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Blocked waste water outlet on our T6

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RobinGambles

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The outlet from the waste water tank on our Cali T6, or the opening into it, is blocked. The lack of flow in the outlet pipe has been building up for a while. Even when bought nearly new, 3.5 years ago, the flow wasn’t that fast but adequate taking about 5 or 6 mins to empty. Coming out of lockdown I wanted to see how it was and put about 18 litres of water through the basin into the tank. Its trickle is so slow, and no more than drips, so that over the last 24 hours a washing up basin (whose base is 225 x 275 mm) has only filled by 3.5 cms.

I’ve gently pushed a thin flexible plastic coated net curtain support wire up the tube from below to see if I could locate and clear the blockage. The first time after meeting some slight resistance at a couple of points (as if there might have been a slight bend or whatever) I got it as far as c95cm up the outlet tube. But nothing dislodged or improvement of any kind. I tried again later but at 42 cm the wire hit hard and solid edged resistance (ie not sludge or whatever). A second attempt gets to the same resistance point and no further.



Has anyone had experience of this and what is the best way to deal with it?
 
Alan Andrews

Alan Andrews

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Have you tried to use one of those sink drain buster solutions?....the type that is a liquid that you pour in to the plug hole.

They are meant to tackle and breakdown fat and hairballs.

It might be worth a go.
 
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RobinGambles

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Have you tried to use one of those sink drain buster solutions?....the type that is a liquid that you pour in to the plug hole.

They are meant to tackle and breakdown fat and hairballs.

It might be worth a go.
No I haven’t tried that, but if what I came against with my wire is the blockage, its too hard to be fat, and no-one has washed hair in the sink
 
Alan Andrews

Alan Andrews

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No I haven’t tried that, but if what I came against with my wire is the blockage, its too hard to be fat, and no-one has washed hair in the sink
The point is that if the blockage is biological or food waste then the liquid should break it down for you.

Whereas, if the blockage is mechanical then you'll need to take it apart.

Check out section (page 30 onwards) in the attached document. T6 is the same configuration.
 

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Hotel California

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Are you sure the valve opens fully , these valves can get stuck in closed position .
It's advisable to have the valve half open when not in use having the tank empty and when storing the Cali for longer periode .
Having it in closed position it can get stuck.
This also counts for the fresh water drain valve as it is theasame type valve.
 
Jodalo

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The outlet from the waste water tank on our Cali T6, or the opening into it, is blocked. The lack of flow in the outlet pipe has been building up for a while. Even when bought nearly new, 3.5 years ago, the flow wasn’t that fast but adequate taking about 5 or 6 mins to empty. Coming out of lockdown I wanted to see how it was and put about 18 litres of water through the basin into the tank. Its trickle is so slow, and no more than drips, so that over the last 24 hours a washing up basin (whose base is 225 x 275 mm) has only filled by 3.5 cms.

I’ve gently pushed a thin flexible plastic coated net curtain support wire up the tube from below to see if I could locate and clear the blockage. The first time after meeting some slight resistance at a couple of points (as if there might have been a slight bend or whatever) I got it as far as c95cm up the outlet tube. But nothing dislodged or improvement of any kind. I tried again later but at 42 cm the wire hit hard and solid edged resistance (ie not sludge or whatever). A second attempt gets to the same resistance point and no further.



Has anyone had experience of this and what is the best way to deal with it?
If you purchase one of these below in the photo, about £5 in Wickes/B&Q or similar. Ensure your drain valve is open, then unravel the coil and push up in the waste pipe. Keep on pushing as far as you can until you hit the blockage. Keep on pushing back and forth (may take some time) until the blockage is clear. Then flush through with some hot water and make ensuring the plug is out of the waste fitting in the sink.


AC27AE09-7E27-484A-BDCE-D5850EDB9F22.jpeg
 
SusiBus

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If ever you wanted to know about the guts of your Cali, that t5 _tech-mamual pdf Is the place to look.
Good post Alan.
 
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RobinGambles

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T6 Ocean 204
The point is that if the blockage is biological or food waste then the liquid should break it down for you.

Whereas, if the blockage is mechanical then you'll need to take it apart.

Check out section (page 30 onwards) in the attached document. T6 is the same configuration.
Thanks Alan, just managed to download the T5 tech manual, which is most helpful. I'll study it in the morning.
I've put some non caustic Rentokil free flow down the sink to see if that helps overnight. Before I use anything chemical I think I'd better ring the VW garage to check what corrosive damage might ensue, depending on what everything might be made of.
Thanks again - Robin
 
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RobinGambles

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Are you sure the valve opens fully , these valves can get stuck in closed position .
It's advisable to have the valve half open when not in use having the tank empty and when storing the Cali for longer periode .
Having it in closed position it can get stuck.
This also counts for the fresh water drain valve as it is theasame type valve.
Thank you for this information - Do you have any ideas for freeing up a stuck valve and how would I get to it? or would that be a matter for the local dealer? I'm not mechanically competent or equipped.
 
