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Old 01-13-2014, 05:07 AM   #21
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Video is up, brace yourself lol.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:52 AM   #22
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Thanks Chuck,

Whew, that was almost like doing my first colonoscopy, except none of the anatomy was familiar

It really looks like whoever owned your trailer before left the tank full with a leaky dump valve and over time, as the water drained out of the tank, "concrete" was all that remained. I sure don't envy you the job of breaking that stuff loose and getting the tank clean, but once you do, assuming you don't poke a hole in it while cleaning, I think you'll have a lot more usable black water storage capability.

That video is a perfect example of what not to do when storing your RV. What might seem like a "convenient" way to camp, the attitude of, "It's only half full, I'll just empty it next time we go camping." can be a trap that sets up this kind of problem. It's so much easier to take a couple of minutes to dump AND flush the tanks so you know this kind of buildup won't occur.

Oh, you might want to be extra careful with that black tank valve. I can't remember if you've changed it out or not, but I'm pretty sure it's got a slow leak and that is what caused the initial "dry tank" problem.

Thanks much for posting the video, it's definitely an "eye opener"
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:50 AM   #23
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Lol, thanks John. Yup, the leaky valve entered my mind also. The water seeps away and leaves the solids. I know the topic isn't pleasant, but hey, learning what not to do, is as important as what to do. I had the feeling the trailer sat for a long while before we bought it, and think whoever had it last, left a huge mess in there. I did get almost all of it cleaned out, just spraying and gouging at the mess with the hose as I went. Huge masses moving to the valve and then me shoving the hose to there and unstopping it. Then going back and doing it again.

I could tell at the end when it was clean, you could hear the spray hitting the plastic sides as I rotated the water spray 360 degrees. What really blew me away, was the mess sticking to the tank top, ughh.

Haha, I'm an X nurse and have watched a colonoscopy first hand, many decades ago, nothing pleasant about that either. For the viewer or the patient.

ETA, You know thinking back, it did have a leak at the plumbing grommet to the tank, on the tank side of the valve. I fixed it when I was doing the insulation, I'll bet $100 that's what caused this.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:05 AM   #24
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You're probably right about that grommet leak. It only takes a little "concrete" deposited one time to start "trapping" the fresh stuff during dumping which creates a bigger "concrete pile" which next dump will trap more and more until you end up with a really huge problem and a tank that couldn't empty the fresh contents in any way, shape or form. I'm really surprised that you were able to get anything but liquids out of that tank with all the "filtering and trapping" piles to catch and hold anything that flowed past on its way to the dump valve.

I did C'scopies for a living for a couple of years. Your video brought back memories, but I was never lost for landmarks in the GI lab like I was trying to find a reference in your tank

Again, thanks for posting and now, I can say, "HAPPY DUMPING"
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:28 AM   #25
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Lol, if you look real close, you'll see the camera leds reflecting on the end of the tank (valve end), showing a trough between both sides of the piled masses, from the toilet to the valve. No way any of that old stuff was going anywhere, without extensive help. But the looser more recent stuff was flowing fine. When I fist saw all of it, I thought it was a towel. Then it dawned on me, not lol.
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:53 PM   #26
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Wow ! unreal!, you've been busy. I bought my first 5th wheel a long time ago with the black tank half full of dried waste. It was a quite a chore to get it all cleaned out. Good job on the tank Fulltimer. You will be glad to have the extra capacity now.
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Old 01-14-2014, 02:47 AM   #27
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Thanks, yep I have lol, plus I'm almost finishing wiring in my FW heating pads. I got the wires ran, attached (except 12 volt feed) and the switches placed and tested yesterday, I used a battery charger for test power. I have closed the tank valve after cleaning, to help suspend the new stuff as well as give it a good flush. I'll probably dump it today, but I have already noticed it's taking much longer to fill it, compared to what it was like before. All that stuff must have been displacing alot of space. I got to thinking last night, Ridgid makes an item called a closet auger, for augering out toilets that might work good for this. Leave the tank full and feed the auger in past the toilet and "stir" the tank before dumping. It's hand cranked and can reach 3 feet or so from the end of it. It's a life saver when doing commercial or residential maintenance. By pulling up on the handle, it pulls the cable in tight on the lower end, then you feed it in and push the handle down to extend the cable. A tad more aggressive than water, but being hand cranked it might work. Something to think about for sure.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-3-...9787/100061898
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:54 AM   #28
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If you do intend to use any mechanical device to help loosen the dried contents, just remember you're dealing with a 14 year old plastic tank. The older plastic gets, the more brittle it becomes and the greater the potential to poke a hole in it.... Be careful, replacement tanks, if you can find the right shape, are not cheap. And trying to modify the underside of your RV to "fit in" a replacement tank that's not quite the right shape can be a lot more work than you want to take on during the winter.
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:59 AM   #29
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I your original post you talked about the tank "burping" when you flushed the toilet, and you suspected the vent line could be clogged. It looks like that very well may have been the case. Have you been able to confirm with the camera that the vent is open? You mentioned that there was a lot of debris stuck to the top of the tank which could plug the vent. Just to be safe you might consider taking a pitcher of hot water and dumping it down the vent pipe from the roof, this would insure that your vent is clear. Just a thought.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:11 AM   #30
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Good point John. Something to mull over. I hate laying under this thing on the best of days lol. I was so stunned I didn't even bother looking for the vent.

SB, it doesn't burp anymore, I can only assume that some of the mass was stopping up the vent line, plied along the wall where the line comes in. It would be a good idea to do that though, thanks, just to insure the line is open. And it wouldn't be that hard.

Eta I just dumped it, ALOT of solids came out and it drained fast and all the way to the bottom of the tank, something it wasn't doing before. It always had an inch or so standing after a dump.
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