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Old 07-22-2012, 10:23 PM   #1
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black water tank problems

I've noticed on our last trip (a couple of days ago) that my black water did not completely drain when I was at the dump. I let it drain for at least 15 minutes before closing the tank and opening the grey water. I went the the RV shop for some cleaner and it seems to have broken everything down when I checked the gauges which read empty. After looking down the drain I noticed that it was still at a high level (this was after we returned home). My plan is to go to the storage spot to dump again and with any luck it will clear out.

Has anyone experienced this same problem? Please I need all the help or suggestions I can get. :bang head:

I've also posted this in the Winnebago Forum
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:11 PM   #2
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One thing that will help your black tank more than anything else is use plenty of water. After you drain the tank, add some water before you use it again. This helps to keep everything liquid. One trick if you suspect you have a problem is add a bag or two of ice before you move to a new campsite. When you first get off the road, dump. Many times that will get everything moving again. Another is get a wand you put on the end of a hose and stick it down the toilet. It sprays sideways and can clean things pretty good including your tank sensors. They are available in Camping World or some walmarts or other RV supply houses. Good luck, Steve
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:17 PM   #3
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Many times I've read of people having this problem and if those simple fixes mentioned don't work, you might have a cutout blocking the outlet. Those come from the factory when they use a hole saw to cut holes in the tank for the inlet plumbing and it drops into the tank. Sometimes they don't bother to fish it out. It can plug the outlet days or years later. It's also a little to large to just flush out.

One trick is to buy one of those short drain attachments that goes between the outlet and the drain hose (slinky). The kind that have a hose attachment. Hook up the hose, turn on the water and open the black tank valve. Hopefully, it'll blast the blockage back into the tank. If it's a cutout, it gets a little more complicated, but many people just leave it in there and take their chances.
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:26 PM   #4
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You said the gauge showed empty, This in itself is amazing, they never show empty less you upgraded to See Level sensors. (Or less they were already on it)

A friend had symptoms such as you describe, the tank WAS empty, and I mean EMPTY, I put a clear section in the dump line and there was nothign in the tank.

Turns out,, the pipe from the toilet to the tank was clogged,, Tank was empty, pipe was full.. Are you sure this is not your problem?
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:14 PM   #5
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thanks for all the input. Yes i'm sure that there is no blockage between the toilet and tank I've dropped a clean out hose and it goes down to the bottom. I've added water to the tank and with any luck I will dump it again tomorrow evening. My plan is to empty a couple of bags of ice (without the bag) and drive it to the dump. I'm praying it works. I will post tomorrow. I also plan on using the dump fitting with the hose adapter to shoot water back into the tank.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:10 PM   #6
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Check to see if your valve is opening all the way when you dump. Internal gauges are notorious for not reading correctly. I have also heard that using Pine Power(purchase at General Dollar stores) helps to clean out tanks and gauges. If you don't have a tank sprayer, I would get one of some kind. Can you see down into the tank from the toilet when open? Also, tank may not be level.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:19 PM   #7
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Happy Campers-Odorless-RV Holding Tank Treatment for Black and Grey Water Tanks

I tell you this stuff works! Last two or three times I've used it and I tell you nothing comes out but brown water...no solids. This stuff works.

But not if you use bleach or cleaning products in your black tank. Also, like another user said, use plenty of water. I very highly recommend Happy Camper.....it liquifies everything within about 15 minutes.....great stuff!

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Old 07-25-2012, 04:25 PM   #8
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Use a small amount of liquid Rid-X in your tank after every dump. You will not have any odors and the enzymes will eat up and dissolve any residual left in your tank.

