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Author Topic: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario  (Read 751 times)

Boonieman

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Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« on: October 26, 2017, 03:33:57 PM »
We camped for a few days with friends last weekend and had a really great time, up until we stopped at the dump station. The black water tank wouldnít drain not even a drop. I have read what some people have gone thru to correct this and I have nightmares about it. We thought maybe the valve broke, not good since you canít even see it with all the underpinning and insulation. We try to be very careful about what goes in there, but on our previous camping trip we had other family members there using the facilities and have little control when they are in the bathroom. We noticed on that trip that it didnít seem like it took very long for the tank to drain, but we kinda shrugged it off. Bad mistake. This time nothing came out and I had to say it sure ended a great weekend on a sour note. My better half read a think to try, so on the way home we picked up a huge bag of ice and a huge bottle of Dawn dish detergent and she put all this down the toilet and added water from the fresh water tank. We drove home, about a forty-five minute drive, and parked the toy hauler in the pole barn. That was Sunday. I honestly thought it was a waste of time. I borrowed one of those portable honey pot wagons from a friend and tried draining it today. It came blasting out of there. What a relief!!!!  Iím sure this wonít work every time, but wanted to pass along our experience to others. I suspect we are very frugal with our flushes trying to conserve black water space. Thatís the only thing I can think of that would have caused it.
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

RedandSilver

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2017, 03:47:17 PM »
Thanks for the story.

Many people recommend starting with about 5 gallons of water after flushing the tank, as a base for liquid.

Indeed if there was very little liquid in the tank that might have been why nothing came out.
You wife added Ice and water so that might have been enough to make it flow.

Glad it worked out.

 
2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 04:20:34 PM »
The ice trick is for removing sludge from the tank walls and get the water level sensors working again, but I guess it did something else for you. Maybe just dislodged a wad of something blocking the drain? In any case, you lucked out.  You really do need to hold a brief toilet-training class for visitors, just like yacht owners have learned to do. 

People sometimes put utterly amazing things in toilets. I know one family that regularly dumps used kitty litter down the toilet, the clumping type litter to boot! They do it at home, so why not in the RV?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 04:22:41 PM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Boonieman

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 05:02:45 PM »
Why should teenagers worry? They donít have to deal with it! Lol! I think I will send them to the campground facilities in the future.
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

ArdraF

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2017, 05:14:57 PM »
You're lucky to have solved it so quickly!  Are you using a fast-dissolving toilet paper that is labeled "septic safe"?  If not, and if the kids were using a lot of it, then it might have clumped and clogged without enough water to start the dissolving process.  Also, part of the lesson is that nothing except toilet paper goes down the drain, especially sanitary products that never dissolve!  Not even Kleenex which also doesn't dissolve well.

And, if you have teenagers with long hair, make sure they know to clean up loose hair from sinks and the shower.  Hair clogs those drains and I clean ours out with very long tweezers on a regular basis.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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SeilerBird

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2017, 05:22:31 PM »
Did you leave the black valve closed until you were ready to dump or was it open the entire time? If it was open all the time then that is your problem.
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grashley

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2017, 06:18:49 PM »
These are the lessons I see here.

1. Fix this problem IMMEDIATELY!  Do not ignore it.  It will not go away by itself.

2.  By immediately adding something that might help - chunks of water (ice) and Dawn, then thoroughly mixing on the way home, then allowing it to sit and soak for a bit softened things up before it could dry into concrete.

3.  You could add a big sign in the little room explaining how to use the toilet, but, as you said, teenagers do not know how to follow instructions.

Thanks for Sharing!
Preacher Gordon
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HappyWanderer

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2017, 07:30:08 PM »
That's why it's important to use a clear elbow on the sewer hose. You quickly learn what it's supposed to look like when you dump, and you can immediately recognize when there's a problem.

After a weekend trip earlier this year, I noticed just liquid when dumping the black tank. There was a minor clog that I was able to clear quickly by flushing the tank. Without the clear elbow, I would have assumed everything was okay and ended up with a real mess next time out.
I don't have gray hair. I have wisdom highlights.

jackiemac

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2017, 11:13:26 PM »
Our grey tank was a bit sluggish. We bought a Snojoe power washer with a jetter and used this to clean tank. Lots of soap scum came out and we also cleaned black tank. We got a clear connector and put  hole in it to put hose through so it still dumps ok. We will use the pressure washer to wash trailer and truck and to clean tanks every few months or so. We are really happy with this solution.
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Joezeppy

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2017, 07:21:40 AM »
And, if you have teenagers with long hair, make sure they know to clean up loose hair from sinks and the shower.  Hair clogs those drains and I clean ours out with very long tweezers on a regular basis.


Amen! DW and my 2 daughters all have fairly long hair (my youngest's is currently down to her waist!). DW is a nurse and she still has a set of forceps from her nursing school days (still has a tag with her maiden name!). It has become an indispensable tool around the house with one of the primary jobs being drain cleaning!


