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Author Topic: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?  (Read 1317 times)

RevDen

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    • Dennis Newkirk
Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« on: September 15, 2017, 12:51:23 PM »
I'm on my first long RV trip.  Fun?  Yep, until now.  The backwater tank is plugged.  We've put our chemical in it and that doesn't help.  We are hooked up to a sewer system and the flexible pipe is in place but nothing comes out.  Is the only hope taking it in for repair or is there something that a new guy who is not a plumber and not even handy can do?  Yikes!!
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 01:11:06 PM by scottydl »
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Tom Hoffman

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2017, 01:16:24 PM »
Before you take it to a plumber, go to walmart and buy a metal gardening watering wand about 3' long, get a Jet nozzle as well.  Get enough hose to  go inside the trailer to the toilet make sure you have a shut off too.  Hook the hose to outside water source, go in and hold the valve open with your foot and insert the wand and jet nozzle down in to the toilet opening and turn on the water flow, the jet will break up the poop pyramid keep going until you get flow out through flex hose  outside.  Once you have flow going shut the gate valve and go in and add water to the tank till you are about 3/4 full.  Now drain the black tank, repeat as needed.  Keep the gate valve shut until you need to dump in the future.
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kdbgoat

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 01:31:51 PM »
Something like this may help move the blockage by pushing back towards the tank.

https://www.amazon.com/Camco-39463-Sewer-Hose-Connection/dp/B000BQKBP2


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blw2

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 01:54:17 PM »
Another couple of thoughts for you...
are you sure the dump valve is opening?  As I understand  it (mine is not like it and I've never had one like this)  but some are cable operated...meaning that there is a cable from the actual valve to the handle.  Sometimes this cable gets broken or loose and the valve doesn't actually open when you pull it.

My other thought.... more along the lines of kdbgopat.... if it is opening, I'd suggest something like this
https://www.etrailer.com/RV-Sewer/Valterra/F02-4100.html?feed=npn&gclid=CjwKCAjw9O3NBRB3EiwAK6wPT9vSWJbLRmAmkYkId-lBh9drsunubHBJ276PRgBvN3jHnW_K1nMBDxoCzQcQAvD_BwE

Pretty sure you can get them at walmart, but I'm not positive of that....certainly most RV supply dealers

They wouldn't be so great for flushing the tank, but for unclogging the outlet pipe I'd guess it might work.

The only other thought I have...and this is just brainstorming here....maybe a crazy idea
with the valve open to drain, go up on the roof and temporarily plug the blank tank vent with a rag..... then plunger the toilet really hard.  Might break it loose..... just be sure to open that vent asap so it will drain out!
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Rene T

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 02:28:41 PM »
Something like this may help move the blockage by pushing back towards the tank.

https://www.amazon.com/Camco-39463-Sewer-Hose-Connection/dp/B000BQKBP2

How much water do you have in your tank right now?
That's what I would do but I would add one of these first right on the end of your sewer pipe, then put on the cap with the hose fitting. That way you can secure the valve when it breaks through stopping all that crap from coming back at you. The fitting with the hose connection that Brad talked about may not work IMHO. The water would just go down the stinky slinky again, IMHO.
https://www.amazon.com/Valterra-T58-Twist-On-Waste-Valve/dp/B000BGHYJS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505503088&sr=8-1&keywords=rv+sewer+valves

I have a valve like that on my sewer pipe. It serves 2 purposes. It's a backup valve in case one of your drain valves are leaking a little and you can transfer water from one tank to another if need be.
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JudyJB

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2017, 02:37:18 PM »
Before you do anything, and this is maybe too late, turn the water off and get a flashlight.  Push the flush lever down and look down through the hole in the toilet.  What do you see?

  • If you see water right to the top, you do NOT want to try flushing from the top with the garden spray hose!  That will just add more water and cause a flood!  You probably have a valve problem and need to work on that end. Maybe something has broken off and not letting water out.  Also, are you sure you are pulling the right release handle for that tank?[/b]
  • If you see a pile of white toilet paper or a dark pile of poop, then you can try flushing with the garden spray hose.  An alternate to a flush hose is to add some water all at once, like dump a partial bucket of water down the toilet to create a gush that might break things up. Then try adding enough water to cover the pile of whatever is down there and drive around, stopping suddenly or swerving to try to slosh things around.
 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 02:45:48 PM by JudyJB »
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kdbgoat

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2017, 02:52:55 PM »
Before you do anything, and this is maybe too late, turn the water off and get a flashlight.  Push the flush lever down and look down through the hole in the toilet.  What do you see?

