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Old 11-06-2012, 06:59   #1
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Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

I had planned to go sailing Sunday. Instead I spent several hours cleaning filth out of my V-berth. I THINK the pump-out hose is the culprit.



Unfortunately, I'm working through 10"x10" access opening and can't actually see any of this. I'm just having to stick the camera in and snap photos.

My first instinct is to attempt to split open the end of the hose with a dremel to get it off there, cut the foam away, and replace the hose. BUT, I'm not totally positive it is the hose leaking, and I'm going to be working blind.

If the tank itself is leaking, I'm going to have to cut it apart to get it out and replace it with a bladder unless I want to either haul out to remove the overboard through hull which blocks the tank from coming out the other way or I have to cut a big section out of the V-berth to replace the tank in the water.

I'm not liking any of the options, and I really don't want to clean up more poo water.

Anyone have a ingenious method for verifying the leak? Maybe a good way for sealing off that pump-out hose outlet and putting a new one on top of the tank?
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:27   #2
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

If you want to move the pump out fitting, get an inspection plate, cut open the top of the tank, install a PVC bulkhead fitting, and a piece of PVC pipe to the bottom of the tank. then you can screw a plug into the bottom fitting.

here's the bulkhead fitting

Bulkhead Tank Fitting, 1 1/2 In, PVC - Bulkhead Fittings - Fittings - 3FMZ4 : Grainger Industrial Supply

for the top just install a normal screw in deck plate fitting, when your work is done lube up the O-ring and screw down the lid.

Here's the TODD tank fitting relocation kit.

http://www.toddusa.com/productdetails.aspx?id=92
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:26   #3
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

Hmmm. Getting to the elbow fitting to get it out in order to replace it with the screw-in fitting is going to be a problem.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:39   #4
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

Are you sure it's the pump-out hose? How bad's the leak. Does it only leak when you're pumping out? Was the tank full when it leaked? A lot of questions but before you proceed any further you should positively identify the source of the leak. What makes you think it's that hose? Maybe you should empty the tank and fill it with water and a good strong dye. Sprinkle talcum powder around the area of the pump-out hose and wherever you can. This might help in finding the leak.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:58   #5
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Are you sure it's the pump-out hose? How bad's the leak. Does it only leak when you're pumping out? Was the tank full when it leaked? A lot of questions but before you proceed any further you should positively identify the source of the leak. What makes you think it's that hose? Maybe you should empty the tank and fill it with water and a good strong dye. Sprinkle talcum powder around the area of the pump-out hose and wherever you can. This might help in finding the leak.
The tank was mostly full when it leaked. The leak is somewhere along the bottom because it emptied all the way down. There is now a thick sludge at the bottom of the tank, so I still can't see the bottom to inspect it. (I really don't know if I have the stomach to handle scraping out the sludge through the inspection port. I was trying not to vomit all day Sunday while just cleaning up the filthy water.)

Unless the tank just randomly cracked somewhere, the pump-out hose is the only opening along the bottom, so I think it's the most-likely culprit. As far as I know, the hoses are original, so that puts them at 28 years old. I should probably replace them all anyway.

This is definitely my least favorite part of boat ownership.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:16   #6
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetexas View Post
Unless the tank just randomly cracked somewhere, the pump-out hose is the only opening along the bottom, so I think it's the most-likely culprit. As far as I know, the hoses are original, so that puts them at 28 years old. I should probably replace them all anyway.

.
I'm confused. Most pump-out hoses I've seen are at the top of the tank with a pick-up tube inside the tank. You say yours is at the bottom yet the picture you posted seems to show it at the top (unless the pic is upside down).

These problems will drive you crazy. If it's all 28 years old I would bite the bullet and pull everything out and replace it all, tank and hoses. I would not use a bladder as a replacement tank. You can have a poly one made that fits.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:30   #7
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

You know, The original holding tank in our boat was a "V" shaped tank under the V berth. It was abandoned years ago as the tank split right at the lower fitting. When we bought the boat, the tank had been cut open and cleaned and used as storage, a bladder had been used in the place of a proper tank. From the smell of the bladder I may have been better off just peeing into the bilge. I ended up cutting out the rest of the old tank in pieces with a rotozip and installing new, smaller tank above the head in a cabinet. No more smells, and when legal gravity will empty the tank.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:47   #8
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

Give us a bit more info
What material is the tank made of?
Where is it located? Under the V-berth?
What brand boat?

Ahh the fun never stops!
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:49   #9
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

If it is the tank, I'd just cut out the top of the V-berth, remove and replace the tank, valves and hoses, then install the top of the V-berth. The cushions will cover the top of the V-berth and you won't have to haul the boat.If you or the next owner has to deal with this again, it will be much easier. Also, there are many pre-moulded tanks that should fit, someone here will probably post a link.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:00   #10
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
I'm confused. Most pump-out hoses I've seen are at the top of the tank with a pick-up tube inside the tank. You say yours is at the bottom yet the picture you posted seems to show it at the top (unless the pic is upside down).
The pic is shot from the top edge of the tank looking down the space between the tank and the wall. The hose is at the bottom edge of the tank and covered in the foam that holds the tank in place.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:04   #11
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailvayu View Post
Give us a bit more info
What material is the tank made of?
Where is it located? Under the V-berth?
What brand boat?

Ahh the fun never stops!
Plastic tank.
Under the V-berth
Starwind 27 (similar to a Catalina 27)
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:08   #12
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

JET
I don't know where your boat is located. There is a company "Maritime Sanitation" in Watergate Marina in Kemah. They go around pumping septics for a fee and also they work on sanitation systems. I have hired them twice before, once each on 2 different boats. Their hourly rate is like I think $75/hr, but not sure. They will remove the old tank and clean up the mess and leave you with no odor. Then you can install the new one.
Most of their guys know their **** (sorry, couldn't help mysef) and can find the leak. In both cases, i stayed around while they were working an acted as a gofer to help keep my bill downn.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:13   #13
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

Given that it's not easy to get out, I'd probably try the following:

Gently tighten the existing hose clamp - using a ratchet, not a screwdriver if possible.

Replace the single wide hose clamp with two smaller diameter, better quality ones.

Replace the hose.

Use copious amounts of 5200 sealant on the elbow fitting (to tank) realizing that means I may never get it out.



If those failed, then I'd take on the big project of redoing my tank and making sure it's more accessible in the future. I recently did that on my boat, placing it just above the water line under the sink vanity, so it gravity feeds out. The outtake can be reached from underneath and I placed the inspection port directly above, so the line can be snaked. The tank can be removed fairly easily.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:16   #14
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
If it is the tank, I'd just cut out the top of the V-berth, remove and replace the tank, valves and hoses, then install the top of the V-berth. ........
I agree 100%. Have Maritime look at it first and if they say the tank has to go, you cut the top of the "V" berth and leave the nasty work to Maritime Sanitation. let them do the crappy work and then you install all new tank and hoses. If you want, they can cut the "V" berth for you
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:55   #15
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Re: Leaking holding tank: What would you do?

Ronco Plastics - Marine Water Tanks, RV Water Tank, Auto Detail Tanks, Water Tanks

If you need a new tank you might be able to find it here, they made my strangely shaped vberth holding tank for my CD. $280 with shipping. 18 gal tank and that included telling them where to put the fitting ports and pickup tube.

Good luck, sorry for your troubles!!

Ocean Girl

Ps
Ditto on maritime ( you want the wiry,smoker with tattoos )
I tried patching Tank before I replaced, it does not work, 5200 is great for everything it seems except poo.
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