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Old 01-23-2016, 09:07 AM   #1
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Driving with fluid in tanks

Hi everyone,

I am sorry if this has been asked before and I missed it. I searched but didn't see this addressed. We have a 2015 Winnebago 1801FB TT. We are new to RVing. We are planning to drive across country and stop along the way. Some days we will be stopping for just a night. Is it ok to drive with fluid in the black/grey/fresh water tanks? Is there a limit to the amount of fluid you feel comfortable with in long drive (6 or so hours on highway)? We have had a few people tell us it will crack the tanks.

TIA for your advice!
Jessica
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:24 AM   #2
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Oh there is a limit, FULL. Don't EVER go over that, especially in the black tank. And Empty....don't even try to go under that, cats will start befriending dogs and pigs will fly. Otherwise, drive with anything between empty and full.
Many time we drive with the fresh tank fullfullfull, because we're gonna be without hookups for an extended time. And when returning home from an occasion like that, our grey (or is it gray) and black tanks will be almost or completely full. It ain't nothing but a thing. And driving with the black tank full of clear water can help clean out all the nasty clingies off the side and top of the tank, eeuuuuwww!
People will say the weirdest stuff, but here you get lots of opinions and you can sort it out for yourself. Welcome to the family and happy rving. Now fill those tanks and go make some memories.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:30 AM   #3
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Oh there is a limit, FULL. Don't EVER go over that, especially in the black tank. And Empty....don't even try to go under that, cats will start befriending dogs and pigs will fly. Otherwise, drive with anything between empty and full.
Many time we drive with the fresh tank fullfullfull, because we're gonna be without hookups for an extended time. And when returning home from an occasion like that, our grey (or is it gray) and black tanks will be almost or completely full. It ain't nothing but a thing. And driving with the black tank full of clear water can help clean out all the nasty clingies off the side and top of the tank, eeuuuuwww!
People will say the weirdest stuff, but here you get lots of opinions and you can sort it out for yourself. Welcome to the family and happy rving. Now fill those tanks and go make some memories.
What he said
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:35 AM   #4
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Yup. Not full, and assuredly not empty. Somewhere in between. Carrying the extra weight is basically the only real factor to consider. Frankly, I don't pay much attention to the weight. I plan and dump as is convenient.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:35 AM   #5
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My first reply was rather cavelier. Water is weight, a bit over 8 pounds per gallon. So, your full 50 gallon fresh water tank weighs 50x8=400 pounds. Maybe if you only put on 30 gallons, and topped it off when you got close to your spot you could save about a quart of fuel by not carrying all that extra weight, which at 2.00/gallon is 50 cents. It'll take about a half hour to slow down, stop, top off the tank, start, and get back up to speed, so for this task, your earned $1.00 per hour Cha CHing!!!
Fill them tanks and gogogo. Your fuel bills will choke you the first few times, until you realize the wonderful times your rv has provided. You're gonna burn alot of fuel, nothing you can really do. Get out and enjoy, so you can die with a big smile on your face.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:41 AM   #6
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My first reply was rather cavelier. Water is weight, a bit over 8 pounds per gallon. So, your full 50 gallon fresh water tank weighs 50x8=400 pounds. Maybe if you only put on 30 gallons, and topped it off when you got close to your spot you could save about a quart of fuel by not carrying all that extra weight, which at 2.00/gallon is 50 cents. It'll take about a half hour to slow down, stop, top off the tank, start, and get back up to speed, so for this task, your earned $1.00 per hour Cha CHing!!!
Fill them tanks and gogogo. Your fuel bills will choke you the first few times, until you realize the wonderful times your rv has provided. You're gonna burn alot of fuel, nothing you can really do. Get out and enjoy, so you can die with a big smile on your face.
1st post a bit cavalier? 2nd post, still a bit cavalier.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:48 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone. Your replies have eased our minds. Being new at something sucks. I can't wait to have this baby out on the road and know enough someday to help a newbie.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:59 AM   #8
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In my trailer, I try to keep the fresh tank full and the grey and black empty while traveling. I'm not worried about hurting the tanks. My fresh water tank is at the very front of my trailer and my waste tanks at the very rear. Mine tows better with more tongue weight, and as water is transferred from front to back, it reduces the tongue weight. I dump whenever I get a chance while in transit, but don't worry if I have to go a couple days without.

Partly full tanks can also contribute to sway with sloshing. A full tank won't slosh as much. I wouldn't want to do a 6 hour drive with my trailer with the front tank empty and the rear tanks full. I'd find a dump station near the start of that journey. Once you start traveling, you'll realize its a non-issue.
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Old 01-23-2016, 10:09 AM   #9
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Typically, I like a little sloshing in the gray-water tank. We are usually camped in one place for several weeks at a time, so to be sure that "stuff" is not building up on the inside walls of the tank, when we finally get back on the road, we will drive with a marginal amount of fluid in the gray-water tank.

Black water tank will almost always have at least 10 gallons in it.

YMMV,

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Old 01-23-2016, 10:09 AM   #10
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We try to drive with empty black and gray tanks, but sometimes there is not a dump station where we are camping so just leave and dump somewhere along the route. Same with fresh water, we normally travel with 1/3 tank but if we're going somewhere within a days drive where there's no water we will fill up before we leave and go with a full tank.

It helps that we have full hookups at home, so we can always dump and fill there.

