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Old 08-29-2013, 03:14 PM   #1
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Toilet outlet pipe & clogging

Our new TT has a toilet that has the outlet pipe into the tank that has a bend in it. I have no idea if it's just a 45 degree bend or it's more. It seems to get plugged a lot with "stuff" (this is a family forum and can't spell it out). I've had to find a stick from around the cg a few times to push it through. It's getting to be a real PITA. Can't look down into the tank either to see how full it is.

Our old TT had a pipe which dropped straight down into the tank and we never, ever had any problems with clogging. We could also see straight down into the tank and see how the level was doing.

The last time out camping, we used our tote tank for the first time (no sewer at the cg) thinking that the tank was 100% full. It was well after dark but something had to be done. It turned out it was just a clogged outlet pipe. Dang.

Is this a common problem out there or is it possibly just the way our particular unit happens to be? In searching this and other forums, some say that one thing you can do is get a length of 1/2" PEX tubing, plug both ends, and use it to push "stuff" through. It bugs me not being able to look down into the tank to see how full it is.

The tank sensors say the tank is always at least 2/3 full and mostly full even right after a dump and flush. We have a built-in flusher but the one time I tried it, it didn't seem to do much. I use a Valterra Hydroflush elbow which seems to work well. But we still have a 2/3 or full reading.

I think another contributing factor may be the type and brand of TP we are using. We have Amco brand RV at the moment but I did a water test with it and it does not break down. I did a test last summer with 4 brands and found that one Costco brand breaks down and one RV brand which I am almost positive was Thetford did not. I am wondering how important it might be to use TP that breaks down to improve false readings? I have to wonder the same thing about clogging in the toilet outlet pipe?

DW was thinking of upgrading to a porcelain toilet but had to explain to her that the problem is with the outlet pipe and not the toilet. Not what she wanted to hear.

Being the type never to get overcome by obstacles in life, it looks like a winter project may be to take the underbelly off. remove insulation, drop the tank and modify the piping.... On the other hand, it would probably be easiest to just keep the last branch I found at a cg for unclogging.

But what do you expect in a $35,000 RV? We already have to use bungy cords on the cabinet doors in our rear kitchen to stop things from falling out, so what's so bad about having to use a stick in the toilet? I *suppose*....
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:01 PM   #2
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Sounds like wrong TP and no chemicals to me. You didn't leave the valve open to let all the water flow out, did you?

You're just gonna have to push/flush/get it out however you can. Simple as that. It won't happen every time either. Most tanks have bends. In fact, all do.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:14 PM   #3
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There is no wrong TP or right chemical. There is Not Enough Water Used - Not Dumped Properly (at least 2/3 full) - Black Tank Left Open - Black Tank Not Back Flushed - And the big no no - letting it sit in storage without dumping and letting the water evaporate.

Get it cleaned up - even dumping hot water in it - or bringing a hose in through a window or door - and open her up and fill. Let it sit awhile. Repeat. Look up Geo method here or google it.

You will get it worked out. It has nothing to do with dollars spent. At least that my 2 cents worth.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:16 PM   #4
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Looks to me as if you are not putting enough h2o into bowl prior to flushing or using.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:49 PM   #5
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If your black tank isn't filling, your toilet clogs, sensors all messed up, sounds definitely more water needed for each flush. https://sites.google.com/site/cbruni/

Geo Method recommends using Calgon Water Softener, hard to find. On Amazon if you buy 2 orders free shipping cuts in. Amazon.com: Calgon Water Softener Powder, 40-Ounce (Pack of 2): Health & Personal Care
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:38 PM   #6
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That's the problem with off set tanks, if your TT is level and the pipe has, when installed, the correct slope into tank, you still need to use more water because of the off set tank.
Its also a common problem in a motor home and they are built on a platform to get the slope into holding tank.
I would check to see if you have a slope into tank its possibly to level and does not drain correctly into the tank normally when water added.
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:42 PM   #7
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Scott one ply works.
Use a lot of water
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:43 PM   #8
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Thanks for the thoughts so far.

We're using plenty of water. It will get hung up and just stay there. You can look down and see it and no matter how much water you try and chase it down with, a lot of the time it won't move. The first time I really took notice, I had thought we weren't using enough water. At the beginning I didn't know there was a bend at the bottom and thought it was a cone shaped pile getting too high from insufficient water.

After each dump, we put in at least a few gallons and add chemical. We both try and use plenty of water per flush. I try and fill the tank up near full before dumping each time except since that you can't see the level and the sensor says full anyway, I can't tell how much water I've added before the dump. I always use the Hydroflush elbow, backflush lots of water in it up to maybe 10 times until it's as clear as possible.

Could it possibly be something defective in the piping or inlet part into the tank? I have no idea how the pipe attaches to the tank. Can't look at it because it's concealed behind the sealed underbelly. Maybe the inlet into the tank is in a poor location? Isn't the top of a tank just under the floor elevation? Our pipe goes down 4-5" at least which is as far as I can see.

Have been thinking of trying one of those special chemical treatments that dissolves TP and the sensors. I looked at some the other day and all they had was one for dissolving TP and a 2nd one for cleaning the sensors. An all-in-one would be nice. You also apparently have to use it when the ambient temp. is at least 75 degrees F or more. The guy in the store you can use warm water. The fall is rapidly approaching so if I am going to try this it would have to be sooner than later.

