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Need Black Tank Advice

Ron Jones

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Need some advice…
On Thursday, wife was cleaning the flush valve in the toilet (flat valve in bottom that opens/closes by sliding horizontally) in preparation of lubricating it (Thetford told us to apply Vaseline to it). We have had this toilet in the coach for just over three years. It is a Thetford Aria Deluxe II. She has cleaned it using a small toothbrush and lubricated it several times.

She dropped the small toothbrush into the black tank. That tank was about half full - about 30 gallons in it.

Since it was Friday afternoon, I got through to NIRVC (they are local) and they suggested we first detach our Sanicon (We have the “600 Turbo” - it’s powerful and rated to pump at 40 gal per minute!!!)

They then suggested we simply try to dump the black tank using a normal “stinky slinky” and HOPE the toothbrush came out. They suggested that IF the toothbrush got “crossways,” stuff would likely stop dumping and build up behind it. So this was something to sort of “listen and watch for” while dumping traditionally.

A guy from the RV Park helped and we did just that… Unhooked the Sanicon, dumped the black using a traditional sewer hose, did a “black tank flush” with the built in spray, then opened both blade valves and let grey water flood in the black tank, and finally dump it, too.

So now, we have empty tanks and until we turn ON that Sanicon switch, we will not know if the dumping attempt was successful (did the toothbrush come out). However, IF that toothbrush hits that Sanicon, I'm guessing that is about a $700.00 “fix.”

Question... does anyone have any suggestions that we might try?



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Do you have a similar tooth brush, if so see if it floats.  If it does fill the black tank with almost full and tilt the coach to the drivers side and see if you can see the tooth brush floating around.  Rocking the coach a little will help move the water around and give you a better chance at see the tooth brush, if it does float. 

Thetford does make a seal lube that I started using a couple years ago, put a little in the toilet and move the blade back and forth.  It seems to help.  I have had to remove my toilet a couplet time and use lithium grease on the worm type drive that controls the blade. 

Good Luck

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This comes up periodically and the answer is usually the same. IF something unwanted ends up in the black tank, do not simply use the stinky slinky and hope for the best. The proper way is to employ a section of clear tubing so you can SEE what's coming through. Unless, of course you dump into a 55 gal drum and fish around in it for your unwanted object.  Since you've already dumped and don't really know what you've dumped, I'd leave the sanicon removed for the time being. Using your flusher fill the tank as much as possible. If the toothbrush floats, some do, some don't, it'll float to the top. Use a flashlight or a endoscope to look for it. Endoscopes are cheap, Amazon  then empty using the stinky slinky with a clear section. Another option is to place a piece of screen across the end of the slinky. Since you've already emptied the tank you shouldn't have too many solids to contend with. I realize it's a cra@@y job, but someone has to do it. I'd run several fills through and then reinstall the sanicon and hope for the best.....Dennis

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