Leaking grey tank? or what? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 06-11-2017, 06:33 PM   #1
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Leaking grey tank? or what?

Our brand new Aerolite 298RESL now has a leak the grey water tank - we KNOW it's that tank because of all the bubbly water that was dripping on the ground and the tank was totally full - even though the indicator only showed 2/3 full. Anyway - we went back to the dealer (third time in what is now a 5 month old rig) and he insisted he could not find a leak - hubby suggested he fill it to capacity and - yes - then it started leaking.

OK - we absolutely HAD to make a short trip and the dealer suggested that we just leave the grey tank open for this trip and then bring it back in afterward - this worked ok as a temporary step.

Well - one of our camper buddies suggested it might (?) not be a cracked tank but something else up near the connections. or a vent (?). Anyone have any ideas? Or do you know someone at the Dutchmen HQ that we might talk to? is there a schematic of this somewhere online?e We hate to have the dealer take everything apart - and maybe something else get's compromised - and we never find a leak in the tank - especially since it leaks ONLY when SUPER full!

Help - we welcome any and all ideas!

TexasMarci
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Old 06-11-2017, 09:17 PM   #2
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Pic shows typical connection to waste water tank. While this shows side wall, same type is used for top wall.

So the seal around drain/vent line (could be one or more top connections) could be pinched, not sealing correctly. I would suggest they look at why tank monitor is not reading full first. Yes it could be overfilling and leaking out from that. A cracked tank is possible, but unlikely. If it was 15+ years old, maybe.

I would suggest you make them fix it right.
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:28 PM   #3
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ty. tyvm

ty for the pic and info - this is helpful - yes - it will go back to the dealer - again - this week
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Old 06-12-2017, 04:30 AM   #4
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2014 Voltage 3895.

I just found this disaster today. Last day of 10 day stay at campground. Water was leaking from the forward Coroplast underbelly sheet after morning showers. The Coroplast was bulging down and full of water. I cut a small relief drain in it and drained many gallons of water.

After removing all items from the front storage compartment I saw no leaks from the bathroom drains and water lines. All was dry in the compartment below the bathroom. I then removed the rear wall and followed the black ABS bathroom grey water drain down to the top of the grey holding tank.

Disaster! I found the front bathroom grey drain pipe had completely sheered off the top to the tank. You could push it sideways and see directly down into the tank. Some water would enter the tank and some would pour outside and drain off below. Also about 18" to the drivers side the vent pipe going up was also sheered off the top of the grey tank.

I have no idea how or why this happened. I did not see any fittings. It looks like the pipes were glued into the top of the ABS grey tank. I don't have any idea how to repair it now. We go home tomorrow and I can take more time to figure it out.

Check the connections of the drain pipes to the grey holding tank. They may not be there!

Hope this helps
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:11 PM   #5
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thanks for sharing

great detective work! thanks for sharing!! - one person's problems may well help out another person with similar problems - wishing you good luck on repairs

and we have one thing to be thankful for - at least it's not the black tank!!

right?:
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Old 06-13-2017, 02:05 AM   #6
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Yes black water was my first terror thought but a quick smell test resolved it was not the black tank. At first I thought it was fresh water from the pressurized water system but after a day of watching it was clearly the grey tank. It was basically shower water from grandkids showers after an afternoon at the beach. (campground in Myrtle Beach, SC)

We are back home now and after unloading and cleaning everything up this week I will start figuring out now to fix it. I really want to know if the grey tank came loose to break both connections. The only way I know to check is to cut open the bottom coroplast and look. If it is still tight, then the repairs may be easier if I can use something like Plasti Mend Black and some ABS fittings. I may try to use a Fernco rubber fitting to give some flexibility to the pipe connection.

We will see. I will report back later with results. We have another trip planned for 6 July.
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Old 06-13-2017, 02:52 AM   #7
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Probably the most important troubleshooting step you can take is to remove the belly cover completely under the grey water tank.

I've gone it by first cutting a square section out so I could get a feel for where I was. Then figure out, by sticking your head and a flashlight up in there and figure out the dimensions of the grey water tank. If you're wanting to minimize the cut out...do your best to figure out where you think the corners are, then drill a 3/8" hole...carefully...just through the belly sheeting. Then stick about a 6" x 3/8" bolt up through the holes..and look again and see if you're at the corners. Adjust as needed and then use a razor knife to cut the sheeting and drop the section out.

Now you can get a good look at the situation, take pics, and if you want ask for suggestions on what others have done to rectify a similar situation.

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Old 06-13-2017, 03:02 AM   #8
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Pirate,

Thanks for your reply. Was just reading some of your posts on other topics. I have been in the holding tank area underneath before for the black valve cable replacement that everyone has to do. I will just reopen the coroplast in the same spot and go from there.

I am also looking at adding the boost pump to the generator fuel line. My 5.5 generator sound like the RPM is on a sine wave and it stops sometimes around 2-3 am. Always starts but I think after reading your post it may be a fuel draw problem.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 06-13-2017, 04:51 AM   #9
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rcpilot,

Anytime, that's what we're here for...to be helpful!!