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Old 07-25-2012, 04:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohsirr View Post
I checked the gauges which read empty. After looking down the drain I noticed that it was still at a high level (this was after we returned home).
It looks like you're tank is developing the dreaded ... ... black pyramid! Using plenty of water or filling the black tank to the top before dumping doesn't always flush out the "pile under the dump hole." Even with a built in flusher on our black tank, it still contains some slop after dumping and flushing. What gets the tank really clean is to aim the hose at the dumpsites right down the commode. We have a clear elbow and can see all the "goodies" that would have remained behind had we not done the top-flush through the commode thing. Don't depend on the gauges as they're notoriously wrong.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lincolnboy2 View Post
Happy Campers-Odorless-RV Holding Tank Treatment for Black and Grey Water Tanks

I tell you this stuff works! Last two or three times I've used it and I tell you nothing comes out but brown water...no solids. This stuff works.

But not if you use bleach or cleaning products in your black tank. Also, like another user said, use plenty of water. I very highly recommend Happy Camper.....it liquifies everything within about 15 minutes.....great stuff!

It would take bacteria and enzymes a lot longer than 15 minutes to break down feces and toilet paper. Black tanks are holding tanks, not septic tanks. There is no need for any of these products if the tank is flushed correctly. We use nothing and have no smells or clogs. Now if you have huge tanks and only empty them every few weeks, then maybe something would be needed to help break down the mass in the tank... but those camping for a week or less will do well with a good top-flush until they see the water leaving the tank is clear.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:40 PM   #11
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thanks for all the input. Yes i'm sure that there is no blockage between the toilet and .....

I hope you have a clear section or elbow so you can see when your tank is cleared by the water coming out. It should turn from a yellowish brown to almost clear... no more bits of anything including TP.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:56 PM   #12
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OK this is what I tried. I filled the tank to about 1/3 to 2/3 full and added chemicals and let it sit for 4 days. Then it was off to the dump station so I poured 2 medium sized ice bags into the tank. Drove to the dump station about 15 miles away and hooked up the dump and used my cleaning jets (internal) and dumped the fluids while using the jets. I ran the jets about 5 to 10 minutes. I'm almost positive that the tank is now empty (verified by looking down the toilet tube). Now that the tank is empty the gauge on the wall says it is 2/3 full. What the heck am i doing wrong.

Or should I just let it go and know that it's empty?

Yes we have a clear tube at the end of the dump and it appears to be some what clear at the end of this last attempt.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
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It would take bacteria and enzymes a lot longer than 15 minutes to break down feces and toilet paper. Black tanks are holding tanks, not septic tanks. There is no need for any of these products if the tank is flushed correctly. We use nothing and have no smells or clogs. Now if you have huge tanks and only empty them every few weeks, then maybe something would be needed to help break down the mass in the tank... but those camping for a week or less will do well with a good top-flush until they see the water leaving the tank is clear.
Well, I tell you, this stuff does break it down almost that fast, maybe an hour or two, I might go for. Black tanks are whatever each owner chooses to treat them as. I prefer to have natural enzymes to break down the toilet paper and waste. When I dumped the tank about an hour after my last personal dump (grin), nothing but liquified waste came out, no solids of any kind. That Happy Camper stuff does work. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I have the fact of my experience with it to say that it does break it down solids in a very short (relative) amount of time.....I agree 15 minutes is too short, but no more than a couple of hours for sure.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:48 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ohsirr View Post
OK this is what I tried. I filled the tank to about 1/3 to 2/3 full and added chemicals and let it sit for 4 days. Then it was off to the dump station so I poured 2 medium sized ice bags into the tank. Drove to the dump station about 15 miles away and hooked up the dump and used my cleaning jets (internal) and dumped the fluids while using the jets. I ran the jets about 5 to 10 minutes. I'm almost positive that the tank is now empty (verified by looking down the toilet tube). Now that the tank is empty the gauge on the wall says it is 2/3 full. What the heck am i doing wrong.

Or should I just let it go and know that it's empty?

Yes we have a clear tube at the end of the dump and it appears to be some what clear at the end of this last attempt.
As was mentioned, the level displays for black tanks are notoriously wrong. I just track the grey tank level, level indicator works, and when it gets to about 2/3-3/4 I know it's time to dump both. The other thing that works for me on occasion is using a cleaning wand. It is inserted into the toilet and sprays the walls of the tank. That will make my indicator work for a while.
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