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Old 04-28-2012, 08:30 AM   #1
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Brand new first time motorhome owners here (spent our first night last night) on our first excursion. For the next two weeks we will be driving on freeways or small highways, spending one night at a time with or without hookups and traveling 200-300 miles per day.
My question... How full to leave our water tanks when traveling. I've read that it is best not to empty the black tank until it is at least 2/3 full is this true when driving daily like this? I read somewhere that someone recommended having empty black and grey tanks before driving... Should we empty each morning before we take off?? What about the fresh water tanks?... No doubt extra weight will affect gas mileage and braking, etc... The dealership sent us on our way with a full fresh water tank... We want some on the road but wonder if we should travel with less and refill some toward evening before we stop, when needed?
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cllecr View Post
Brand new first time motorhome owners here (spent our first night last night) on our first excursion. For the next two weeks we will be driving on freeways or small highways, spending one night at a time with or without hookups and traveling 200-300 miles per day.
My question... How full to leave our water tanks when traveling. I've read that it is best not to empty the black tank until it is at least 2/3 full is this true when driving daily like this? I read somewhere that someone recommended having empty black and grey tanks before driving... Should we empty each morning before we take off?? What about the fresh water tanks?... No doubt extra weight will affect gas mileage and braking, etc... The dealership sent us on our way with a full fresh water tank... We want some on the road but wonder if we should travel with less and refill some toward evening before we stop, when needed?
Great questions! Firstimer here as well and was wondering the same thing. Picking my vintage winnie up today and driving it home to begin the detailing and moving in process. I'm trying to learn all I can about RVing. I will read with interest what other experienced people have to say. Thanks for the post.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:48 AM   #3
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We do not adjust dumping schedules for travel days, except that if we are at a full hook up site we empty the grey tank before driving. If the black tank is not 2/3 full, at least, we do not empty it. Besides, travel helps to break up the contents as it sloshes around, keeping the black tank free draining. We try to keep the fresh water tank 2/3 full so water is available if we need it while traveling or if we end up at a destination with smelly water or decide to boondock.

The biggest effect on fuel mileage will be your travel speed. It is important that you know how heavy your unit is when fully loaded - get it weighed. If you are close to max weight you may have to dump the liquids but, if it were me, I would be dumping "stuff" to get the weight down. Enjoy your new rv.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:50 AM   #4
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It all depends...
Our first coach would stink to high heaven if we "travelled with poop" So we dumped every day. We used a LOT of water when flushing the loo to plan ahead for this. This rig doesn't have that problem, so we dump less often.

Showers and dishes will fill the gray tank in a hurry. If you use campground showers and conserve water, it can last quite a while

Fresh water is another story. I fill my tank with city water from home before leaving, and try to use campground water whenever possible but never ever fill my tank with their nasty water. I used to do that, top off my tank with campground water all the time, pollutes the whole system until you can flush and sanitize with bleach, some campground well water is pretty nasty.

And then there is CCC. My DP has lots, travelling with all 3 tanks full, plus 80 GL od diesel and full propane and stuff for 3-5 people, is no problem.

Other rigs might be overwieght travelling with all 3 tanks full. Water weighs what, 7 pounds a gallon? So all three full = half a ton of discardable weight.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:56 AM   #5
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We travel with the fresh water tank about one third to half full. Provides for needs but doesn't add as much weight.

Black tank fills up much more slowly than gray tank. For two people it would not be unusual to have your gray tank 75% full while the black tank is 20% full. When traveling I will not usually dump the tanks every night. It helps to let the road "mix it up" a little to get it as liquified as possible. Also, I want plenty of gray water in order to flush the hose and dump tube after dumping black tank. I usually go 2 or 3 days without dumping. When we get to our destination I go ahead and dump, then close the valves.

When hooked up to sewer dump in a campground, remember, do NOT leave your black or gray tank valves open. Let the tanks fill some before dumping. If the valves are constantly open the solids tend to "stack up" without water action in there and you end up with little or no gray water to help "flush".

Some people flush ice cubes into the black tank right before hitting the road to help dislodge solids. I have not done this yet.

Good luck. With these tips you should avoid a Robin Williams moment in the movie "RV". Oh, and remember this. When rinsing the black water tank do not wander off and forget what you are doing. When the black tank fills up the water will find a way out...........through the vents on your roof!

No personal experience here, but I have heard a story or two.

