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Old 07-01-2011, 08:03 AM   #1
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New to me 85 Southwind septic question

Hi all,

I recently picked up an 85 Southwind that had been sitting for a while. My questions will be aplenty i'm sure but first off I want to ensure the septic and water systems are working.
The previous owner didn't know if the tank had been emptied the last time it was used or at all

So where do I start

Thanks
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:57 AM   #2
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Open the flush in the toilet by stepping on the foot valve: stick a garden hose in the hole and fill the black-water tank (the sewage tank; water from the sinks and shower goes to the "gray water" tank) . Put water in the gray tank through the shower or bathroom sink.

IMPORTANT NOTE: after you put a couple gallons of water in each of your tanks, stop filling and go out and check to see if the dump valves are working properly. Use a bucket to catch the water from the slinky hose (make sure its attached to the valves). There are 2 blade valves; pull them one at a time, quickly and see if they open and close adequately. They may be stiff, but they should allow you to open and close them. You should see water come out from each tank. If not, the valve is not opening and needs to be replaced. If it drips when closed, there may be something (TP or whatever) caught on the blade.

You have a gauge for how full your tanks are on the control panel (on the range hood) but it probably is not accurate or working, so stop filling the black tank when water comes up into the hole in the toilet, or the gray when it backs up into the shower.

Dump in half a box of Calgon water softener and 6 oz of dish liquid in each tank and let it all set for a day or two or three. If you can take a short drive so it sloshes around, all the better, but if the tanks are full it will work just sitting.

If you have a clean-out available in your home sewer, you can dump your tanks in that, or else you'll need to find a dumps station (Flying J, campgrounds, refuse stations). You may pay around $5 for dumping.

When you get ready to dump, wear gloves. The stinky slinky hose should have a 90 degree elbow at the end; if it doesn't, run to Walmart and pick one up; in fact, you will probably want to replace the entire hose assembly. The cheap ones sometimes only last a few months to a year before they start to leak (and leaks are NOT pleasant). Its also handy if the new hose has a clean or translucent section so you can monitor flow.

Put the elbow in the hole in the dump station, or in your sewer/septic clean-out, and briefly open and close the GRAY tank valve; this will fill the hose with not-so-icky water so if there's a leak or a blow-up, at least its not poo.

Then open the black tank valve and let the tank empty; when the black is finished, close valve and open gray. Doing the gray water second flushes the hose.

If you have water available, you might stick your hose down the black tank again and give it a blast to rinse; the clear section in your slinky will let you see if more "stuff" is coming out with the rinse.

Otherwise, wash down the area and leave it nice for the next guy.

You can repeat this whole process to ensure a squeaky clean tank, if you want, but unless you had the dreaded "brown pyramid" problem, you should be good to go.

Make sure you always start with a few gallons of water in your black tank and use plenty of water with each flush. Adequate water is the key to a well-functioning black tank.

If anything I've said is unclear, let me know; we forget sometimes that RV stuff is not general knowlege.
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:06 PM   #3
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seinorchief said it right (calgon) i have a 1985 also the black tank is on left grey on right i bought a i think the name was flush king i hooks on the tank and host then you use a water hose to flush tanks. did you get manuals to the appliances i have them
dave
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Old 07-03-2011, 06:14 PM   #4
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WOW!!!
Thanks for the info thats great.

I'll keep you posted and i'm sure I'll be asking alot of questions.
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Old 07-03-2011, 08:48 PM   #5
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Before putting any water in I would check to make sure the valves still work by opening and closing them. I would have a bucket or something under the drain to catch anything when I tried the valves.

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Old 07-03-2011, 08:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Before putting any water in I would check to make sure the valves still work by opening and closing them. I would have a bucket or something under the drain to catch anything when I tried the valves.

Jon

Yeah, that's why I wrote IMPORTANT NOTE in the second paragraph; the part about checking both valves after putting in just a couple gallons of water; if the tanks are completely dry, no way to tell if the valves are opening
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:02 PM   #7
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Yeah, that's why I wrote IMPORTANT NOTE in the second paragraph; the part about checking both valves after putting in just a couple gallons of water; if the tanks are completely dry, no way to tell if the valves are opening
OOPS: My bad. I missed your note.

At least he can't say he wasn't warned now.

Jon
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Old 07-04-2011, 10:20 PM   #8
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jfran304, I suspect we've both had that unhappy experience of full tanks and a bad valve; once it happens to you, its burned in your memory forever!
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:09 PM   #9
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jfran304, I suspect we've both had that unhappy experience of full tanks and a bad valve; once it happens to you, its burned in your memory forever!
Knock on wood but I haven't had that pleasure yet. So far the worst experience I have had was when I went to dump and the campground's drain was clogged up.

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Old 07-05-2011, 01:58 PM   #10
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A while back we bought an '83 Winnebago Chieftain; After we brought it home (saga in and of itself) we decided to dump the tanks into our sewer clean-out.

Pulled out the slinky, stuck it in the clean-out and vigorously pulled the handle on the black tank. The ENTIRE black tank valve broke off the tank and I'm left holding it by the T-handle while the contents of the black tank discharge on my shoes.

Fortunately, the tank had only a few gallons in it, but its a VIVID, vivid memory!
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:09 AM   #11
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Black & Grey tank maintenance, etc

I've also read (here and elsewhere) that a bag of ice from your local convenience store, poured down the toilet drain, will help 'scour' the inside of your black tank. Couple gallons of water, a bag or two of ice, and a 15 minute drive with plenty of turns and slaloms back and forth will dislodge any caked on "whatever", as Senior Chief so aptly described it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:22 PM   #12
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when i bought mine years ago i bought i think the brand was flush king it is a 90 degree adapter that hooks up to the drain connection and hose you hook up a water hose to help do a google search on the GEO METHOD not sure i spelled method right but calgon is main ingredient.
i ask before do you have the appliances for your rv
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