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Old 06-08-2017, 05:18 PM   #1
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Toilet to Black Tank Connection - Need help

Hi Folks,

Need some help on my 2004 T1950. I have never had one of these apart and looking for info on how to pull the toilet flange from the black tank. It looks like the flange is ABS welded to a spout pipe that goes into the tank. There does not appear to have any welded fitting on the bottom of the pipe as seen from the inside of the pipe.

Does the tank have a rubber grommet connection that the pipe just sticks into the tank through the grommet?

I tried lifting the flange with 2 screw drivers under it and everything sort of flexed but no movement. I did not want to pull any harder until I knew more how this goes together.

Is there a trick to pulling on the flange to get it to release?

The floor under the bathroom is bad and needs to be replaced. Thus the toilet flange and black tank have to come out.

Any help, greatly appreciated.

Thanks

John

Here is the flange setup.






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Old 06-08-2017, 06:10 PM   #2
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I watched a YouTube video a couple of days ago where someone was replacing the black tank in a vintage trailer.
This was a series called Mark's RV Garage where he is restoring an old Yellowstone camper.
The new tank came with no holes in the top.
He drilled the toilet hole and then there was a rubber flange or what looked like a grommet.
He put silicone in the grommet grove and pried it into the tank.
The toilet pipe would side into the center of the grommet.
I went away with the assumption that they were all built this way.
https://youtu.be/2ABq0et2wvk


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Old 06-08-2017, 06:11 PM   #3
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https://youtu.be/2ABq0et2wvk


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Old 06-08-2017, 06:12 PM   #4
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This video shows how a new tank is installed with the grommet.


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Old 06-08-2017, 07:58 PM   #5
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JohnB,
From what I can see it looks like black ABS cement I'm seeing in your photo looking into the flange.

May I subject taking a machinist/mechanics telescoping mirror and looking back up under the flange/pipe (which is looking from inside the tank) to see if you can see a grommet flange or just a smooth pipe ID. This may give a clue as to whether you have a grommet or the flange is glued to a fitting on the tank.

The video is interesting. Three things stand out that I would like to make a comment on. 1) he used clear ABS cement, which is ok, however, black was in my day more commonly used. 2) When gluing make at least a 1/4 turn and then back (which he did) but hold the glued parts together for a few moments as the glue pressure can tend to push the parts back apart and it is generally best to be fully seated. 3) The black ABS pipe is for drain and venting, yet he chose what look like schedule 40 PVC pipe as his vent. Why? color, being that it was exposed and not in a chase?
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for that link John. Much appreciated. Mark Polk, yes I know of him, a well respected guy in the RV world.

It seems there are at least 2 different ways to connect the toilet pipe/flange, The rubber grommet like Mark did and then ones that screw in. I cannot see any evidence of threads. And the pipe into the tank sure looked like solvent welded into the floor flange. There is a little melted glue/plastic up top and the ID of the pipe into the tank is straight bore pipe with no indentations of anything. Just pipe.

This may well be the rubber grommet setup. That pipe is really tight in the tank. The rubber may have hardened up some and binding the pipe so it will not budge. Hoping someone has been through this before in how to get it loose.

I do have to drop the tank too, and the vent pipe is there are well. I "thought" the vent pipe had the rubber grommet style fitting. I will come to this next on how to get the vent pipe out.

I did think of something when reading your note. I have an inspection camera, a bore scope, and I can go up in the tank through the dump valve and look at the toilet pipe and see what the tank connection looks like. If it is rubber, then how to spray silicone or something on the rubber to help release it is a thought but how to get it in the right place is still an unknown.

Thanks for the help. It is good to have a sounding board to make me think more on it.

Thanks

John
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Old 06-08-2017, 08:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunjin View Post
JohnB,
From what I can see it looks like black ABS cement I'm seeing in your photo looking into the flange.

May I subject taking a machinist/mechanics telescoping mirror and looking back up under the flange/pipe (which is looking from inside the tank) to see if you can see a grommet flange or just a smooth pipe ID. This may give a clue as to whether you have a grommet or the flange is glued to a fitting on the tank.
Hi bunjin,

I will try my inspection camera tomorrow to help the search. It was late in the day today when I made it to the toilet and I hit that brick wall fast...

Yes, it does look like ABS cement on top. This helps support the rubber grommet in the tank thought. Using a flash light down the pipe I do not see anything that looks like the pipe is in a fitting on the ID of the pipe on top of the tank. It is like it is just cut off. Again that supports the rubber grommet theory.

On gluing up the fittings, thank you. Yes I know about the push back effect and the 1/4 turn 2 ways. On Mark's video, I missed he used the other PVC cement. Good eye!. And I didn't notice until now the PVC pipe?? It will work but why change from ABS? I'm sure he may have had a reason, just not obvious to us.

I'll report back tomorrow on my findings.

Thanks

John
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Old 06-08-2017, 08:34 PM   #8
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I knew you had the resources for looking back up the pipe to see what it looks like.

