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While repairing the release assembly to both grey and black water pipes, and also the shower drain trap.... I have a leak at the inlet to the grey water tank coming from the shower drain pipe!  :-(

This is totally unaccessible except if I drop the tank, I think. 

I have accessed this before through the area that is accessible if I remove the hot water heater assembly which is under the kitchen sink area. There was a leak there above the area where there seems to be one now. 

This old rig has these little things popping up now and then, but is in great condition!

Low miles <60 K!!!

 

Any advice on this would be very much appreciated!

 

 

Edited by bvsajjan
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Myself and a friend spent most of the day taking out the hot water heater assembly, dropping the tank and repairing the disconnected PVC "T" and replacing the grey water tank and then the hot water heater assembly..... tada! Wow! What a job! At least it's done now. It lasted 27 years and broke only due to one of the brackets to the tank breaking through the floor from age and wear. The vibrating tank being loose eventually developed a crack in the "T" from the kitchen sink and shower drain.

We rigged a bracket to reconnect the bracket to be held strong where it broke through the floor.

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6 hours ago, bvsajjan said:

Myself and a friend spent most of the day taking out the hot water heater assembly, dropping the tank and repairing the disconnected PVC "T" and replacing the grey water tank and then the hot water heater assembly..... tada! Wow! What a job! At least it's done now. It lasted 27 years and broke only due to one of the brackets to the tank breaking through the floor from age and wear. The vibrating tank being loose eventually developed a crack in the "T" from the kitchen sink and shower drain.

We rigged a bracket to reconnect the bracket to be held strong where it broke through the floor.

Seems every little repair job turns into an all day job needing at least one friend and often a visit from UPS. 

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  • 4 years later...
On 7/26/2017 at 10:00 PM, bvsajjan said:

Myself and a friend spent most of the day taking out the hot water heater assembly, dropping the tank and repairing the disconnected PVC "T" and replacing the grey water tank and then the hot water heater assembly..... tada! Wow! What a job! At least it's done now. It lasted 27 years and broke only due to one of the brackets to the tank breaking through the floor from age and wear. The vibrating tank being loose eventually developed a crack in the "T" from the kitchen sink and shower drain.

We rigged a bracket to reconnect the bracket to be held strong where it broke through the floor.

Hi,

I know this is quite a long time ago, but did you happen to take pictures of the dropped tank?  I need to repair a leak in my grey water tank and would be interested to know what it looks like on the top side where the connections are. 

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Where is it leaking. The holding tank seals with a rubber grommet that locks into the tank then pushes onto the drain pipes  above it. Like these

grey water tank rubber - Google Search

good idea to replace these when dropping the tank even if the crack isn't near them. You will have to determine the size after you drop the tank.

Your tank is probably ABS. I don't buy repair kits. I make a thick slurry out of ABS glue and ABS pipe shavings and paint it on. Rasp bit on my drill. cheap little ABS fitting to shave. Dollar store aluminum foil pans and paint brushes cause everything needs to be thrown away.

Linda S

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21 hours ago, linda s said:

Where is it leaking. The holding tank seals with a rubber grommet that locks into the tank then pushes onto the drain pipes  above it. Like these

grey water tank rubber - Google Search

good idea to replace these when dropping the tank even if the crack isn't near them. You will have to determine the size after you drop the tank.

Your tank is probably ABS. I don't buy repair kits. I make a thick slurry out of ABS glue and ABS pipe shavings and paint it on. Rasp bit on my drill. cheap little ABS fitting to shave. Dollar store aluminum foil pans and paint brushes cause everything needs to be thrown away.

Linda S

It’s leaking from the top and running down the side. I can’t see the exact spot. I definitely don’t want to “over-repair” if dropping the tank isn’t necessary. A friend suggested getting a scope so I can get my eyes on the source. I’m looking into that as my first step on this repair. 
 

