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Old 08-25-2008, 12:50 PM   #1
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Saturn black water tank repair / removal?

Hi, I just recently bought a 1986 Saturn model T1550 and discovered that the black water tank leaks.

It seems as if Sunline threw a blackwater tank on the assembly line and built a trailer around it. It's actually on top of the interior floor (so it leaks to the interior, there is only a hole cut into the floor big enough for the drain pipe) and it extends from under the toilet to under the fridge. There is a cover under the toilet that is removable, but it appears as if the tank is much larger than the space available to remove it.

Does anyone have any experience in fixing / removing a tank of this type?

Also, this trailer has no indicators for tank level. The fresh water tank is no biggie 'cos it's behind a door inside and you can see the water in it, but the gray tank got full this weekend and actually overflowed. Does it have an overflow, or is that another leak? If it's an overflow, it is a bad idea. Thankfully the camp next to ours was empty as the runoff was going right through the middle of it. I could see why Sunline would leave off the sensor, tho. The gray tank is long and wide, but only a couple of inches tall. The toilet bolts directly to the black tank, so you can't help but see how full it is.

All in all, the trailer is pretty cool. Small, but has everything, and light for it's size. Some of the design is strange, but it's rare to see a trailer this small with toilet and shower and still feel big inside. We took it out for the first time last weekend.

Thanks!

Larry
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Old 08-25-2008, 04:14 PM   #2
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Hi Larry,

I would doubt that your toilet is mounted directly to the tank. There is usually a pipe that goes between the toilet mounting plate and the tank. See if that is cracked in any way. It was on my last one and I had originally thought I'd have to replace the whole tank, but that's not the case. The pipe is only like $20. and just unscrews out of the top of the tank.

Jon
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Old 08-25-2008, 06:29 PM   #3
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Hi Jon,

Thanks! There is a pipe, but it's only like 1" or 2" long, just long enough to fit the vinyl cover and bolt heads for the toilet. I figured it had to unscrew because the hole in the tank cover is only as large as the pipe.

What I did was to fill the black tank 1/2 full to see if it leaked or anything (the toilet is removed). With the tank only 1/2 full, I saw water dripping from around the pipe to the drain valve and later noticed water coming from under the cabinet walls. So, the leak has to be in the bottom half of the tank, somewhere.

I also note in the literature that the black tank is only 10 gallons, so it must be a lot smaller than I think it is. I'll try taking the cover off that see where that gets me.

Best,

Larry
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:17 PM   #4
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Larry,

In our 1977 Model 1850 there were no sensors either and the only indication we had of the gray water being full was the water came up into the bathtub. Guess we never completely filled the black water tank as I never recall it coming up in the toilet but we did look down the toilet sometimes to see if we could see anything - gross but the only way we could tell.

KathyH
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:07 PM   #5
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Hi Kathy,

I only have a shower, so maybe they did install an overflow. If the water backed up into the shower, it's a short trip to out the door and the trailer would be impossible to move without making a mess.

I have all the original documentation including the generic manual they supplied from the factory, but don't cover any of this.

My family has had a number of motorhomes, but the tanks on those are so huge it was never an issue. I'm sure once I've fixed everything and learn the ways of this trailer, we'll have no problems.

Thanks!

Larry
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:02 PM   #6
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For anyone who's interested, or not interested but have the same problem...

I've got the holding tank about 3/4 hacked out. I'm trying to get the tank out without destroying it any. I did have to saw the elbow under the floor in half and I've ordered a strap wrench to get what's left out. Sawing the vent pipe was easy and I cut the elbow with a tree saw (abs plastic is really soft) It's looking like the tank might just come out without taking the shower out. (It's definitely coming out without taking the shower out.) Sunline left a removable cutout in the wall above the tank that looks like it's meant to get the tank out.

The tank looks like it's vacuum formed 1/4" abs with a very thin top glued on, obviously not intended to support the weight of the Throne and Royalty, but the weight was largely on it. There's a plank that runs from wall to wall, but lightly supported there and rests on the tank. Through the hole I can see at least stress marks at the tank bottom. I'm thinking this is where the leaks are, as the big elbow looks fine and is fairly well protected behind the axle.

I'll know for sure this week, but definitely I'll be improving the supports at the walls.

Larry
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:25 PM   #7
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Larry

Can you get some pics of this? Us inquiring minds need to know....

Pic's are cool.

Good luck and keep at it. You will get it.

John
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Old 09-01-2008, 10:14 PM   #8
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Hi John,

Yeah, I'll try and remember to take some picts.

I do have one question for everyone...

The black tank is spaced about 1/2" above the floor and I'm assuming there's a 3" npt for the drain pipe. I've noticed most tanks on the 'net are spigot connection. Does anyone know if this is spig or threaded? I'm thinking that it must be threaded or it would be really difficult to get the tank out, and it would explain why the tank is spaced up off the floor.

Thanks,

Larry
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:43 PM   #9
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Ok, after many attempts to "unscrew" the 3" pipe from the bottom, I've decided to take the sledge to it. Probably I'll make it a slightly bigger tank as there is a bit of room.

Bought a used air con for it today too.
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