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Old 04-20-2016, 06:46 PM   #1
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Newbie questions

Hi everyone,

We picked up our 2016 27FB Flying Cloud a few weeks ago and already have a few short trips completed. We've had a lot to learn, and still do, but overall the experience has been great. With the information I picked up reading the forums before we got it and with help from good neighbors at campgrounds we did alright. I still have many questions but I'll start with the most pressing two:

Question 1: Why does flushing of the black tank take sooo long? And should I be aiming for 100% clear water at the end of it?

This is what happened both times when I did it: The blank tank was less than 50% full at the end of the trip. I filled it up with water to almost 90%. Had the gray tank filled also to 90%. Dumped the black water first, opened up the gray water after. Then connected the special for flushing only hose to the flush inlet. Let the black tank valve open and let the water run for a few minutes. But only when I turned off the water, and the outflow slowed down, the amount of solids coming out started to increase. So what I ended up doing is, closing the back water tank valve, running the flush hose for about 5 minutes until the black tank was about 40-50% full, then turn off the water and open the valve. Then stuff comes out. Then repeat, and repeat and repeat. It seems I was doing this for an hour, and every time there still stuff coming out, albeit less and less. I had to wrap it up and leave as we were going to be late for out next destination. And no, nobody was waiting behind me at the dump station, I did it at the campsite before we left.

So what am I doing wrong?

Question 2: What should be done with the fresh water tank in order to make it safe of showering / washing dishes, etc? We've never used it before, and it's been about 20% full for a few weeks now (a couple of weeks in Florida where it got kind of hot) and now up in Michigan it's been stored for a few more weeks.

We are now about to go to a campground that doesn't have water hookup, so we'll be using the fresh water tank for the first time.
Something's telling me I shouldn't just dump it and refill. Should I clean it? And after I clean it and fill it with fresh water, should I add any additives to keep it fresh for a few days? We won't be using it for drinking or cooking.

Thanks so much for advice!
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Old 04-20-2016, 07:07 PM   #2
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Not sure about question 1. If you just picked it up - and pardon me for being indelicate - how can you possibly have "contributed" so much to the black tank? 😳

One trick I learned in the forums - before emptying the black tank, be sure it's 100% full as judged by water coming up in to the toilet from the pipe below. Your gauges are probably the SeeLevel (mine are the MicroPulse which are notoriously bad) so you're probably good, but it may not have been calibrated properly at the factory. Be sure your gray is 100% full too as in water just starting to stand in the shower.

Then - when you dump the black - let that run longer than you think to drain it. You want all that water to flush it out and keep draining the sludge for a few minutes - maybe 5 minutes after you think it's done. Now, lift the stinky slinky near the tank end up about a foot and open the grey dump valve for about 10 seconds - this is going to send several gallons of gray water back through the black valve and loosen up anything residual at the bottom of the tank. Close the grey valve and lower the slinky. This will continue clearing the black tank. You can probably repeat that procedure again for 2 "back flushes ". By then you've probably used about half the grey water and now you open the grey for the last time and let it complete draining. Close the black valve, let the grey finish, then close the great valve.

Now go back in the trailer and add about 5 gallons of water to the black tank by flushing the toilet and be sure you have some water or treatment in all the sink and shower traps. You don't want it to sit dry until your next trip. If you have been, this could explain why you've got some build up.

As to question 2 - check your user manual for the section on "sanitizing fresh water tank". If you have a 40 or so gallon tank, you're probably looking at about 4-5 oz of bleach then fill the FW tank full. Let it sit the prescribed amount of time and then run it through every faucet both hot and cold (including sink sprayer and outdoor shower if you have it). You should be able to smell a hint of bleach. Then you're all set. Easy as pie!

Enjoy and happy camping!!
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Old 04-20-2016, 07:24 PM   #3
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Simple solution! Dump the full black tank, let it drain completely, change hose to flush/wash inlet & leave valve open & flush/clean black for 4 or 5 minutes. Now close Black valve & open Gray valve to drain & clean sewer hose.
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Old 04-20-2016, 07:58 PM   #4
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Building a Cave Stalagmite in your Black Tank.

Many Off the Grid Boondockers have a different process dealing with Black Water operations and would be contrary to most who frequent RV Parks.

My suggestion is to have fresh water added with a five gallon bucket dumped down the open flapped stool, into the Black Water tank, before using it on your trip. Add the chemicals used to digest and break down what goes 'down the hatch'. Otherwise you operating a 'Dry Forest Service Pit Toilet' and a Stalagmite of feces and toilet paper growing towards the flap to form a Cavern Column, if you are not paying attention.

There is a Toilet Paper discussion going on right now which may interest you. It does not interest us, as we want to avoid these individual preferences of trailer issues.

Your trailer flush might have a few ounces of water...not 1.5 gallons a flush like at home. Think of your Black Water Tank as a small Septic Tank on wheels. Read about the upkeep of a Septic Tank and you will be teaching others, shortly.

Fresh Water Tank:

Always DRAIN BEFORE storing the trailer for any period of time. You will create mildew issues and then get caught up in the Chlorine solutions that make the water non drinkable for some time. Drain tank and all water lines. We drain the water tank and faucets left open (WATER PUMP OFF) on the way home. The Shake and Bake technique. (I have mentioned this before on the Forum, but is a bit tedious to rewrite.)

How do you know if you have mildew in the System? Oh... you will know immediately!

