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Old 03-31-2010, 09:46 AM   #1
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Question Grey Tank Question

I apologize in advance if this is already posted somewhere but I've searched for a few days now and can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for. I'm hoping someone can help me figure it out.

Background info:
I have a 77 Argosy rear bathroom/shower set up. I have no fresh/grey/black water gauges. I've never used the grey water system in my trailer (or the freshwater for that matter). I did winterize everything last fall. When I was testing out the valves for the grey and black tanks last year the grey tank pull came off in my hand with the attached rod. I had assumed that the valve was stuck in the open position when it broke and that it would just drain into the black tank but now I'm beginning to wonder. When I look into the shower I can see liquid (winterizer), in the trap I assume. Is there a way to tell how full the tank is without filling it up? I don't want to do that without being able to work the valve. I've never noticed liquid in the shower drain before but I've never used it either. I've never put anything other than winterizer in the grey tank so there shouldn't be much of anything there. I would just like to be sure. My blackwater valve works just fine and I haven't had any problems (knock wood) on that end.

Current situation:

I'm taking my 3 nieces on a road trip and the use of the grey tank would make them more comfortable on the trip.

So I am thinking that if I have to I can pump the grey water into the black tank with some sort of siphon if it's stuck shut and I can't fix it in time but I'm looking for advice on how to tell if the valve is open or shut without having to remove the access panel to see what's up (apparently someone has been in there before since there's a patch under the trailer there)

I do plan on replacing both the grey and black valves in the near future but I wasn't planning on doing it right now. Just looking to get by for the 10 or so days I need to.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thank you in advance,
2Alaska
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Old 03-31-2010, 10:20 AM   #2
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What you are seeing in the shower is the antifreeze that is in the shower trap, which you should see in the traps of both sinks also. No easy way to see how much is in the grey water tank that I know of. To see if the grey water valve is open, un cork the main sewer drain line and run some water in one of the sinks or shower and if it's open it will run out the main sewer drain.
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Alaska View Post
I had assumed that the valve was stuck in the open position when it broke and that it would just drain into the black tank but now I'm beginning to wonder.

With the valve open on your gray tank, it will drain directly into the main drain outlet, not into the black tank.

So I am thinking that if I have to I can pump the grey water into the black tank with some sort of siphon if it's stuck shut and I can't fix it in time but I'm looking for advice on how to tell if the valve is open or shut without having to remove the access panel to see what's up (apparently someone has been in there before since there's a patch under the trailer there)


Access to the gray tank in order to pump out the contents may be difficult.


I do plan on replacing both the grey and black valves in the near future but I wasn't planning on doing it right now. Just looking to get by for the 10 or so days I need to.
Sounds like your gray valve has had it. You may need to replace it.
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:28 AM   #4
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Thanks Ventport!
I was completely over thinking it. I did just what you said and it did drain out. So at least it is stuck open like I thought. I'll be replacing the valve shortly. I was under the impression that the grey water went into the black tank as it drained but that is not the case. I just didn't want anything backing up into the camper. That would have made for a very bad trip! Thanks for helping me out!
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:17 PM   #5
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If you have sewer hook-up where you are going, you can treat your situation like a trailer which has no gray tank, like our '65 Caravel. Hook up to the sewer, your gray water will always drain. When your black tank gets nearly full, dump it. Some may back into your gray tank, maybe not, depending on how things are set up. In any event, after dumping your black, close the black valve, and run several gallons of water into your gray tank to wash things out.

It would still be best to change the valve on your gray tank.
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:29 PM   #6
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You can also put a cap on the end of your main sewer drain where the hose hooks up to, and the water will back up and fill your grey water tank since the valve is stuck open. Just remember when you take the cap off the water will rush out the second the cap is off. But it's just sink and shower water so no big deal.
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:51 PM   #7
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Thanks Jim and Ventport,

I do plan on replacing the valve. I just found an external valve at Camping World that I'm going to give a try for this trip. Twist-on Valve - Item - Camping World Now that I know that it's open. I have the adaptor already so I'm hoping it will be an easy solution for now. I've had a slow drip from the cover anyhow (frowned upon at some campgrounds so this will fix the problem long enough for me to take this trip and then fix it right when I have a bit more time.
I really appreciate the help.
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