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Old 11-03-2017, 05:12 PM   #1
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Black tank tee-tweak

Doing mostly nothing, no trips planned, flush out of projects, need something to constipate over.

I read that thread containing the video insert about black tanks probably not getting completely cleaned out. Even if you can see the plastic drain attachment runs clear water. Aha, so that’s why my tank sensor lights cannot be trusted. Crud clinging to the tank walls.

Come to think of it, I hadn’t used the dump station after our last short trip. A good time now to design and build my own neat little garden hose high pressure wand. Just need to be able to drop it down there, aim it and blast away to achieve a really cleaned tank.

Black tanks are a mystery designed with stealth in mind. You crawl under the trailer and it’s not there. Connected under the toilet, it extends out to below my front dinette bench seat. Ever need to replace? No way you get to it. Do you really want to rip out all that plywood? How does the discharge pipe run to the outside gate valve? Black ops.

I want a two-pronged spray powerful enough to blast tank walls. No garden hose nozzle will fit. Had PVC fittings, a tee, an old plastic valve, needed ˝ inch PVC pipe; bought some. One issue seemed in the way. Before the glue-up I needed to be certain my tee-nozzle would fit through the toilet depositary outlet. To check, I propped open the trap door and lowered the dry fit tee-wand down into the tank.

Big yikes moment. That was the moment my dry fittings fell apart and dropped down into the tank. I could see it down there, but no tong was long enough, no amount of fishing could retrieve the tee thing. My hand (ugh) was too big. Then it moved away, out of sight. Mortified, I needed a new plan.

There were probably 2-3 sitting gallons of liquid ugly in the tank. Drove trailer up on blocks to tilt tank. I opened the dump station drain gate valve and emptied ugly into a plastic yard utility tub. Then, poured clean water down the toilet in hopes of swishing that tee closer to visible, and drained that. Still no tee. Convinced my tee was in the tank, best move now seemed remove the toilet to make it easier to fish the tank with a makeshift rake I made. Nada. Took a break at this point, went into house to think and drink.

Today was the second time I ever removed the toilet. And it took a while before it came off because I forgot everything previously learned. You really need a tiny mirror to see back there and very small hands to unscrew that bleeping PVC nested connecting nut.

Anyway, toilet removed. I noticed being closer now to the actual tank opening a large drain hole there that sends everything to the dump station gate valve. A flashlight was of no use. A new batch of clear water in there in hopes of swishing my missing tee closer to me did nothing. Could I disconnect the pipes? Got under the trailer but couldn’t trace a connection to the gate valve. Thinking I might have to take apart the outside gate valve. At this point completely in the dark about a next movement.

This is now getting too serious. A lark turned into a stink bomb. Why me? A good day wasted. What to do next? Marking time, I grabbed up the yard tub containing that first disposal of black water. Hauled it over to an obscure, ratty corner of the yard, and dumped it.

And there on the ground it was, my PVC tee.
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:26 PM   #2
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He he, I had a feeling you'd find it on the drained water. Oh well, what's one day Myron?
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:27 PM   #3
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"At this point completely in the dark about a next movement."
There is always a light at the end of the project. Great story Myron.
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:28 PM   #4
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You're hoot Myron. Only you could make a black tank project humorous.

To be honest, I think you out cheaped me by going to that length to recover an inexpensive tee. I think I'd have just let nature or gravity take its' course.

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Old 11-03-2017, 05:31 PM   #5
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Myron, what a lesson in small jobs turning into big (and in this case very ugly) jobs!
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:26 PM   #6
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What a great story! So glad that everything came out in the end!
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:57 PM   #7
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Myron, Myron,
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Old 11-03-2017, 07:15 PM   #8
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gumption trap .101
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:11 PM   #9
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Thanks, needed a good chuckle after reading the propane thread.
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:37 PM   #10
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Thanks, needed a good chuckle after reading the propane thread.
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:40 PM   #11
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After you cleaned it did you have a large blob of gunk right under the toilet?
When I did ours I noticed a blob of whatever they used to seal the parts together under the toilet on the floor of the black tank. It seems attached to the floor so maybe it will not move.
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Old 11-04-2017, 02:48 AM   #12
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I never want to see the inside of my black tank
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:51 PM   #13
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Well after all those nice reactions I would have invited you guys here to join in the celebration but, the potty's over. I should mention, not without a few choice pejoratives aimed at whoever designed the impossibly tight space back there for the water feed connection.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:16 PM   #14
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Two words: composting toilet.

Black water tank always shows empty now… and always is!

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Old 11-26-2017, 01:40 PM   #15
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Two words: composting toilet.

Black water tank always shows empty now… and always is!

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As you mentioned in your post about installing the composting toilet in an Escape, there are a number of cons:

"Seat is too high when retrofitted on black water tank; need a stool to sit.

- Ok, there’s a little urine odour when emptying the liquids tank

- Liquids must be emptied every 2 or 3 days; must monitor tank level.

- Should spritz bowl with vinegar/water solution after use."

I guess it's a personal choice, and I admire your determination in retrofitting one, but the black tank works fine. A proven system that's been used for a very long time. I just don't see a compelling reason here to change it.
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Old 11-26-2017, 03:12 PM   #16
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As you mentioned in your post about installing the composting toilet in an Escape, there are a number of cons:

"Seat is too high when retrofitted on black water tank; need a stool to sit.

