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Old 06-18-2016, 02:38 PM   #1
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Ugh! Plugged Black Water Drain

I know, it is everyone's least favorite job, even when all goes well, but I need advice.

Today, when I opened the black water valve, nothing started to come out and fill the drain tube.

This happened once before and luckily I was leaving that day and when we arrived home the movement of the trailer on the road jostled the blockage and it drained fine.

Since I wasn't planning to move the AS for 2 weeks, does anyone have any ideas on how to unblock a blockage right above the valve without moving the trailer?

The values are brand new, replaced less than 6 months ago and I can hear the valve open when I pull the level, so I know it is not the valve, but a blockage right above the valve consisting of 'you know what.'

Any suggestions short of breaking camp and driving around for a while?

Thanks!

Jim
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Old 06-18-2016, 03:09 PM   #2
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Jim how full is your black tank? I always fill the black tank with enough water to fill the tank just before going to dump. I do this by adding from a 5 gallon water container, pour in toilet then flush. Be careful to watch level behind toilet valve so you don't overfil.

Using this method helps move stuff around a little from sudden gush of h2o in tank. Also adds more weight to help move stuff through. After wards rinse tank as best you can.
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Old 06-18-2016, 03:38 PM   #3
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Tank is full, we can't use it until this is solved
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Old 06-18-2016, 04:03 PM   #4
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I can only tell you what I did on our pre-Airstream motorhome. Right before a romantic dinner out, I was waiting for my wife to finish getting ready. So I figured I had time to simply pull the black water valve while she was finishing up. Pulled the valve ... nothing. All I could think about at dinner was how to address the problem. Ending up going to Lowe's and getting a flexible plumbers snake. On getting back to the MH, I went in from the top & continued to work the obstruction free. I blamed it on gratuitous use of TP, but at the end I don't know what it really was. It wasn't horrible, but not something I'd like to do in the new trailer.
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Old 06-18-2016, 04:19 PM   #5
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https://www.amazon.com/Camco-39062-F...rds=flush+king Works wonders...
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:15 AM   #6
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Our SewerSolution will break clogs nicely whilst still allowing the water from the jet to drain out the drain line. Used it in a couple black tank dumps like that. Little chance of overfilling the tank.

I like it because with a little fiddling, it's darn near a self-cleaning system.

When I'm done, I close both gray and black dump valves and flush the remaining plumbing, the clear straight adapter, and the sewer solution itself nice and clean.


Sent from my pocket Internet using Airstream Forums
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Old 06-19-2016, 05:06 AM   #7
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After a similar, but not as serious , problem earlier this year, I decided to stop putting toilet paper in my toilet.

I bought some small, scented trash bags, and hang one on a tiny hook in the bathroom, where only I can see it.

Tie it off tightly, and add it to the trash...voila!...no toilet paper in the black tank to gum up the works.




Maggie
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Old 06-19-2016, 05:50 AM   #8
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We stopped putting any paper in our toilet years ago. We use the scented "doggie poop" bags we carry everyplace for our two Labs. They are scented, closed easily and we put them in the garbage after each use. Tank flushes much easier than with paper in it.

Bud
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:16 PM   #9
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Post #5. Amazon part. That's funny. Ummmm, a used one is $64.64 and a new one is $26.65.
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:20 PM   #10
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Posts 7 and 8. That's just not right. I'd rather deal with the plumbing problems. I don't remember ever reading in the owner's manual of bagging the dirty TP. Respectfully.
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:48 PM   #11
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How I love this subject! It gives me goosebumps.

I would advise Jim to read the Threads that will CURE his problem forever. You may not want to prevent what you have discovered, but it works. There are many to chose from. Avoid my threads if you really want to know how to prevent this from happening again.

For today:

Open the sliding door on your toilet, shine a 1300 lumen flashlight into the dark... and what do you see? It will not be a happy face but a beginning to solve your problem. Loosen the growing stalactite that will harden more over time. Take a water hose and nozzle and cut loose.

READ the generous advice given on other threads.

Yes. It stinks. You did it to yourself. You asked. This is your Carlsbad Caverns hauled in an Airstream Black Tank.