It may be a stretch but is it by chance possible to wick a lubricant under the flange (once determining it is a grommet)? ABS onto ABS (pipe to socket/fitting) can lock up almost as if it were glued as I'm sure you know.

I guess worst comes to worst is sacrificing the flange fitting?

Good luck and as usual you are doing a fantastic job of documenting. Most appreciated for the time, effort and sharing.

Lynn

P.S. We should have a section called: "The Adventures of JohnB"!
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Old 06-09-2017, 08:26 AM   #9
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In talking with Home Depot guy that works in the plumbing department. He told me ABS is being phased out and soon be off the market. Something about the amount of oil used in ABS.
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Old 06-09-2017, 06:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim44646 View Post
In talking with Home Depot guy that works in the plumbing department. He told me ABS is being phased out and soon be off the market. Something about the amount of oil used in ABS.
Thanks for the update Jim. H'mm wonder if the RV suppliers will change or not. There is a lot of ABS in the RV world and repair parts are still needed.

Valtera and all the other dump valve etc manufactures may be affected too.

Time will tell.

Thanks

John
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Old 06-09-2017, 07:39 PM   #11
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Today was successful on the toilet flange front.

I hooked up the inspection camera borescope and went into the black tank. One good thing about the camper last being used in 2010 was, they cleaned out the black tank before putting it in storage and it was for sure dry inside. Some dirt, but no moisture.

Here is the camera work.

John having a sit down doing a probe job on the black tank...


Nice thing about this camera, the display can be remote. It uses a wireless connection to the monitor. It can be on the power handle or by itself.

And if you are wondered what it looks like looking up from the tank into the camper? See here. NOTE: The time and date are off on the borescope. I never made it to updating it.


Amazing this camera can see that far away well. But close up in the tank, it is hard to get it to focus as you are so close to things. But it did what I needed it to.

Here is the toilet flange inside the tank. Ah ha! Threads! OK I can make this work, I think.


While I had everything all hooked up, I needed to find out how the black tank vent pipe connected to the tank. Here I had "thought" they used the rubber grommet. It does not appear that way. It appears they glued the vent pipe into the tank with no fitting. At least from what is inside the tank. Will know more when I drop the black tank.

Fishing around with the stiff flexible camera cable was not easy. I had to add a cable extension so I could go into the tank deeper. And I had to go on the roof and measure the vent pipe in order to figure out where in the tank to start looking. I tried before I measured and came up dry, could not find anything. After not finding anything, I used the vent pipe dimensions and found an approx area. I used a flash light and looked in the tank by eye and saw one corner of the vent pipe. That and the dimensions allowed me to find the vent with the camera.

Once I found the right area, I put a flash light in the top of the pipe on the roof to shine down so I could look for the light. This helped.

Here are some numbers on the top inside of the tank left over from manufacturing. Have no idea what 143 is for


Here is the top edge of the tank. I needed to use that seam to follow it down the tank.


The middle of the tank was a big blur. See here


Globs of ABS glue squirted in the tank from bonding the top on. These tanks I believe are thermoformed as an open top and then a top lid bonded on.


And the flash light shinning down the vent pipe


And the side of the vent pipe in the tank. It looks like the vent pipe is welded in the tank directly. Will know for sure when we take the tank down.


This camera work took over an hour. The toilet flange went quick, 10 minutes, but the tank vent was searching in the dark with a head light on... but we got er done.

So with this, I had a preconceived notion that 3" threaded fitting on the toilet flange was going to be a bugger to get out. I did not want to damage the toilet flange so I stopped and made a spanner wrench to be able to turn the flange on all 4 bolt slots at once. It took be an hour to make the tool but it worked great!

The spanner wrench. The top side I can put a large socket on. I made this up of left over steel and a large bolt I had laying around.


The bottom with 4 bolts sticking out as pins. I can adjust the depth of the pins and needed too. The toilet flange was not flat.


The wrench on top of the floor flange
The flange itself showing the 4 bolt slots the spanner works on




And the tool in action.


Within 30 seconds after this, the flange was out. Yeh! I thought for sure this was going to come out hard.


Here is the flange and pipe


They used ABS glue and screwed a pipe nipple into the flange. This is why we saw cement on the top of the flange. I think they wanted the pipe to be part of the flange and insure the pipe would come out of the tank.


Here is the female thread flange welded in the tank


So this is how the toilet flange connects to the black tank on a 2004 camper.

Thanks

John
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Old 06-09-2017, 10:44 PM   #12
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Good job,

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Old 06-10-2017, 05:23 PM   #13
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Yep mine was screwed in too. I did not have an issue but when i redid the camper I turned the flange so my knees were not against the cabinet when I used the john. be sure to use a RV seal the standard toilet wax rings will not last in a RV because of the heat.
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Old 06-16-2017, 02:04 PM   #14
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Yep, my '98 was screwed in like this too. I didn't have to unscrew it- the connecting pipe was broken off at the flange. Bought a new connecting pipe and flange and reassembled.
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