  • If you see water right to the top, you do NOT want to try flushing from the top with the garden spray hose!  That will just add more water and cause a flood!  You probably have a valve problem and need to work on that end. Maybe something has broken off and not letting water out.  Also, are you sure you are pulling the right release handle for that tank?[/b]
  • If you see a pile of white toilet paper or a dark pile of poop, then you can try flushing with the garden spray hose.  An alternate to a flush hose is to add some water all at once, like dump a partial bucket of water down the toilet to create a gush that might break things up. Then try adding enough water to cover the pile of whatever is down there and drive around, stopping suddenly or swerving to try to slosh things around.
 

Good points Judy!
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Ken & Sheila

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2017, 03:51:41 PM »
try this device:
https://www.amazon.com/Valterra-F02-4350-Reverse-Flush-Valve/dp/B008O9DV78/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1505508208&sr=8-5&keywords=rv+black+tank+flush

Camco make a similar device.
https://www.amazon.com/Camco-39062-Flush-Holding-Rinser/dp/B000BUQOAE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1505508208&sr=8-2&keywords=rv+black+tank+flush

Note. The Camco On Amazon has a video of its use. See the bottom of the left hand list of pictures.

It has a second gate valve and a water hose inlet. Connect the device to your sewer connection. Connect your sewer hose to the device. Connect a water hose to the device.

Open your sewer gate valve, keeping the second gate valve closed. Turn on the hose for 15+ seconds, not too long as you are forcing water into the tank. Now open the second gate valve and hopefully its dumps, if not try again.  I had to do it twice to get it to dump. And then again the next two times I dumped. My issues was a scale that had built up on the bottom of the tank and then start to break off in large pieces. The pieces clogged the drain. Since then all has been good.

ken
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 03:57:40 PM by Ken & Sheila »
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alanbl

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2017, 08:46:58 PM »
I feel your pain and sure appreciate the suggestions posted here.  I'm heading out on my first ever RV trip in about two weeks and this sounds like something that would happen to me!   Pls keep us updated on when you fix the problem which I'm sure you will do.

For the experienced RVers out there, I know that s**t (sorry!) happens but does anyone have any advice on how to potentially avoid this happening?  Checks?  Maintenance? Procedures?

Thanks!

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muskoka guy

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2017, 09:55:11 PM »
One of the main causes of tank blockage is people who are camped for long periods of time at an rv park, and leave their valves open with the slinky running to the sewer. What this does is allows the water to run away leaving the solids behind. Only drain the tanks when they are at least half full. Always make sure after draining to add some water to the tank so you are not adding solids to a dry tank. Last but not least, use lots of water when flushing down number two business. Dont put napkins or paper towels in the toilet of course. Residential toilet paper is fine, as long as it breaks up easily.

JudyJB

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2017, 09:57:37 PM »
Alanbl, yes, here are some suggestions:
  • Educate all campers!  Tell everyone to go skimpy on water for showers, but NOT flushing. They SHOULD use as little toilet paper as possible.  (Warning--some very small children LOVE to use several handfuls of the stuff, so supervise if they have this habit.)
  • Make sure you keep the black tank valve shut unless you are emptying the tank. There is a temptation to keep it open if you have full hookups, but then you end up with the liquids going out, but the solids remaining, hence the dreaded poop pile, or in my experience, a TP pile.  And don't let your sensors lie to you.  After a while, you can tell by listening to a flush whether the tank sounds empty of full.  Sometimes, the toilet will also sort of burp when it needs emptying.
  • After you dump your black tank, put at least two gallons of water in it IMMEDIATELY.  And drive around with that two gallons of water so stuff sloshes around.  Some people put in soap or water softener, but it really isn't necessary.

Last tip:  If you still end up with a pile of solids, some people have been known to use a stout stick or the awning rod to stick down in the toilet to break up the pile.  Of course, I have no idea who those people might be, but I have heard rumors it works very well, assuming that you have a blockage of solids instead of a valve problem.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 10:01:28 PM by JudyJB »
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alanbl

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2017, 12:28:02 AM »
Thanks much, JudyJB!  Very helpful precautionary advice!
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Rene T

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2017, 04:54:33 AM »
Last tip:  If you still end up with a pile of solids, some people have been known to use a stout stick or the awning rod to stick down in the toilet to break up the pile.  Of course, I have no idea who those people might be, but I have heard rumors it works very well, assuming that you have a blockage of solids instead of a valve problem.

