Brianreed

Black Tank Pressure Cleaning

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Ok I have recently purchased a very nice 2006 Newmar which had an aftermarket Macerator in the wet bay.  This has caused a few problems, I suspect the PO kept dumping the black too early and caused settling of the "debris" as the macerator did its thing while dumping at a slow pace.  So in the end I have a black tank that is at best guess 1/4 full (according to the level sensor) of "debris".  I had the macerator removed and now want to do something about getting the tank finally cleaned. Here are my options as I see them.

1.  I have seen a power washing RV service where they put a 400psi washer with 4 reverse sprayers.  Takes about 30 mins, and on youtube the results seem great.  This is my first choice, but unfortunately I cannot find anyone doing this service up in Washington.  I suppose I can attempt this myself as the special nozzles you can buy, but not sure where to get a sprayer that would pump at the 400psi range and how would I even know.

2. Do some combination of cleaner, full tank flushes, and internal black tank flushes and hope this will get it all cleaned out.

3. Try that tank wand thing, but not sure how well these work.

Any other suggestions short of taking the tank out and getting it cleaned and replacing would help.  

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jleamont   

Brian, can you see down into the tank from the toilet? If so get a pressure washer, put a 45 degree fitting on the end, go with a lower psi tip so as not to do any damage and have at it, turn the nozzle and rock it left to right and back and forth. I personally would remove the toilet first, just make it easier, put the ceiling fan on intake, NOT EXHAUST :wacko:.

Pass the pressure washer wand through the bathroom window, don't put the pressure washer inside the coach. 

The hand held wands I don't believe will have enough to do what you want it to do and there is an ice cube trick I have heard about, that has been proven useless on a few Youtube videos.

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Several things come to mind. First you are LUCKY it still drains as that makes it more unpleasant to fix. I would NOT trust the tank level sensors. They are almost always wrong.

I would look down the toilet with a bright light and see what is going on/is it realey 1/4 full?

Do you have a clear elbow or clear piece of 3" pipe so you can see what the water coming out looks like. http://www.campingworld.com/45-degree-clear-hose-adapter?rrec=true

They come in different configurations so you can find one that works. 

Now fill the black tank about 3/4 full and add a couple of packets of the chemicals to break up waste. http://www.campingworld.com/search?keyword=black+tank+chemicals it woulden't hurt to "over treat" the tank to get it clean.

Would be nice if you could drive it around a little to agatate the mix. If not just watie a day or so and drain and flush and see how it looks. 

Bill

 

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I guess it depends on how solid the pryamid is but I would try about 20 lbs of ice maybe and fill the rest to 3/4 or less the way with water, add liquid chemicals? soap and water softener and drive it for a couple hours or three, on some what rough roads or interstate with a very rough broken surface.

Maybe even drive it that way to your first or next rv site. If that doesn't do it buy the wand and have at it. Or use the wand first.

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Thanks for the encouragement of the wand/low pressure through the toilet.  I have been told the wands are useless, but I have no first hand knowledge.  Someone told me the ice trick, but that seemed suspect and a myth.  

I say 1/4 full because the tank sensor says it is 1/4 full after everything is drained.  Perhaps the 1/4 is not accurate, but a visual check with a flashlight down the toilet should tell me something.

I have been told that the chemicals are also useless and not great for the plastic tank and the environment, but perhaps that advice comes for a tree hugger; we have plenty up here in WA.

I will post back to tell you how this is coming along.

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jleamont   

Brian, you might just have inaccurate sensors, common on most coaches depending on what type it's equipped with.

as bill suggested, drain the tank and see if you can see in from the toilet 

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manholt   
Quote

 

If you do need a low flow pressure washer, try Granger Tools internet or there might be a store near you, Low's, Home Depot or Tractor Supply.  I have a 200-1,000 psi that I got from Low's, also a big 2,000-7,000.

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3 hours ago, Brianreed said:

Thanks for the encouragement of the wand/low pressure through the toilet.  I have been told the wands are useless, but I have no first hand knowledge.  Someone told me the ice trick, but that seemed suspect and a myth.  

I say 1/4 full because the tank sensor says it is 1/4 full after everything is drained.  Perhaps the 1/4 is not accurate, but a visual check with a flashlight down the toilet should tell me something.

I have been told that the chemicals are also useless and not great for the plastic tank and the environment, but perhaps that advice comes for a tree hugger; we have plenty up here in WA.

I will post back to tell you how this is coming along.

The ice trick sounds good but is a fantasy as the ice is just floating in the water(good video on youtube) and the ice realey does not do anything. I don't use chemicals all the time but if you have a layer of sludge(You need to look and see, maybe use a probe) The chemicals will help break up the sludge. Well so will Dawn dish washing soap and some Calgon water softener.

The black tank is a "holding tank" not a septic system. 

Get the clear section of 3" pipe so you can see what is coming out. 

Bill

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Hot water is your best friend when cleaning the black tank, 1/2 to 3/4 full, use calgon water softener, can be found at Walmart or some other stores in the laundry department, lots of dawn dish detergent, then drive coach to agitate, and as Carl suggest one of those clear fittings to watch what comes out. The ice trick works but is much slower and may take several cleanings to get the results of the HOT WATER. No harsh chemicals in the above fix to agitate the tree huggers, everybody likes soft water and the dish liquid is low foaming.

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manholt   

One gallon hot water and half a cup of liquid Calgon flushed into toilet once a month!  Works.  In your case follow Kay's recipe!!!