During your cross-country trip you'll have many chances to dump your tanks and fill fresh water, so if I were you I'd start with a day or two of water (maybe 1/4 to 1/3 tank) and dump and fill on the way. Most campgrunds have dump stations, as do Flying J's and even some rest areas. Some are free, most charge a nominal fee to dump. Most places that have dumps also have potable water, though we encountered one on our last trip out west with no potable water.

Here and here are some websites listing dump stations.

We have done this on three different RV's, one trailer and two motor homes, and NEVER had a problem with cracked tanks. I suspect cracked tanks others experienced were due to a combination of age and mounting issues (maybe a mounting strap failed).
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Old 01-23-2016, 01:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sylvia43 View Post
Hi everyone,

I am sorry if this has been asked before and I missed it. I searched but didn't see this addressed. We have a 2015 Winnebago 1801FB TT. We are new to RVing. We are planning to drive across country and stop along the way. Some days we will be stopping for just a night. Is it ok to drive with fluid in the black/grey/fresh water tanks? Is there a limit to the amount of fluid you feel comfortable with in long drive (6 or so hours on highway)? We have had a few people tell us it will crack the tanks.

TIA for your advice!
Jessica
we always travel with a full-to-nearly-full fresh water tank and I recommend you consider doing that as well. a full fresh tank makes it easier to be spontaneous in our travels and eliminates the rare but real problem of bad or no water at a campground. but...

as a new RVer you need to know and understand the various weights and weight ratings of your TT. I'm not familiar with the model you have but you need to know:

- the GVWR of the TT. this is the total weight the TT chassis can support...food, clothing, water, lp, supplies, pets, people and other stuff.

- the basic empty weight of the trailer: this is the weight of YOUR trailer as it was delivered to you from the dealer.

- the ACTUAL weight of your trailer after you've added all of your food, clothing, water, LP, supplies, pets, people and other stuff.

since you've likely already loaded your trailer load your food, clothing, supplies, etc., fill the LP tank but empty all of the water tanks. take the trailer to a certified scale and weigh it. the difference between the GVWR and the actual weight will tell you how much fresh water you can carry. fresh water is 8-lbs per gallon, gray water and black water more.

also be sure that whatever you use to tow your TT can handle the GVWR of the trailer.

good luck and enjoy!
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Old 01-23-2016, 01:42 PM   #12
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FWIW bear in mind that the folks who run with a half tank of water are mostly DP's with 100 gal tanks. Chances are their half tank is bigger than your full tank.

I usually set up with a full tank leaving home. That is around 45 gal. The black and gray tanks combined are usually a bit more than your fresh total. I know mine are and most I looked at are. That gives us a couple of days of normal usage so we can boondock one or two nights before a dump and refill session. Our heavy water usage is showers so we shower and dump every other day when traveling unless the weather is unusually hot. That way I either have ample water in the tank to dump or can stretch another day if needed. YMMV so adjust your pattern accordingly.
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Old 01-23-2016, 01:56 PM   #13
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We travel with full fresh water tank and mostly empty grey and black. If we get stuck for some reason or broken down we have use of the coach in an emergency. Also, we don't travel with less than 1/2 fuel since the generator cannot run on the last 1/4 of tank. Our coach has been weighed on all for wheels as loaded and weight is not a concern in our situation. Neither does fuel consumption change noticeably with the extra weight.
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Old 01-23-2016, 01:59 PM   #14
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Anything goes. I always try to have full fresh water whenever possible. Dump black & gray whenever. If I run with liquid in black & gray so be it !!

Russell
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Old 01-23-2016, 02:15 PM   #15
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We travel with full fresh water tank and mostly empty grey and black. If we get stuck for some reason or broken down we have use of the coach in an emergency. Also, we don't travel with less than 1/2 fuel since the generator cannot run on the last 1/4 of tank.
Yep, this sounds like us too.
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Old 01-23-2016, 02:18 PM   #16
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We keep the fresh water tank full all the time. If it's convenient, we empty the black and gray tanks before leaving the CG, but don't worry about it if we're in a hurry. I personally don't think it's gonna make any detectable difference in you fuel mileage, and the sloshing around will just dissolve the "stuff" better!
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:34 PM   #17
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Thanks everyone. Your replies have eased our minds. Being new at something sucks. I can't wait to have this baby out on the road and know enough someday to help a newbie.
Just want to make sure you ARE using proper RV toilet paper. Anything else and your black tank will surely block right up.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:46 PM   #18
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Just want to make sure you ARE using proper RV toilet paper. Anything else and your black tank will surely block right up.
In 50+ years of RV'ing I haven't found that to be true with any rig we've owned. Just used what ever was in the stick house but never dumped unless the black tank was full then follow with the grey tank.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:02 PM   #19
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Just want to make sure you ARE using proper RV toilet paper. Anything else and your black tank will surely block right up.
not our experience. we've been RVing sunce 1986 and have used Scott's single ply. the secret is lots of water. try this test. take a sheet of household TP and immerse it in a glass of water. stir or shake. if the TP breaks up you're good to go.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:17 PM   #20
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The above test works We've used BJ's brand toilet paper for years and never had an issue. No need for the special RV toilet paper.

We do, however, have issues when someone goes #2 and does not fill the toilet by pushing partway down on the pedal (or sometimes a separate handle) before flushing. Just cover the stuff up with water and that'll be enough.

You may want to bring a plunger as well as a toilet bowl brush, we've used ours a bunch on the last two coaches, though we had no need for a plunger in our TT. Just different plumbing, I think.
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