Grey Tank Inlet Leak - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-12-2021, 10:18 AM   #1
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Name: marant
Trailer: 2010 Escape 17B
Texas
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Grey Tank Inlet Leak

Our 2010 Escape 17B has developed a leak at the grey tank inlet. Upon inspection it is clear this has been a recurring problem, with indications of repairs by prior owners. One thing that seems strange to me is that the pipe down from the sink, etc., does not actually go into the tank. It just butts up against the side of the tank where the hole is cut. Is this the way it came from the factory, or did someone cut off the part that should extend into the tank? It does not look like there is room to cut the pipe and insert an extension into the tank, though that would be my preference.

In looking around it looks like the best fix will involve a fiberglass boat repair product by West Systems called G-Flex 655. It is an epoxy that is very strong and maintains some degree of flexibility when cured. The prior owners apparently just used flexible caulk, which failed. If I can extend the pipe into the tank I will, and I also plan to use some plastic screen material or fiberglass to strengthen the joint, though it may be difficult to impregnate with the thick epoxy. Has anyone any experience with the product?

Any thoughts and suggestions would be very welcome.
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Old 04-12-2021, 10:36 AM   #2
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G-Flex 655 appears to be one of very few products that's advertised to work for polyethylene repairs. I am considering using it to repair grey tank leaks.

Other option is plastic welder.
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Old 04-12-2021, 10:38 AM   #3
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I had the outlet on my grey tank separate enough to leak ( after many miles of washboard ). I proposed using caulk and Reace said it wouldn't work ( it didn't ). He said it needed spin welding, which I eventually had ETI do.
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Old 04-13-2021, 10:15 AM   #4
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Name: Darral
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I fixed my gray water tank where it was leaking around the factory flange. Why anyone would literally "drill" a hole in the gray tank itself is beyond me. Tap into the pipes leading in maybe but NOT the tank. Here's a link to how I fixed my tank with "ABS" and it's been that way for 6 yrs now without another leak. You may can remove their attachment and run it through the main drain pipe.

There are LOTS of expensive repair kits, but I can assure you this works fine on the black gray tanks on a Scamp. Mine is 2010 so you'd have to check to make sure yours in the same material. I verified it with Scamp before attempting to repair mine.

Here's the link. You may have to scroll left/right to see the associated pics because I didnt put this procedure in an "album"...sorry.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/503516...n/photostream/
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Old 04-13-2021, 10:26 AM   #5
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Marant, it's difficult to comment without seeing pics but I suspect your trailer wasn't manufactured with this arrangement.
The tanks I have seen had an inlet towards the top and an outlet towards the bottom plus other connections for the sensors.
Some years ago a fellow boondocker had the same situation, the inlet broke away from the tank. We concluded that the piping was held rigidly in place, the tank mounting bracket broke allowing the tank to move and this movement resulted in a break at the weakest point which was the tank inlet.
We went to a plumbing store and bought a threaded PVC fitting. We used a hole saw to cut a slightly larger hole than where the original pipe entered and screwed in the threaded fitting. When we were satisfied with the connection we removed the fitting and coated it and the threads we had made in the tank wall with that yellow, smelly PVC cement and let it sit overnight.
While this fitting seemed fairly strong, we decided to isolate the tank inlet from the plumbing with about a foot of flexible pipe.
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Old 04-13-2021, 03:25 PM   #6
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Name: marant
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Here is a picture of the broken area.

It is hard to see, but the bottom 1/4 of the inlet pipe has a crack in it about 1/8" wide. I cannot tell, but expect that the crack goes much further, possibly even total. It looks like it may have been a reducer fitting that actually went into the tank, but that it has broken off. From the apparent repairs this is an area of a lot of vibration and stress, something that must be addressed. The tank is attached to the trailer properly and does not move, but is itself slightly flexible. The pipe (from the sink) has virtually no give to it, but apparently moves in relation to the tank.


