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Old 05-22-2016, 09:00 PM   #1
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Gray and Black tank issues

Hi all, please help. Can black and gray tank get mixed. When we arrived to our new RV site, I tried to empty the gray (or I thought I did). I didn't properly connect the hose (not a good thing). When the nasty stuff came out I think there were black tank stuff in there. I know I had both valve closed (i am sure of this). Now I am thinking that may be the valve are malfunctioning and the black tank stuff are getting into gray tank.
Thus whole thing could be my imagination as I was tired. My DW did say there were some odors when driving the MH on the road.
I am not sure I am being coherent asking this. Any info will help to understand how black and gray are separated.


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Old 05-22-2016, 09:06 PM   #2
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the black and gray tanks should only intersect at the dump valve. if you open the gray dump valve and have [ moderator edit ]coming out then there is a problem with the black valve. next time you dump dump completely. with both valves closed flush the toilet and if you have waste or what should be mostly gross water coming out then the black dump valve is DEFINITELY faulty. if nothing comes out open ONLY the gray dump valve and flush the toilet. if you have fluid coming out then perhaps you have the black and gray tanks mixed up? i have never seen nor should black water come from a gray water tank. hope this helps.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:24 PM   #3
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Thank you. This helps.


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Old 05-22-2016, 09:33 PM   #4
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One way to tell which valve is which is to look at the piping to the valves. The larger pipes are for the black tank. Likewise, the black tank valve is larger than the gray tank. Just look at the flanges to tell.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:58 AM   #5
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To my surprise, we only get bad odors from the gray water tank in our coach if at all. The drop-ins we use for the black water tank seem to work extremely well. The product I've been using in the gray water tank doesn't seem to work nearly as well and I'm planning on trying the Happy Campers product in the gray tank to see if that works better. I should mention, I did recently install the weathervane style Venturi vent caps on the roof and there was no gray tank odor whatsoever on a recent trip.


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Old 05-23-2016, 06:16 AM   #6
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Does using the bathroom while driving and the fan on cause any issues? Should we stop and then use the bathrooom?


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Old 05-23-2016, 09:23 AM   #7
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Gray and Black tank issues

For safety sake, stop, "Click it or ticket"

The only problem using the bathroom with the vent on while driving is that the black tank which usually has a positive air flow out the roof vent will have a slightly negative pressure coming from the bathroom vent when the dump is open. Since this normally of a short duration it should not cause many odors to be pulled into the coach, just don't stand there with the dump held open for a long time. Also be sure you fasten the seat belt while on the toilet!!!

One problem many people have is not using enough water in the toilet. The black tank needs water to properly operate. Be sure you add enough to the bowl, both before and after you flush. While parked you can add a lot more, while on the road, not so much. That water also seals the odor from the bathroom.

While parked at a campground leave your dump valves closed until you are ready to dump. Dump the black first, flush it, close the valve then dump your grey tank, that way the grey water flushes your hoses. Depending upon you usage that could be once a week, I never dump until my black tank is above 60% and grey is 100%, sometimes I only dump the grey.

Speaking of grey water, you can get odors almost as bad from the grey tank as you get from the black. Think about what goes into that tank, bits and pieces of food, grease, etc. they feed bacteria. If you are using a chemical in your black tank you can occasionally add some to your grey tank, that will help. Or you can get a different chemical for just the grey tank.

You can also get odors in your coach while driving if the water has sloshed out of the "P" traps. A quick fix is to put the water back in, you could also get those rubber drain stoppers (about 6" in diameter) sold in hardware stores, then add a small amount of water to the sink or shower, it sloshes around but seals the drain from odors escaping into the coach.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:30 PM   #8
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X2 on the grey tank smell. Occasionally I have a Bad smell in the coach, almost always the cause is the trap for the shower had dried out, add some water, no more smell.
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Old 05-23-2016, 10:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Does using the bathroom while driving and the fan on cause any issues? Should we stop and then use the bathrooom?
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Well, if you as the driver want to use the head, then by all means stop. If it is for the DW, then all is fine but expect some odor because of the negative pressure in the coach. Some of the odor can be eliminated by you opening your driver's window.
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Old 05-23-2016, 10:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
One way to tell which valve is which is to look at the piping to the valves. The larger pipes are for the black tank. Likewise, the black tank valve is larger than the gray tank. Just look at the flanges to tell.
That's not necessarily the case in all coaches. Our 2006 Itasca and now our 2015 Tiffin both have the exact same size pipes and valves for the black and gray tanks. Our friend's Fleetwood has a gray tank pipe that is smaller, but not ours.
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Old 05-23-2016, 10:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Nxkharra View Post
Does using the bathroom while driving and the fan on cause any issues? Should we stop and then use the bathrooom?


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Full Timer from Norfolk VA

Has never caused any ventilation issues for us. If you're getting odors while driving I would suspect air is being pushed down the vents causing gray tank odors to get into the coach past the "P" traps in the drains. That's what was happening to us until I installed the weathervane Venturi vent caps. So far I have had any odors since.


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Old 05-24-2016, 12:41 AM   #12
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First of all , you were tired. Iv'e been there, so tired I dont remember pulling in for the night. Next time you dump the tanks, make sure your rested and its daylight. You could get a clear elbow to put inline with your hose so you can see whats coming out. If you dont want to go that way, dump the black and then when its done, flush a full bowl of water down the toilet and see if its coming out the black tank. You can do the same with the grey and running a faucet. Most likely what you thought was black water, was just some really bad grey water and maybe some food particles. Grey gets very nasty from food, bacteria from washing and worst of all from brushing your teeth. I find that dumping the grey often while dry camping keeps it from smelling. I know some folks dont like folks dumping grey on the ground but when out in remote areas, there is nothing in there that will hurt anything. Its when you let it sit for a week in a hot tank it can get pretty ripe. I highly doubt your tanks are flowing into each other but you might have them mislabeled or the colored handles switched around accidentally.
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