I've never had a reason to stare at a toilet to watch TP go down and away, but I have noticed that when you throw some into the bowl, it can just sit there a few inches above the valve and stay there despite trying to flush lots of water in. It may take numerous attempts to get it to move or the other way is to fill the bowl up high enough and let it rip. Either way, it's kinda wasting water. Perhaps the plastic the toilet is made from isn't slippery enough? Maybe what could be happening is that the TP and waste isn't getting enough velocity to make all the way down? I know that can happen in incorrectly plumbed buildings where the water can get ahead of the solids and leave it stuck behind. This didn't happen in our last TT either. Odd.

I thought from all the reading I've ever done on RV TP, the type that disintegrates makes a big difference? If you use non-RV type and especially 2-ply and/or thicker kind, isn't that asking for trouble? Somebody makes a rapid-dissolving type. I've heard some that even say chemicals don't do a thing to help break down the solids in the tank. I'm a believer in chemicals though and for the little cost, it can't hurt. Not sure exactly what the "RV" designation on TP is supposed to mean. There is no industry standard that has to be met. Some brands labelled RV safe disintegrate and some don't. Some regular household ones disintegrate fine and some don't. I know Scott brand works fine. I would like to do a test of all the RV brands and a few home ones, but at $3-5 for a pack of 4 RV ones, that'd get expensive.

I bought a set of Horst Miracle probes before we picked up our unit then I realized that you can't get at them because of the enclosed underbelly. Had them on our last TT and never had a false reading after. This will probably be another off-season mod.

So far it sounds like the clogging problem isn't that common maybe?
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:56 PM   #9
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toilet trouble

any TP that says septic approved works but as said lots of water to be used.
Costco is all we have ever used and no problems.
good luck and happy camping.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:01 PM   #10
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So are you saying it's clotting up between the toilet and the inlet to the tank, or after the tank outlet and before the sewer hose?
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:17 PM   #11
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Perhaps there's a burr on the plastic pipe or fitting that's hanging things up. Also, there've been a few reports of the plastic disks that were cut out of the tank for vents and plumbing sloshing around and getting lodged in the pipes. No easy way to tell except perhaps a scope down the toilet. You mentioned using a stick, have you tried a for real plumber's snake?
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:45 PM   #12
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Garden hose

It does sound like you might have some sort of blockage or burr that's catching the paper. Once the paper gets hung up other 'stuff' will too. It doesn't take much! Until you find what's causing the blockage and fix it you'll probably have this problem consistently. And it's a s#%^^y problem to have.

I carry a garden hose with the barb cut off just for the purpose of ramming stuff down. It's only happened once, but that was enough!

A bore-cam might come in handy. Look for a rental yard that has one or as a last ditch there's always Harbor Freight.

If you've ever been 'splashed' from an almost full tank you'd appreciate the offset a bit more. It also seems to make it less likely to form the dreaded 'Pyramid of Poo'.

Another rule that nobody has mentioned yet. ONLY toilet paper goes in there. No Kleenex or any other kind of facial tissue. As was already mentioned only use the stuff that says 'septic safe'.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:57 PM   #13
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Where it's getting hung up is near or at the 45 degree bend (or whatever it actually is) and after it exits the bowl and before (I assume) makes it into the tank. The waste pipe is white and it's a little harder to see how much there is.

Except for the cost and hassle, buying a cheap scope or renting one might be a good idea. Who knows what the pipe could look like in there and maybe there are burrs or other defect. We have a 32 gal. tank which I believe would be about 6" high. If the pipe below the toilet into the tank appears to be about 3-4" below floor level, would the waste pipe enter the tank on the top or possibly the side? If the side, maybe that would cause problems? If could try putting my hand in the pipe but I may not be able feel very far.

I wonder if there is something available to push through a pipe like this to "prove" that it is clear all the way?

In order to get a good look down the pipe I've got to go shut the water off outside. I may install a valve in the line behind the toilet.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:53 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by myredracer View Post
Where it's getting hung up is near or at the 45 degree bend (or whatever it actually is) and after it exits the bowl and before (I assume) makes it into the tank. The waste pipe is white and it's a little harder to see how much there is.

That is the tank inlet. If it's white, it means someone has replaced the piping. Black ABS is OEM pipe.

We have a 32 gal. tank which I believe would be about 6" high. If the pipe below the toilet into the tank appears to be about 3-4" below floor level, would the waste pipe enter the tank on the top or possibly the side? If the side, maybe that would cause problems? The tank inlet is on the top of the tank, no other way to do it.

I wonder if there is something available to push through a pipe like this to "prove" that it is clear all the way?

In order to get a good look down the pipe I've got to go shut the water off outside. I may install a valve in the line behind the toilet. That's always a good idea.
Replied in red.
I've also never seen a bumper pull that has the tank offset from the toilet. It should be straight down into it. There's not enough height to offset it and keep the flow velocity high enough to flush. Only fifth wheels have offsets.
I think you need to look underneath the trailer at the tank itself. If it's piped into the sides, that is the DUMBEST thing I've ever seen.
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