View Full Version : Black holding tank flush handle broken at the handle end of the cable

07-27-2010, 07:56 AM
I own a 2005 BigHorn 3200RL fith wheel. Today I emptied the black holding tank. The flush valve pulled very hard, but did finally open. I then operated the sani-flush for a couple minutes and shut the valve, allowing a few gallons of water to accumulate in the tank. When I attempted to open the valve again to empty the final rinse water, the flush handle was jammed so tight against the back wall of the little compartment where the flush handles are housed that I could not get my fingers around it to grip it. I got so wrapped up in fussing with the flush handle that I forgot that the water was still filling the tank through the sani-flush system. Eventually I was able to pry the handle out far enough to get a hold of it, just as the cable broke, right at the handle. Then my wife called out the window to tell me that the rug in front of the toilet was wet. That reminded me that the water supply to the sani-flush was still on. So now I have a black holding tank with 40 + gallons of fresh water in it, and no way to flush it out. I am set up for the season at an RV park, and my holding tank flush hose connects to the RV within 10 feet of my neighbor's screen tent. I just had all three holding tank valves replaced 2 years ago because they were all leaking, so I know that the RV repair shop will not service the holding tank until it is empty. Any suggestions as to how I proceed? No portion of the flush valve cable is accessible. It looks as if the bracket that secured the handle to the rear wall of the access compartment has torn loose, but has left less than a 3/4 inch hole. The cable is dangling somewhere behind that wall and there is no access through the under belly. Can anybody provide a drawing as to where the flush valve is located, so I will know where to cut through the under belly to access it. I assume I will need to replace the entire cable, from the flush valve to the compartment that houses the cable handles. Thanks, Bill in Michigan

07-27-2010, 08:49 AM

Please call into the Heartland RV service dept 877-262-8032. They will walk you through your options. Hope this helps.

07-27-2010, 10:49 AM
Bill, don't worry too much about my screen tent, it can be moved. We'll be back on Saturday.

You might be able to see the valve location by removing the rear basement panels, I can in my rig. Then either unbolt the underbelly cover or cut a three-sided section and fold it down. I've got some Gorilla tape in my rig that you can use to tape it back up if you go that route.

There was another owner that posted some details and photos of repairing his black tank valve. Try doing a search for it. I'll give it a try and send you the link, if I find it.


07-27-2010, 05:15 PM
I believe this Bighorn has the flush handles below the floor level and through the Frame of the RV, outside the Docking Station.

I would suggest you crawl under the RV below where the tank valve handles are located and cut a flap so you can reach behind the frame where the handles come through the frame. IF you only cut two sides from the edge of the plastic belly pan you'll be able to close the flap once the work is done and seal the cut edges with Gorilla Tape. Once you get the flap open you can then unscrew the metal part of the black tank cable from the frame and pull it down to where you MIGHT be able to then pull the cable with a pair of vise grip pliers. This won't repair the problem but it MIGHT empty the tank so you then can get the repairs made.

Good Luck !


07-28-2010, 03:33 PM
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I did crawl underneath and cut open the belly. I ran into a wet mess. I ended up cutting more underbelly out than I had expected, looking for the source of the leak. The entire bottom of the holding tank was wet, along with soaked insulation that I had to pull out. Then I discovered that the Big Horn dealership that had replaced the tank valve for me two years ago had been unable to get the plumbing aligned properly, so they could not glue the fitting. Instead of installing fittings to enable proper alignment, they just used some plumbers putty to seal the sloppy joint (this dealership has since gone out of business, moved across the road, opened under a different name, and no longer sells BigHorn RV's - I would guess that Heartland received enough complaints to revoke their franchise). Who knows how long that fitting has been dripping, but enough fluid has reached the shaft on the valve handle to allow it to rust through, which is how it broke off when I pulled on it. I was able to get up in that confined space with a pair of channel locks and pull the valve open and empty the tank. I have an appointment next week with a more reliable RV service garage to install a new tank valve properly and replace that section of underbelly and insulation.

07-28-2010, 08:04 PM
Sure glad you were able to dump. Thanks for the update.
Good Luck with the repairs.

Ray LeTourneau
07-29-2010, 08:43 AM
Bill, It's good to here you're on the road to getting your situation taken care of. I'll move this out of the ATF into an appropriate area. Thanks for your update post.