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Author Topic: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel  (Read 1387 times)

Rainiergirl75

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Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« on: January 08, 2019, 10:47:58 PM »
Hello!! Total RV newbie here. I just moved into a 42ft 5th wheel with my daughter. We are parked on a friend's property . The 5th wheel is hooked up to septic and water, on jacks and skirted. She is not moving.

Ever since we have moved in, we have had major septic issues. The pipe to the black tank clogs constantly. The first time we tried everything and had to resort to cutting the pipe. There was a large clog in the elbow leading to the tank. We had to break it up with a piece of rebar. We repaired the pipe with a sleeve so we could access that spot again. The problem is the pipe is in a "z" shape from the toilet, so when it clogs, the water level in the pipe has been above this sleeve.

Within a few days, the pipe filled again. I had Honeybucket come out and pump the tank. With some tricky use of pressure, the technician was able to get the clog out of the pipe. Unfortunately, it immediately clogged again.

None of the "tools" I have read about have worked. Pressure washer just jetted everything into the bathroom. I bought one of those flexible wands that is designed to break up clogs. The wand itself broke in my pipe and I had to fish it out. It did nothing to break up the clog.

I am currently at a loss of how to fix this problem. I have spent close to $1000 on this issue already, and we have only lived in this thing for a month!

I am following all the tank ettiquette (backfilling the tank, adding chemicals, making sure a little water is in the bowl when you use it, using RV TP in small amounts, keeping the valve closed and emptying every 3 or 4 days...).

My questions......
1. Any suggestions I haven't tried?
2. Should I invest in a composting toilet? Or is it possible to put in a regular flush toilet since I am stationary and hooked up to septic?

Any advice to get me out of this stinky situation is appreciated :)

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2019, 10:52:26 PM »
Year, make and model of the fifth wheel will help, especially if someone that owns that model sees your post.

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Rainiergirl75

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 11:58:10 PM »
Thank you for reminding me... I forgot to add that info.

It is a 2016 Forest River Wildwood (Heritage Glenn)

Lou Schneider

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2019, 02:09:18 AM »
Welcome to The RV Forum, Rainiergirl!

You need to use more water when you flush so the mixture is thinner as it goes through the jog in the pipe.  Start with half a bowl or so of water before you do your business, then maybe fill the bowl halfway and flush a second time to make sure everything gets washed into the tank.

This goes against the advice you'll see about conserving water while boondocking, and you'll have to dump your black tank sooner, but it's needed to get the stuff past the jog in the pipe.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 02:31:58 AM by Lou Schneider »

JackL

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 04:58:21 AM »
Many people in our RV park who are permanent have removed there RV toilet and put in a residential one.
 The first problem I have with our toilet, that is what I will be doing.
 You need to make sure you have enough space for the residential one and then it is just a case of removing the black water tank and doing a little drain plumbing as well as hooking up the new toilet.
 If you are not handy enough to do it your self it sure won't cost you close to what you already have spent.

 It is hard to believe that they installed the pipe in a "Z" fashion, but knowing Forest River,I am guessing you got what was a new proto-type trailer and it probably was sold at a show or at a big discount.

Jack L

Back2PA

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2019, 05:26:27 AM »
I am following all the tank ettiquette (backfilling the tank, adding chemicals, making sure a little water is in the bowl when you use it, using RV TP in small amounts, keeping the valve closed and emptying every 3 or 4 days...).
I would suggest putting LOTS of water in the bowl, and then flushing another 2 bowlfuls of water after the first flush. Second, I don't know how many users you have but there is a chance you are emptying the tank too soon. Ideally it should be when close to full, or at least 3/4.

I know you have said you are using chemicals. In a properly operating system you shouldn't need anything, but you may want to try this stuff. While I have some on hand in case of clogs, I have yet to try it, however it is highly rated. You may want to use LOTS of water during flushing, and add the stated amount for clogs and let the tank set until nearly full, then dump, and try that for several cycles and see if that helps.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 05:37:34 AM by Back2PA »
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kdbgoat

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 07:00:20 AM »
Considering they just moved in, the fiver may be a used one. If so, it may have come with a poo pyramid. Not a good situation.
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Rene T

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 07:22:22 AM »
Considering they just moved in, the fiver may be a used one. If so, it may have come with a poo pyramid. Not a good situation.

That's what I was thinking also. If that's the case, I would fill the tank up half way and let it sit for a couple of days then dump. Do it again and again. If there is a poo pyramid, hopefully that will clear it up.
 