Repairing with ABS chips and fiberglass seems to be a common way of taking care of tank cracks from what I read on this forum. Has anyone ever done a full tank replacement and, if so, what do you need to know about that process, including sourcing the replacement?

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I can't think of a way to get to it without dropping the tank. Might be just one of those rubber grommets gone bad. I am guessing it only leaks when full or close to it. Also possible one of the pipes above it is cracked and bypassing the tank completely. Buying a new tank can be done but difficult to do. The tank will come with no top holes for the drain and will need to be drilled exactly. Again you need to be able to see the whole tank. Some have higher and lower sections that would need to be met fairly closely. 

Fiberglass is not needed to seal just a crack. Only when larger sections are missing. I use fiberglass on mine when wood in the road took out the entire wall of the drain valve on my black tank. Super yuck. Very loose weave fiberglass because it only serves as support for the ABS slurry. Did the repair ten years ago and it is still fine. ABS is so easy to repair and long lasting a new tank seems unnecessary. Throw us some pics when you get in there.

Linda S

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3 hours ago, linda s said:

I can't think of a way to get to it without dropping the tank. Might be just one of those rubber grommets gone bad. I am guessing it only leaks when full or close to it. Also possible one of the pipes above it is cracked and bypassing the tank completely. Buying a new tank can be done but difficult to do. The tank will come with no top holes for the drain and will need to be drilled exactly. Again you need to be able to see the whole tank. Some have higher and lower sections that would need to be met fairly closely. 

Fiberglass is not needed to seal just a crack. Only when larger sections are missing. I use fiberglass on mine when wood in the road took out the entire wall of the drain valve on my black tank. Super yuck. Very loose weave fiberglass because it only serves as support for the ABS slurry. Did the repair ten years ago and it is still fine. ABS is so easy to repair and long lasting a new tank seems unnecessary. Throw us some pics when you get in there.

Linda S

Another close look under the grey tank revealed the most likely cause. The waste line running from the shower to tie into (I assume) the wye that drops into the tank (which would also have the waste line from both sinks as a single ABS 1-1/2) is completely disconnected from that wye fitting. It just moves around freely, obviously connected to the shower drain and nothing else. So, I said to myself (doing that more lately) “You need to drop that tank and reconnect everything”. Easier said than done. The straps supporting the tank are bolted to the underside of the coach just below the shower pan. When loosening the nut, the bolt turns also The head of that bolt is somewhere under the shower pan with no access to keep it still (with a 2nd person or vice grips) so the nut can be removed. Here are my choices:

 

1) Cut the straps and drill holes in both cut ends so I can add re-attach using a piece of store bought strap of similar thickness and type using bolts, washers and locking nuts. 
2) Remove the shower pan and do the repair from above (don’t even know if that’s possible or advisable)

 

I need advice on which of these 2 would be best. If there is some other way I have overlooked, please feel free to offer that advice as well. I attached pictures of what is visible for your edification. 

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636FF88C-1EB4-445C-A44F-433E7A369F0A.jpeg

CFBBE95C-97DE-4BB6-96F1-7FA1F2F8F388.jpeg

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I'd try vice grips at the very end of the bolt to hold it to crack the nut loose. Lots of liquid wrench on it and let sit for a while. My guess is that they are carriage bolts but the wood they locked into has rotted and no longer holds them firmly. My steps were like that but no end to hold. Had to pull the whole entry way apart. New straps are possible but without getting under there I can't tell how feasible. Here is suitable strapping 

Sioux Chief 3/4 in. 10 ft. Galvanized Galvanized Steel Pipe Hanger Strap - Ace Hardware

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4” grinder with a metal cutoff wheel. Buy cheap at someplace like harbor freight or ask a neighbor. It’s always a good thing to have while working on these old homes.

Just cut the bolt at the strap and then lower the strap down. Punch the remaining bolt up if possible. Important thing is try not to damage the strap.