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RobinGambles

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T6 Ocean 204
The point is that if the blockage is biological or food waste then the liquid should break it down for you.

Whereas, if the blockage is mechanical then you'll need to take it apart.

Check out section (page 30 onwards) in the attached document. T6 is the same configuration.
Alan, I see you have a T6 now. Have you ever tried getting hold of a T6 tech manual? if so with what result?
 
Jodalo

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Robin,
Your curtain wire you’ve been poking up the waste pipe is not up to the job. The coil in the picture above is purpose made for the job and will unblock most obstructions in waste pipes. (Food waste etc). Secondly, it’s unlikely to be a problem with the lever valve if it has been working before, bearing in mind the age of your vehicle. The valves can sometimes become stuck with age. If they do, just keep moving the handle back and forth and normally they will free up. Thirdly, there is an access cover on the waste tank, it is a large round disc situated on the front of the tank in the right hand under sink cupboard. This cover unscrews and allows access into the tank where you can check the inlet at the top of the tank. If I were you I would start with the most likely cause at the tank outlet with the purpose made coil above. Good luck
 
Maverick

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Had the same problem with our T6 yesterday. Stuck my thumb up the discharge pipe, allowed what little water was flowing to build up against my thumb until it was backed up the pipe and removed my thumb effectively causing a little bit of suction to dislodge material. Repeated about 6 or 7 times and flow increased each time. Lots of small bits of food dislodged. If you can get something to seal on the end of the discharge pipe you might be able to apply better suction through a mechanical syphon if it remains stubbornly slow.


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Erbster

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Thank you for this information - Do you have any ideas for freeing up a stuck valve and how would I get to it? or would that be a matter for the local dealer? I'm not mechanically competent or equipped.

You have more faith in the dealer than is warranted! They’re great at the parts of the Cali which exist on a normal van, but no more knowledgeable than most owners on the camping bits. Some patience and careful investigation on your part is called for, IMO. After all you have the backup of the most knowledgeable Cali people, in the form of this forum. I love finding out new stuff and being able to sort out problems with the camping parts for myself, if I can. Time to get to know your van a little better?


 
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RobinGambles

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T6 Ocean 204
You have more faith in the dealer than is warranted! They’re great at the parts of the Cali which exist on a normal van, but no more knowledgeable than most owners on the camping bits. Some patience and careful investigation on your part is called for, IMO. After all you have the backup of the most knowledgeable Cali people, in the form of this forum. I love finding out new stuff and being able to sort out problems with the camping parts for myself, if I can. Time to get to know your van a little better?


Thank you Erbster
I suspect that it is the outlet valve may have remained closed as the curtain wire I pushed up the pipe hit something definitely hard not soft. Whatever it is feels slightly loose and I hear a slight metallic clink. But If the valve is jammed I’m surprised that the handle makes its full 90 degree turn quite easily. How is the handle attached to the valve as I rather assume that they would only move together?. Or can they become detached?
Robin
 
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RobinGambles

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[
Had the same problem with our T6 yesterday. Stuck my thumb up the discharge pipe, allowed what little water was flowing to build up against my thumb until it was backed up the pipe and removed my thumb effectively causing a little bit of suction to dislodge material. Repeated about 6 or 7 times and flow increased each time. Lots of small bits of food dislodged. If you can get something to seal on the end of the discharge pipe you might be able to apply better suction through a mechanical syphon if it remains stubbornly slow.


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Thank you Maverick
My problem here is that the flow is SO slow (a tiny drip every few seconds) that I’d never have time to build up any suction pressure. Good tip for the future though. I don’t have any kind of mechanical suction or seal for you second suggestion.
But as mentioned to Erbster, It doesn’t feel like a food blockage unless that’s further up than the initial obstruction that feels and sounds metallic, and the click or chink sound suggests it is slightly loose.
Thanks everybody for all your suggestions, but I’m still drawing a blank at the moment.
I put some enzyme based drain clearing crystals down the sink hole last night, followed by some hot water from the kettle but I don’t want in the circumstances to put too much more water into the waste tank! My wife bought a stronger one this morning Mr Muscle DrainGel that ‘destroys the worst clogs’ and ‘cuts through standing water’. I see I’m meant to pour in 500 ml wait for 5 mins or longer for tougher clogs, and then to run hot water through the the drain. It says it may be corrosive to metals, which makes me concerned about the valve unit . Is everything else plastic?
any further help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
thanks
Robin
 
Maverick

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If it’s a blockage from food waste my only other suggestion would be to force some low pressure air or water up the outlet. Either by sticking a hose up and blowing or turning on a tap. Blowing would be my preference as you’ll get feedback. If it’s waste the pressure should dislodge any build up from at the tank exit and flow should at least increase temporarily. Hope that makes sense.


