Holding Tank Float Stuck

Discussion in 'General Maintenance/Repair Questions' started by bbwhitejr, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    Time for one of the “not so fun things about owning a boat.” Ever since we got this boat, the holding tank has read “Empty” regardless of how full it is. I am on my 2nd bottle of Norflex Digestor to no avail.

    In the pic, you will see the wire harness and the gray plug wire tied to the big black hose and also what looks like a threaded plug that maybe holds the floats? Is is a matter of cutting the wire ties, take the plug/wire harness loose, unscrew the plug, and pull the floats out-clean them and reinstall?
    1238143D-46EE-46FB-875C-15A1B606916E.jpeg

    Thanks,
    Bennett
     
  2. bahamabreisus

    bahamabreisus Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Hampstead NC
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    detriot 8v92
    Not as bad as you think. Pump out first, wear a mask and geter done
     
  3. Little Ducky

    Little Ducky Active Member

    693
    Jun 5, 2017
    Chattanooga TN/Dickson TN
    1998 SeaRay 290 Sundancer
    Twin EFI 5.0L w/Alpha 1 drives
    I wonder if there's an easier way to check to see if the float's working.

    Like use an ohm meter on the wires to see if a signal is being sent at various levels.

    If you have to dive into the tank..... after watching some videos on the subject .... all seem to use copious amounts of pine sol and filler up a few times to give it a good cleaning before breaking into the system.

    Good luck. Have all your shots? :D
     
  4. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    I wouldn’t run Dawn through the system because it will dry out any rubber parts and cause problems but I would think about maybe fill up the tank to about 75% capacity through the pump out with 5 gallon buckets of water. Add a couple of squirts of Dawn to each bucket after the bucket is full and without agitating it too much pour it in the pumpout hole.
    After the tank is about 3/4’s full, go for a spirited ride to agitate, pump out and repeat a couple of times.
    Then on the last pump pump out do a couple fresh water fills and pump outs.
    That should get it to a manageable condition.
    Might even clear up your problem. But if not, it will at least get a lot of the stinky stuff out for you.
    I’m using Noflex on my current boat because the indicator was working properly when I got it.
    When I first got my old boat it wasn’t working so I used the Dawn method outlined above and it started working.
    I didn’t know about Noflex when I owned my old boat so I maintened the waste tank by pouring a cup of liquid laundry detergent and some Calgon Water Softener in through the pump out hole after every pump out and obligatory fresh water fill and rinse at the pump out dock.
    I also used some RV tank treatment from Walmart as prescribed through the bowl.
    I take the opportunity to use the overboard discharge on my boats whenever I get the chance to run out the required distance in the Ocean. I had to change the pump on my old boat about a year or so before I sold it. While not a pleasant task by any means, it wasn’t really terrible and I was able to get by doing it with just some cotton in the nostrils so I guess my mixture was doing some good.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  5. Jus the two of us

    Jus the two of us Member GOLD Sponsor

    43
    Dec 7, 2015
    United States Lake Cumberland
    1998 Sundancer 450
    3116 Cats
    None of the sensors worked on out 98 450 DA when we got it. Build up on the shaft was keeping the float from moving up and down. The float has a magnet in it that moves the reed switch in the tube. screw the cap off, remove the keeper on the end of the rod, Pull the float off and clean everything. It will take some soaking and scrubbing. I would not use anything that will leave the surface rough like sand paper, That will just make things stick to the floats and rods faster.
     
  6. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    i used a Dremel rotary tool with a steel wire brush to clean the rods after removing the floats....to remove the floats from the rods there is a small 'E' ring at the end of the rods....be sure to put the floats on EXACTLY as they come off the rods...they are directional so if you install them backwards they will not work....

    cliff
     
  7. RIVERDAZE

    RIVERDAZE Member GOLD Sponsor

    46
    Oct 7, 2016
    Chattanooga
    2008 SeaRay 40 MY diesel
    Bow/Stern thrusters
    Raymarine E120 Radar, Autopilot, Plotter
    Cummins QSB425's
    One of the tricks I learned with my RV that had a stuck float was flushing a lot of ice cubes down the toilet with the tank 1/2 to 2/3 full, then taking a spirited ride. The Ice can act like sand blasting inside the tank and with a little luck free up the float. Also works to break solids off any sensor inside. Obviously you have to use a lot of ice and better to add the ice while at sea so your ride can quickly start before the ice melts. Worth a try and besides a lot fun.Otherwise lots of good advice by others here for a definite fix.
     