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Old 06-13-2017, 01:58 PM   #10
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As shown in first pic these pipes connect to tank with just a rubber seal. Based on what you described the problem, I would suggest a riser pipe clamp. This will keep down pipe in correct location. If needed you could then clamp/secure the riser clamp.

Pic is general construction. Should help visualize how it works.
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Old 07-02-2017, 01:36 AM   #11
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I now have my repairs complete. It was DIY after calling around the region to get estimates and wait times.

First I found both the grey water 1.5" drain line and vent line were broken off. I checked and also found the 1.5" black tank vent broken off also.

I cut the bottom open and found the tanks solidly mounted and they had not moved. I think the vibration from driving was what broke the thin ABS fittings off. It was thin and brittle like egg shells.

I determined that the tanks were not ABS. They were not affected by any solvent. I think they are black poly. After discussing repair plans with several people and a service manager of a large RV dealership my plan was this.

Cut out the existing fitting
Replace with another PVC fitting attached with JB weld
Reconnect pipes with a rubber Fernco style coupling.

Its all done now and no leaks. First road trip is next week. We will see how it handles the drive.

Photos attached below.
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Old 07-02-2017, 02:15 AM   #12
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A 2" hole saw was used to cut out the old broken ABS fitting. Fishing it out of the tank was much fun. The area was scuffed with a Dremel tool and Perma Grit grinding disc. Then cleaned with lacquer thinner. Then the PVC fitting was glued into the tank with JB weld and left to cure.
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Old 07-02-2017, 02:18 AM   #13
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The grey vent line fitted and then coupled with the rubber coupler
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Old 07-02-2017, 02:19 AM   #14
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Grey drain pipe fitted and coupled the same way.
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Old 07-02-2017, 02:23 AM   #15
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Black main drain and vent in back ground. Very tight space to work in. Grey drain pipe and vent. All repairs were made laying on stomach in front storage compartment.
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Old 07-02-2017, 02:28 AM   #16
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Bottom coro plast stitched up with black zip ties. Then sealed with black RTV silicon sealant. I found this stuff to be quite strong when trying to open the bottom from my last repair. I could not get it to part so I just recut a new seam and then repaired it again.

Hope this may help someone else having to make similar repairs.
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Old 07-02-2017, 11:34 AM   #17
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Great repair and good information.
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:24 AM   #18
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RCPILOT, thank you for posting this, we just bought a 2015 3970 for full time living and after first week living in it found the underbelly full of water. Sounds like your exact situation. Question, did you take out the side wall of the outside storage compartment to access all these pipes? Looking from below I can tell the water is coming from the top of the tank, so I thought I was going to have to remove the steel angles supporting the tank to get to the top, but you seem to have found a better access point. If not the sidewalls how did you get to the top of the tank?

Also, I'm pretty sure the rear tank is doing the same thing as I see water leaking from the back under the kitchen as well. Any ideas on accessing that 2nd gray tank?

Thanks.
Lou

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Old 09-12-2017, 03:47 AM   #19
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Lou,

Sorry for the delayed reply. We have been dealing with Irma rain and wind here in SC.

Yes I removed the front storage compartment rear wall. My V3895 transfer switch failed early and I got into the back wall of the storage compartment to replace it. At that time I relocated the central vac system installed right in the middle of the storage compartment to under the stairs to clear out the storage area. In the process I made the felt covered wall cover easy to remove with a few screws.

In my V3895 when you remove the back wall cover inside the compartment you have access to all the drain and vent pipes for grey and black tanks plus a lot of other stuff. Its cramped but you can get to it.

I think the problem is the thin wall ABS pipe fittings use by the factory to attach the pipes to the top of the tanks. Movement and vibration caused them to break off. ABS is brittle anyway.

My repairs are holding up nice so far. The tanks definitely are not ABS like it first thought. They are black poly so getting something to stick is the key. The RV service ice manager I got the tips from said use JB Weld, lots of it. I used a tube set for each fitting. I sanded and scuffed the PVC fittings and poly tank surfaces to give it more grip on the JB Weld. I really don't think the JB Weld bonds to the poly or PVC very well but it forms a firm grip between the parts and works pretty well if you rough up, clean, and dry the surfaces.

Good luck on your repairs. Its not easy to work in the compartment but you can do it. I put a fan in the door to help keep cool inside. Let us know how it works.

Gary
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:39 PM   #20
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Response to RC Pilot

RC Pilot must have sent a private message but I cannot answer it while on the road - anyway - we were committed to this trip so hubby put 3/4 inch plywood over the squishy spot and - although I keep tripping over it - it will get us through this trip. Our rig is still under warranty - thank goodness - only 6 months old now - and we have alerted the dealer that it is coming back to him at the end of the month. We will see how this goes..........

by the way - they accessed the gray tank by taking out the shower and getting to it that way - we were not there when this happened so don't have pictures - but then they had to put it all back together and we picked it up in early August and since it's too hot in Texas to travel in August, we had it parked in our back field until time to pack it for this trip - that is when we found the soft spots and a couple other things -including a badly scratched up bathroom sink which must have served as a tool bucket while the bathroom work was happening.............oh well.......stay tuned!!
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