Troubleshooting Cable Waste Valves Not Functioning In Sub-Zero Temperatures

Question:

Sub-zero temperature operation of Valterra electric dump valves. I have had operational problems opening and closing of the 3inch and 1.5inch Valterra cable actuated dump valves at outdoor air temperatures below 0 degrees F. Even though the valves are within the enclosed belly of my Teton fifth wheel RV and are surrounded by air warmer than outdoors, whenever the outdoor temperature falls below zero, the valves sometimes do NOT open or appear to freeze in the open position within minutes of the tanks being emptied. Im wondering if replacing the cable actuated valves with the Valterra 3inch electric valves will help eliminate this problem? It appears common that these belly enclosed valves are mounted in a horizontal orientation rather than vertically due to a lack of head room. By not having them mounted vertically, Im wondering if water tends to leak past the seals, entering the space around the slide plate and freezes around the slide plate, thus preventing the valve from opening or closing? Are the electric valves strong enough to overcome this problem? Would mounting them vertically if possible make any difference? Do the seals with time and wear tend to allow water to leak behind the seal and around the valve slide plate? It is such a pain replacing these valves in the dead of winter that I need a dump valve system that will operate reliably for YEARS. Thanks for your assistance and technical advice!

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Expert Reply:

I'm sorry to hear about the issues you are having in the cold weather. I reached out to my contact at Valterra and they said that cold shouldn't be an issue with operation unless there is moisture in the cables or if the cables have kinks or coils. The orientation of horizontal versus vertical should not be a factor.

If it were me, I'd start with trying to lubricate the cable system using penetrating oil like # L11363 and working it as far into the cables as you can by working them open and closed multiple times. Then use white lithium grease # L10307 on the ends to keep moisture out and keep everything operating as smoothly as possible.

If you want to upgrade to the electric system to get cables out of there altogether, then you can use the Valterra EZ Valve Electric Waste Valve for RV Black Water Tank - 3" Diameter # E1003VP.

expert reply by:
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Jason S

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