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Old 10-24-2020, 08:21 PM   #1
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Black Tank Surprised Fiasco

Today I decided to to not just drain but thoroughly clean and flush tanks.

So I drive to a Camp Sewer facility with plenty of time on my hands. I have 2019 Sunstar 29VE

I first setup and start to drain the black tank. While that was going on I drain the fresh water tank. My coach requires turning on water pump for fresh water to drain. After 10 minutes or so, I connect a fresh water hose to my black tank Sani Flush system. It must have run another 10 minutes, but all water was coming out of black tank was drinking fresh clear So I open up the the gray tank and it starts to drain; so far all is good.

Eventually the fresh water stopped draining from fresh water tank. I then cut off and disconnected the hose to the sani flush. After 5 minutes all water had stopped; so I put up the sewer hose and prepared to drive back home.

But I tried some different

I left the low point drains lines open, thinking that the drive home may splash some more water to get in a position to drain out? I left both valves open for the gray & black tank, because I figure they were empty or just a little water residue may come out? But for good measures; I did put the sewer cap back on.

I drive home (15 minutes) and park. I decided to remove the sewer cap to let what I thought would be remnants of fresh water from sani flush hose, but noooooo, I got a big gush of black waste water It was a lot of waste water; so much that I had to quickly put the sewer cap back on.

My question is where this all of this black waste water suddenly come from? That tank had been open for at least 5 minutes with nothing coming out?
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Old 10-24-2020, 09:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
Today I decided to to not just drain but thoroughly clean and flush tanks.

So I drive to a Camp Sewer facility with plenty of time on my hands. I have 2019 Sunstar 29VE

I first setup and start to drain the black tank. While that was going on I drain the fresh water tank. My coach requires turning on water pump for fresh water to drain. After 10 minutes or so, I connect a fresh water hose to my black tank Sani Flush system. It must have run another 10 minutes, but all water was coming out of black tank was drinking fresh clear So I open up the the gray tank and it starts to drain; so far all is good.

Eventually the fresh water stopped draining from fresh water tank. I then cut off and disconnected the hose to the sani flush. After 5 minutes all water had stopped; so I put up the sewer hose and prepared to drive back home.

But I tried some different

I left the low point drains lines open, thinking that the drive home may splash some more water to get in a position to drain out? I left both valves open for the gray & black tank, because I figure they were empty or just a little water residue may come out? But for good measures; I did put the sewer cap back on.

I drive home (15 minutes) and park. I decided to remove the sewer cap to let what I thought would be remnants of fresh water from sani flush hose, but noooooo, I got a big gush of black waste water It was a lot of waste water; so much that I had to quickly put the sewer cap back on.

My question is where this all of this black waste water suddenly come from? That tank had been open for at least 5 minutes with nothing coming out?
I’m not familiar with your septic system, but my guess is that since you hadn’t done this previously, you probably had quite a bit of buildup that was clogging it from flowing out when you discharged. Once you drove around and loosen everything up, that’s what you got. On a sidenote you shouldn’t have your gray and black open at the same time as you never want the black flowing back into the gray. Not sure if that would happen on your rig but it would if I did what you did on mine.
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Old 10-24-2020, 09:40 PM   #3
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I’m not familiar with your septic system, but my guess is that since you hadn’t done this previously, you probably had quite a bit of buildup that was clogging it from flowing out when you discharged. Once you drove around and loosen everything up, that’s what you got. On a sidenote you shouldn’t have your gray and black open at the same time as you never want the black flowing back into the gray. Not sure if that would happen on your rig but it would if I did what you did on mine.
I opened the valve on the Gray tank when the black tank was draining a slow trickle of clean water coming from Sani Flush. What you state could occur but it would have been the gray water going into the black tank. That may have helped loosen some up if it was a clog?

Prior to today, I have never had both open at the same time. It was only because I believe the black tank was 100% empty.

When time permits, I will try to replicate this using all fresh water in the black tank. I am beginning to wander if the level of coach had an impact? The facility was level but maybe some parts of the tank could not drain. but when I get home I was only a slight slope for water drainage. It may have been just enough to get 2 - 3 more gallons of black waster water?
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:15 AM   #4
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Do everyone and our environment a big favor .... don’t leave black and/or gray outlet valves or the outlet cap open if you are moving your rig. Thanks.
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:46 AM   #5
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Do everyone and our environment a big favor .... don’t leave black and/or gray outlet valves or the outlet cap open if you are moving your rig. Thanks.
Well that is obvious, but the question is or belief is that they were empty, or at least believed to be. Just so you know the outlet caps was closed.

