Nina Vs The RV Tank Valves – A Gripping Tale Of Plumbing Mastery….
I’m sure all you dedicated blog readers have been dying to know about my latest adventures -> Have I found a swimsuit? Did I have a wardrobe malfunction in the hot tub? Has the RV survived my repair job? These are indeed fascinating and complex topics which require lengthy and deep mediation so I can present them “just so”. Although I’m certain the swimsuit question is the top of everybody’s “want to know” list, I’m actually going to do an about-switch and give you the story of the RV repair instead.
Now believe it or not despite my inherent clumsiness, complete lack of directional sense and natural blondness I am actually a very handy woman. For a year during my student days I worked part-time in a machine shop building a massive (15 by 15 by 30 foot) metal and brass art installation so I can both drill, CNC, weld and turn a lathe. Letting Nina-the-tasmanian-devil loose in the shop always seemed to scare the bejesus out of everyone else, and I would consistently come out looking like a coal miner, but oh, how I loved it. In the RV I actually do much of the “handy” stuff and would happily do more if I knew anything about it…which I don’t…which naturally doesn’t stop me..
So yesterday I decided it was time to tackle the tank valves. Now, we’ve had a small leak from our black tank valve for some time. For those of who you are blissfully unaware of what I’m talking about, our black tank is the handy container that captures all the fun stuff coming from toilet and the valves are the things you pull so the sh*t comes out…more or less exactly. Having a black tank leak is, as you can imagine, unsettling to the home in a rather smelly way.
So I gathered my tools, headed out the back and started flushing & draining the tanks to prepare for my little “operation”. As I was hanging by the wet bay the lady next door eyed me curiously
“What are you doing dear?” she asked, surprised to see me on the “dark side” of the RV
“I’m going to change out our tank valves” I said with a giddy smile on my face
“Oh…..” replied the lady, obviously at a total loss for words
At that point she must have gone in to talk to her husband about the “crazy woman who obviously needs help” as no more than 2 minutes later the man came out to see for himself…
“What are you doing?” has asked, seemingly not having believed his wife
“Well, still planning to change out the tank valves” I repeated happily
“Errmmm, I see” he replied, clearly a little uncomfortable “isn’t your husband here?”
“Nope, anyway it’s more fun if I do it myself” I chirped
“Ermmmm” he manged to repeat, not quite knowing how to respond “well, if you need any help I am right here. Any help at all” he added, to make the point clear
At this point the neighbors took out their chairs, poured some icy drinks and posted themselves rather conspicuously outside their RV to watch the show. Oh, this was going to be good…..
Undaunted by my new audience I attacked the project with rigor. Now I admit that tackling the tanks are not something every woman would enjoy, but thankfully no-one has ever called me any woman nor do they understand the giddy fun of mechanical success. And anyway plumbing is not semiconductor science (which is what I did before)….basically just pieces of stuff stuck together so that liquid can flow through it. As long as the seals are tight and you’ve got plumbers grease on hand you’re pretty much good to go.
So, after I drained the tanks I unbolted the old valves, took out the valves & seals, reinserted the new seals w/a good layer of goop, aligned the valves so everything matched and put it all back together. The hardest part of the entire project was getting the new seals properly aligned with the pipes & valves since they kept slip-sliding around and not quite staying in the groves where they were supposed to be. But once the thing was back together it was a no-brainer. A light hand-tightening of the bolts and everything tested leak-free. Whoo Hoooo! The neighbours may have been a tad disappointed, but I was ecstatic.
Another project complete…
Another exciting day in the RV…
And some plumbing mastery…
Who knew RV tanks could be so much fun ?
P.S. For those considering this project themselves I bought our new metal-handle Valterra tank valves on Amazon HERE. In our motorhome the black tank valve is 3″, the grey 1.5″, but you should always measure your own before buying. The grease and other tools were from the hardware store. The giddy sense of self-satisfaction was free 🙂