Tireman9

Holding Tank Sensor

11 posts in this topic

We have a Class C Coachmen Freelander and are very happy with it. Last year (our first with the RV) we noticed that we seemed to be filling our black tank faster than I thought reasonable. This presented no real problems as we were able to dump at various campgrounds every other day (reading 2/3 full).

We went to the GLASS Rally in May and I was getting worried as we went 4 days without dumping and the level read full.

After dumping I added about 5 gal of water plus some ice cubes ( a trick I read about to aid cleaning when they slosh around) and headed home. Dumped again then I filled the tank two times with fresh water. After draining for the final time I figured we were all clean.

I started to add water 3 gal at a time and checked the level with each 3 gal bucket.

Empty read E

+ 3g > E

+ 3g gave 2/3 ohmy.gif

+ 3g gave Full angry.gifohmy.gif

I continued to add 3 gal buckets till the water level was visable at the bottom of the toilet pipe and ended up with the specified 21 gal when the water reached the bottom of the pipe.

My dealer said these readings were due to the tank shape but after crawling under this just does not seem reasonable.

Suggestions?

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Tireman9,

Many of you who have attended my RV Maintenance Seminars or read my posts over the last 10+ years and know how picky I can be about maintenance, may be surprised by this post -- oh, well.

Keeping black water level monitors reading properly is, for many of us, one of the few areas where we no longer HAVE to have it working properly.

Though you can clean the sensors, on many monitor systems calibrate them, etc, as a long-time RV'er once told me:

"After you KNOW that you will NEVER fill the black tank before filling the gray (assuming you are not camping with a whole girl scout troop), stop worrying about it."

Actually, on our coach, while dry camping, I will run out of potable water LONG before filling either gray or black tanks.

So, I DO monitor black along with gray and potable; but no longer get excited when the black doesn't read accurately.

Brett Wolfe

P.S. Yes you can go with external tank sensors and calibrate them and get reasonably accurate readings, but it may be one of those things that you just stop and ask WHY!

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I agree with Brett. Our waste tank sensors haven't read accurately for the last three of the five years we have owned our motor home. Experience will tell you how long you can go without emptying the black water tank. It does fill amazingly slowly. Ours is a 40 gallon tank and the two of us working as hard as we can will take almost two weeks to fill the tank! I make a note on the calendar when I dump the tank and then plan to dump again in about 10 to 12 days.

I always try to have the tank near or above 3/4 full before dumping. If possible I like to dump the black water tank just after a good day's driving. I have never used ice. I do carry several buckets (2 gallon) which I use for washing and cleaning the outside of the RV and toad. When I dump the black water tank, I'll pour several buckets of water directly down the toilet. This is much more effective than using a hose or sprayer. With the bucket I put 2 gallons down the toilet in about 5 seconds. This breaks up solids in the drop zone right under the toilet. We have a sprayer rinse built into our coach. Even after using it and getting a clear stream of water flowing from the black water tank, using the buckets will bring out dark water with some TP for several buckets. After the third or fourth, the water finally runs clear with the bucket dump. How, you ask, do I know this? I have a clear plastic piece between the tank outlet and the hose. I stay outside while Louise dumps buckets of water down the toilet. We keep dumping until the water runs clear. We never need to use more than three or four buckets of water.

I can also get a sense of how much water is in the waste tanks by watching the sensor for the fresh water. That sensor does accurately register the level of water. As our use approaches 60 gallons, the capacity of our gray water tank, I know we are approaching a full gray water tank.

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Thanks to both of you for your input. Since at this point we have only made 4 extended (more than 3 day) trips we didn't have any history to go on as I was dumping every other day at the campgrounds we were at as it was free.

In our C I have it easy as I can use a flashlight to look down the pipe and look into the tank so I get a real "view" of the lever. LOL.

I was considering external sensors but I think we will hold off and see what transpires. Since there is just the two of us, it won't be too difficult to keep an eye on the various levels at BG which will be 7 nights for us.

Not dumping so often will also save $ I have been paying the roving honey wagon at other FMCA Conventions.

There are a couple of rest stops on the Ohio Tpk that have dump stations for $15 so will plan on using one on our way home from BG.

Thanks again.

Roger

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My dealer said these readings were due to the tank shape but after crawling under this just does not seem reasonable.

Suggestions?

