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Old 07-18-2021, 12:47 AM   #1
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Question about emptying tanks

So, on my 5th wheel, the handles to open the gray and black tanks are obviously grey and black. However, there are labels over it that say the black one is the grey water, and the grey one is the black water. What do I trust? Lol. I need to dump soon and obviously it's my first time doing it. I'm aware this is probably a silly question. It's not the end of the world if I open the wrong one anyway. Just want to try to avoid it.
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Old 07-18-2021, 02:10 AM   #2
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Pull one and find out
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Old 07-18-2021, 03:19 AM   #3
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Pull one and find out
I don’t see another way to check. Hook up your hose and pull one of the valves slowly. If you get a clear connector and put it at either the tank side (straight one) or the dump side (can get a clear elbow) you’ll be able to watch what comes out. Ask at the counter at the RV parts store if this doesn’t make sense. They’ll get you the right piece. You’ll be able to tell when your tank is empty also or if you got something stuck somewhere. They’re handy to have in any case.
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Old 07-18-2021, 03:34 AM   #4
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Start draining one tank and watch your tank level indicators to see which is dropping.
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Old 07-18-2021, 04:16 AM   #5
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I don’t see another way to check. Hook up your hose and pull one of the valves slowly. If you get a clear connector and put it at either the tank side (straight one) or the dump side (can get a clear elbow) you’ll be able to watch what comes out. Ask at the counter at the RV parts store if this doesn’t make sense. They’ll get you the right piece. You’ll be able to tell when your tank is empty also or if you got something stuck somewhere. They’re handy to have in any case.
Clear Connector is the way to go for all the reasons dizcom stated. I have to use a double type hookup because of front and rear grey tanks and have one for both. Makes draining much easier.
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Old 07-18-2021, 04:41 AM   #6
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On ours, the pipe coming from the grey tank to the dump valve is smaller than the pipe coming from the black. There's enough difference that it's very obvious.

But like others have suggested, if you can get a clear adapter to use between the valve and the hose, just see what comes out. If the first one you pull is the grey you can close it to leave the remainder to flush the hose.
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Old 07-18-2021, 08:12 AM   #7
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If, after all your testing, you find that the labels are correct and the handles are not, just swap the handles. If the labels are wrong just remove them an go by the handle color.
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Old 07-18-2021, 11:30 AM   #8
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Color of handles means nothing

Open the Bath Water valve first.....Grey water to check sewer line/fittings for leaks then close

Open the Holding tank valve....Black Water (valve closest to the Large 3" Dump line)
After black tank is done dumping close valve and open Bath/Grey and dump/rinse line
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:53 AM   #9
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May just be the quality of my screen or the picture, but I just think one handle is dirty, or the other handle was replaced. Newer handle hasn't greyed (weathered) as much as the old handle.

I understand you need to dump soon, is that as in I have been camping for a week and need to dump soon, or I am getting ready to head out to go camping? If the latter, partially fill up the grey tank, nothing in the black tank, and see what happens when you pull the grey valve.

My piping is pretty exposed, so I can tell the grey and black lines pretty easily, with the black pipe larger than either of my grey pipes.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:20 AM   #10
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Can you see the pipe each valve is connected to? The black tank will always be a 3" line, whereas the grey water will probably be a 1-1/2" line. If they're both the same then add a clear elbow to see what's draining - the level gages may not respond quick enuf )the contacts won't dry quickly) to be of immediate use.
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:50 PM   #11
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Question about emptying tanks

I wouldn’t trust anything except what you verify yourself. You have a 27 y/o trailer with two different *types* and colors of T-handles. At least one is not original. Which one? The tank labeling is vague and incomplete. Black water and bath water. Where do the sinks drain? ??

dizcom and skip y have the right angle. Before you drain anything, check if you can see which tank has a 3 inch drain line and which has a 1-1/2 or 2 inch. The larger is the black, smaller is the gray, probably. Then put a clear fitting in the main drain line where you can observe it. Then you’ll know.
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Old 07-21-2021, 10:52 AM   #12
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Like others have said just get a clear elbow and open one of the valves and watch. You will know quickly if you have the black tank. The color of handles mean nothing. After determining which is which I would just leave the gray tank open all the time (In fact I do when hooked to a sewer). Plus I have never had any indicators (except fresh water) that I would trust for levels. I dump the black tank every Saturday (if you are living alone you could go 2 weeks but I do not wait for the indicators.) I also make sure to flush out the black tank well after each dump.
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