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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Grey tank ABS pipe leak

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frisco_dave

Frisco, TX

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Posted: 12/05/21 02:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

On my last camping trip, noticed a small wet spot under the trailer as we were about to pull out and leave. Turns out- a hairline crack in the grey tank ABS pipe leaving the grey tank.

The crack has gotten large enough that I believe I need to cut the pipe and try to patch with a rubber coupling, as opposed to some sort of jb weld solution. Question is- how to approach that? I'd like to cut the pipe flush with the collar, and have a rubber coupling (a Fernco coupling perhaps) go over the collar on one end, and then into the 1.5" abs pipe on the other end, but- I'm not sure what size the rubber coupling needs to be to fit over the collar...if it's even made in that size.

Or- other suggestions on how I should approach a fix?

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ktmrfs

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Posted: 12/05/21 03:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

first question. Why did it crack? if it is a stress crack you want to make sure the repair fixes that.
Next, not clear from the picture, but is the fitting a rubber donut of some sort into the tank? If so that would make removal and repair easier


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frisco_dave

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Posted: 12/05/21 03:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Trailer is a KZ Coyote, 10 years old. I think over time, the bumpy roads have just done it in. The last trip we took, while the highway was paved, there were a lot of dips in the road, which I suspect pushed it over the edge.

I believe the "collar" right after the pipe to be plastic, but to your point- I just don't know what pieces have been spin welded into the grey tank. To me, the "collar" almost seems like part of the 1.5" abs pipe, but- if that's "glued" onto the other pieces at the right, then probably not getting it off. Hence, my thought of cutting if flush at the collar, and then use some sort of rubber coupling over the collar

time2roll

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Posted: 12/05/21 03:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My first inclination would be to use Plasti-Mend ABS solvent to seal the leak. Although that crack is a concern.

Yes I could see using a step down coupling to attach that first step to the pipe after cutting it back. Could be hard to get the size right depending on that fitting. If something fits then it should be a slam dunk.


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Darklock

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Posted: 12/05/21 03:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you do just use a solvent to seal the crack, first drill small holes at the ends of the crack to keep it from growing.

StarkNaked

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Posted: 12/05/21 08:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would try your suggestion for a Fernco coupling. They come in hundreds of sizes and styles.

You might also look at how you can better support the pipe to reduce movement.

ssthrd

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Posted: 12/05/21 08:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Home Depot has "Mission" couplings that have rubber bushings made to reduce one end. you will need to get an accurate OD on the large end to know what size coupling to get.

They might also have a slip on ABS reducer to go from 3" or whatever size you get when you measure the OD to 1 ½" at the small end. They just glue on. you would need some slack on the 1 ½" to get it together. Short of replacing the whole pipe, the second option would be my choice.

I wonder if the tank looks like the pipe...... just saying.

EDIT:
My bad. You would need either an eccentric coupling to fix as is, or have the ability to raise the 1½" to use a concentric coupling. Second option would leave ¾" of grey water in the tank.


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JBarca

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Posted: 12/05/21 10:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

frisco_dave wrote:

Trailer is a KZ Coyote, 10 years old. I think over time, the bumpy roads have just done it in. The last trip we took, while the highway was paved, there were a lot of dips in the road, which I suspect pushed it over the edge.



Hi,

This may help.

The 10 years old does ring a bell for cracks, but there are reasons they crack. And the reason should be addressed along with the crack repair.

I'm not sure if you are the original owner of the camper or just bought it a few years ago. I have seen and repaired 3 campers for friends with similar cracks. While the piping setup is not identical to all 3 of them, they all had the same problem.

Look at your setup for this and see if this makes sense to your camper. The one pic of the crack does not show the whole setup of the tank mounting and the piping to the dump valves.

How is the 1 1/2" pipe run from the grey tank to the dump valve routed?

Your crack is on the bottom of the pipe. That points to the highest stress ends up concentrating on the bottom of the weakest joint. Right where it cracked. The tank and piping had to have stress at the bottom for it to crack there.

Do you ever tow with water filled in the tank at highway speeds? Naturally you drive in camp with full tanks to the dump station, but that is slow, not doing 50 - 55mph or faster on the highway/back roads over bumps.

What I found on the 3 I corrected, was age of the camper was in the 10 to 15 year mark. The pipe routing was very rigid between the exit of the tank to the dump valve. Often there was one or two elbows in the 1 1/2" drain piping and the 1 1/2" pipe was rigidly mounted. The actual grey tank hung from the bottom of the camper. The bottom of the tank had no supports under it as they hung from flanges on the top of the tank off the bottom of the camper.

