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Old 09-12-2014, 06:18 AM   #1
ltcolmac17's Avatar
Country Coach Owners Club
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Black Tank Sensor Question

I will try a vinegar, dish detergent, bag of ice remedy on a road trip this weekend to clean off the black tank sensors, but I'm looking for information on late 90's Country Coach tank sensors. I've used a rotating spray wand through the toilet in the lavatory with no success, using both cold and hot water.

First question is where are these sensors located relative to the chassis and are they accessible from outside? If accessible, short of removing and replacing, is there a troubleshooting method with a multimeter recommended?

Secondly, I hear mention of "recalibrating" tank sensors - is this possible with a late '90's Country Coach since the indicator panel in the galley is mainly just rocker switches and dummy lights?

'98 Country Coach Allure

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Old 09-12-2014, 06:37 AM   #2
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I use pinesol once or twice each year and so far - my sensors still work. Yes you can get to them from outside the tank but that reall depends on the location of the tank. The sensor is bassically a bolt sticking into the tank with a wire attached to it. The bolt will collect paper and then quit working. Using paper that breaks up easily is really the answer. Fill a small bucket with water and then put some toilet paper, wadded up, into the water. It should break up in just a few seconds. If it does not, change brands.

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Old 09-12-2014, 07:08 AM   #3
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Even if you can get to the sensors there is little to be gained by replacement. The system is a very basic continuity check. When the liquid level raises to the screw the circuit the conductivity changes and the LED lights. Any buildup on the walls will look like the tank is at the screw level. The only thing that makes a difference is to get rid of the crud on the tank walls and sensor screw.

FWIW I am very ambivalent about using vinegar for tank cleaning unless you have a spare 10 gallons. OTOH any good detergent and water and time will work. When I have a problem I fill the black tank with a pint of detergent and 2/3 or so full of water a week before a trip. Also fill the gray about the same way as they get more greasy water. Hit the dump station going into camp or get a site with full service and dump when I get there. Usually get a lot of stuff coming out. It's the downside of low water flushing.

FWIW a lot of the problems are the result of low water flushing. I am leaning toward topping off the black tank with water whenever I plan on moving and dumping. We dump on exit so I usually have an hour or two after getting up and showers before we hit the dump station so I am aiming at adding water and a shot of Pinesol or dish detergent as soon as reasonable after the morning rush. Don't overdo it but the water helps.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:00 AM   #4
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Zep makes a drain and line cleaner that works well if your camper will not be used for a while fill the tanks with warm water and add a couple of scoops. Dump and flush your tanks when your ready to use it again then add zep every time you dump. You can buy it at Home Depot or Lowes it is an enzyme based cleaner that is made for cleaning sewer lines it won't damage your tank or seals it doesn't contain any kind of acids or harmful chemicals. It works and it's not expensive.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:06 AM   #5
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Why not call country couch and ask? I hear they are super helpful.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:45 AM   #6
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In your sewer bay, you can remove the panel and be able to see the wiring to the sensors. CC uses something different so you cannot just remove a "screw" and clean it. You can verify that the wiring is intact.

To clean the tank, get some cheap water softener (I use the cheap powder from Winco) and mix a couple of cup fulls with water and add to a empty tank. Throw in a cup of cheap liquid dish or laundry soap. Fill the tank to about 1/2 full and drive the coach to the next campground. If you are going home, fine just let it sit until the next trip. Dump and rinse real good when you get there.

Keep repeating until everything works. It might take 5 or 6 trips but you will get things clean. Ice cubes won't work
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Old 09-12-2014, 11:55 AM   #7
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You might want to give Happy Camper a try. It has been working great for me for over 3 years. No problems with sensors or smells.

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Old 09-13-2014, 07:13 AM   #8
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GEO Method

Originally Posted by ltcolmac17 View Post
I will try a vinegar, dish detergent, bag of ice remedy on a road trip this weekend to clean off the black tank sensors...
Basically what dons2346 said. If you want more detail, here's a link to the "official" GEO Method post.

GEO Method

I'm sure there are many effective ways to clean holding tanks so as to eliminate odor and keep sensors working. That said, the GEO Method works for us.

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Old 09-13-2014, 07:18 AM   #9
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My feeble understanding of tank sensors is that there are two kinds: One is the probe or sensor is INSIDE the tank.....and another method is OUTSIDE the tank and does not get dirty.
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:45 AM   #10
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I know this is not a direct answer to the OP's question, but you could consider changing over to an external sensor system and avoid all of the expense of chemicals and time spent trying to keep the internal sensor system working.

I installed a See-Level system 2 yrs ago and it uses the same wires that run from you existing tank sensors, so the install is pretty simple. Haven't had a moment of concern about tank levels since.
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Old 09-13-2014, 10:39 AM   #11
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X2 for GEO method.
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Old 09-13-2014, 01:30 PM   #12
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I read that GEO method and it makes complete sense....sometime the simple method is the most effective.
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Old 09-13-2014, 02:14 PM   #13
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Once clean, rinsing the black tank a couple of times after dumping usually helps to keep these things from happening. The one time I did not rinse, I had a problem until the level built up in the tank to cover the affected area. I will always rinse/flush with clean water after dumping.
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Old 09-13-2014, 06:15 PM   #14
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I tell people that the standard "Nail" type sensor will work properly exactly one time.. When Brand new.

Horst Miracle probes might work better. Keep meaning to order a set

See Level.. those work,, usually, very well.

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