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Old 09-16-2009, 12:45 PM   #1
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Leaking Black water tank.

In the midst of my suspension saga crawling under the TT I have discovered that my black water tank repair has failed. I wasn't able to empty after labor day dry camping due to the broken spring situation I have been trying to get repaired.

I have used Eternabond (I think that's what it's called) and the first time it lasted over a year. This time just a few months. I was really careful installing it and followed the directions. I think the problem may be the location of the leak. It is on the curved edge of the tank below the drain pipe but is not leaking from the drain pipe connection but next to it. It is a slow drip but stinky!

I read a few posts on here and sounded like not a lot of success with repairing. I do not know if there might be a plastic repair place but wanted some input on the whole thing first.

So the question is are there any better repair ideas other than the tape or is it time to replace the tank. If so, has anyone had luck getting a repacement tank that fits in without mods and if so could you please pass along where you got the tank.

Thanks.
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:04 PM   #2
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Many years ago when I had a busted black tank/drain, I purchased a repair kit in my local Lowes, and between the repair kit and me using a wood burning tool to melt a few odd cracks shut, I had a very successful repair. If it's leaking, that method is not going to cost you a fortune to try.

Kitty
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:51 PM   #3
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Dan,

Is the tank and the plumbing out to the drain valve black in color? If so, then the material is ABS.

Does the outside of the tank have a textured surface? If it does, that pretty much explains why Eternabond (good as it can be) eventually started to leak. Eternabond (like most tapes) likes a smooth surface for best adhesion. And, Eternabond isn't designed to hold liquid in, but rather to keep it out.

There are several methods of fixing leaks in ABS tanks.

This company manufactures a kit for welding ABS, PVC, and other plastics. http://www.malcomheatguns.com/product.php?id=17 Costs $135 but includes a special heat gun and a bunch of plastic welding rods.

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...1-00542-45.php is a two-part mixture that is supposed to be a great repair material for ABS $29.50 in black, white, or clear.

For $11.95: http://www.agrisupply.com/product.asp?pn=33471

There are a bunch more kits out there. I searched on abs plastic repair kit and got a lot of hits.

You might also check with a local RV repair shop and see what they use.

One other good resource is the Central Tractor/Tractor Supply/Farm Supply stores. They usually carry a lot of repair items for many different materials, and may have exactly what you need on the shelf.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:51 PM   #4
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If it's ABS it is very easy (and inexpensive) to solvent weld for a pretty much permanent repair. Between my black tank and the pipe leading from it to the valve, I had a good 10-12" of cracks to repair. I personally prefer the solvent weld to other methods of repair, because you are using ABS as the filler material with the solvent "melting" it all together. With general "repair kits" you are relying on some kind of adhesive to hold another substrate as a filler or patch.

That was done last spring, not too long after I had purchased the trailer. So we're about 18 months and a good 1500-2000 miles later and it's still holding up just fine. The tank always has a couple of gallons of water in it (except during the freezing months) and it has been filled-to-the-brim on a few occasions as well. I'm quite pleased with the repair.

I didn't take pictures of the repair process because it was a tight squeeze under there and not a very pleasant job. If you are interested in a "how-to" I have some ABS in the garage that I can use to recreate and document what I did. This is something I plan on doing eventually anyway, because (unfortunately) this is a somewhat common problem.

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Old 09-16-2009, 05:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank
I didn't take pictures of the repair process because it was a tight squeeze under there and not a very pleasant job. If you are interested in a "how-to" I have some ABS in the garage that I can use to recreate and document what I did. This is something I plan on doing eventually anyway, because (unfortunately) this is a somewhat common problem.

- Frank
Well Frank, That would be super. I have a perfect test piece for you to use to document the process. It even resembles a leaking black water tank. Where can I send it ?

But seriously I would certainly be interested in how it works. I imagine I would have to remove the tank for any of these repairs to work well. I don't want you to go to a lot of trouble to document this but if you really were thinking about it I'm sure it would be very helpful to many.

Thanks to you and the others for the input.
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightlites13
Well Frank, That would be super. I have a perfect test piece for you to use to document the process. It even resembles a leaking black water tank. Where can I send it ?

But seriously I would certainly be interested in how it works. I imagine I would have to remove the tank for any of these repairs to work well. I don't want you to go to a lot of trouble to document this but if you really were thinking about it I'm sure it would be very helpful to many.

Thanks to you and the others for the input.
No problem. Getting started on the documentation is on my to-do list for later this afternoon.

As long as you can get to the crack(s), you will not need to drop the tank. You will however need to clean and dry the inside of the tank to complete the repair. I'll explain how I did that as well.

- Frank
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Collins
Dan,

Is the tank and the plumbing out to the drain valve black in color? If so, then the material is ABS.

