Snip, Snip, Tape and Grease - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Snip, Snip, Tape and Grease

by | Jun 23, 2022 | Pro Tip, RVEXPERT

Installing sewer hose fittings that will clear available storage holders — including the 4-inch square bumper on trailers and fifth wheels — doesn’t have to be a frustrating job

We all love RVing, but we can’t say that about dumping the holding tanks. A big part of the challenge is having the right sewer hose, suitable fittings and finding a place to store these hoses after they have been contaminated with waste from the tanks. There are literally dozens of sewer hoses available in heavy-duty and light-duty iterations, some with pre-installed fittings — not to mention the myriad fittings that can be installed on a blank sewer hose to fit your needs.

Trying to store one or more sewer hoses in tight quarters — like the bumper on the back of a trailer — can be maddening, especially if the fittings are too large to fit into the 4-inch square tube. A good solution is to buy a blank sewer hose and install your own fittings, customizing them to what works for you.

cutting with hand snips
removing the fitting
Adding your own sewer hose fittings, rather than those that come preinstalled, may be necessary to clear the space afforded by your storage facility, like the 4-inch-square bumper on trailers and fifth wheels. When the fittings won’t slide on easily, consider cutting the wire with hand snips to widen the opening. Once the fitting is in place, the hose clamp will clear the cut.

Sounds easy, but if you haven’t tried installing fittings into a flexible sewer hose, especially a heavier-duty product, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. Most of the hoses are just a little bit too small in diameter — and it can be almost impossible to pull the end over the fitting before installing the hose clamp. Some people just grin and bear the process, while others even resort to heating the end with a hair dryer. Years ago, I discovered a little trick: simply cut the wire opposite the end that’s visible. You’ll need to cut through the wire and the sewer hose material with hand snips, but not to worry; when you pull it all the way onto the fitting, the hose clamp will still fit below the cut. The cut alleviates the pressure and allows the hose to be pulled up easily on to the fitting.

If you need more help, apply a little bit of silicone grease or something similar onto the beveled (leading) edge of the fitting and pull the sewer hose up over the fitting as far as it will go. Install the clamp, taking care not to overtighten it, which will either damage the worm gear and/or create a leak under the material.

adding some teflon tape
sliding the fitting and hose back together
Sometimes stopping leaks is not possible, even though the hose clamp is tightened properly. At some point, continued tightening of the hose clamp just leads to a damaged worm gear and, worse, leaking. In such cases, applying a few wraps of Teflon tape will do the trick — just don’t over-wrap with the tape and be sure it doesn’t bunch up when sliding the hose end over the fitting.

Every once in a while, you’ll run into a situation where the connection point leaks, regardless whether the hose clamp has been tightened properly. For these problems, apply several wraps of Teflon tape around the fitting before sliding on the hose. Once you get the hang of it, subsequent fittings will be easy to navigate.

As mentioned previously, storing hoses requires some creative thinking. One method that works well is to wind the hose inside a 5-gallon bucket. This works quite well with a 10- or 15-foot sewer hose, but you’ll have to clean the bucket frequently and have the space to store it. If you have a deep storage compartment, consider using a plastic, hollow fence post. There are also plugs that will go on the sewer hose fittings after you dump the tanks — but be sure to clean the hose by dumping the gray water tank(s) last. You can also squirt clean water through the hose, but be cognizant of contaminating the hookup spigot. Be patient when draining the sewer hose; it seems like the dripping will never end, even while hanging the hose. End caps (available from most RV supply stores and Amazon) will prevent the hose from dripping while in storage.

Handing sewer hoses is a dirty job that can be a lot “cleaner” with the use of proper fittings and sanitary storage procedures.

using silicone grease on the fitting
In extreme cases — especially when it’s cold outside — the fitting takes a stubborn posture. Apply a thin coat of silicone grease to the leading edge of the fitting. Keep in mind that too much grease can lead to other issues, like slippage, so be frugal.
showing the end caps on the hose
End caps, available at most RV supply stores and online (Amazon), can be used to prevent leaking when the hose is placed in storage.
5-gallon bucket with the hose being stored inside of it
If you have room in your basement storage, a 5-gallon bucket makes a great repository for the sewer hose between uses. It can usually hold hoses up to 15 feet and will occupy quite a bit of space, but any icky stuff will be contained.
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