You mentioned you had to break up the clog with some rebar. Was the clog material real hard or soft?
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 07:24:24 AM by Rene T »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 11:13:16 AM »
Are you leaving the black tank valve open 24/7? If so, that's your base problem.  leave the valve closed until the tank fills to at least half (full is better), than dump the contents and close it up again.  That lets waste dissolve somewhat and then the big whoosh of water flushes the remains into the septic for final treatment.

Since you are hooked to a septic system, use plenty of water for each flush and dump the tank as often as needed.
Gary
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Gizmo100

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 11:34:00 AM »
A lot of good advise listed above So I'll just say Welcome to the forum Rainiergirl75
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Rene T

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2019, 02:10:53 PM »
Are you leaving the black tank valve open 24/7?

I was thinking the same thing Gary until I re-read their post again, They said

I am following all the tank ettiquette (backfilling the tank, adding chemicals, making sure a little water is in the bowl when you use it, using RV TP in small amounts, keeping the valve closed and emptying every 3 or 4 days...).
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

kdbgoat

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2019, 02:22:37 PM »
If we emptied every 3 or 4 days, we would be less than 1/2 full
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Rene T

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2019, 02:24:44 PM »
If we emptied every 3 or 4 days, we would be less than 1/2 full

I do mine every Saturday and it's about 3/4 full. There are 2 of us and the tank is 45 gallons.
That may be part of their problem.
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

jackiemac

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2019, 02:32:33 PM »
Hi, we haven't had a bad problem but the tank was getting slower at emptying and our solution is detailed here:

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,114105.msg1031109.html#msg1031109

Costs about the same as the guys who come out to do it,  around $200-$250 when we bought the stuff.

That jetter hose goes way up into the tank and I would hope that even with your Z shape it would do it.


One other comment:

Use A LOT of Water, not a little as you have commented.  Think about a normal toilet bowl and how much water is in it and just do much the same.  Use a good amount when flushing too.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 02:34:26 PM by jackiemac »
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kdbgoat

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2019, 02:46:47 PM »
I do mine every Saturday and it's about 3/4 full. There are 2 of us and the tank is 45 gallons.
That may be part of their problem.

Two of us, 50 gallon tank, usually close to two weeks to full.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant

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Rene T

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2019, 03:00:44 PM »
After reading Jackie's post, it showed a real good video and it got me thinking. I had the same issue as the guy in the video. My tank valve would not close all the way. What was happening, it would leak by oh so slowly but enough that all the liquids would leak out of the tank leaving only solids. I wonder if the OP could be having that issue. I also had the cable operated valves and I hated them. I removed them and installed a standard valve with the stem going through my frame. No more problems with valves not closing.

To the OP, when you remove the end cap on your sewer outlet, do you get liquids out of the pipe? If you do, the best thing to do for right now is purchase a spin on valve on mount it on the end of your pipe. That way you can keep that valve shut and only open it after you connect to the sewer hose. This valve serves 2 purposes. It is a backup valve in case one of you drain valves is leaking and you can transfer water from one tank to another. I have one and leave it mounted all the time.

https://www.amazon.com/Valterra-T58-Twist-On-Waste-Valve/dp/B000BGHYJS
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 03:04:00 PM by Rene T »
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
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2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
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Rainiergirl75

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2019, 10:03:19 PM »
Thank you everyone for your insights!! After the first clog, we started using a ton of water with each flush, but it didn't help and quickly are pipe filled with stuff again. Often the liquid level does not even go down :(. That is why we have emptied the tank as often as we have - hoping the clog would come out when the liquid was released. No such luck. I too fear their is some serious build up in the black tank from the previous owners.

Rainiergirl75

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2019, 10:06:08 PM »
My valve closes fine. There is no leakage. The frustrating part is there is no access to the tank to pressure wash it out. Each access point has an elbow in the pipe. Frustrating to say the least!!

Rene T

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2019, 06:18:43 AM »
My valve closes fine. There is no leakage. The frustrating part is there is no access to the tank to pressure wash it out. Each access point has an elbow in the pipe. Frustrating to say the least!!