This will probably work for most people but not all. For instance in my case, my pipe for the toilet goes down about 8" then it goes into a 45 degree elbow. Then it goes for about 2' to another 45 degree elbow then it drops into the tank. Just so some newbies out there who aren't familiar with piping, they may look down the pipe and only see an elbow and won't the dreaded poo pile.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2017, 06:02:09 AM »
OP -  forget everything that has been posted until now. Here is the device that will actually fix your problem now:

https://smile.amazon.com/Camco-40074-Flexible-Swivel-Shutoff/dp/B0006IX7YC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505559626&sr=8-1

It is also available at many Walmarts.
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John From Detroit

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2017, 08:04:18 AM »
Two stories one sort of first person (I fixed it) the other from the forums.

THe second first:
 Member had a slow draining black tank.. Well finally figured it out. When they cut the hole in the floor for the toilet pipe they simply dropped the wood into the black tank... He mailed it (Double bagged of course) to the Manufacturer's CEO.......

Second. the one I fixed.. Was not the black tank that was clogged.. Was the toilet.  tank did not drain because it was EMPTY.

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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2017, 08:09:18 AM »
It seems to me the first thing to check is the dump valve to make sure it is opening. It's a pretty simple device, but it can fail. If that's not it, then various measures to unclog the drain line are indicated.

The next question is whether the clog is on the intake side or the outlet. If nothing comes out when the drain valve is opened, it may be that the tank is full and the outlet clogged, or it may be that the tank is in fact empty but there is a clog between the toiler and the tank. 
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RevDen

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    • Dennis Newkirk
Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2017, 10:34:53 PM »
Thank you all for the help.  I got one of the fixtures that sprays water from the bottom up.  That didn't work.  I tried the garden hose from the top down and after some pushing and prodding, it broke through and we were clean.  What a mess.  Thank you a million for your help.
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scottydl

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2017, 01:10:50 PM »
And now you know... NEVER leave the black tank valve continuously open while camping on full hookups.  (Maybe you didn't do that, but it sounds like the previous owner obviously did.)  Flush with plenty of water, and let that liquid gather up and properly dissolve the solids as much as possible before dumping the tank.

Glad it's all flowing freely again!  8)
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SeilerBird

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2017, 01:16:33 PM »
And now you know... NEVER leave the black tank valve continuously open while camping on full hookups.  (Maybe you didn't do that, but it sounds like the previous owner obviously did.)  Flush with plenty of water, and let that liquid gather up and properly dissolve the solids as much as possible before dumping the tank.

Glad it's all flowing freely again!  8)
:)) :)) :))
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Rene T

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2017, 01:53:59 PM »
:)) :)) :))

As Tom S would say, that turned out to be a crappy job.   :o ::) ;D
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
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SeilerBird

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2017, 02:18:55 PM »
As Tom S would say, that turned out to be a crappy job.   :o ::) ;D
But at least it all turned out OK in the end. ::)
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Rene T

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2017, 02:22:32 PM »
But at least it all turned out OK in the end. ::)

NO, everything came out OK in the end.  :)) :)) :))
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
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From the Granite State of NH
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Frank Hurst

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2017, 05:08:02 PM »
Make sure that you always have at least 1/4 tank of water in your black tank before dumping. Since you may still have some hard matter in your tank I would continue to put some water into the black tank after dumping. If you are traveling I wound travel with 1/4 - 1/2 dark tank of water for the next 2-3 trips in order to continue to break things down.

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scottydl

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2017, 09:04:47 PM »
Refill at least 3-4 gallons of water in the black tank AFTER dumping too... that water will slosh around and  keep the bacteria-eating action going, continuing to soften any solids left behind.
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RevDen

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    • Dennis Newkirk
Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2017, 10:02:10 PM »
Thank you everyone.  I know a bunch more than when I first wrote to the Forum. I succeeded at clearing it but I'm going to use rubber gloves the next time!!!
Dennis and Marcia
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_Rusty_

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2017, 12:53:31 PM »
NO, everything came out OK in the end.  :)) :)) :))

Or did everything come out the end ok,  potato, potahto... ;)

RevDen

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2017, 04:49:18 PM »
 :)) ::)
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Tom Hoffman

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Re: Oh boy, do I have a mess! Help?
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2017, 07:41:57 PM »
My marriage has unraveled
Because of Robert Frost.
When I take the road less traveled
My wife insists Im lost.
;D ;D
Wife said to me. "What cha doin' today?"  "Nothin'" says I.  "Ya did that yestiday!" Says she.  "I didn't get done!" says I

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