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Old 04-28-2012, 09:00 AM   #6
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We do not dump the black tank unless it is at least 2/3 full, and always have fresh water on board. Use the grey water to flush out the stinky slinky after dumping the black makes clean-up easier.
I have never noticed any change in milage whether full or empty, 7-8 mpg.
There are no set rules about doing so, just personal preference.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:01 AM   #7
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I'm not sure about all the tech. stuff, but I do know that the next time I pull in a rest stop with free dump site I'm using it! Wife and I had (our) first trip a couple weeks ago, Newbies. Ended up home with full black/gray tanks PEW and thats with deordorant in so in my book 1/3 1/2 2/3 its all going BYE-BYE. Have fun!!
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:13 AM   #8
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We travel 1500 miles to Fl each year in late winter/early spring. We usually take 4-5 days to get there and we always dry camp enroute, usually Pilot/Fj.

Always leave with empty grey tank, 1/2 to 2/3 fresh (we can always get more in the southern states, but rarely need to). We leave with several gals in the black tank, at least enough for for 2 inches on the bottom. This keeps the new solids floating and breaking down when traveling.

We can go 6 days easy dry camping and being a bit conservitive. Never have the need to dump enroute. All conservation goes out the window when we hit a CG
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:17 AM   #9
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Like most others here we never empty black tanks until 2/3 full and usually carry some fresh water on board for emergencies. Grey tank we'll usually empty just to cut down on the weight.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:42 AM   #10
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cllecr:

G'morning. Suggestions above look good. We've been full timers since 05 and when on the move (ie., not staying for extended period) we too empty our grey tank any time we have sewer hook-up available just before heading out for the days drive. We don't empty the black tank until it's 1/2 to 2/3rds full.....UNLESS....we're planning to head to some area or region where sewer dumping might be problematic (less available). As far as fresh water, we'll usually keep maybe 50% in the fresh water tank when heading out for the days drive kind of as a hedge against those times when we might not have hook ups for a nights stay.

You'll get the hang of it soon enough.

Good travels to ya!!

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Old 04-28-2012, 11:27 AM   #11
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Welcome to rving! I think issues have been covered already. I travel alone or with one other person and 3-6 dogs most of time and stay at Walmarts along way 99% of time till final destination. That said I want full water and empty tanks upon leaving, with chemicals and several gal of water in black tank. Even if I find water and dump along way I don't want to take time to dump and fill.
You will be surprised how little water you need while traveling. Learn how to limit use- quick showering - I use combo shampoo $ cond if necessary to wash hair/ one rinse instead of 2- paper plates along way, etc. I can travel 6 days easy without more water if just me, 4 if 2.
There are places with a dump - fairgrounds in towns, some rest areas on highways ESP at welcome centers.
Make sure you have a water filter when you do fill up and always let water run and see what it looks like before you put it in your tank. I have seen it come out dirty if you get a site that hadn't been used in awhile
Have fun!
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:55 PM   #12
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If you dump when the tank is only 1/3 full eventually you will have a brown pyramid of dried solids hence dumping when closer to full. The big "whish" suck more of the solids out.

I use campground water in my tank and system. Never had an problems in over 30 years. If you hook up to their water you might as well fill the tank. Everything but the tank will be exposed to he campground water as all the same plumbing on any rig I have seen.

Don't know what kind of campgrounds or rv parks you intend to visit but MANY limit the number of dogs, usually two. Size and breed can be critical too.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by cllecr View Post
Brand new first time motorhome owners here (spent our first night last night) on our first excursion. For the next two weeks we will be driving on freeways or small highways, spending one night at a time with or without hookups and traveling 200-300 miles per day.
My question... How full to leave our water tanks when traveling. I've read that it is best not to empty the black tank until it is at least 2/3 full is this true when driving daily like this? I read somewhere that someone recommended having empty black and grey tanks before driving... Should we empty each morning before we take off?? What about the fresh water tanks?... No doubt extra weight will affect gas mileage and braking, etc... The dealership sent us on our way with a full fresh water tank... We want some on the road but wonder if we should travel with less and refill some toward evening before we stop, when needed?
We dump and flush the black at most every stop. When dry-camping, we can get at least 6 days in the black. As to grey water, we dump after 3-4 days. Ours is equipped with a rotary spray inside the tank. In 8 years we have never had a problem.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:29 AM   #14
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Rich or poor, new or old are we not all equal at the dump station?

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