Now back to weed whacking and mowing the lawn. My goosebumps have subsided. Thank you for making my day. Your day is just beginning.
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:49 PM   #12
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Is all you have to do is to not try to save water when using the toilet, in 45 years I never had any problems with the black tank being completely plugged up.....I wouldnt want deal with this type of problem.......
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Old 06-19-2016, 02:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glenrms View Post
Posts 7 and 8. That's just not right. I'd rather deal with the plumbing problems. I don't remember ever reading in the owner's manual of bagging the dirty TP. Respectfully.
There's this thing called common sense.

People say common sense isn't common, but the fact is that doing things by habit and familiarity is common... thinking about things that we've "always known / always done" isn't common. Two weeks ago a couple of new camping women who had just bought a nice used SOB came over and were all upset because water had started backing up in their shower. Never knew about the black or gray gates. They'd been told how to hook up the slinky, but now how to make it work. Showed them and gave them a link to a basic RV for Newbies guide.

And then there's the woman who flushed baby diapers and tampons - SURELY not, but yes... eewh!

So, I ask you - if common sense DOES dictate that we don't put disposable diapers down an RV toilet... why be grossed out by putting other "used paper products" like toilet paper into a sack? Same disposal, same sh** same day.

Toilet paper isn't all that innocuous any more. There's "extra soft" and "extra strong" and scented and lotioned... and all of those extras can create clog problems.

Another solution? Don't use paper at all! There are a couple of old threads about people who've installed a "bidet toilet" and can rinse thoroughly and delicately pat their pristine private parts on a towel.

Paula
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Old 06-19-2016, 02:30 PM   #14
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Some of us are always conscious of how much water we use, and how quickly our tanks fill up.

Ahem...being too conservative with water down the potty creates an...ahem...problem.

Not putting toilet paper down the potty makes the water usage less of an issue, and cloggage a non-issue.




Maggie
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Old 06-19-2016, 07:51 PM   #15
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two questions.

1) if you are "full" there would be a concern of back flushing, but I suppose the amount going back in would be minimal to dislodge crud.

2) if "really" clogged then what happens if it doesn't immediately unclog? Is there a pressure release mechanism back down the closed valve to the sewer hose ... or will it just explode .

Seems like a nice insurance policy though. Thx.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:29 AM   #16
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Another ditto for posts 7 and 8...
We put TP in a garbage bag in a wastebasket and toss it with the regular trash.
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Old 06-20-2016, 08:09 AM   #17
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Success!!

Well, we are successful yesterday in unplugging the clog in our black water tank.

Putting a bag of ice down the toilet and hitching up the Airstream and traveling a few hours did not work.

After taking advice from Tuco's post in this thread, we went to a CampingWorld to buy a back flush. They didn't have the model he recommended by Camco, but they did have the Flush King. After attaching it and back flushing several times, the clogged black tank unplugged and we are good to go. Thank you for all the advice.

The reason it worked was the Flush King allows you to close the drain pipe valve to the sewer hose and forces the spray water into the black water tank. The water pressure builds up and the water has no place to go but into the tank. That caused the water to move the clog up into the tank and ultimately out the sewer drain.

During this process, my wife was watching the toilet in the AS to make sure it did not overflow inside.

My wife is going to post the photos and step by step the process we went through soon at our blog.

Again, thanks for all the suggestions.
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Old 06-20-2016, 08:26 AM   #18
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I agree with the other posters - seems like it's pretty obvious and, in the end, simple. It's gravity, pressure at the bottom spending, and a blockage. Not too many dots to connect - suit up, I'd get some eye protection, and open that valve and stick something in there to clear the clog. Sure some will come out but once the issue is solved close the valve and put the hose back on and try and forget the whole thing over a nice glass of wine. Otherwise it's a mobile RV service - who will do the very same thing ...
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Old 06-20-2016, 08:12 PM   #19
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I bought a sewer pump because my sewer is above the trailer parking spot at home. When I get a plug the pump puts vacuum on the pipes and has broken up all clogs so far. I have a 27' classic and it has a spray cleaning system built into the black water tank. I do try using it very carefully at times as well. Both approaches have worked for me.

Happy Streaming.....
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:32 PM   #20
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Flush King worked for us. Always carry now.
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