There is not enough room to cut the pipe out and put in new piping and fittings, or I would do that with a piece of flexible pipe (like a radiator hose).



About the only thing I can think of is to use some of the flexible epoxy I have ordered and fiberglass cloth. At least I can get to the entire area, though the top will not be easy.
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Old 04-13-2021, 09:17 PM   #7
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Marant, the pics help a lot. It appears the inlet fitting on your tank has broken off from the tank wall where the drain from the sink enters. This is doable if you can get ALL mating surfaces CLEAN so there is solid surface to bond to. The wall of the tank may be thin relative to the pipe so a layer of your epoxy around the union may help to strengthen it.
Now for the actual problem, the tank flexing against a rigid pipe. Regardless of how strong your repair is, it will likely fail if the flexing continues. Preventing the flexing may be difficult. I like your idea of the automotive radiator hose. They isolate engine movement from the radiator and are really flexible.
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Old 04-14-2021, 08:34 AM   #8
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Question

Seems like a good place to use a Fernco coupling to allow some flex:



Maybe use a PVC flange to make the connection to the tank?



Edit: I think 3M 5200 marine epoxy adehesive would be a good way to go if you just want to goop something around the crack. It is water proof, extremely strong and bonds to fiberglass.
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:45 AM   #9
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3M 5200 won't stick to polyethylene (the tank itself, not the pipe). Almost nothing will. Here are two products that will apparently stick to polyethylene:

- West System G-Flex 655
- 3M Scotch-weld DP-8005
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:55 AM   #10
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Another way to fix this break (apparently not enough working space while installed), is to remove the tank, then remove the broken fitting from the tank and spin weld a new fitting into the tank.

IF the fitting is on the TOP of the tank, you can use a rubber tank grommet instead of a spin weld fitting.

EDIT: Rubber tank grommet would also solve the problem of joint breaking due to vibration.
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Old 04-24-2021, 12:08 PM   #11
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Name: marant
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Here is a final update to the project:


Picture 1. Cut the adapter which went from the ABS into the tank. Discovered it was a reducer type ABS adapter, which had about 1/2" extending into the tank. That part was glued to the tank and had a diameter smaller than my tubing, so needed to be removed. Did so with a Dremel grinder. (Got to buy a new tool...perfect project!) Took an hour or so, but was able to enlarge the hole in the tank to fit the piece of radiator hose.


Picture 2. Materials I used. Piece of strong window screening, West System G-Flex 655 flexible epoxy. A 4" piece of 2" ID radiator hose. Hose is available at local auto parts store, cut to desired length. It is quite strong but flexible. Hose clamp to secure the radiator hose to the 2" OD ABS pipe. It fit perfectly.


Picture 3. Setup before applying epoxy. One of the problems I had was that the space was too tight to allow me to work the hose into the tank so it could then be maneuvered back over the ABS pipe. Solution was to fold the pipe in half lengthwise so it would slightly conform to the round ABS pipe and slip into the tank.



Picture 4, 5, 6. After application of epoxy. (Never have used it before, so not pretty, but functional). First I applied a layer of epoxy, then put the window screen reinforcement in place. Had cut slits in one side so it could go around the corner and fit flat on the side of the tank. Then applied several coats of epoxy, waiting a day or so between them so they could cure.


I believe the reason for the failure is the fact that the ABS pipe is solid and well anchored to the trailer. The tank side is slightly flexible, especially with a full load of water sloshing around, causing the ABS to eventually fatigue and break. Now, with the flexible hose and epoxy that should not occur again.
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Old 04-24-2021, 12:43 PM   #12
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Marant, thanks for the follow up details. Does the G Flex 655 provide a strong bond? I am interested in trying it to patch leaks in my grey tank.
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Old 04-24-2021, 01:01 PM   #13
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Name: marant
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Too soon for me to tell, but probably. They use it to patch cracks in kayaks and canoes. Should work on the tank, especially if you use fiberglass cloth or window screening as reinforcement.
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