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Old 03-15-2013, 09:28 AM   #1
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New camper to me, so no history. Wentfor a one week shake down cruise and everything worked as expected, except on day five. Noticed that I could see paper and fluids when I flushed the Thetford toilet (behind the valve after it opened for a flush). Thought the black water tank might be full, although indicator lights said 3/4. Drained it anyway since we were leaving the park, along with grey and galley (I have a 2005 Cruiser). Get home and noticed the water in the toilet still behind the valve. Hooked up a tote and opened the black water valve...no flow...but I can see water in the toilet. Checked for obstructions in the vent pipe and ran water down the tube from the roof...water flowed into and out of the black water tank, as the valve was left open. Used a hose and tried to force water into the toilet, and it goes somewhere, but level never rises. Sitting here with a turkey baster trying to reduce the water in the toilet so I can pull it and it seems like a never ending pit. I might also add that I can put a toilet snake down the toilet into the tank (I hear it kocking around when I turn it but water doesn't drain). I give up. My snake will go through the toilet, but water will not. What am I doing wrong?

On the underside of the toilet I see two 45 degree bends from toilet to tank, otherwise it is a straight shot to the tank. At the valve side, there is only one 45 degree bend before the gate valve, then a 90 degree bend to the closer cap. I know the gate valve works because when I put water down the vent pipe, the valve was closed. Opened the valve and water came out. Clear water. I'm 99% sure the black water tank is empty, yet the toilet won't drain into it.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:01 AM   #2
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You have a poop pyramid and they are hard to get rid of. They usually start if poop hits a dry tank. You may not of put enough water in the tank. I got one this year when I forgot to put water in tank befor use. Will never do that again.lol. I had to cut my pipe close to the floor and close to the ceiling. I then used a flexable spray wand to clear the mess. Bought 2 3" rubber sleeves at hardware store to put back together. Not a nice job and not one you want to do twice.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:33 AM   #3
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Drat!! Well I guess I'll have to cut some plastic pipe. Strange though, at least to me, if I have a "poop pyramid" how is it that water won't drain, yet I can shove a metal snake into the opening? Short of cutting and re-piping, would it be worth a shot to put some enzymes into the tank, along with water and a bag of ice or two, and drive around some?
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:02 AM   #4
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Might be worth a try before you start cutting. At this, point what have you got to loose?
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:09 AM   #5
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Get yourself a wand that connects to a water hose and this can be inserted into the toilet while stepping on the flush pedal (supply water must be shut off at this time) some wands spray 360* and some you have to rotate as you spray into the holding tank. I prefer the type I have to rotate as with a flashlight you can see into the tank and notice what is happening. It may take several times to break the pile up but usually works, make sure you get enough water into the tank while doing this so it can be drained after the same as when you empty the tank. As I say it may take several tries but will save you stink and unpleasant results. We have a system in our unit that flushes the tank but I still use this way a couple time a year as it works much better. Good luck!
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:16 AM   #6
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You might try using a jetted hose sprayer on the end of the garden hose and cover the toilet with a towel to avoid splashing. Have someone else turn on the hose as you push the hose down the drain. Push and pull the hose numerous times (6-10") starting at the tank and slowly work your way back up the drain towards the toilet. It's possible that the mound is actually built up inside the drainpipe and the snake is going through but the clog is sealing up around the cable. I see this a lot when clearing house drains. The snake actually goes past the clog without loosening it up. You also may need a larger snake head and cable.

PS, instead of a turkey baster try a small shop vac.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:48 PM   #7
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jmsrbt go to the top of the page and do a search. When the next screen pops up enter GEO METHOD it will come up with nine posts. On one of those posts you will find a link to go to where it tells you about this system for your black tanks. It might help now if not then for future use. they say it is better then ice cubes
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:35 PM   #8
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I bought a drain clog jet kit that connects to a garden hose from harbor freight tools that worked great for this. It comes with clear hose and 2 tips at a good price. Go to their web site if no store close by. I put it down toilet and let it run and after 15 min. problem solved. You might check tank waste drain to see if that is plugged also same jet worked for that as well.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:53 PM   #9
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I could not get the wand to go because of th elbows on the pipe. go through the toilet frist. When you get it cleared, keep toilet side a little lower then the discharge side that allows the water to cover the bottom of the tank.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:08 AM   #10
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WOW poop pyramid, never heard of that one , but makes sense. I am going to try the GEO method this year.

