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Old 07-10-2021, 10:14 AM   #1
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Gray Tank Mystery

While dumping this morning our black tank drained as usual but the gray tank was just a slow stream instead of the usual full blast. We had two showers and a few dishes washings since the last gray tank dump and the reading on the control panel shows 2/3 full. The kitchen sink and shower dump into the gray tank. I’m not sure if the bathroom sink dumps into the gray or black. Each of the drains have strainers so I can’t think of anything of any size getting into the gray tank. We drove home 70 miles and maybe that loosened up whatever is holding back the gray tank. We have a sewer clean out in our front yard, going to try again over the weekend. Any suggestions?
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Old 07-10-2021, 10:24 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickemo View Post
While dumping this morning our black tank drained as usual but the gray tank was just a slow stream instead of the usual full blast. We had two showers and a few dishes washings since the last gray tank dump and the reading on the control panel shows 2/3 full. The kitchen sink and shower dump into the gray tank. I’m not sure if the bathroom sink dumps into the gray or black. Each of the drains have strainers so I can’t think of anything of any size getting into the gray tank. We drove home 70 miles and maybe that loosened up whatever is holding back the gray tank. We have a sewer clean out in our front yard, going to try again over the weekend. Any suggestions?
Couple of ideas.


First, being a relatively new coach, a remnant of the drilling for the pipe inlets into the tank could have fallen in and worked its way to the drain opening. This would not be the first time this may have happened. You could attach a drain connection that allows for a hose to be attached. Then, shoot a strong stream of water back into the tank from the drain outlet side. If that frees up the flow, something was likely blocking the outlet from inside the tank. Of course, you could get a plumber to scope the drain with a camera.

Second, there may be a blockage of the tank vent pipe, preventing air from easily entering the tank as it is drained. Given how the tank also has air admittance valves in the plumbing, air should be able to vent the tank, but it could be slower.

It will be interesting to see how the tank drains after you reach home. Please keep us posted.
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Old 07-10-2021, 10:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickemo View Post
While dumping this morning our black tank drained as usual but the gray tank was just a slow stream instead of the usual full blast. We had two showers and a few dishes washings since the last gray tank dump and the reading on the control panel shows 2/3 full. The kitchen sink and shower dump into the gray tank. I’m not sure if the bathroom sink dumps into the gray or black. Each of the drains have strainers so I can’t think of anything of any size getting into the gray tank. We drove home 70 miles and maybe that loosened up whatever is holding back the gray tank. We have a sewer clean out in our front yard, going to try again over the weekend. Any suggestions?
Get one of these:
https://www.campingworld.com/flush-k...er-drain-flush

It will allow you to back flush and maybe knock what ever is causing the blockage out, if there is anything blocking it. Any cause can be the valve is not opening all the way.
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Old 07-10-2021, 11:22 AM   #4
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Could be a simple air lock.
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Old 07-10-2021, 11:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by hamm2018 View Post
Get one of these:
https://www.campingworld.com/flush-k...er-drain-flush

It will allow you to back flush and maybe knock what ever is causing the blockage out, if there is anything blocking it. Any cause can be the valve is not opening all the way.
I question how effective the backflush would be, since the water inlet is not lined up to shoot water straight into the dump pipe. We have a 90-degree clear fitting with the flush inlet that lets me shoot water straight into the pipe!

https://www.amazon.com/Valterra-Trai...%2C1164&sr=8-8
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Old 07-11-2021, 08:00 AM   #6
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Sounds like the valve didn't open all the way or something is blocking it. You may need to run a plumbers snake up the pipe.
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Old 07-11-2021, 12:44 PM   #7
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I know couple of showers and dish washings wouldn't come close to 2/3 a tank in mine, is that normal for yours? For that much water it would probably whoosh out for a few seconds, but it would turn to a dribble quickly.

I'd fill a 5 gallon bucket a few times, dump it down the shower and see what the gauge reads compared to the capacity of the tank, drain it and see how it flows.
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Old 07-11-2021, 12:49 PM   #8
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I flushed my grey tank a few months ago just because I had my external macerator pump on it and it has flush capability. I was glad I did because I got a lot of weird flakey black stuff that looked like decaying leaves (probably algae) and what looked like TP (maybe previous owner had both valves open while hooked up?). Anyway I was glad I did - all that nastiness is gone and it did look like the kind of stuff that could eventually cause a plugged drain.
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Old 07-11-2021, 01:13 PM   #9
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Often when the mfg drilled out the tank to install the vent or drain line, they just let the round plug drop into the tank. Eventually it works it way to outlet, clogging it as you describe.

If that is the case, the only way is to remove the drain valve.
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljwt330 View Post
Couple of ideas.


First, being a relatively new coach, a remnant of the drilling for the pipe inlets into the tank could have fallen in and worked its way to the drain opening. This would not be the first time this may have happened. You could attach a drain connection that allows for a hose to be attached. Then, shoot a strong stream of water back into the tank from the drain outlet side. If that frees up the flow, something was likely blocking the outlet from inside the tank. Of course, you could get a plumber to scope the drain with a camera.

Second, there may be a blockage of the tank vent pipe, preventing air from easily entering the tank as it is drained. Given how the tank also has air admittance valves in the plumbing, air should be able to vent the tank, but it could be slower.

It will be interesting to see how the tank drains after you reach home. Please keep us posted.
Finally found time to work on this gray tank issue. Hooked up the sewer hose to our sewer clean out at home, pulled the gray tank gate and everything came out like usual. We have a clear connection on the end of the sewer hose and didn’t notice anything coming out that might have caused the blockage. We did purchase the Camco Flush Out attachment for the future. Thanks to all for your advice.
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Old 07-19-2021, 01:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by rickemo View Post
Finally found time to work on this gray tank issue. Hooked up the sewer hose to our sewer clean out at home, pulled the gray tank gate and everything came out like usual. We have a clear connection on the end of the sewer hose and didn’t notice anything coming out that might have caused the blockage. We did purchase the Camco Flush Out attachment for the future. Thanks to all for your advice.
Good news and thanks for the update.

What you described when you got home is consistent with the remnant from the hole falling into the tank. I suspected all would be well after you churned things up in the tank during the travel.

The easy draining eliminated the partially opening valve and vent blockage as causes. That leaves the remnant, literally, as the on-going problem. Until you actually can remove it, as I suspect it was the cause, just be prepared to back flush should it happen again. As usual, now that you are prepared, it will probably never happen again.
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