Replace camper dump valvesWell not entertaining but a necessary evil...doing the nasty, happy dumping, how ever your refer to dumping the holding tanks, and at some point maintenance.
Our camper is approaching 11 years old. The black dump valve was getting extremely hard to pull open. Though most valves are in use forever, replaced only because they wont seal tightly anymore, they can and do break. Usually when tank is full, open the handle to dump-nothing happens....The handel will move but its no longer attached to the sealing disk.
I've had a valve break before, wont open and full black tank. Went to the parts house to get another valve. My plan was to punch stuck closed valve then replace. I told clerk what I was doing and he started busting up laughing, then explained how many folks had done that. He then proceeded to explain to me how to get the valve open by drilling a small hole in the valve body, opposite the handle and 'push' the valve open. No mess no fuse, then change valve without need for a shower. Wow almost a disaster, So I drilled the hole (In old motorhome miles of room) pushed open the valve and dumped. Went home changed out valve. That was easy
So being conscious of potential problem when our current camper valve started getting hard to open, I knew soon I'd need to change out or I'd have a disaster. Also when removing cap to hook up hose there'd be water in it so one of the valves is leaking. The drill hole trick that made my 1st replacement easy wouldn't work in camper if valve stuck because I cant get access to back of valves. I kept putting off because I also don't have access either to half the bolts to change out valves. Going to be painful.
Anyway last trip I almost didn't get it open, pushing in & out on handle bout 1/8" then it finally retracted out and to my relief I heard the BLURP_BLURP as the black tank drained. Never thought that would be a welcome sound.... When home perusing, you guessed it, RV.net a fella posted how his when he pulled out handle on his black tank it wouldn't drain. I shared the drilling hole trick to drain the tank...then immediately went to the local parts house and bought a new valve.
The dilemma, & and why I hadn't changed out before now. The main pipe is in a corner, one bolt on black valve is impossible to get to. The gray valve, mounted vertically, the 2 back bolts are also inaccessible. It simply isn't possible. This is looking thru the access cabinet door.
Previously, looking at options I thought that if bottom tank cover that also is bottom of valve cabinet was removed I might get better access. Think I even suggested this possibility to some one else fighting access to bolts. But not sure why, removal of tank cover just seemed like a big deal. I was planning on trying a handful of universal joints to get to back bolt. After eyeballin some more figured I could remove the cover in a lot less time and grief than fighting the bolt, I could also see why my tank heater has never worked (if it has one). So proceeded to remove. Spent more time gathering up electric drill (and fighting myself) & stuff than dropping cover
Looking toward back of camper under wing into access cabinet. MILES of room, not only access thru the door & now bottom, but straight on. I didn't realize that the side of cabinet was part of the tank cover. Wow, Now its clear on 3 sides...I could get in there with both hands. Had the valve out in 5 minuets.
As I had only planned on replacing the black because of difficulty getting to the gray valve i had only bought the black valve. With the cover off and ease of replacing decided it would be dumb not to replace both now. So off to the parts house for other valve.
On mine the 3" black valve is at end of pipe, then a tee that 1 1/4" gray valve is attached to. So it all comes off, both valves and the tee (which cap attaches to) I greased everything with some synthetic grease, though a bit tricky I was able to slide everything together then slowly/uniformly tighten all bolts on both valves. Nice I was dreading this. Took about 15 minuets.
Hardest part of this necessary project was getting past my reluctance to do it & fighting myself. wha wha
Another tip from RV.net is using 2 pieces of thin metal. The valve gaskets go on end of plumbing, the valve slides in between. Can be difficult if valve is inline, valve can push the gaskets off. Using the thin metal on either side of valve allows you to slide on without pushing gaskets off. (I suppose spatulas and a 3rd hand would also work.) I tested with running water no leaks but not resealing the reinstalled tank cover until I've got full tanks.
Side note I did discover that center strap on holding tank had come loose. Also tank heater is dead. Its never worked and doesn't freeze here so I cut the leads to it. I may utilize them to turn something? on as its switched power. Side lights on camper would be handy.
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