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Old 08-07-2015, 08:00 AM   #1
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Re-design Black Tank Flushing System

Background:

RV Black tank dumping problems and sensors not reading correct are among the most discussed topics on RV forums. Most RV'ers have or will experience the dreaded black tank will not drain; and or the sensor reading of black tank does not reflect reality. Owners of macerating toilets such as the Thetford Tecma toilet have seen the dreaded Red Light on their wall mounted controller, when they know their tank is empty.

After several years of living with the problem, I was resolute to improve my black tank draining and get better sensor readout. In my 2007 Newmar MADP 4528 chemicals, and my built-in tank quick flusher have been only partially successful. The front mounted Newmar tank monitor system has non-contact sensors mounted on the outside walls of tanks. Link: https://tankedge.com/accessories.html


The rear Thetford Tecma toilet in the Mountain Aire has had many episodes of the dreaded red light and will not normally flush, with an empty tank, without an override. The DW has not been happy with this and I do hear about it. Removed the peg board in front of the drive wheels, passenger side, and located the two rear toilet tank sensors.

They were secure and correctly mounted. All the wiring looked good. Thought about it awhile and the DW suggested to relocate the sensors, to see if that would get a different result.
Cleaned the new tank location with denatured alcohol, peeled the old double-sided sticky tape from sensors, moved the wiring and remounted the two sensors using 3-M brand outside rated, 10 lb double sided sticky tape. DW went inside to check the rear toilet and No Red Light! Eureka, the real culprit here was the build-up on the inside of the black tank wall effecting the rear toilet sensors and also the primary tank level sensors readout. The only real confusion was why did the Newmar installed internal tank flusher not help, even with frequent usage?

Located Newmar's built-in tank flusher, driver's side wet bay, behind the usual plumbing white panel. This is the opposite side of the coach from all the tank sensors on the passenger side. Why did Newmar mount it there? Looked up the tank flusher manufacture' s installation recommendations and the second line of the instructions said to locate opposite end from drain. Only reason to mount it on the drain end of the tank, I can think of, is that was just easy. Definition of Easy is " not difficult, not causing problems or difficulty, or not requiring much effort, work, or thought. Bad Newmar!


Knew I had to get a tank flusher near the sensor, passenger side, to attempt remove the black tank wall crud.


See drawing, look at the two reduced height black tank sections for frame members. This is an another design flaw, in my opinion, that totally rendered the built in tank flusher useless for most of the tank volume. There is no way the tank flusher can get through the two dropped sections at frame members to the opposite end of tank, where the sensor is. Again, Bad Newmar. I hope they have improved their 2007 design on later models, but I suspect they and many other Class A manufacture's use the same tank design. It would behoove RV owners to look at their black tank design. Enough gloom and doom, on to the Fix!


Removed the wet bay white plumbing panel, located the flush tank PEX piping, followed it from hose connection to vacuum breaker (anti-siphon device) in mid-coach bathroom cabinet and back to the built-in tank flusher. Cut the PEX pipe about 2-foot short of the flusher and ran new 1/2"PEX tubing to a new three ball valve manifold mounted on back side of existing white plumbing panel. Mounted the three ball valves with aluminum strap, secured from front of panel with self tapping screws, just like the water tank fill valve. Had new plastic labels engraved at local trophy shop, applied contact cement and carefully placed new Labels for valves.

Ran new 1/2" PEX tubing to existing drain side tank flusher and two new long runs above tanks to passenger side peg board area. The three new ball valves allow me to select which end of black to flush and to also flush the passenger side of the gray tank. I added the new gray tank flusher, so the grey tank sensors and tank could also get a rinsing.

Selected the Camco Tornado flusher for the two new flushing locations.

The rotating head with 10 jets appears to get better results than the fixed spray nozzle one that Newmar installed. I do have a word of caution here, check for proper rotation prior to installing in tank. I checked both with direct hose hoop-up with the DW holding the end of the hose. One did not rotate, one was great. Returned the defective one and the replacement worked great also. For some reason the DW would not again hold the replacement Tornado, at end of garden hose to check rotation, LOL.


First Test of New Flushing system: Hooked up the dedicated flushing hose to white plumbing panel connection, turned on water. Closed gray blade valve and pulled the black tank blade valve to do a dump. Once dump was done I turned on ball valve controlling the Tornado Black tank flusher at the sensor end of black tank. Observed the clear section in sewer hose. The results were things flowing, flowing, and flowing through that clear section for about 10 minutes. Then I closed that valve and opened the fixed nozzle flusher at the drain end of the black tank. Got some more out for a couple of minutes. Then repeated the process at the other end of the tank till it again ran clear, then drain end again. I had never extracted that much debris from the Black tank. The gray tank also had much more debris in it than I thought possible.