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Tool of last resort...https://www.ebay.com/itm/393269748338?epid=21037624828&hash=item5b90b42272:g:in4AAOSwQhRghdsN

It will work is you can get it around the nut. Some auto parts stores will loan out tools.

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5 hours ago, WME said:

Tool of last resort...https://www.ebay.com/itm/393269748338?epid=21037624828&hash=item5b90b42272:g:in4AAOSwQhRghdsN

It will work is you can get it around the nut. Some auto parts stores will loan out tools.

Thanks WME.  Even if it doesn't work for this project, this is a handy tool to have around.

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5 hours ago, fred heath said:

4” grinder with a metal cutoff wheel. Buy cheap at someplace like harbor freight or ask a neighbor. It’s always a good thing to have while working on these old homes.

Just cut the bolt at the strap and then lower the strap down. Punch the remaining bolt up if possible. Important thing is try not to damage the strap.

I'll try this tomorrow using my rotary tool and cutting wheel, but on the nut itself, not the bolt.  The bolt head is underneath my shower pan and if I cut it then shove it through, I don't know how I will get another bolt through the floor (under the shower pan) to attach the strap to, without pulling up the shower pan.  Thanks for the idea Fred.

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6 hours ago, linda s said:

I'd try vice grips at the very end of the bolt to hold it to crack the nut loose. Lots of liquid wrench on it and let sit for a while. My guess is that they are carriage bolts but the wood they locked into has rotted and no longer holds them firmly. My steps were like that but no end to hold. Had to pull the whole entry way apart. New straps are possible but without getting under there I can't tell how feasible. Here is suitable strapping 

Sioux Chief 3/4 in. 10 ft. Galvanized Galvanized Steel Pipe Hanger Strap - Ace Hardware

I should have mentioned that I tried the vice grips trick to no avail.  I'm going to try to cut the nut off. If that doesn't work I've got a couple more ideas to try out.  Will let you know what worked (or didn't).

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I've done your option 1 on mine; cutting and then elongating an existing strap. I check my work when i'm under there to make sure the repair is holding. Been fine the last 3+ years.  The problem you have is the reattachment location. You do not know how secure your existing attachment point is because it spins and you cannot investigate it under the shower pan. 

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Yeah I would do everything I could to save that bolt. Try penetrating oil and then a heat gun to loosen it and keep at it with the vice grips. To stabilize the bolt for if you can get the nut loose drill a tiny hole at an angle offset from the bolt then fill the gap with 2 part epoxy and a turkey baster. Should relock the bolt into place and strengthen that area so you can get new nuts on without the spinning.

Linda S

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On 2/17/2022 at 12:21 PM, Jimijames said:

It’s leaking from the top and running down the side. I can’t see the exact spot. I definitely don’t want to “over-repair” if dropping the tank isn’t necessary. A friend suggested getting a scope so I can get my eyes on the source. I’m looking into that as my first step on this repair. 
 

Repairing with ABS chips and fiberglass seems to be a common way of taking care of tank cracks from what I read on this forum. Has anyone ever done a full tank replacement and, if so, what do you need to know about that process, including sourcing the replacement?

I successfully dropped the tank without resorting to cutting or damaging anything. The shower lateral waste lrun broke off inside of the Wye that goes to the tank. I just have some minor repair work here. I also need to replace the rubber to the tank. It’s 1-1/2”. Before I put everything back together, I’m going to put a washer and locking nut up against the undercarriage to make darn sure I don’t have to go through this difficulty if I need to drop the tank in the future. 

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5E9964EA-3837-4DD9-9B08-228BFB8810AB.jpeg

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8697813A-D5E0-41E6-8E84-7DE2CB858900.jpeg

0B05367A-F2B6-4321-9145-863CE6971C1F.jpeg

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If the wood support around the bolt is rotted or other wise compromised I would definitely add a supplemental support in the damaged area. Maybe something like a cable stretched between frame rails with some turnbuckles attached for adjustment.

Last thing you need is to have your tank drop while going over a pothole.

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