Roadtrek

Roadtrek

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

A NOZZLE FOR THE MACERATOR HOSE

 In April 2019 when we had the macerator in our Roadtrek replaced as it had finally broken down, we also had the Roadtrek dealer/service center that we go to in Pennsylvania install a new macerator hose - the Thetford Sani-con hose - that is much more flexible and easier to store in the outside compartment in the Roadtrek that is provided for the hose.  When they replaced the hose, I asked them to take the nozzle off the original hose and install that on the end of the Sani-con hose. For some reason they were not able to do that and instead, built a new nozzle from PVC plumbing parts that resembled the old one but was larger. It had a big turn valve on the top to open and close the valve. When put away with the valve closed any remaining water or waste in the hose would not leak into its storage compartment. 

The first time we got to use the new hose and its nozzle was on our trip in July which was only four days. As we were leaving on that trip we discovered a problem with the coach batteries - which is well documented in our articles in the summer and Fall of 2019. We spent the rest of that summer and Fall dealing with the batteries and that prevented us from taking another trip in the Roadtrek that year.  Then Covid-19 arrived and changed the world and all of our lives. For a year and a half after that we remained inside with the Roadtrek on the driveway. In November 2020, we winterized the Roadtrek and discovered that the valve handle that was on the nozzle that the service center created would not turn. To get it to turn we used spray lubricant and finally resorted to tools and force to get it to open. Once open we dumped what little was in the waste tanks. We closed the nozzle that seemed to turn due to more lubricant sprayed in and just in case put the nozzle in a plastic bag and sealed it around the hose. A few days later we opened the hose storage compartment and saw that the bag had water inside of it. We dealt with that and left it all to the Spring. 

 As it got closer to Spring I started looking at what could replace the nozzle. There is a nozzle that is made for the Sani-con hose. It is a handle piece that attaches to the hose and ends in a graduated cylinder that fits into the sewer drain hole at a campground. On the bottom of the cylinder is a screw cap to seal the hose. This looked like a good idea. It's dimensions, however, seemed big. The diameter of the cylinder at its widest point is 4" - possibly larger as dimensions were not clear in any of the specs for it. The opening to the storage area for the hose and nozzle in the Roadtrek 190 is 3.5". It seemed to me that there was no way that this would fit. I contacted Thetford and asked for the exact dimensions and they never  responded. I asked on the Facebook group and no one who replied knew.  That ruled out the nozzle made for the Sani-con hose!  That brings us to now. 

When we started to dewinterize in May 2021, we could not get the nozzle valve on the hose to open again. Once again with some more spray lubricant and a lot of force it turned, but this was never going to do for traveling. We could not take a chance that we could not dump the tanks because we could not get the nozzle open. We held off dewinterizing until we came up with a nozzle for the hose that not only was going to fit but would be very easy to use - and most important leak-proof. I had an idea in mind and I went to home store websites to look at plumbing parts. I measured the inner diameter of the part of the hose at the end - the hose itself is one inch diameter. The hose end is in an attached heavy rubber coupler. This is what we made for about ten dollars in PVC plumbing fittings, a length of 3/4 pipe which we had, and the most expensive part of the needed supplies - a package of cans of PVC pipe primer and pipe cement - used to glue the PVC pipe together. 

Here is what we made -

It is not pretty and some of the primer leaked when it went together but it works and it works really well. Most important - it fits in the storage compartment with the hose easily. To explain what you are looking at here.  On the left is a fitting that on one end fits into the hose - the end with the barbs. The other end of that fitting which is inside the pipe seal tape is a female screw into end. Attached to that end - which is also under the pipe seal tape and out of view is a male screw end and a slip end on the other side - the white on the left attached to the pipe, that is glued over the pipe. In the middle is the pipe. The pipe can be any length you want. We cut a section of pipe 8" long. On the right side attached to the pipe is a slip end to male screw on end adapter. This is glued to the pipe. On the very end is a screw on cap to seal the nozzle when stored inside the hose compartment. To attach it to the hose you use a screw band hose clamp. This is a strip of metal with rectangular holes that when the screw is turned on the clamp with a screwdriver the clamp gets smaller around the joint on the and compresses into it to make a seal. First you put the clamp open wide around the hose from the end of the hose. Then you push the barbs on the L connector into the hose. Finally, you use a screwdriver to tighten the clamp around the hose and compress it around the barbs inside the hose. The joint is solid and does not leak.   The nozzle is simple in design; it is not pretty, but it works. 

 To use it = take out the hose, point the nozzle away from you and take the screw cap off. Put the cap aside - don't lose it!  Any water in the hose will pour out so watch your shoes. Point the nozzle into the sewer drain hole and have someone push the button to start the macerator. What is in the tank coming through the macerator will be pouring from the nozzle and into the sewer. When done - raise the hose to get any water out of it and put the cap back on the nozzle.

I have only worked with PVC pipe once before. I do not like doing plumbing. With plumbing, it all looks right and when all together you come back and there is a leak someplace. This is the reason that I made sure there would be no leaks by wrapping the screw joints with pipe seal tape. This is a rubberized tape that sticks to itself - pretty much permanently. It comes on a roll and is about half an inch wide. You pull and stretch the tape as you put it on over itself a number of times. It is the pulling and stretching that affixes it to itself. After it is on you can mold it with your fingers around what it is  on. I have used this in the hose to fix leaks in pipes and it lasts. It is sold in plumbing sections of home stores and also in Walmart in the plumbing aisle. 

Here are the parts I used. You will find similar parts in most plumbing departments in home stores. I went to Ace Hardware because they were the only place locally that had the first part I will list which was hardest to find. These are in order of installation from left to right:

1) Lasco Schedule 80 1" insert X 1" diameter FPT (Female Pipe Thread) PVC 90 degree elbow.

2) Charlotte pipe Schedule 40 1" MPT (Male Pipe Thread) x 3/4" diameter Slip PVC pipe adapter.

3) 3/4" PVC Schedule 40 pipe (You can buy two foot lengths of this in Home Depot).

4) Charlotte pipe Schedule 40 3/4" slip x 3/4" MPT PVC pipe adapter

5) Charlotte pipe Schedule  40 3/4" FPT PVC Cap  (Buy two of these so that you have a spare).

You will also need PVC Pipe Primer and PVC Pipe Cement -  sold in a set of small cans. 

To learn how to put this all together there are basic PVC plumbing assembly videos on You Tube that show how to cut the pipe, join the pipe with the fittings and use the pipe primer and pipe cement. Wear gloves - and not vinyl gloves. The primer ate through the vinyl gloves that I was wearing. It also stains your skin so if you get it on you - wash it off with soap and water QUICKLY.



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