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Old 08-10-2014, 12:58 PM   #1
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Thumbs down A black tank mystery

Here's a good one .... I've searched for this with zero results.

Are black tanks lined with anything? Are they just the molded ABS or whatever plastic or is there anything sprayed on the inside to facilitate cleaning?

Reason for question: We bought a used coach and even though the dealer insisted he flushed the black tank .... and even my flush came out clear ... we discovered the thing was sadly mistreated. It had a poo pyramid as hard as a rock. It took 6 weeks of leaving Rid X bacteria eat their way thru the hardened waste in the tank to start getting things cleaned.

Then we simply used the GEO method and things worked just fine for the first 6~12 dumps. But lately I'm experiencing difficulty emptying the tank. Sometimes it empties good but when I try to flush things get stopped up.

I am getting pieces of "something" from the tank. It's quite obvious it is a material (organic??) that was like a lining in the tank. The pieces are very thin and feels almost like it maybe a calcium material rather than man made. One side is very smooth ... obviously the side that was next to the ABS inside. Color varies from gray to brown. The other (inside) side is pebbly albeit very very small pebbles. sort of like a very coarse sandpaper. There is no smell associated with this material and it is very brittle.

The problem is some pieces are pretty large (2" X 2") and they will partially or completely block the opening to the drain pipe. I need to use a bucket to catch the waste water and stick a folded hanger up the drain pipe (thankfully it's a direct vertical run into the tank) to dislodge the dam. You can imagine the mess it makes when the poo water starts flowing again as I extract the hanger and close the valve. Many time this action needs repeated to finally get the tank flushed clean.

Any ideas? I'm at wits end trying to understand what's going on.

P.S. We are full timers so there is always liquid in the tank. It fills in about a week of normal usage (two people) and we always use lots of water.
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:07 PM   #2
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You answered the reason why you are having so many problems in your post!

"we discovered the thing was sadly mistreated."

Purchase a jar of Happy Campers Organic Extreme Tank Cleaner.

You may need to clean it multiple times before all of the "misuse" has been removed.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:10 PM   #3
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A flex inspection camera wand make it easy to look in those difficult areas. The only tanks I know that may have a coating in them are metal fuel tanks to prevent rust and leaks.
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:14 PM   #4
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+1 on 5 Star Happy Camper products, good stuff!
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:17 PM   #5
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It seems pretty clear you're dealing with some kind of coating that formed on the inside walls of the tank over the years. I've never had an RV that I used intermittently (other than a little popup), so I've never had to deal with the old seasonal storage thing regarding all the systems. Based on my reading, I think having black and gray tanks go through seasonal dryouts without proper and careful cleaning and rinsing is probably one of the most difficult and critical problems facing folks with large RVs.

I don't know the answer-- have you tried the ice cube scrub?

I guess if you keep flushing, at some point all the coating will be gone. Good Luck!
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doggy Daddy View Post
A flex inspection camera wand make it easy to look in those difficult areas. The only tanks I know that may have a coating in them are metal fuel tanks to prevent rust and leaks.
Harbor Freight has the inspection camera Inspection Camera - Save on this Digital Inspection Camera and with a coupon not a bad price. They work real well.
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr4Film View Post
You answered the reason why you are having so many problems in your post!

"we discovered the thing was sadly mistreated."

Purchase a jar of Happy Campers Organic Extreme Tank Cleaner.

You may need to clean it multiple times before all of the "misuse" has been removed.

Dr4Film ----- Richard

X2
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr4Film View Post
You answered the reason why you are having so many problems in your post!

"we discovered the thing was sadly mistreated."

Purchase a jar of Happy Campers Organic Extreme Tank Cleaner.

You may need to clean it multiple times before all of the "misuse" has been removed.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
X3 That stuff works great!!
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:17 PM   #9
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I had the same thing happen to me on our last coach,but I don't think it was as bad as yours. I had some chunks that seemed like some kind of tank lining,but it is actually dried poo poo and toilet paper from misuse.
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:29 PM   #10
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I have a sewer elbow with a hose connection that you can use to clear a clog in the outlet of your tanks like this http://www.amazon.com/Valterra-F02-4...6ZRPAB0EBMJ75M
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Old 08-10-2014, 05:22 PM   #11
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JFXG, did the ice scrub a couple of times. I think it may have loosened the stuff im seeing.

Doggy Daddy, not sure if the camera would help. I know whats blocking the drain and i kn i w its coming from the inside tank wall as i get some with curved edges.

Waroland, wish i could use that elbiw but the distance from the dump opening to the opening in the floor of the utilities compartment prevent its use.

Thanks macantic, glad to see im not going crazy alone.

Dr4Film, I will try to find the product you suggested. suggested. Hope it works.
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:35 PM   #12
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I would try to use the product suggested or something similar that actually eats the organic material. what I would do is use enough product to be at an appropriate strength for filling the tank completely with fresh water and the chemical. I would then use the resort facilities for a solid week and let that stuff sit in there the whole time. Hopefully a week is enough time for it to eat the matter off the sides of the tank. Also filling it up to the brim will allow it to cover the entire inside of the tank.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:23 PM   #13
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Some of it could be urine scale or lime scale or similar.
You could also try starting with the tank empty and adding a few gallons of cheap white vinegar and then topping up with water and leaving for a couple of days.

There are commercial products as well, but they all seem to be some sort of acid. A dilute (say 5%) solution of Hydrochloric acid (from the building materials store) would also do it
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:56 AM   #14
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Friends of ours had a similar problem on their new-to-them boat. Their black tank was completely clogged up with sludge because the boat had been sitting, unused, for quite a long time... and no one had thought to empty the tank.

They bought a marine product called NoFlex Waste Digestor (Noflex Digestor) and the stuff was like a miracle! Cleared out all of the sludge and build up in their tank and got rid of the nasty smell in their hold.

Not sure if it would work for you... but they do say the product is safe on plastics, so it shouldn't harm the tank. I'd fill the tank up with water and pour a bunch of the NoFlex down the toilet and let it sit for a long time and do its thing. Should clear out ALL of the "gunk" left in your tank and leave it like brand new!

Best of luck to you!
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