In speaking with folks that had failures, it appears that some of the things we expect to prevent failures may make them more likely. One that has come up a few times is careful flushing of the tanks with clean water, which sounds very good, and is, most of the time. What we found with ours is that is if we flush very well, close the valves, and then add a bit of water with digester to the tank (normal procedure most use), the pump is more likely to get some buildup on it. The reason is that when you are finished pumping out, there is air in the piping to the pump, after the valve. You close the valve, and any areas with air can dry out and cause problems. There is only clean water there also, if you have flushed, so no residue will be digested because of no treatment in the water. We still flush whenever we can, but put a bit more water and digester into the tank, and then open the black water valve to let water with concentrated digester in it to fill piping and pump areas. Close the valve and you have the piping and pump setup so they can't dry out, and any remaining "stuff" will be digesting.
SkipJ: To paraphrase Roadtrek's response (and this was mentioned by another poster earlier) before each use of the macerator pump, push in and turn the manual rod. Also, Roadtrek states that the entire water system should be drained and flushed to prevent scale/mineral build up. They further state that you should never leave water stand in the unit unless you are using the water every day. Also recommended is adding about a cup of mineral oil down the sink or shower drain after emptying the black/gray tank(s), adding a cup of hot water to aid getting the oil down to the tanks. After inserting the oil, open the gray (in my case it's black/gray) gate valve for just a second, then close it. With the water and oil that passed the gate valve, now push the macerator for less than a second (just hearing the pump turn on, then let go) This is recommended just before storing the unit or if you are not going to use the unit for a week or two.
I generally have tried to keep the van ready to go, and have not been draining the water system after every trip, although I clean/flush the system several times each year (I have been able to park in a heated garage). Guess I will be doing that in the future, so spontaneous trips will now require a bit more planning.
Interesting what they had to say, and so very different from what we have found works best. I do wonder how you can leave the unit without water in it, as it will not pump totally dry, and you aren't supposed to run it when it is not pumping continuosly, so you would have to leave some water in the unit to evaporate and leave its debris.
Booster, I like your idea of opening the gate valve after you have added clean water and digester so it gets into the pump and pipes. I will keep you all posted as this adventure progresses. This has been a very steep learning curve on macerators for me!
When our RT was "new" to us, we've owned it for 3 years now, our macerator pump wouldn't run...blown fuse. Shortly there after, the pump died. It was original to the unit in '04. It lasted 6 years, which we were told is a normal life expectancy. Replaced it with a new one. 15 months later the new one was not working properly, not much suction and no high pitch whining when emptying tank. We contacted Flojet and they said it was the impellers and they could be replaced. They asked if we were running the pump dry. Didn't think so at the time. We contacted a couple of RV places, and they all suggested to replace the entire unit, so we did. One place said they would be willing to take it a part, but if it wasn't the impellars, we would be charged for extra labor. The cost to replace it was a better option for us. We asked for the old one back. Upon taking it apart, we discovered it was the impellars. They were ground down to almost nothing. We now have a spare pump. We believe that when we thought the tank was empty, we would stop, wait a few seconds and run it again. We would do this several times to make sure it was empty, unaware we were running it "dry". Now we pump until we here the whine, wait a few seconds, and run for just a second. That may not be wise either, time will tell. It'll be a year since we replaced it. We accept blame if we were running it dry, unknowingly. It only makes sense, since the first one lasted 6 years.
Jim & Darlene
Ewok our Llasa...Pickles our Shorkie Tzu
2004 Roadtrek Chevy 190 Popular (aka..Roada)
Wisconsin Dells...Water park capital of the world
On my portable macerator, I had a clear adapter that I attached just before the pump, I could watch and shut it down as soon as it was empty. This would also allow me to see when my tanks were clean. I know that wouldn't work for the installed ones, but I wonder if a clear piece of hose could be adapted, with male/ female ends, and used between the pump, and the hose. Just a thought, I have not see the RT installed ones in action, so this may not work at all.
It would be possible to replace it with a clear hose to the point where it comes into the storage box, but it wouldn't work for the hose used to pull out. You can tell by the noise of the pump and how the hose does a little dance when it is emptied. The instructions on "don't run it dry" wasn't really clear what they meant by that.
Interesting thread as well as discouraging. I've noticed the pump at the end of pumping will deliver spurts of water, so after a time or two of that I shut it down. Is this incorrect? The "no paper" is easy enough to comply with but the design sure begs for improvement it seems. How do the other B's get away with a gravity system that was mentioned?