- Ok, there’s a little urine odour when emptying the liquids tank

- Liquids must be emptied every 2 or 3 days; must monitor tank level.

- Should spritz bowl with vinegar/water solution after use."

I guess it's a personal choice, and I admire your determination in retrofitting one, but the black tank works fine. A proven system that's been used for a very long time. I just don't see a compelling reason here to change it.
Yep, you're right; it's a personal choice. But in defence of the composting toilet, in spite of the few minor (for me) cons, people that install them, almost universally love them!

It's almost like the black water tank and drain is designed to prevent proper flushing and rinsing. Despite the gauge, the only sure measure was a flashlight down the hole.

Guess I got tired of dragging the hose around to rinse from the inside and out. Should have got the bathroom window installed.

A friend has a sensor mounted externally to the tank that seems to be more reliable, but I don't know how you'd retrofit that in my trailer. You need access to one side from to to bottom for the stick-on sensor.

Anyway, to each his/her own.

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Old 11-26-2017, 03:18 PM   #17
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It's almost like the black water tank and drain is designed to prevent proper flushing and rinsing.
Do you flush and rinse your sewer pipes at home?
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Old 11-26-2017, 03:29 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
Doing mostly nothing, no trips planned, flush out of projects, need something to constipate over.

I read that thread containing the video insert about black tanks probably not getting completely cleaned out. Even if you can see the plastic drain attachment runs clear water. Aha, so that’s why my tank sensor lights cannot be trusted. Crud clinging to the tank walls.

Come to think of it, I hadn’t used the dump station after our last short trip. A good time now to design and build my own neat little garden hose high pressure wand. Just need to be able to drop it down there, aim it and blast away to achieve a really cleaned tank.

Black tanks are a mystery designed with stealth in mind. You crawl under the trailer and it’s not there. Connected under the toilet, it extends out to below my front dinette bench seat. Ever need to replace? No way you get to it. Do you really want to rip out all that plywood? How does the discharge pipe run to the outside gate valve? Black ops.

I want a two-pronged spray powerful enough to blast tank walls. No garden hose nozzle will fit. Had PVC fittings, a tee, an old plastic valve, needed ˝ inch PVC pipe; bought some. One issue seemed in the way. Before the glue-up I needed to be certain my tee-nozzle would fit through the toilet depositary outlet. To check, I propped open the trap door and lowered the dry fit tee-wand down into the tank.

Big yikes moment. That was the moment my dry fittings fell apart and dropped down into the tank. I could see it down there, but no tong was long enough, no amount of fishing could retrieve the tee thing. My hand (ugh) was too big. Then it moved away, out of sight. Mortified, I needed a new plan.

There were probably 2-3 sitting gallons of liquid ugly in the tank. Drove trailer up on blocks to tilt tank. I opened the dump station drain gate valve and emptied ugly into a plastic yard utility tub. Then, poured clean water down the toilet in hopes of swishing that tee closer to visible, and drained that. Still no tee. Convinced my tee was in the tank, best move now seemed remove the toilet to make it easier to fish the tank with a makeshift rake I made. Nada. Took a break at this point, went into house to think and drink.

Today was the second time I ever removed the toilet. And it took a while before it came off because I forgot everything previously learned. You really need a tiny mirror to see back there and very small hands to unscrew that bleeping PVC nested connecting nut.

Anyway, toilet removed. I noticed being closer now to the actual tank opening a large drain hole there that sends everything to the dump station gate valve. A flashlight was of no use. A new batch of clear water in there in hopes of swishing my missing tee closer to me did nothing. Could I disconnect the pipes? Got under the trailer but couldn’t trace a connection to the gate valve. Thinking I might have to take apart the outside gate valve. At this point completely in the dark about a next movement.

This is now getting too serious. A lark turned into a stink bomb. Why me? A good day wasted. What to do next? Marking time, I grabbed up the yard tub containing that first disposal of black water. Hauled it over to an obscure, ratty corner of the yard, and dumped it.

And there on the ground it was, my PVC tee.
Glad you got it out because it would have gotten stuck in the gate valve at the WORST possible moment! Next time instead of reinventing the wheel go to Camco and buy the PVC hose attachment they already make to flush your tank...
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Old 11-26-2017, 03:31 PM   #19
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It's almost like the black water tank and drain is designed to prevent proper flushing and rinsing. Despite the gauge, the only sure measure was a flashlight down the hole.

Guess I got tired of dragging the hose around to rinse from the inside and out. Should have got the bathroom window installed.
True, the opening bathroom window does make cleaning our black tank easy. But we only rinse it out when the trailer is going to be stored for awhile.

As for the sensors, we added the Horst probes to the build and they are accurate. They are also now stock. The black tank is quite small compared to some of the ones on a sticky, and honestly I've never thought of dumping or cleaning it as a hassle.
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Old 11-26-2017, 07:05 PM   #20
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As for the sensors, we added the Horst probes to the build and they are accurate. They are also now stock.
My friend had the See level, or something like that. Worked good, but stupid expensive.

Sounds like the Horst probes are the way to go, and apparently can be retrofitted.

Too late for me.

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