Have done four more complete flushes since I installed the New flushing system and front main tank sensor readout has been spot on as to tank levels. Thetford Tecma toilet wall mounted controller is green when tank is empty, goes to yellow with the tank 1/2 full. The yellow Tecma light agrees with the front tank monitoring system, 1/2 full black tank. The Black tank drains much quicker now and just sounds like a more effective drain process.


Highly recommend you install additional built-in tank flushers in your Black and Gray tanks, to correct sensor readings and insure that your black tank dumps quickly every time. Rear bath units with Thetford Tecma toilet will also benefit. Many dollars, IMHO, have been spent chasing perfectly good Tecma sensors and controls.



Best $245 dollars I have ever spent on my RV.


Questions?
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:19 AM   #2
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Re-design Black Tank Flushing System

Nice job and results.
The vacume break(s) for the 2 new flushers per code are where?
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwert66 View Post
Nice job and results.
The vacume break(s) for the 2 new flushers per code are where?
You missed this in the post , as I am sure you know, you only need one device........this is from the post:

Removed the wet bay white plumbing panel, located the flush tank PEX piping, followed it from hose connection to vacuum breaker (anti-siphon device) in mid-coach bathroom cabinet and back to the built-in tank flusher. Cut the PEX pipe about 2-foot short of the flusher and ran new 1/2"PEX tubing to a new three ball valve manifold mounted on back...

Regards,
Dan
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:16 AM   #4
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See attached picture for Vacuum Breaker. This does feed the three 1/2" ball valve manifold, from there the water goes to the three flush devices.

Attached picture so RV owners know what to look for. These vacuum breakers have been known to flood the bathroom.
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:17 AM   #5
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Remember, no cross connect with fresh water. Is there a something to stop sewage from going back into fresh water? Like the idea but?
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:35 AM   #6
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I am impressed with your workmanship but I'm not sure, at least in my case that it's all necessary.
When I first acquired my DS, the sensors did not work. After a little research I came across the Happy Campers Extreem product and used as directed. This corrected the sensor problem.
Since then, I have used the HC Regular product exclusively, with copious amounts of water and have not had an issue in five years. We use normal two ply tissue mostly from Costco.
First, I always make sure my tanks are near full before dumping,
Second, I always have a few gallons of liquid when traveling to slosh around with HC added.
I commend your rework but it's not something I would tackle. If it ain't broke, don't fix it is my motto.
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:11 PM   #7
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This my not work for everyone. It depends on your black tank design.The black tank design could be different on non bath & half models. See the drawing of our tank in previous post. This is a Newmar design for the bath & half model. It already came with an internal tank flusher but Newmar placed it on the drain side not on the other end that has the stick on sensors. With out a way to clean the buildup off the sides, the sensors for the back bathroom toilet Tecma By Thetford would get erratic readings. Their have been some posts about the problems with the Tecma By Thetford toilet the same we had and no one had an answer. They have spent a great amount of money thinking it was the toilet.Therefore after a thorough investigation I added a second internal tank flusher on the other end. After flushing out the black tank I turn on the second tank flusher I installed WOW the stuff that came out. I can even turn on both internal tanker flusher's. I have no smell coming out of the black tanks now. The grey tank sometimes smells and there is no way to really get a good flush so we installed an internal tank flusher and boy did we get a surprise of the small stuff that came out.
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Old 08-07-2015, 01:35 PM   #8
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Thanks for the clarification on vent.
Again great job of making it your own as most do once the pucker factor goes beyond the dealer/mfgr help.
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Old 08-07-2015, 01:42 PM   #9
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Good job.

I think they may have changed locations, if I recall, our black tank rinse is on the opposite side as yours. I also added a grey tank rinse, it does help clean out the grey tank.

I really like the manifold idea, if I ever rebuild the wet bay wall I'll copy that idea for sure.
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Old 08-07-2015, 03:00 PM   #10
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Wow, very elegant but way too complicated for me. I installed a second in tank sprayer on the top of my black tank near the cleanout end where the in tank sensors live. I used a quick disconnect to select from one to the other but just use the new one now. I can watch the light go from red to green in a few seconds now.

In addition to be absolutely sure my tank was getting clean I installed a deck inspection cover that is clear. I can look at the other end of the tank now if wanting to check or can actually wash easily with the removal of the cover. The access hole is a bit anal but I wanted to be sure things were not piling up.
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Old 08-07-2015, 03:17 PM   #11
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i see smart minds think alike
good job
I to removed my "flood prone" breaker that was under the bath room sink...yep it lived up to its name

i placed it in the wet bay area
plus moved a blank tank sprayer over to the other side to flush the area under the toilet drop. i like to think we get a spinning vortec of water in the tank once both flushers are going full speed
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