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Old 07-03-2013, 01:00 AM   #1
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Holding tanks

So we have been living in out 2008 32 foot Keystone Sydney Outback travel trailer for about 5 months now, and we have had something strange happen with our black water and gray water tanks. The level gauge in the trailer always shows that both gray and black water tanks as being half full. This even happens when I leave the tanks open for long periods of time. The water still drains out of the tanks, so the tank is not blocked in any way. Also we live in the parking lot of our church building and in doing so we use the church's toilet for solid waste rather than the RV toilet. We are kind of new to the whole RVing thing, so we are hoping someone out there knows what it might be, or how to help. Thanks a lot
Tim and Chris
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:52 AM   #2
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I have two black tanks and two grey tanks as I have a bath and a half coach.

My procedure is as follows:

Mix two cups of Dawn dish soap, or any dish soap, in a big glass of water so it is dissolved good and pour down the toilet.

Fill the black tank completely, using a flashlight to see when it is full.

Let that sit for 48 hours and then drain.

I treat mine that way every time after a trip and my gauges work fine.

My gray water gauges usually work pretty good but doing the same to them helps although you have to guess a little more on how full they are because you can't see them.

I'm not a believer in all the cleaning snake oil that's sold at RV places.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timandchris View Post
So we have been living in out 2008 32 foot Keystone Sydney Outback travel trailer for about 5 months now, and we have had something strange happen with our black water and gray water tanks. The level gauge in the trailer always shows that both gray and black water tanks as being half full.
Ours too, and thousands of other people have the same problem. Grunge from the dirty water (and sewerage in the black tank) gunk up the gauges. Fats, a heavy bacterial film and other crud stick to the gauges. Our tanks always read 100% full. We've tried everything people here recommended and nothing cleaned those gauges. And after each trip we flush the tanks with both the external flush the TT came with plus DH puts a hose down the commode until the water comes out clean.

Quote:
This even happens when I leave the tanks open for long periods of time. The water still drains out of the tanks, so the tank is not blocked in any way.
Your black tank, when left open for long periods of time, can form a TP pyramid if no solids are going down it.... or a mixed pyramid if they are. And if one/when forms, it will be one horrible stinky job to dislodge it.

Quote:
Also we live in the parking lot of our church building and in doing so we use the church's toilet for solid waste rather than the RV toilet. We are kind of new to the whole RVing thing, so we are hoping someone out there knows what it might be, or how to help. Thanks a lot
Tim and Chris
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:04 AM   #4
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Use a product that has cellulase enzymes in it. (RID-X) this dissolves paper and other deposits in the tank. I also use a cup of fabric softener mixed in water.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:17 PM   #5
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I read up on this before we purchased our trailer last year and found a post on using Blue Dawn Dish soap and Calgon water softener and a touch of bleach
Watch the bleach as it dries out the rubber seals though
Blue Dawn and the Calgon Water softener and flush the pardon the pun crap out of the tank when you drain it each time.
The water softener helps keep the stuff from sticking to the sides of the tank and on the sensors. So far no issues with our trailer tank level gauges
I have looked at the sensors and they are simply spaced up the side of the tank
1/3 full 2/3 full and full
Put a piece of TP on the full sensor and it says full all the time. So make the tank slippery so the stuff don't stay stuck and problem seems solved
Oh and I find the clear rinsing elbow is a must from Valtera or similar.
Had it a couple times stop running water out when doing the dump cycle.
Checked down the potty still had water. Blast with the rinsing elbow on the outflow and flush the potty steady and a bunch more of the good stuff came out.
After repeated flush and release the gauge was back reading empty and the tank was truly empty. Yeah I am wasting a bunch of water doing the rinsing but nothing worse than a smelly potty and eventually trailer according to the better half.
YMMV

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Old 07-03-2013, 07:38 PM   #6
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I sure hope you never leave the black tank drain valve open. Always leave it closed until full, drain it, then close the valve again. You can get away with leaving the gray tank open but not the black tank valve. Just having lots of liquid sitting in the black tank should help dissolve anything in there.

Roy
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:32 PM   #7
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False readings are normal. If you never have false readings, something definitely is very wrong! You just have to get used to it and estimate when dumping is needed or look down the toilet. You can try all the chemical treatments, flushing and other techniques you want, but you will never get rid of the problem for good. You'll know pretty quickly if your black tank needs dumping but your grey will end up backing up into the shower.

Horst Miracle probes work quite well and can easily be retrofitted if you can get to your old sensors. Not very expensive. There are fancier and more expensive sensors that are supposed to be quite accurate.

The "Geo method" reportedly works well. You can google it for lots of info.

We have a new trailer and the black tank says full all the time. I've tried backflushing and chemicals to no avail. Have the Horst probes and that's the next step for us.
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:00 AM   #8
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There are basically 3 types of sensors (Out of a possible 4) used in RV's that I know of

1: See Level, this electronic system is reported to be very good. Don't have one (yet) so can not say more.

2: Pneumatic.. I am suppoosed to have 2 of those sensors but alas, do not, or can not find 'em.. They can get clogged however and fail to give a proper reading.

1: This is the most common sensor in RV holding tanks. This is not exact but imagine running a screw into the tank and hooking a wire to it outside.. (The actual sensor is a metal rod by the way, no threads)

That's all there is to it, if the screw/rod is wet then the tank is at least screw height full.. UNLESS it's slime on the side of the tank (Which is usually is)

I have managed to get an "Empty" reading after serious aggressive cleaning, and ONE TIME by more common means.. One time.. .. in 8 years. 4 of them full time.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:44 AM   #9
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Just wondering why you would leave your tanks open? I don't recall any traps from the tanks to the sewer lines and the only thing that has a trap is the shower and sinks. So when you flush the toilet you will be getting all that sewage smell right???
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:34 PM   #10
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Holding Tank Clean Out

Hi Folks,,, New to the forum and just reading through the trials of mucked up tanks... This only workd if your the mobile type but the tank will be clean as new.. Just put 10 lbs of ice cubes down the toilet before you travel for the day.. Time tested and works,, use the dawn soap as well if you like although I never have,, just good old ICE from the 7/11 store...
Happy Trails ... Dg
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:06 PM   #11
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My grey tank always showed 2/3rd full, even with the wire at the tank disconnected. I found and replaced a defective 14 pin IC on the display board. Don't know where I got it, but I had a spare in my parts bin.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:41 PM   #12
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My grey tank always showed 2/3rd full, even with the wire at the tank disconnected. I found and replaced a defective 14 pin IC on the display board. Don't know where I got it, but I had a spare in my parts bin.
Mike, is there anything you don't have in your parts bin? Rummage around and see if you can find me a 45 foot tag axle in there!
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:55 PM   #13
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I'll get right on it.


Seriously, I pride myself in being able to build just about everything I want... without leaving home. Throw it away, and you will need it the next day. Before throwing something away, I strip it of all re-usable parts.
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:19 PM   #14
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I'll get right on it.


Seriously, I pride myself in being able to build just about everything I want... without leaving home. Throw it away, and you will need it the next day. Before throwing something away, I strip it of all re-usable parts.
I'm like you. I've got parts for almost everything. Now I know I have a tag axle in here someplace................

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