I've never had to use one of these but I know some members swear by them. It may work for you to break up anything that may be in there. Some come with a straight pipe for a straight shot into the tank and like this one, it's a flexible hose to get around fittings between the toilet and the tank. 

https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Flexible-Powerful-Dislodges-40074/dp/B0006IX7YC/ref=pd_day0_hl_263_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0006IX7YC&pd_rd_r=5c52c83f-14d1-11e9-91a5-cbf8bb089e0d&pd_rd_w=LggSp&pd_rd_wg=A6TGd&pf_rd_p=ad07871c-e646-4161-82c7-5ed0d4c85b07&pf_rd_r=45N9PTGVA7S79B3J5ES8&psc=1&refRID=45N9PTGVA7S79B3J5ES8

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BGHYDO/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B000BGHYDO&pd_rd_w=JR1Mt&pf_rd_p=f0dedbe2-13c8-4136-a746-4398ed93cf0f&pd_rd_wg=r8e2l&pf_rd_r=TCZHK71SJCGJ8QJCCFCE&pd_rd_r=e1fb648f-14d1-11e9-91a5-cbf8bb089e0d
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

Rene T

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2019, 06:23:26 AM »
Another thing you could do is get a borascope to take a look inside the tank.
I've heard that when installing the tanks, the manufacturer has to cut a 3" hole in the top of the tank for the inlet pipe. I've heard members say that they've found the piece which was cut out inside the tank and this was plugging up the drain. Hope this isn't your issue. 
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2019, 11:03:04 AM »
First, let me apologize for not reading the original description thoroughly and asking about dump procedure.  My bad! Upon re-reading, I now understand the clogs is between the toilet and the tank, not on the drain side. A "poop pyramid" shouldn't cause clogs in the pipe above the tank except in really extreme cases, e.g. the tank is full to the brim, so it's probably not the immediate problem. It can cause a tank back-up, but it appears the issue here exists even with an empty tank.


The 45 degree offset pipe has become common for RVs (I guess to hide the tank contents better), but some of them are prone to causing paper clogs. A burr or lip at a pipe coupling is all it takes to snag some paper when the water flow is minimal.  I don't think either of those tank cleaner wands that Rene suggested is going to help with a clog above the tank. Nothing short of an old-fashioned drain snake or toilet auger is going to do that, I'm afraid.  Because of the shape of a gravity-type toilet throat and Z-pipe, I suggest either a straight augar (aka urinal auger) or a toiler auger with at most a 45 degree bend at the lower end.  That doesn't fix the problem, but may help recover from it.

https://www.amazon.com/General-Cleaners-TU4-Telescoping-Urinal/dp/B0012QIY9K
https://www.amazon.com/RIDGID-59802-Toilet-Clogged-Toilets/dp/B0015BABE8/


Have you tried changing brand of TP? The so-called RV papers are sometimes actually worse cloggers than standard septic-safe brands. Most of the fultimers here use a standard, plain, 1 or 2 ply septic safe tissue such as Scotts or Northern.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 11:16:31 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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jackiemac

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2019, 11:28:06 AM »
My valve closes fine. There is no leakage. The frustrating part is there is no access to the tank to pressure wash it out. Each access point has an elbow in the pipe. Frustrating to say the least!!

That's the beauty of the jetter hose, it works its way up by itself with a little wiggling.  If you watch the video in the link it should show you...

Might be an easier solution though as per Gary's suggestion.
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

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JudyJB

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2019, 09:02:42 PM »
Since there is a Z in the pipe, I wonder if someone (previous owner) tried to flush something non-flushable, and it got stuck part way down in the place where you cannot see it.  (I am remembering what my children tried to flush when they were toddlers.) Hence the camera might identify that.  Or maybe there is a nail or something in the pipe that is catching paper and causing the clog? 

At least with my toilet, I can turn off the water and use a flashlight to look down the pipe and see directly into the tank!   Maybe yours needs to be re-plumbed somehow. 
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Rainiergirl75

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2019, 12:13:41 AM »
Thank you all for the advice! I have tried numerous toilet snakes and toilet tools with no success at all. The wand I did purchase - and it broke inside my pipe :(. So that didn't work either.

I am waiting now for Honeybucket to come out and empty the pipe of its contents. They cannot come until Monday. Once they drain the pipe, I am remove the sleeve on the pipe so we can seperate the pipe where we cut it previously. This way we should have access to break up the clog. I am then going to use a camera to see into the tank. I will look for the off set pipe at the connection or anything else that may be snagging TP and causing the clog ups. I will also be looking for build up in the tank itself.

I ordered some of the TP dissolver stuff that was recommended earlier in the thread (thank you) and plan on using that to cleanse the tank too.

Hoping it all works and we can get the black tank up and functioning well for awhile. I am still considering replacing the toilet with a composting one or a regular flush toilet, but I don't want to rush that decision.
 

kdbgoat

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Re: Toilet issues in full-time, stationary, 5th wheel
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2019, 04:27:46 AM »
Just so folks know, it's fairly common for a fifth wheel to have a couple of fourty fives from the toilet to the black tank. I've got two in mine, and probably three to four feet of pipe.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant

2012 Redwood 36RL
2016 Leprechaun 319DS