NEVER believe a dealer! :rolleyes:

steve

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We have an 08 Fleetwood Bounder. No problems with the black water tank because we have a flush out hose atachment for it. However, the gray water tank sensor was out of whack and we tried many products to try and get it working properly. We finally picked up a large bottle of Pine sol (48oz) and before leaving a CG put 1/2 of the bottle in the gray water tank with some water. Upon setting up at the next CG we emptied and finally the sensor registered

empty. We also use Pine Sol in the black water tank. Pine Sol is a really good degreaser as well as a disinfectant.

Jim & Penny

Lee Center, NY

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We have an 08 Fleetwood Bounder. No problems with the black water tank because we have a flush out hose attachment for it. However, the gray water tank sensor was out of whack and we tried many products to try and get it working properly. We finally picked up a large bottle of Pine sol (48oz) and before leaving a CG put 1/2 of the bottle in the gray water tank with some water. Upon setting up at the next CG we emptied and finally the sensor registered

empty. We also use Pine Sol in the black water tank. Pine Sol is a really good degreaser as well as a disinfectant.

Jim & Penny

Lee Center, NY

There are indeed many products that WILL clean out black and gray tanks. But the problem with many is that the better their cleaning properties, the more harmful they are to the toilet seals, plastic tanks and dump valve seals.

Before using anything past detergent and water softener, be sure to check with your toilet and dump valve manufacturer.

Brett Wolfe

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My partner and I are just starting out as full timers.

We have an 09 Damon Challenger. I am not sure if this is the right forum to pose this question but here goes.

When we empty our black tank, we have noticed a foul smell reverberating back into the unit. We thought it was because we were leaving the grey valve open while we dumped the black tank. Now when emptying the black tank we close the grey tank. However, here recently we are still noticing the smell coming back into the bathroom. This only happens when we are dumping the black tank. Any suggestions for correcting this issue?

We are also having the same issue with the black tank sensor as well. We always flush the black tank after each dump (no pun intended!). :P

Also is it ok to use regular toilet tissue (ie Charmin)? We were told by a friend that it was ok just as long as the package says "septic safe".

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With regard to black tank capacities: You should be aware that some rigs have the bathroom sink also emptying into the black water tank. This both good and bad; it fills this tank faster than you expect, but it does add more fluid to the tank. Check your manual!!

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Most people make sure they have plenty of liquid in the gray water tank - dump the black, close the valve and then dump the gray so the liquid washes the hose out. I close my gray about three days before I plan to dump the black and it is almost full at that point.

The odor may be coming in from the roof vent. A vent pipe device that pulls air of the tank when any breeze is present might help. Take a look HERE

You can use any toilet paper you want whether it says septic safe or not. If it doesn't dissolve it will flow out with the waste anyway.

Most brands dissolve fairly quickly in any case.

If you want you can choose one of the ones below that dissolve fast.

Brand...........................................Dissolving Time in Seconds

(lowest is best)

Charmin Plus 1-Ply..................................9

MD 2-Ply...................................................9

Coronet 2-Ply..........................................12

Angel Soft 2-Ply......................................12

Scott 1-Ply..............................................17

Soft 'N Gentle 1-Ply ...............................18

Soft Weve 1-Ply.....................................20

Marcal 1-Ply...........................................20

Soft 'N Gentle 2-Ply...............................21

Seventh Generation 2-Ply.....................21

Quilted Northern Super 2-Ply ...............69

Charmin Ultra 2-Ply ..............................77

Cottonelle 1-Ply ....................................96

Charmin 1-Ply .....................................180

The TPs with an Excellent disintegration rating from a Aug 2000 Consumer Report article are:

Albertson's Soft Choice Ultra

Safeway Select Softly Ultra

Quilted Northern Ultra Soft

Quilted Nothern Soft Prints

Target

Kroger

Angel Soft

Charmin Plus with Unscented Natural Aloe

SoftWeve

I understand there is a later consumer Reports study out but I don't have a copy.

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It's a funny thing about the TP dissolve times and how folks seem to make that appear to be an important issue. In almost every case (I am sure there must have been one exception in the last 12 years) I don't dump my black tanks less than 180 seconds after I use the "facilities". If that's the case, I am not sure how much difference it makes if my TP breaks down in 1 or 100 seconds. I like TP that cleans without breaking but doesn't leave a scar behind. :rolleyes: I tried RV TP and that does not begin to meet my requirements. We are pretty much a Charim family and not even once have I put some in a jar to see how fast it dissolves. With that fully understood, I have also never had any kind of a clog in by black tank as I always ensure that there is plenty of water going the same direction that the other solids go.

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