Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Final Saga of ‘Black Tank’ Vacuum Generator Rebuild – What a “OOPS” We Avoided

At home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area

Vacuum Tank Generator Pump with Elbow

Ok, this is the last of the vacuum tank generator rebuild post…I thought I had posted the end a week ago, but there was a “TWIST” in all of this, which I just feel must be shared.

Elbow leading to Black Tank

This “elbow” had a leak right where it connected to the vacuum pump…the end not connected leads to the black tank, so looking above it was the joint attached to the pump.  As I said previously, the person at Home Depot gave me the wrong gasket.  Last week I took the elbow off, and took it to Ace Hardware, no luck finding the right gasket.  So I ordered a gasket from Amazon…but it was too small also.  So I took the entire elbow to Home Depot (last time I only took the old gasket to Home Depot), and I ended up getting a beveled Slip Joint Washers and nutslip joint washer (pictured right).  Of all the gaskets I looked at and purchased…and I lost track of how many types I looked at, let alone purchased, this gasket seemed to be the best prospect...fairly tight fit, and looked to me like it would work.  NORMALLY a slip joint washer goes on the pipe that the sticks out of the locking nut…but that is not how this setup works.  The nut attaches to a threaded pipe, and there is no way to get to the white pipe that comes out the other end of the nut….all of that is glued in place as part of the elbow. Had there been easier access, I would have tried various gaskets which I purchased...but I wanted to put it back together just one more time and not many times, hence the long search for the right gasket.

Getting the elbow out was an easy task…putting it back in was much harder than I expected.  When I put it on last time, I already had attached it to the pump, as shown in the first picture.  I really did not want to have to take the pump back out…but yesterday (Tuesday) I lost both of the washers trying to reach into that crowded area and attach the elbow to the pump and to the line to the black tank.  GRRRRR!   Today I bought three packages of washers, two per pack.  But I had the CRAZY idea of trying to see if I could attach the elbow without a washer as a test just to see if it was possible.  As I do this, the elbow slips out of my hand, and back behind the entire vacuum pump generator tank with NO WAY to get to it without taking off the vacuum pump.  DOUBLE GRRRRRR!  (But mom, you would be proud of me…all I said was CRAP….that means I just have to lick the soap and not take a big bite of it had I said the “S” word!)

Vacuum Generator Pump sitting on and attached to the tank

The above picture I showed in a previous blog….to remove you undo the bolts shown by white arrows (and loosen the ones behind it in corresponding positions), then undo the white nuts shown by red arrows (the one on right is the elbow which is now behind the entire motor and tank).  DuckbillDoing this, I was then able to move the motor toward me just a few inches, turn, and provide enough room to get to the elbow.  As I do this, I look at opening of the dark pipe created where the left arrow is and what do I see???  To my HORROR, I see that the duckbill (pictured right) is facing the wrong way!!!!  Oh my goodness….there is NO WAY any solids would be able to pass through a duckbill which is facing the wrong way!  HOLY CRAP!  (Yes mom, I know that deserves a bite of soap…thank goodness they did not have Tide Pods when I was a kid!

Thank goodness I dropped that elbow back behind the tank…we would have been up to our necks in poop before we got to California, that’s for sure.  It was easy to put the duckbill in the right way, and I double checked the other three duckbills, which were all facing the right way.  I attached the elbow to the pump motor assembly, and I put the motor back, attached all the pipes, reconnected an electrical wire that came loose as I tightened everything, and I am happy to say that all is working.  Turn on the switch, the green light comes on within 30-45 seconds, you flush, the green light comes on again in 30-45 seconds, you turn off the switch.  Also, no leaks!  Job is finally done.  We should be good for another few years now….four weeks from tonight and we should be on the road again.

(If you missed my work on rebuilding the Vacuum Generator Pump, see these blog postings….A 'Dirty' Job but Someone Has to Do ItUp to my Neck in …; and Dirty Deed is Done, AND IT WAS …


  1. Good grief. What a project!! Glad you were able to see the duckbill was on wrong. That would really be a mess!!

    1. When I put those in I tried very hard to be sure to do them right...GRRRRR. But it could have been worse by not catching it...


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