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Old 07-26-2019, 04:50 AM   #1
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Is Black Tank Cleaning Method GEO a No-Go on 1966 Caravel

Good morning. I am hoping someone is out there who can lend some advice. I recently bought a 1966 Airstream Caravel '17 [yay!] I am hoping to take her on a maiden voyage this weekend. I want to clean out the black tank and was planning to deploy the "GEO method" which is written about extensively in other forums. However, I don't see how it will work on this model because the gray water just runs out - in other words, all the Calgon and Dawn would end up going into the (blue) portable gray tank, completely bypassing the place I was hoping to cleanse. Is there an alternative method I can use? This trailer sat, covered, for 8 years, and so I want to be sure that I get it purged so that I don't experience an unanticipated "adventure".

Apologies if this has been covered but my broad search for blank tanks in this forum did not yield any threads. Thanks!
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Old 07-26-2019, 05:29 AM   #2
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As long as the dump valve doesn't leak, and when you look into the tank it doesn't look like Mount Poopmore, go camping and enjoy your newsed Airstream. It's not like you're going to be drinking out of the black tank.
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Old 07-26-2019, 05:52 AM   #3
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Our '63 Safari black tank worked fine for 18 Seasons. One of the few things that needed nothing but routine flushing. Did replace the valve when we bought it.

Bob
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:00 AM   #4
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Thank you Robert. I think it is the "routine flushing" concept I am struggling to understand. If you pour water in the bowl, it just goes straight into the gray tank. I surely do not want urine in there, and the solids won't dump if they are separated from the liquids. Dump valve is fine. But is there something else I need to be doing? I surely do not want anyone to use the toilet until I get this "sorted"...thanks!
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:27 AM   #5
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How are you separaring urine from solids,,,they both go in the black tank? Water in the toilet bowl goes into the black tank. The geo method is for the toilet, hence the black tank.
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:30 AM   #6
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There is no gray waste water tank in your trailer (if it is original), the blue portable tank acts as the gray.

Solids and liquids that go into the toilet bowl go directly into the black tank. If there is buildup, you should be able to look through the toilet bowl into the black tank and see it when the black tank is emptied.

Routine flushing is when you open the valve to dump the waste out of the black tank then additionally pour water into/through the toilet to remove/rinse away residue from the black tank and pipes beyond.

The Geo method is enhancing the cleaning action of routine flushing. The water softener/soap/bleach stays in the tank as you add poop/urine. This combination of cleaners loosens old dry/hardened stuff as you add new stuff. During the next routine dump/flushing hopefully some of the old stuff gets washed away.

I've been using the Geo method for more than a decade. It works!

ps:
I do not use the bleach every time in the Geo method. Soap and water softener without the bleach works fine. I see no reason to try to sterilize the black tank, then add contamination immediately afterward. I think too much bleach does harm to the rubber seals in the dump valve.

ps2:
When opening the valve from the black tank it should be dumping into a dump station or sewer pipe. I never dump the black tank into the portable tank.
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:43 AM   #7
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Then, I must have a real problem because I took a 2.5 gal bucket of water, put it into the bowl [to be sure there were no leaks] and it went straight into the gray tank. Is there a lever or something I should be moving to redirect the "flow" [which at this horrible moment, is also the name of my trailer..."Flo[w]" - but it had an Airstream flowing down the highway kind of intent, not the kind we are presently discussing...]
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:50 AM   #8
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yes, there should be a valve somewhere. I do not know the location in your specific trailer.
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Old 07-26-2019, 09:09 AM   #9
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You do not have a gray tank. Do you mean toilet bowl or sink?
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Old 07-26-2019, 10:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakemaiden View Post
Thank you Robert. I think it is the "routine flushing" concept I am struggling to understand. If you pour water in the bowl, it just goes straight into the gray tank. I surely do not want urine in there, and the solids won't dump if they are separated from the liquids. Dump valve is fine. But is there something else I need to be doing? I surely do not want anyone to use the toilet until I get this "sorted"...thanks!
As others have noted above...if your unit is stock,(with one tank), that tank is black, with a valve to dump.
Our grey water went into a large plastic dish pan with holes in the bottom, thru a couple layers of cheesecloth that could be thrown out, the entire thing sitting on the ground in a 'honey hole'.

Boy we are old... 😂

Bob
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:37 AM   #11
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It sounds like the valve for the black tank is open if water poured into the toilet immediately goes into your blue tank. Check the handle you (should) find inside the compartment between the rear bumper and the back of the trailer. That handle should be pushed in almost to the back of the trailer. The black tank in a Caravel is small enough that you can see the outlet in the bottom if you hold the toilet valve open. If you put a light on the ground under the outlet pointing up into the outlet, you should be able to see light when the toilet valve is open if the dump valve is open. No light if the dump valve is closed. I assume your Caravel is much like mine in that the dump opening beneath the trailer is basically straight down from the black tank and ends slightly below the metal arch on the frame next to the dump opening.
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:44 AM   #12
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Oh, yeah. One method to clean the black tank is to put about 3 - 4 pounds of ice in the tank with a little water and the dump valve closed. Tow the trailer around a bit right after putting the ice in then dump the tank using the large dump hose. The ice scours the tank for you.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:17 PM   #13
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This is a helpful tip. I finally got the black tank valve to close by pushing it in and then turning the T valve to the right...it seemed to lock simehow. At any rate, it's been holding soapy water for about 6 hours.

And then the water pump sprung a leak when I tried to drain the front tank...with the help of a neighbor got the crossover valve repaired, only to discover that the water pump filter is leaking. I feel like I am in an Airstream version of Whack-a-mo.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:20 PM   #14
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Yup. Normal. Find and fix one thing, and another throws a fit to get your attention. Itís part of Murphyís Law, not just Airstreams.
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