As the tank fills, the bottom of the tank bellows outward and downward. That bellowing moves the outlet fitting of the tank in relation to the dump piping. There is no flex in the piping as it was mounted rigid. Something has to give and the weakest joint gets the stress. Over time that stress creates a crack and more movement just keeps ripping the pipe apart. If you tow at highway speeds with water in the tank, the issue is very aggravated and can happen quicker. Even in the campground, a full tank is breathing and the tank is bellowing. There is stress on the piping from the bellowing.

How I fixed all 3 of the campers. The crack was ground deep to allow for a ABS solvent weld repair for close to full pipe wall thickness with fiberglass screen mesh in-between 3 layers. 24 hour cure time between each layer. This repaired the cracks as the weak point was the joint to the tank, not out from the tank like yours.

Then, I cut the discharge pipe in 2 places, removed 1/8" of the saw joint at each cut and put 2, 1 1/2" Fernco coupling fittings in the discharge line. Each camper was slightly different routing to the dump valves, but the need was to allow the 1 1/2" pipe to flex in 2 directions when the tank stress would build. The rigid pipe hangers where changed to be pipe strap that would create a positive down stop, but yet allow the pipe to breath and flex at the 2 Ferncos.

In your case, creating the rubber joint at the crack is good if you can get the Fernco to seal and have the right sizes. If this will not work, then repair the crack as I noted above and install Fernco's down stream of the repair to get the stress off that location. Even if you have 1 Fernco at the crack joint, look to add a second down stream to allow the pipe to flex more when the tank bottom bellows out. To see the bellowing, look at the tank bottom empty. Then fill it full and look again. You will see it, the tank outlet fitting is moving during this bellowing.

I have pictures of all this if interested, just ask.

Hope this helps.

John


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mobeewan

Hampton, Va

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Posted: 12/06/21 01:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cut the pipe off between the crack and the fitting. Use a 1-1/2 inch socket saver to rebore the fitting to accept a new piece of ABS pipe. Cut away a short section of the existing piece of 1-1/2 inch ABS pipe to allow installation of the pipe into the rebored fitting and using a new ABS coupling between the 2 sections of ABS pipe. Worst case the cut off pipe section might be too short. If so you will need a piece of ABS pipe to cut to length.

Home depot has the socket saver available on line.
1-1/2 inch socket saver

I checked online and the Lowe's in East Plano has 1-1/2 ABS couplings and 1-1/2 ABS pipe in stock. It appears none of the Lowe's in your area have the socket saver and it is not available from Lowe's online.

* This post was edited 12/06/21 01:31am by mobeewan *

frisco_dave

Frisco, TX

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Posted: 12/06/21 03:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent!! Knew you guys would come through with a lot of good ideas. Knew what I kinda wanted to do, but just am not that familiar with abs plumbing options, and youtube was really of no help for my specific issue.

@time2roll- initially had thought of using a "plastimend" type solution, but I had concerns with the length of the crack, and all the jostling that would still take place. I'd probably be right back to square 1 again in 6 mths - 1 yr.

@JBarca- you are right on!! The pipe is routed into an elbow on the outside of the pic, and- going on memory here- think that then routes into another elbow, and then into the drain dump valve. I do know that the metal "hangers" do come down from the top. Just can't remember if they wrap underneath the grey tank, and- if the grey tank is also sitting on a crossbar of the metal frame. I'll need to look next time I'm out, and if as you say- will need to work on supporting it more. And I'm right with you on the fernco and flexability- that's also why I kinda prefer this solution at least somewhere along that pipe. And- never travel with the grey/black tanks full. Always dump before we leave. I do, however, travel with about 1/4 tank of freshwater, so that we can effectively have use of water if needed.

After more research around the fernco and sizes, learned you have "pipe" inputs and "hub" inputs, and this may do the trick- one end fits a 1 1/2" "hub" (this would be what I call the collar), and the other end fits a 1 1/2" pipe:

HomeDepot Fernco 1 1/2"

Here was the quick video that turned the light bulb on for me around "oh- they also have "hub" ends and "pipe" ends for fernco". Some of you know this already. Again...I'm a noob for abs plumbing and what all the different options are :-)

The Hub and Pipe Concept for Fernco

@mobeewan- holy cow dude- you see my city, then go the extra mile of looking up local home depot/lowes to see what's in stock- love it!! Didn't even know there was such a thing as the socket saver- so- this is fantastic! If I cut the pipe, and the fernco doesn't fit, and/or I learn more once I cut it and can peer into the hole, the socket saver is a great fallback option and would, on paper, seem like a perfect solution. If this thing works, I think the ideal solution may be to fit another pipe into the grey tank opening, then use a rubber coupling to attach to the rest of the pipe run before the elbow. This way, it does exactly what JBarca said- gives that pipe run some movement flexibility instead of being extra rigid.

@ssthrd- will look into. Could be a very viable option also.

Again- thanks all. Gives me some definite concrete options to go on. More than I had when I posted.

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