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mailman   

Brian

Buy the following parts

Get a little shut off for water hose lst part   "Note it should be able to rotate"

Attach a fitting  to a 3 ft piece of plastic 3/4 pipe to join to the shutoff 2nd part

At the end of the 3/4 pipe attach a 3/4 street L  3rd part

Put a 3/4 plastic cap on the end of the 3/4 street L 4th part

Drill a 1/4 inch hole at the base of the cap.

So you will have a home made pressure  washer    3/4 pipe to a 1/4 stream of high 

Volume water.  Lay the end of the pipe at the bottom of tank.

Open Black tank valve so water can leave. And flush to clean water only runs out of opening

The home made wand  can be rotate to cover 360 degrees in the holding take by entrance to toilet.

I use the same device to pressure  wash under my motorhome.

Tim

 

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manholt   

Tim.

:lol: Nice to learn something new, great idea! :) I would still use some Dawn and Calgon in tank!  I have a built in San-e-Flush and use it...by filling the bowl with Dawn & Bromide, every other time I hook up water to it, really keeps both gray and black tank clean!  My toilet is a electric flush macerator kind, so I have no way to look into tank! :o

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ISPJS   

Brian, I have 2 cents I ain't got nothing to use for.....

I would get one of these:  http://www.valterra.com/product/flush-king-reverse-rv-flush-valve-boxed/

With a Flush King you can back flush from the discharge which may or may not knock some of that bottom junk off the tank.  They are not very expensive and usually allow more water faster into a holding tank.  Another thing they are good for is back flushing your other tanks.

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jleamont   

the ice cube one is my favorite, every time someone recommends that i think of this video :wacko:

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manholt   

The only problem with both of those videos....you can come close to replicate a black tank in motion, but no cigar as far as I'm concerned.  Bill, I and others have used ice/some water/soap and calgon, then emptied out tank at next campground...it works!  In a Plexiglas box, in the trunk of a car, with no water/soap or calgon....off course it won't work!  They make $$$ by disproving something!

I can't stand people that want to prove a point, by taking it out of context.

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2 hours ago, manholt said:

The only problem with both of those videos....you can come close to replicate a black tank in motion, but no cigar as far as I'm concerned.  Bill, I and others have used ice/some water/soap and calgon, then emptied out tank at next campground...it works!  In a Plexiglas box, in the trunk of a car, with no water/soap or calgon....off course it won't work!  They make $$$ by disproving something!

I can't stand people that want to prove a point, by taking it out of context.

You could make money if you would show the video of how you drove the RV to get more agitation. :P The soap and calgon as I suggested before would probably do more good. How is this out of context? By the way adding more water will raise the ice so it doesn't come in contact with the stuff stuck on the bottom. 

Bill

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jleamont   

Ice floats, the key words above is "some water" and "a gallon of water". Most will tell you 1/2 tank of water with ice, that's useless as the video proves. 

Bill I watched a couple of guys try and unclog a black tank bouncing a trailer in a campsite, one on the tongue one on the rear bumper you know that mental picture you have right now...yeah it was pretty funny. The one guy said to me "bet y'all can't do that with yer motorhome" :lol:. I laughed so hard I carried beers down to them when they were worn out and panting. The least I could do for free entertainment.  

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They did deserve a cold beer for their efforts. :o

I am waiting for the OP Brianreed to get back to us and see if it was just a bad sensor. 

There was a guy at one of the rallys last year preshure washing peoples black and gray tanks. So there are people out there doing that kind of service.

Bill

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I go for a drive on Sunday where I am going to full the tank half full and then add dawn and Calgon while driving then go dump right afterwards to see how things look.  I will let you know.

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I filled the tank with water using the black tank flush filler and then went for a drive for the first time.  Driving this huge rig through narrow streets is a little nerve racking.  I decided not to try anything first just do a water flush.  It seemed like a fair bot of crap came out of the tank.  I am going to try the calgon and dawn trick over next weekend when we go up to LaConner, WA for our first overnight in the new RV.  We have decided to name her Daisy.

I will let you know if more crap comes out.  Also I now know that the grey tank level sensor id not working.

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manholt   

Brian.

The grey tank sensor, is it inn tank or outside of tank?  If inn, you probably need to clean the tank, in the same way as the black.  Not knowing how careful the previous owner was about keeping grease and food out off it, you most likely have a film of grease, in that tank.  Dawn does a great job on grease!  Have tried other products and like dawn the best.

Once you take care of both Grey & Black, you need to sanitize the fresh water tank!  Let's do one problem at a time...Did you get a clear elbow for your 3", so that you can see, when the water is clear?

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mailman   

Carl,

I had a blog about Gray Tanks but alot of people read it but no suggestions.

I have 6 gallon hot water heater.  So If I empty the whole tank into gray tank, 

how much dawn would you think is enough . I would drive to next camping location

and drop tank, when I arrive. Food and grease would break up and drain.

Tim

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@ Manholt 

Thanks for the advice.  I agree, one thing at a time, and doing the fresh tank sanitation will need to be done soon.  Luckily the fresh tank seems like it is in great shape, but will sanitize soon.  I did replace the house filter (the 0.5 micron in the wet bay) as well as the water filter in the galley sink (small one under the sink)  I purchased a new fresh water drinking hose and added one of those large 20 micro filters at the spigot.  

I also purchased a orange black water hose which I keep separate from the fresh water stuff.

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