Does the outside of the tank have a textured surface? If it does, that pretty much explains why Eternabond (good as it can be) eventually started to leak. Eternabond (like most tapes) likes a smooth surface for best adhesion. And, Eternabond isn't designed to hold liquid in, but rather to keep it out.

There are several methods of fixing leaks in ABS tanks.

This company manufactures a kit for welding ABS, PVC, and other plastics. http://www.malcomheatguns.com/product.php?id=17 Costs $135 but includes a special heat gun and a bunch of plastic welding rods.

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...1-00542-45.php is a two-part mixture that is supposed to be a great repair material for ABS $29.50 in black, white, or clear.

For $11.95: http://www.agrisupply.com/product.asp?pn=33471

There are a bunch more kits out there. I searched on abs plastic repair kit and got a lot of hits.

You might also check with a local RV repair shop and see what they use.

One other good resource is the Central Tractor/Tractor Supply/Farm Supply stores. They usually carry a lot of repair items for many different materials, and may have exactly what you need on the shelf.
Steve, thanks. Yes the tank is all black and there is some texture. Maybe I got lucky on the first repair where it lasted a year. Hoping for a good solution, really hoping to not have to remove the tank. Looking into all the possibilities and going to see what Franks method is too.
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:12 PM   #8
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Today I had some time so I documented the ABS tank repair. I put it in it's own thread to make it easier for people to find in the future. Here it is:

http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/ph...?p=24273#24273

- Frank
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Old 08-15-2018, 04:47 PM   #9
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Talking 1994 Saturn Black Water Tank Leak Repair Advice Needed

Hi all,
I am new to RV ownership, and am floundering a bit, trying to figure out how to repair a leaking black water tank. It appears that the tank is pulling away from the floor. The leak is along the top edge of the tank, and around a corner. I have a handyman who is willing to take on the project. But we are going in blind.

I have completely emptied the tank, but it still continues to smell inside the trailer. The floor is intact and not apparently rotted. I am assuming that because the tank is cracked somewhere, the fumes will just be permeating the trailer until it is repaired. Not sure.

Questions:
Does the tank need to be removed to asses and repair?
How is the tank removed?
Is it best to just replace the tank?
Where would I find out what model tank is needed for a '94 Sunline Saturn M-1661?

I have attached a photo. Pardon the mess. I have circled where the leak is primarily, although it continues to drip around the corner towards the valve.

Thanks so much to anyone that can help!

Becki
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Old 08-15-2018, 05:50 PM   #10
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Leaking Black water tank.

You say the tank may be pulling away from the floor joists. I don’t see a picture but check the metal “keepers” and screws for play. Push up on the tank and you should be able to tell.

I’d personally try to fix it first without dropping the tank.

Odors shouldn’t be getting in the camper unless your gate in the toilet doesn’t have water sitting on it or your toilet floor flange seal is not sealed properly. That’s the only ways odor should be present as far as I know.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:13 PM   #11
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I would start by taking up the toilet and checking to see if the flange (where the waste enters the tank) is sealed properly or if it has cracked. You may just need new gaskets between the toilet and the tank.
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Old 08-16-2018, 07:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnybgood View Post
You say the tank may be pulling away from the floor joists. I don’t see a picture but check the metal “keepers” and screws for play. Push up on the tank and you should be able to tell.
^^^^ This. I recently looked at a Sunline with a rotted floor, which caused the tank to drop down away from the floor. The toilet hadn't been used, so no problems were discovered recently, but there could have been. The weight of putting stuff in the tank could easily break the flange connection for the toilet.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:17 PM   #13
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To add to what the others have said,

Odds of finding a new tank that is an exact fit are very low. And would be my last choice as converting to a new tank that is not an exact fit may be more issues then repairing the old.

The ABS repair posted by Frank linked above works and is low cost. That will fix the tank.

There is a black tank vent from the roof into the top of the tank. Sometimes the pipe 1 1/4 or 1 1/2” is welded in the tank other times a rubber gromet. If it is welded in he will most likely have to lift off the roof cap vent and see if the vent pipe can be unstraped. Then when the tank is lowered he may have to cut the vent pipe in a place he can repair it when going back in. Usually close to the tank. He can use a weld in coupling or a rubber one with clamps

The toilet will have to be lifted and the floor flange Unscrewed from the tank. He may have to make a spanner wrench unscrew it. Then the tank can come down

If the screws in the metal straps are going into rotted wood that will have to be fixed before the tank goes back up. The tank will drop of break off if held by bad wood sooner or later

Hope this helps and let us know if you need more help. I could not see your pic on my phone

John
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:46 PM   #14
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Also make sure the toilet flange Seal is one made for the toilet. Do not use a home toilet wax ring it will never hold up under the flexing of an RV. They make foam rubber seals just for this application. Get the rights brand to match your exact toilet. Start with the make and model of the toilet and a parts diagram. Then get on online or an RV dealer

Hope this helps

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