Dump Valve Failure
Q: My RV is a 2003 Trail Lite fifth-wheel 5260. Due to the cold weather we have here in Ontario, all water systems were winterized prior to winter storage. When overhauling the unit this spring I found that both waste valves seem to be stuck in a permanent open position. When flushing the tanks I opened the 3-inch retainer cap to connect the discharge hose and even though both valves were in the closed position all the water from both tanks came out. When winterized in the fall the valves were fine. I have access hatches that were installed previously and when I checked the valves I could see nothing obviously wrong. The cable system seemed to be operating the slides properly. To take the valves out to check further would be very difficult as they are in a very confined space. I think it would be easier to install a macerator system. Could I do this and leave both valves as they are in the open position or would this put too much pressure on the pump and cause leakage on the macerator pump? I was thinking of leaving the drainage cap locked in a permanent position. If you believe this is an option, what macerator unit would be a good fit?
Del Mitton, Ontario, Canada
A: All of the aftermarket macerators for sale today have adapters, such as elbows and extenders, to make them fit most any RV. We don’t have a complete blueprint file of every RV model on hand so we can’t specifically address the configuration of your trailer. An inquiry with your local RV parts supplier, or online, will answer that question.
It may call for some work, but you should get in to check on the status of your dump valves. If you install a macerator, you will not want to have the waste fluids in contact with the macerator hardware 24/7. The unit’s instructions will explain more about that. Having both valves open all the time also means the black and grey tanks would be connected; for a variety of health reasons you absolutely do not want them joined.
It’s entirely possible that your valve blades became stuck in the open position while the trailer was in winter storage. When you tried to close them by pushing on the control handles, some part of the attachment between the cables and valves probably came loose rather than moving the valve blades. Get in there, loosen the blades, and when prepping for storage next time, be sure to use approved antifreeze with valve blade lubricant included.
– Jeff Johnson