one under the outlet and do whatever you have to to get it open enough to finish rinsing it out enough to work on it. You are replacing it so you can drill holes in the "gate" if all else fails. Too small and they may plug up... to large and it could get messy... start smallish, work up.

It sounds like your valve(s) is/are toast so you should plan on replacing.
If you are handy then you can probably do it yourself, if not then you are still going to need that RV tech and $$$. You can always put the travel cover over the drain outlet and take it to your favorite RV repair place. Just warn the tech that the valve is "compromised" on the other side of that cover.

To do it yourself, be prepared, get all of the items you need to do the task in one trip to your RV parts center... they may have a macerating pump as it is a standard RV item for some rigs like the B-vans... check online as you may do better and not have to drive anywhere.

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Old 07-17-2015, 05:16 AM   #6
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You could sacrifice a wet shop vac. Loosen the stuff up with gallons of vinegar.

Eventually the vinegar might loosen up the crud that is glueing the valve seal

It might be weeks and weeks, and a repeat and repeat process
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Old 07-17-2015, 12:14 PM   #7
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1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
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Rent a carpet cleaner wet vac setup!

Rinse thoroughly with Clorox before returning it to the store.
"Between what matters and what seems to matter, how should the world we know judge wisely?" - E.C. Bentley, Trent's Last Case
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Old 07-17-2015, 12:22 PM   #8
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1978 25' Tradewind
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Here you go, amigo. Your problem is solved for $35 and a little effort on your part. We're a full-service web forum around here!!!

Thanks to mandolindave for the original idea!!

"Between what matters and what seems to matter, how should the world we know judge wisely?" - E.C. Bentley, Trent's Last Case
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