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RobinGambles

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Thank you once more Maverick. I’ve found a lilo footpump and got a reasonably tight fit into the tube and blew some air up but with no success. I’ll try tomorrow to get one of those pipe clips you can screw one pipe tight.on to another. Like you I prefer the idea of air over water - less messy!
Robin
If you purchase one of these below in the photo, about £5 in Wickes/B&Q or similar. Ensure your drain valve is open, then unravel the coil and push up in the waste pipe. Keep on pushing as far as you can until you hit the blockage. Keep on pushing back and forth (may take some time) until the blockage is clear. Then flush through with some hot water and make ensuring the plug is out of the waste fitting in the sink.


View attachment 62748
Hi Jodalo
I hope to get out tomorrow to look for one of these coils, but I still need somehow to find out whether the valve is jammed despite the opening lever still turning.
See my reply to Erbster.
Robin
 
Erbster

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I believe it’s a ball valve and the handle is bolted to the valve. Ie if the handle turns smoothly, the valve itself is not jammed. That makes it sound like some kind of blockage. You mention “enzyme” cleaner and *hot* water. Hot water not good for enzymes! If you can’t push air up the tube and valve open, this suggests serious blockage to outlet pipe. I’ll have a look at mine in the morning - maybe try disconnecting pipe at the valve and pushing a spring pipe cleaner down?


 
WelshGas

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Robin,
Your curtain wire you’ve been poking up the waste pipe is not up to the job. The coil in the picture above is purpose made for the job and will unblock most obstructions in waste pipes. (Food waste etc). Secondly, it’s unlikely to be a problem with the lever valve if it has been working before, bearing in mind the age of your vehicle. The valves can sometimes become stuck with age. If they do, just keep moving the handle back and forth and normally they will free up. Thirdly, there is an access cover on the waste tank, it is a large round disc situated on the front of the tank in the right hand under sink cupboard. This cover unscrews and allows access into the tank where you can check the inlet at the top of the tank. If I were you I would start with the most likely cause at the tank outlet with the purpose made coil above. Good luck
This is the Diagram of the waste tank. I’m afraid you are not getting to the valve, just putting your rod up the overflow and hitting the top overflow connector.

A3C976A8-B029-454D-8402-31C0B376A16C.jpeg
 
Jodalo

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Thank you once more Maverick. I’ve found a lilo footpump and got a reasonably tight fit into the tube and blew some air up but with no success. I’ll try tomorrow to get one of those pipe clips you can screw one pipe tight.on to another. Like you I prefer the idea of air over water - less messy!
Robin

Hi Jodalo
I hope to get out tomorrow to look for one of these coils, but I still need somehow to find out whether the valve is jammed despite the opening lever still turning.
See my reply to Erbster.
Robin
Hi Robin, if I were you I would concentrate on the most probable cause of the blockage first. Forget blowing air up it or dealing with enzymes. The most likely cause is small pieces of food waste and or mixed with fat. Once you get the ‘whirligig’, ensure your lever valve is open as per your installation, then introduce the coil (thin end first) into the exterior waste outlet. Keep pushing the coil up into the waste pipe until you meet the blockage. Once you get to that point you have to move the coil back and forth to push through the blockage. Depending on what it is it can be quite difficult to get through, persevere! Once you have discounted this as a cause then move on, but try this first.
 
Keith Smith

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The metallic “blockage” you are hitting may we’ll be the edge of the valve as most valves have a ridge within the fitting. It may be worth pushing the spring rod, previously mentioned, up from the outlet. If you can do that keep twisting it clockwise as that helps to grip whatever is blocking the flow.
 
H

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As i said above , the valve is probaly stuck and broken. The lever moves as you say , it’s come appart from the valve inside.
Or you remove the valve to check it or have VW to take a look .
 
Jodalo

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As i said above , the valve is probaly stuck and broken. The lever moves as you say , it’s come appart from the valve inside.
Or you remove the valve to check it or have VW to take a look .
I would say that is unlikely, bearing in mind the age of the vehicle. These are pretty robust valves widely used in the plumbing industry. More likely to be a blockage of food debris which the OP still hasn’t discounted. I appreciate what WelshGas is saying about not reaching the valve with the coil but that is not to say tha blockage is not in the tee piece fitting after the valve. It’s a simple process that can be discounted before you start take the plumbing apart.
 
Wesel

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If you anlyse the diagram on page 14 of the guide given by @Alen Andrews, as well as the diagram given by @WelshGas, you see that inserting a hose or something else from the outlet upwards will never go in the valve, but will go directly into the overflow hose
 
Erbster

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If it was mine, I’d disconnect the waste outlet from the valve and try pushing the unblocker down the pipe. The T-piece will make it very difficult to clear any blockage between it and the valve.

Where does the vertical pipe from the T piece go?


 

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