I purchased a 2001 Casita
17í SD last September. Iíve not had a chance to use it yet, given our current Covid environment; though Iíve got reservations at the end of this month. In the meantime, Iíve been reading different improvement topics on this forum. After reading about the drain problems with the Casita
grey tank, I had a look at my set up. Sure enough, the drain seemed to be pointing up hill. Iíve often said, that if you understood how gravity works and had played with tinkertoys as a child, you were qualified to be a plumber. (with all due apologies to real plumbers) Itís clear, that the Casita
factory does not understand how gravity works.
I reviewed the Ďfast grey kití offered at little house customs. Iím sure that works well, but Iím more frugal than that. So, I sat alongside the trailer, in the lotus position, stared at my drain, and meditated. Since I meet the two above qualifications, I decided to cut up my drain to see if I could rectify the problem. Iím attaching photos, so you can see where I went with this. Here are the steps I followed. Read everything before you begin. The should take anywhere from a Ĺ hour to an hour, depending on your comfort and experience level.
1) Loosen the 4 bolts on both the grey and black valves. (Total of 8 bolts.) The purpose of this, is to provide some Ďplayí in the drain pipes. This is also a good time to rebuild both valves if needed. (The parts cost about $15 Ė optional.) When I loosened all bolts, I discovered that the ĎVí part of the drain, where the black and grey come together and you connect your sewer hose, can be aimed in any direction. The only thing holding the exit point in place is pressure from the two valves when the bolts are tightened. First problem solved. I was now able to point the final sewer connection towards a chipmunk hole, rather than the constellation Orion; its original position.
2) Loosen the top bolts on the vertical support brackets that wrap around and support the weight
of the pipes. There is one on both black and grey tanks. You want to have enough play here to move the pipes downward. Further on in the process, you can use the bottom nuts to force the pipes lower to a certain extent. The pipes are pretty stout, so donít be afraid apply a little pressure.
3) Looking at the grey tank itself, you see that the exit pipe does point down. So, the first length of pipe is not the problem. The uphill problem really begins at the elbow that turns toward the outside of the trailer. This is a short section of pipe where the support bracket is located. This is where the close examination comes in. Exactly where do you cut the pipe to accomplish an overall downward slope? I originally thought I would have to make a cut on the black pipe as well as numerous cuts on the grey pipe. Using my tinkertoy background and a zen examination, I decided that only one cut was required to accomplish the goal. And a $2 part. (finally, you say)
4) Establish a rough mid-point in the longest section of grey drain line that runs parallel to the trailer. Measuring is not necessary, just eye ball it. This is where to make the single cut. See picture. I use a mini hack saw with a fine blade, but just about any saw will work, as the pvc plastic is easy to cut. If your drain is anything like mine, once you cut through, youíll be greeted with about a quart of water that couldnít escape
last time you drained. Making this cut allows you to pivot the short section that is aimed uphill and change it to slightly downhill.
5) Rotate the pipe a bit to see how much play youíve got to work with. Use a level to determine when the pipe is running downhill. This assumes that your trailer is already mostly level. (maybe that should be step one) Now that youíve got an idea of how much flexibility is in the pipe and an idea of how much you need to move it to gain a downward slope, itís time to put everything back together.
6) Time to move on to the $2 part. Before you begin this exercise, purchase a 1-1/2Ē pvc coupling. (This is the size of your grey drain.) The coupling should only cost 50 cents. But, if youíre out in the middle of nowhere, maybe $2. I did not add the cost of glue into the equation because I already had some. The glue has a lot of uses, so I always have some around. And, the headline is a better attention grabber if it says $2 rather than $12.
7) File both sides of the pipe where youíve made the cut; both inside and outside the pipe. You should have plenty of room to move the pipe to use the file. File the outside to make the coupler slide on more easily. File the inside to remove any small plastic fragments that might mess up your drain.
8) Do a test fit. Slide the coupler onto the side of the drain that goes to the grey tank. Then, move the other side of the drain so that it slides inside the coupler. Donít press them together. This is just a test to make sure everything goes together and to give you an idea of how much resistance youíll find when putting the pieces together. Once you start using glue, you donít have a lot of time to work, so a test fit is a good idea. Rotate the short side again and use the level to make sure you can achieve a downward slope with the coupling in place. You must have the valves in place for this, albeit loosely attached. If you donít have it all connected now, once you glue things together, you will be SOL.
9) Once youíre satisfied that all fits together well enough, remove the coupling completely. Use purple cleaner to clean the pipe coming from the grey tank. Clean one side of the coupler. Apply glue to those same sides and press the coupling onto the pipe, making sure that you push the coupler all the way onto the pipe. There is a ridge inside the coupler to prevent you from going beyond the mid-point. CAUTION: DO NOT put any glue on the other side of the coupler. If you do, wipe it off immediately. Wait just a couple of minutes for the glue to set. It works very quickly.
10) Time for another test fit. This is an important step, so pay attention. The coupler is now glued in place on the right side and you should slide the pipe on the left side into the coupler. DO NOT USE ANY GLUE YET!! Once youíve assembled the drain, use your level to achieve a downward slope. While everything is still connected, make a line on the left side pipe and the coupler to show you where to reassemble the pipe and maintain your downward slope. See photo.
11) Take the pipe out of the coupler. Clean both sides with the purple cleaner and apply glue. Reassemble the pieces and align the marks you made in the previous step. Align the marks ensures you achieve the downward slope. You have to work quickly, as the glue sets up fast. You may need to apply some pressure here or there if you meet some resistance in keeping things lined up. Hold the pressure for a minute or two until the glue is set well.
12) Tighten the four bolts on both valves. While doing so, make sure you like the down angle the final outlet is sitting at. Remember, this piece can be rotated in any direction. Done. You may notice some upward slope on the final 3Ē grey section. This is unavoidable, as you need some slope in order to meet the slope coming from the black tank. If you look closely, you will see that in spite of the slight upward, the pipe is still below the grey tank itself. And thatís all you need for complete drainage, is a level thatís below the grey tank. You might be left with a cup of water in that last section, but hey, what do you want for $2?