    Little Ducky likes this.
  8. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    Many thanks to all!

    I plan to move forward after the next pump out by removing and cleaning the rod(s).

    Bennett
     
  9. Robski97

    Robski97 Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jan 15, 2007
    North Bellmore, NY
    44DA
    Cummins QSC 8.3's
    Bennett. I would have spare sensors on hand. its a pretty straight fwd set up . 3 probes at different lengths. The probes are just plastic tubes , the sensor wire feeds down the center of the tube and sensor is on the end. CRUD builds up and stops the float from moving. Or in my case corrosion . SO i had to install a new sensor. Id hate to take everything apart and need a sensor and have to put everything back together to then do it again . A continuity meter is all u need once its taken apart to test it. Its two wires for each sensor.

    Rob
     
  10. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    Thanks Rob!

    Do you happen to have a link or info around where to find the sensors?

    Many thanks,
    Bennett
     
  11. Robski97

    Robski97 Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jan 15, 2007
    North Bellmore, NY
    44DA
    Cummins QSC 8.3's
    sure let me look. its pretty generic . ONLY difference would be the length of the tubes that determine the level alert. I cut them to size . and how they penetrate the tank. Mine went tru a rubber gasket. I heard some have individual lids that screw off.

    Rob
     
  12. Robski97

    Robski97 Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jan 15, 2007
    North Bellmore, NY
    44DA
    Cummins QSC 8.3's
  13. Robski97

    Robski97 Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jan 15, 2007
    North Bellmore, NY
    44DA
    Cummins QSC 8.3's
    I guess call ur local sealand rep. U want 3 sensors with the dip tubes. The sensor type is barbed type. Barbed means it slides into the dip tube with a barb to hold it in place. They will know what ur talking about. unless u get a probie.

    I cant find my paperwork.

    Let me know

    Rob
     
  14. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    Thanks again and no worry on the paperwork! Looking at the WM link tells me exactly what I am going to pull out. My very longest one is obviously stuck as it reads empty all of the time. Looks like my hardest issue is gaining access to it. I will let you know how I come out.

    Thanks,
    Bennett
     
  15. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    Hey Rob,

    Is this the part you are referring to circled in red?


    33691F1E-88AD-43C3-9362-C12473998F60.jpeg
    Bennett
     
  16. Robski97

    Robski97 Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jan 15, 2007
    North Bellmore, NY
    44DA
    Cummins QSC 8.3's
    Yeppers that it ... Now thats just the sensor . Id get the dip tube as well so u don't have to deal with all the crud stuck t0 the tube. Mind u I poured some cascade into the holding tank a week before.. drove the boat around to shakethings up. PUmped out then flushed with fresh water ALOT ... Then I poured bleach in and left it in until the next day. Pumped it out again.... U want that tank as clean as possible for obvious reasons. disposable gloves and LOTS OF PAPER TOWLS are in order. DOuBLE GLOVE urself makes swapping out tainted gloves so much easier...

    U can reuse the dip tubes. I just didn't want to deal with the baked on stuff. Also the tube tend to crack as u remove the oldsensor. In ur case I think u just need to clean whats stuck to the sensor and ull be good. Just have plan b ready

    Rob
     
  17. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    As soon as time allows, I will get on this!

    Thanks,
    Bennett
     
  18. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    when you take the large screw cap off the tank that has the rods/floats installed in it just use and old towel or a rag to plug into the holding tank opening when the cap is removed....that will help keep the 'aroma' from exiting the tank.....

    cliff
     
  19. Robski97

    Robski97 Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jan 15, 2007
    North Bellmore, NY
    44DA
    Cummins QSC 8.3's
    He shouldn't have the screw cap. HEs going to have 3 individual holes with grommets. There will be a tag to ID each one. The screw top is just what comes up when u google it .

    Rob
     
  20. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    I think I have the single screw in plug with the probes attached.

    145BCEB7-8516-4738-B2E1-955FE34FEEC5.jpeg
     

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