Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Holding Tank Valves

Needless to say, properly operating holding tank valves can sure keep your life pleasant. Here are some tips for routine maintenance and trouble-shooting.

Routine Maintenance
The most common problem is that the slide valves become harder to operate. In extreme cases, the handle has been know to pull completely off. To prevent this, a little lubrication will be a big help. Before lubricating, a good cleaning of the valves is recommended. Naturally you want to have dumped and flushed your tanks before doing this.
- Use a small brush with relatively stiff bristles (an old toothbrush can work) and a little Simple Green; pour a bit right onto the brush. Scrub out the rubber valve "slot" and outlet. Close the blade part way (open and close the blade to get to as much as possible) and scrub the leading edge, top and bottom, as far as you can and the brush can reach; a shop rag works well for the areas that the brush can't get to. In any event reach around to get the back side of that blade as best as you can. After the blade and the slot are cleaned, rinse and dry off with a shop rag.
- Once cleaned, you can lubricate the mechanism. Although the Lazy Daze manual recommends the use of Vaseline, most folks advise against it, saying that it attracts dirt and gunks up. Silicone spray seems to the lubricant of choice. You can also put a few drops of lubricant on the valve stem. [I have used Vaseline since KoKo was born. I have no negatives to say about it. And do coat the stem a little]
- To make lubricating a little easier, you can drill a small hole just above the handle into which the lubricant spray tube will fit. When not in use, put a small screw in the hole to seal it.
- One fellow went so far as to install a zerk fitting through which he does the lubricating.

Replacing Valve Assembly
So all your efforts have failed and you find yourself with the task of replacing the valve assembly.
1. Make sure you have a new valve (available at any RV store). When replacing the valve, be sure to get the metal handle model and not the plastic one.

2. Drain both tanks. Be sure to flush the tanks thoroughly; it will make for a cleaner job.

3. Remove the four bolts/nuts holding the old valve to be replaced.

4. Remove the old valve.

5. Clean the mounting surfaces thoroughly.

6. Lubricate the mounting surfaces with Vaseline, silicone lubricant or Gly (a clear grease available at Marine Stores).

7. Install the new valve in place and re-insert the bolts and nuts after lubricating them. You might consider replacing the bolts with stainless steel ones, to prevent rust and to make future removal easier.

8. Tighten the nuts gradually and equally so as not to warp the valve seating.

9. Put water in the tank and checks for leaks.

10. No leaks?  You're done! Wash your hands and have a cool-one.
Contributors: Joan, Jim C, Joe Hamm, Walt Williams, WxToad
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