And no, she does not use them for work any more.  :o
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2017, 08:41:35 AM »
Quote
That's why it's important to use a clear elbow on the sewer hose. You quickly learn what it's supposed to look like when you dump, and you can immediately recognize when there's a problem.

LOL! I think it was pretty much evident there was a problem when nothing at all came out!
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
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Punomatic

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2017, 08:45:18 AM »
Congrats on getting your clog fixed. However one manages that is well worth sharing. Here's an interesting article with video of some "scientific" research on the ice trick. Thought you might find it interesting.
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HappyWanderer

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2017, 12:16:46 PM »
LOL! I think it was pretty much evident there was a problem when nothing at all came out!

The OP said that something seemed wrong while dumping on the previous trip. Had he been able to see what actually did or didn't drain out of the tank, he could have dealt with the problem sooner.
I don't have gray hair. I have wisdom highlights.

Boonieman

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2017, 05:34:36 PM »
Thank you for the comments, and to respond:

1. Yes, we always keep the black water valve closed, even when we have full hookups, until we are ready to dump.
2. Yes, we have the clear 90 on the outlet connection.
3. On the previous trip, my better half mentioned she didnít think it took very long to drain the black tank, but I didnít personally see it. Believe it or not, Iím just the tow vehicle driver. She takes care of the dumping, setup, and all the related inside stuff housekeeping wise. I donít even know how to open the slides.  I tow it and take care of the mechanical issues that arise. No formal documents or signatures between us, thatís just how it all fell out. 😄
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

keymastr

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2017, 01:44:43 PM »
I have a 40 gallon black tank and start with it half full. Lots of water is what keeps it clean.  Dump once a week or when full. If not full when ready to leave I fill it before dumping.  If you are boondocking and conserving water fill it halfway when you fill fresh tank. If you have plenty of water in it everything will dissolve. Makes flushing it out very easy.

garyb1st

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2017, 01:54:32 PM »
LOL! I think it was pretty much evident there was a problem when nothing at all came out!

lol. 
Gary B1st

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rvannie23

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2017, 02:40:18 PM »
You are very lucky! I too have nightmares about black tank issues. Dawn works WONDERS in my opinion, better than anything else. I had  it clear out a (minor) clog and I didn't even move the camper around, just let it sit in the tank. Great stuff.
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BIG JOE

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2017, 07:00:16 PM »
You are very lucky! I too have nightmares about black tank issues. Dawn works WONDERS in my opinion, better than anything else. I had  it clear out a (minor) clog and I didn't even move the camper around, just let it sit in the tank. Great stuff.

X2 on the Dawn, and the driving home, or to your next stop.. before dumping the Black tank now & then. Dawn in the Grey tanks too. 
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Kitten in Training.

blw2

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2017, 03:49:18 PM »
I had a similar problem once..... seemed like a short dump, then the next time it was plugged.
kids and too much paper....and maybe a bit to do with short dumps.....sometimes it's hard when you're just going on weekend trips...the tank aint full but we're going to store it a while....not a straight drop, so can't see down, have to guess how full.  I usually just top it off with freshwater so I KNOW its full....but sometimes there's reason to hurry and guess....

tankfully (see what I did there? ;D) in my case it happened at home so I could putz with it without traffic backing up behind me....

This brings up a side track rat trail....
On occasion I use one of those clear fittings to verify things....don't do it always, don't want to see it!
Anyway, i have noticed that the full tank to dump thing doesn't really stand up to reality.....
   the theory being full tank will result in a rush flow that will carry with it all the stuff....
I've noticed that a lot of the paper and stuff will come out at the very end.... once the level is down to wash across the tank floor..
Then I can refill with clean water, dump again...and very little will come out till the end.
I've repeated this 3-4 tank fulls back to back, to the point where it looks like a full dump of clean clear water ....and more paper and sediment comes out at the very end.
So I don't really think the rush of flow really does all that much....

I think what happens is the water from the top and center of the tank is in fact rushing out....but it's bypassing all the sediment on the tank's floor.  Some of what I'm seeing could also be floating paper....but I think it's mostly sediment
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
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Boonieman

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Re: Successfully overcame dreaded plugged black water tank scenario
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2017, 05:33:16 PM »
BLW2,
   That is a great thought. I remember the last property I had, I had a double-wide installed in the middle of nowhere (the original boonies). I had torn out an old house trailer and was hooking up the new double wide to the existing septic system, since it was only a couple years old. The guys doing the install were worried because the elevation drop was too much between the new double wide and the existing septic tank. They said it should only be ďxĒ inches drop per foot or the liquid would outrun the solids and plug the line. I had no choice but to hook it up anyway, but your comments made me remember the comments those guys made to me.
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

 

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