When new, you want to fill it 50% and pull the trailer letting the fresh water tank slosh back and forth from traveling. Whatever residue or film in the interior of the fresh water tank... is really foul tasting! When you can, dump the fresh water by opening the valve between the axles, as well as the blue and red water lines. Take the 'city water' connection on the exterior, close the red and blue drain valves between the axles, and go to each faucet now turned off, hot and cold, and alternate them as well to clean the water lines. Once you do a good job, it is done forever. This also removes anything that might have found its way into the water lines during construction. Dump the grey water tank as now it is mostly tap water.

Somewhere I go through a Winterizing process when you put the trailer into storage. It is on the Forum and might be found. To avoid mildew in the water tank and water lines it is also somewhere on the Forum.

You are making a good start, by asking questions. We all started not knowing anything about a trailer. You will develop your own techniques and each individual will have a way to resolve these issues from experience.
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Old 04-20-2016, 08:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
Not sure about question 1. If you just picked it up - and pardon me for being indelicate - how can you possibly have "contributed" so much to the black tank? 😳
We took it on a 5 day stay right after we picked it up

Thanks for the tips!
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Old 04-20-2016, 08:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
Add the chemicals used to digest and break down what goes 'down the hatch'. Otherwise you operating a 'Dry Forest Service Pit Toilet' and a Stalagmite of feces and toilet paper growing towards the flap to form a Cavern Column, if you are not paying attention.
I found that out after our first black tank dump. Got some treatment products right away.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
We drain the water tank and faucets left open (WATER PUMP OFF) on the way home. The Shake and Bake technique.
I like this technique, thanks!

Thanks for the tips about cleaning the fresh water tank.
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Old 04-20-2016, 08:48 PM   #7
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Simple solution! Dump the full black tank, let it drain completely, change hose to flush/wash inlet & leave valve open & flush/clean black for 4 or 5 minutes. Now close Black valve & open Gray valve to drain & clean sewer hose.
So I did that about 5-6 times and there was still some toilet paper coming out. Can you actually get everything out by doing it only once?
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Old 04-20-2016, 09:22 PM   #8
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Newbie questions

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Originally Posted by happycampr View Post
So I did that about 5-6 times and there was still some toilet paper coming out. Can you actually get everything out by doing it only once?

I always have residual material in the tank after dumping. This is a function of the tank design (generally flat bottomed), the solid:liquid ratio, and gestation time.

Black tank solids need to breakdown for effective evacuation. This takes time and liquids irrespective of chemical additives. Five days is a descent span of time to allow things to break down, but dumping recently deposited solids (say within the last 12 to 24 hours pre-dump) often leaves chunky stuff and TP in the system and that material doesn't flow well.

I make it a habit of adding back several gallons of water back to the black tank after dumping. This water stays in the tank while the rig is stored, then dumped during, or at the end of the next trip out.
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Old 04-20-2016, 09:25 PM   #9
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I always have residual material in the tank after dumping. This is a function of the tank design (generally flat bottomed), the solid:liquid ratio, and gestation time.

Black tank solids need to breakdown for effective evacuation. This takes time and liquids irrespective of chemical additives. Five days is a descent span of time to allow things to break down, but dumping recently deposited solids (say within the last 12 to 24 hours pre-dump often leaves chunky stuff and TP in the system and that material doesn't flow well.

I make it a habit of adding back several gallons of water back to the black tank after dumping. This water stays in the tank while the rig is stored, then dumped during, or at the end of the next trip out.

Thanks! That makes sense. So I should stop worrying about getting every last bit out right away! I did read before to add some water back in it, which I did. So the stuff that was left there on the previous trip will come back out the next time.
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Old 04-20-2016, 09:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by happycampr View Post
So I did that about 5-6 times and there was still some toilet paper coming out. Can you actually get everything out by doing it only once?
Probably not. Look, you're trying to empty & clean a sewer tank, don't expect something perfect at the end.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by happycampr View Post
Thanks! That makes sense. So I should stop worrying about getting every last bit out right away! I did read before to add some water back in it, which I did. So the stuff that was left there on the previous trip will come back out the next time.
I know it's been mentioned but one of the most effective ways of clearing is to keep the black tank at 50% or better when leaving your campsite, along with an effective enzyme treatment, and dump after some time later after the tank has has the "shake and bake" treatment on the road. The solids and TP need some time to break down. Finally, the guillotine style dump valves really hate being closed while there is still paper floating by. You can actually create a "seeping valve" by accidentally packing one side of the valve with debris. On a completely OCD note, I have been known to "lift" the far side of our rig with leveling pads to ensure the tanks are tilted towards the dump valves. Some dump statiions are not optimally sloped for full drainage.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:31 PM   #12
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I know it's been mentioned but one of the most effective ways of clearing is to keep the black tank at 50% or better when leaving your campsite, along with an effective enzyme treatment, and dump after some time later after the tank has has the "shake and bake" treatment on the road. The solids and TP need some time to break down. Finally, the guillotine style dump valves really hate being closed while there is still paper floating by. You can actually create a "seeping valve" by accidentally packing one side of the valve with debris. On a completely OCD note, I have been known to "lift" the far side of our rig with leveling pads to ensure the tanks are tilted towards the dump valves. Some dump statiions are not optimally sloped for full drainage.
Yeah that would be ideal, but where do you dump after you leave the camp site?
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