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Old 01-16-2008, 06:56 PM   #1
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New to camping and 'black water' tanks

We bought our 2002 19' Bambi in October and have yet to take it out. I want to be fully informed about as much as possible before we go out. Even then we're sure to make a boo-boo or two (or three, or four, or...).

A friend of mine said not to use the loo for number two. Sounds reasonable enough only it got me wondering. Conventional wisdom says the black tank should be half full before dumping it. With just two of us camping, that could take awhile. Could we put water in it to bring it up to being half full? Would that be sufficient for draining the tank?
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:04 PM   #2
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Black tank etiquette

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muddy Waters
We bought our 2002 19' Bambi in October and have yet to take it out. I want to be fully informed about as much as possible before we go out. Even then we're sure to make a boo-boo or two (or three, or four, or...).

A friend of mine said not to use the loo for number two. Sounds reasonable enough only it got me wondering. Conventional wisdom says the black tank should be half full before dumping it. With just two of us camping, that could take awhile. Could we put water in it to bring it up to being half full? Would that be sufficient for draining the tank?
Great name! Hope you enjoy his music too!!!!

Anyway, I'm afraid that your friend is passing along another 'old wives' tale (sorry girls ) about the black tank. Why do you think that Airstream included one with your trailer? To begin, after you dump your black tank and rinse it thoroughly, you should add a gallon or 2 of fresh water, then add a tank deoderizer/enzyme to it. USE IT, THAT'S WHAT YOU HAVE IT FOR!!!!!!!

When it's at least 3/4 full, dump it, rinse and repeat the above process. You don't dump it with less than 3/4 load because the extra liquids in the tank help to wash down any solids that are there.

NEVER LEAVE THE BLACK TANK VALVE OPEN!!!!!!!!! This will drain all of the liquids from the tank and leave the solids in the tank.....resulting in a condition commonly referred to as 'the black hills'.

Any Questions?
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muddy Waters
We bought our 2002 19' Bambi in October and have yet to take it out. I want to be fully informed about as much as possible before we go out. Even then we're sure to make a boo-boo or two (or three, or four, or...).

A friend of mine said not to use the loo for number two. Sounds reasonable enough only it got me wondering. Conventional wisdom says the black tank should be half full before dumping it. With just two of us camping, that could take awhile. Could we put water in it to bring it up to being half full? Would that be sufficient for draining the tank?
I flush the black tank when it's at least 3/4 full. If it's not then I'll just flush until it is.

There is no reason NOT to do #2 in your loo. If you start with 4 or 5 gallons of water in your black tank, the solids will be suspended and/or break apart much better and using the 3/4 full rule will provide enough volume to move the solids out.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:38 PM   #4
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We usually don't make it to 3/4 full in the black water tank since it's just the 2 of us...but we don't want to haul that around with us either, so we dump when we leave the park (assuming there's a dump station or hook-up, of course!)...BUT you do need to make sure it's flushed out well...we have a built-in sprayer thing that we use to fill and flush the tank once we have done the initial dump...just to make sure it's as cleaned out as possible. If you don't have a built-in sprayer/flush system, then you can just add fresh water to the tank by filling the toilet bowl and flushing repeatedly. Then dump it again.

And don't be afraid to use the toidy for #2...that's what it's there for! It's perfectly OK to do.

The whole black tank thing is probably the most worried-over aspect of RVing for those new to it, but frankly, once you've done it a couple of times the mystery and fear is over...it's not that bad.

Enjoy your new Bambi! Time to get it out on the road!

We'll see you there!
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:15 PM   #5
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And dump your black tank first, then the grey tank. Your grey water will "clean" out your slinky.
Do a search on this subject, there are more posts then you will want to read. Which means that you are not alone, this is a common question.
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:39 PM   #6
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Thought I would wade into this discussion. Being the proud owner of a 25 SS, putting in 4-5 gallons of water in the black tank means that I have now used almost a third of its capacity (18 gals). We generally only put a couple of flushes to start plus enzyme. We always make sure it is at least 3/4 full before we flush, and if it isn't top it up with water.
We have had no problems in the 5 years that we have owned the trailer.