I take it that you do not have access to an inspection video camera As I beleive you said you had a couple of bends in the pipe going from the toilit to the black tank.
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:28 AM   #11
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I want to thank everyone for the suggestions (shop vac, GEO METHOD, inspection camea and so forth). Went out this morning and the water in the toilet had drained overnight. I was shocked by what I saw in the pipe to say the least. It made sense now when Stan said my snake would pass through but not the water. Well I went and bought the chemicals suggested in the GEO method, sort of...couldn't find the powdered water softener but I got some Downy that had softener in it. Toilet filled back up with water with only four gallons, so I figure it's going to take a few days, at four gallons a pop, to fill my black water tank so it can set, before I drain it. Then the process starts all over again.

Probably go to Caming World too and get a flexible wand. My piping from toilet to tank consists of two 45 degree bends, and the outlet has a ninety bendright after the gate valve, so the Flush King will not work, unless of course I decide to redo the piping. Bob.
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmsrbrt

I want to thank everyone for the suggestions (shop vac, GEO METHOD, inspection camea and so forth). Went out this morning and the water in the toilet had drained overnight. I was shocked by what I saw in the pipe to say the least. It made sense now when Stan said my snake would pass through but not the water. Well I went and bought the chemicals suggested in the GEO method, sort of...couldn't find the powdered water softener but I got some Downy that had softener in it. Toilet filled back up with water with only four gallons, so I figure it's going to take a few days, at four gallons a pop, to fill my black water tank so it can set, before I drain it. Then the process starts all over again.

Probably go to Caming World too and get a flexible wand. My piping from toilet to tank consists of two 45 degree bends, and the outlet has a ninety bendright after the gate valve, so the Flush King will not work, unless of course I decide to redo the piping. Bob.

Did I read somewhere here that someone put a bunch of water and vegetable oil in their blackwater tank to prevent such an occurrence? I am new to this...and from the sounds of this, I want to avoid a POOP PYRAMID at all costs!
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:00 AM   #13
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I have the same setup on my 5er and it is why I cut the pipe to get the flexable wand in the tank. I got the solids into the tank but had to clean the tank.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:03 AM   #14
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downy is not what you want. you want water softener. i get the liquid calgon water softener at my grocery store but can be ordered online or get a different brand.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:38 AM   #15
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Max I think you saw the post about sticking valves and the water and oil would keep them lubed up.

I do not want one of those poop pyramid in my tank either. One thing I learned a long time ago here on the forum is to put 5 gal of water and a couple scoops of wash soap and drive home or to our next stop. The soapy water can clean the tank and drain when we arrived at the next place. When we pull into a place with no sewer I want the tanks to be empty.


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Old 03-16-2013, 12:16 PM   #16
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Under normal usage, a pyramid won't happen. Normally occurs when you use the rig as a stationary unit for weeks on end and only then drain the tanks. If you tow the rig around like most of us do, then the sloshing around of the tank keeps this situation from happening.

Bob and Shirl...No I am not surprised by what you saw and found. I have dealt with LOTS of drains and septic tanks and I think I have seen it all!!! I still think a hose with the jet nozzle on the end will do the trick...just be sure to start at the tank and work backwards towards the toilet.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:35 PM   #17
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You can start at the tank but this will never clean the pipe from the toilet to tank.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:16 AM   #18
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Unfortunately, doing any work at the discharge end of the tank would create a huge mess since the gate valve would have to remain open. Ideally, in my situation, I'd have to start with a clean tank in order to cut my plumbing discharge pipe, to reconfigure it for something like a FLUSH KING. Good news is yesterday I bought a flexible wand (so I could get past those two 45 degree bends from toilet to tank) and was able to clear enough blockage to add those ingrediants in the GEO METHOD, although I used what I had (i.e., the Downy). Today will be a "fill and flush" day for sure. Thanks everyone for thier input!! Bob
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:15 AM   #19
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I had this happen once while dry camping with no hookups. After trying to conserve water on flushes it finally caught up with me. Now I instruct all family and guests to flush really good....hold the lever a little longer and be sure it gets plenty of water. Has not happened since.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:41 AM   #20
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Calgon powdered water softner is available at Amazon if you cannot fid it locally. Downy is not what you want to use. We have used the GEO method exclusivily no issues and no unpleasant oders
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