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Old 01-03-2011, 08:21 AM   #1
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Unhappy Broken t-handle for Black Water release

I tried to empty my black water tank and the handle pulled open but the tank didn't drain. I think the handle broke so it won't open the valve. My dilemma is how do I get the tank emptied so I can replace the valve? I live in Idaho and the temps outside have been highs of 15 with below 0 at night. This is not the kind of weather I wanted to be replacing sewer parts in. Also I have noticed that the toilet is filling up with water slowly but with not being able to drain my tank it's leaking in my bathroom. Does anyone know what that is from? Any help with this would be appreciated. Thank you
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:39 AM   #2
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I would guess the contents of the tank are beginning to freeze and the expansion is causing the water level to rise. Just like a gallon jug of water that freezes and pushes the lid off. I would just bail the water out of the toilet with a small pan to protect the floor, not a pleasant job but a needed one.

Can you get the rig into a heated building and drain the tank into a blue boy?
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:58 AM   #3
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Did the rod come out of the valve or the handle off the rod or did the handle break.

If rod came out: is the end of the rod threaded? If so try screwing it back in.

If the handle came off.. Is the end of the rod threaded, if so try screwing it back on.

Did the handle break.. Grip the remaining part with Vice Grips or other pliars and pull it out.. See if you can unscrew the plastic off the end of the rod.. Replacement T-handles at any RV store and many campground stores as well.

If the rod broke, or the end is not threaded... Well... Call a porta-potty folks and have 'em pump it out before you try to fix (replace) the valve.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:00 AM   #4
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I have it set up with skirting and propane outside. There is no way to move it right now the tires are off the ground and I wish there was but no way. It says that some of the older motorhomes had a pull wire underneath. I just need to drain the tank before it freezes which I don't see that it froze. And replace the valve and handle. I have been bailing the water from the toilet too. Thank you
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:03 AM   #5
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the handle didn't come out but not sure it will come out. I will check and see if I can unscrew it. the gray water handle turns all the way around but the black water won't. It just goes in and out but not all the way out.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:52 AM   #6
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Have you tried to take a blow dryer to the body of the valve and see if you can warm it enough so that the blade slips out and the tank can drain?
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:51 PM   #7
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You probably already have the tank frozen. Temps of 0 to 15 deg F are now comfortable in a 1976 class C. If the tank is frozen, you are most likely going to be around until the first thaw.

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Old 01-03-2011, 06:38 PM   #8
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Hi Sunnygrl44,
Is the tank enclosed from the outside elements? If so, get a small electric heater in the utility bay. Set it for a low temp and let it run. If the tank is exposed to the elements, you'll need professional help to get the pooh out and the valve replaced.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:56 AM   #9
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Thanks all for your help and suggestions, after buying a new valve and other parts found out that the tank was frozen. The valve was still good. So used a heater under it and in a half hour all was well. I do have skirting with insulation setup all around the RV but the cold temps won over. We did away with the flexible sewer hose and used a 3 inch black sewer pipe for the winter and used insulated heating duct to cover it. Some say to leave the valve open and others say not too. It's open for now. Learned a few good tricks for the gray and black holding tanks. 2 cups water softner to a gallon of hot water pour into the drains of the tanks and let the tanks fill up, the water softner loosens any stuff and keeps it slick enough that nothing will stick to the inside of the tank. Says to do that once every so often and use bleach to sanitize the tanks. So I hope I have no more problems the rest of the winter. Happy Camping and RVing everyone
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:08 AM   #10
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Thank you for posting the result of your question.

Very good that it was also successful!
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunnygrl44 View Post
Some say to leave the valve open and others say not too. It's open for now. Learned a few good tricks for the gray and black holding tanks. 2 cups water softner to a gallon of hot water pour into the drains of the tanks and let the tanks fill up, the water softner loosens any stuff and keeps it slick enough that nothing will stick to the inside of the tank. Says to do that once every so often and use bleach to sanitize the tanks. So I hope I have no more problems the rest of the winter. Happy Camping and RVing everyone
Glad it turned out well for you.

However, if someone is telling you to leave both your gray and black tank valves open... I sure wouldn't listen to them. I sometimes do that with the gray tank but NEVER with the black tank. You'll end up with a "brown tower of doom" because there won't be enough water to wash away solids.

The tips you mention on keeping the tanks clean are good ones but be careful using bleach because if it's in too high a concentration you'll eat right through those rubber seals on your dump valves.

Good Luck,

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Old 01-08-2011, 09:57 AM   #12
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Hi, I have kept the tanks open and so far the black tank is draining great, I use a lot of water (hooked to city and included in my lot rent) each time I need to flush. Also my RV is one that my shower drains into the black water tank so that also helps keep it flowing out the tank. The water softner I used is also helping to keep it free of as you put it the "brown tower of doom" I haven't used any bleach right now I am leaving well enough alone with that. And I know how bleach will eat the rubber seals so I would use very little and only with the tank full of water first. Anyway thanks again for everyones help and suggestions. Much appreciated
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:37 AM   #13
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Hi Sunnygrl44,
Thanks for the update. It sounds like you have the situation well in hand and well understood. Good luck with your winter adventures. I'm in South Florida and I will give you my share of Winter weather.
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:15 PM   #14
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I would close the black valve!


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