Happy flushing
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:02 PM   #7
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Muddy Waters, welcome aboard! My fellow members have got it right for you on using your black tank. You didn't pay for it to just sit there nice and clean ALL the time. One of the many, many great joys in camping with your AS is that you get to sleep in your own bed and have your own privey. Use it well, keep it clean and all will be right with the world!
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Old 03-22-2008, 02:22 AM   #8
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Sorry this post is a bit late but I've had the winter blues and now that the snow is melting...it's time to get revved about 'streamin again.

On a side note..do any of your electronic black water gauges actually work? I have an '05 Safari and have yet to see it give accurate readings. It usually flashes red indicating it's 'full'. Just a thought...
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Old 03-22-2008, 05:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MG911
Sorry this post is a bit late but I've had the winter blues and now that the snow is melting...it's time to get revved about 'streamin again.

On a side note..do any of your electronic black water gauges actually work? I have an '05 Safari and have yet to see it give accurate readings. It usually flashes red indicating it's 'full'. Just a thought...
You just might have a malfunctioning gauge there, MG. First, I'd try "scouring" the b/w tank with a 25 lb. bag of ice cubes, 3 or 4 gallons of water and a nice little trip through the neighborhood practicing turns without cutting over curbs -- just agitate that puppy to a fare-thee-well! Then dump and repeat on the way home. See if that doesn't clean off the crud on the sending unit (and the rest of the tank's walls, too).

If no luck, then as my 8 y.o. grandson is so fond of saying, "Sucks to be you." What with the warranty runout and all. Either make do, make a story stick out of a wooden dowel kept for the purpose, or pay to have it replaced.

As in all Airstream endeavors -- good luck!
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muddy Waters
...
A friend of mine said not to use the loo for number two. Sounds reasonable enough only it got me wondering. Conventional wisdom says the black tank should be half full before dumping it. With just two of us camping, that could take awhile. Could we put water in it to bring it up to being half full? Would that be sufficient for draining the tank?
You certainly CAN use it anyway you want (and I do personally know one or two Airstreamers who "don't do the two"), but it was designed to be used like a regular bathroom.
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:32 AM   #11
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An interesting short read on things Sewerish...

Macerators and Other Sewage Stuff by phred

We use the methods and products the author recommends and we have had (knock on wood) zero problems in 12 months of camping over the last two years.

mike
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:39 AM   #12
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The Black Water Tank is a miracle (About the ice)

Hi All,

Frankly I am still amazed that the ancient Romans invented plumbing in the first place. Thank God since it created an entire industry.

My Black Water gauge seemed squirrelly and I did the ICE in the pooper drive around thing over bumps and dump at the rest stop on I 5 thing. It worked great.

John
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:07 AM   #13
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Ya, I've heard about the ice trick..will have to give it a try this time. The Safari I have supposedly has a good rinse system but it hasn't been enough to clear the sensor of any debris (aka poop). Either that, or it's a faulty sensor. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:22 AM   #14
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Detergent

A SMALL amount of dishwashing detergent in addition to the ice cubes will also work wonders on the sensors.

Oh yes, DO make sure your grand nephew doesn't flush three hot wheels down the toilet. (Don't ask). I'm sure in a couple of years it will be the heads of decapitated Barbie Dolls.

I've lent my Airstreams to relatives and friends who aren't into the RV scene on more than one occasion. One does have to be quite SPECIFIC about what does NOT go down a black tank. The best explanation without being too graphic is "if it wasn't created within your body, or it doesn't come off of that toilet paper roll, it doesn't get flushed."

I do have one in-law who is irritatingly dense who insisted that flushing certain feminine hygiene products would be OK, because the box said so. I explained it nicely, but the cow still flushed everything. Thank goodness I had an old slinky, which I threw away after I'd gotten the tank EMPTY. That was a real treat involving running the curbside wheels up on four inches of boards to get an incline sufficient to move the products.) When she hinted that they'd be coming to visit this weekend, I told them they'd need to get a hotel - and told them exactly why.

If you have guests, do make sure there is a small lidded waste basket with plenty disposable liners available.

Paula
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