Is this something common, or do you know why or how it could happen? This is important issue as similarly, I could have assumed waste tank was empty and not do anything else for the winter and later get a surprised rupture tank.

I plan to re-fill both tanks with fresh water and repeat the process at exact same facility and route to home. Difference this time is when I open; I will open with sewer hose on as to NOT assume they really are empty.

I may learn that when I dump, I need to drive around a tad come back and dump again if I have an unknown problem. I intend to ensure my tanks are empty when I believe they to be; if that makes sense.
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:59 AM   #6
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This is important issue as similarly, I could have assumed waste tank was empty and not do anything else for the winter and later get a surprised rupture tank.
I've wondered about this too. It seems so easy for a clog or just a poor slope to prevent all from draining. Considering how big the tank is vs. how much water/gunk remains, I doubt it would rupture, though. I say this especially considering that when I flush my water lines with anti-freeze I know at least a couple new gallons of fresh water go into the gray tank.

However, I've wondered about ice next to and around the valves. I dump some anti-freeze into the tank, but I'm not (yet) in a habit of dumping multiple gallons of anti-freeze into these tanks. Considering I haven't ever read advice like "pour 3 gallons of anti-freeze into each tank," I've been assuming this is unnecessary.
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Old 10-25-2020, 11:09 AM   #7
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I suggest giving the parts drawings a look at how your specific RV tanks and lines are laid out to try to spot how water will drain, since you have not given total info on which 2019 29VE you have, there are two different models and they do have different layouts.
Parts catalog here:
https://catalog3d.winnebagoind.com/menu/Parts.htm
There are some definite reasons for the manuals telling us to close the valves as it does help to prevent the surprise you got. The valves and caps are two lines of defense and you just lost the first line when you left the valves open!
Item 16 of your manual?
16. Close dump valves and refit the dust cap onto the drain outlet.
This will inhibit rust formation on valve shafts and prevent entry and contamination by
airborne debris, insects, and rodents.

My thoughts on winterizing run like this. It may cost me $10 for a few jugs of pink that I buy to pour in the traps, down the stool, and into all the holding tanks.
But I find it a very good value to spend ten bucks to avoid thousands of dollars to replace even one tank! I have looked at RV that had frozen tanks, so it is possible to screw it up, so I do NOT want to be the next one!
Manuals here:
https://winnebagoind.com/resources/m...uals2019-1.php
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Old 10-25-2020, 12:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
I suggest giving the parts drawings a look at how your specific RV tanks and lines are laid out to try to spot how water will drain, since you have not given total info on which 2019 29VE you have, there are two different models and they do have different layouts.
Parts catalog here:
https://catalog3d.winnebagoind.com/menu/Parts.htm
There are some definite reasons for the manuals telling us to close the valves as it does help to prevent the surprise you got. The valves and caps are two lines of defense and you just lost the first line when you left the valves open!
Item 16 of your manual?
16. Close dump valves and refit the dust cap onto the drain outlet.
This will inhibit rust formation on valve shafts and prevent entry and contamination by
airborne debris, insects, and rodents.

My thoughts on winterizing run like this. It may cost me $10 for a few jugs of pink that I buy to pour in the traps, down the stool, and into all the holding tanks.
But I find it a very good value to spend ten bucks to avoid thousands of dollars to replace even one tank! I have looked at RV that had frozen tanks, so it is possible to screw it up, so I do NOT want to be the next one!
Manuals here:
https://winnebagoind.com/resources/m...uals2019-1.php
I have the Sunstar. I believe Vista 29VE and Sunstar 29VE are exact same. At least according to Lichtsinn RV.

My plumbing diagram is attached.

There may be some confusion as I follow the manual to a T. Issue here is I was simply draining tanks and trying to ensure Empty was really empty. It was NOT, I learned the hard way (meaning an extra 2 - 3 gallons of black water came from somewhere). It should NOT have happened and with the normal procedures being followed to a T; I would not have known it was happening. Of course it may only have been this one time?

I do put anti freeze for P traps when I do full winterization. I normally blow it all out, and then add the anti freeze. I do not put the pink stuff in my fresh water line though.

With all of that said, today I refilled my black tank ( all fresh water), I used 4 ounces of dawn, it has been drained with proper sewer lines. My next trip, I will go back to see if any more drains out due to driving around. But for right now, RV is sitting with black tank valve wide opened and cap completely off, spot underneath is perfectly dry. We are not using the RV as it is at home. My next trip around town, ( yes I drive my RV like a SUV in Dallas ) I will close the valve and put on cap. When I get back I don't expect to see any liquids, but if I do, I would have learned that it is unrealistic to expect to drain a black tank 100%, which would render antifreeze in the black tanks as mandatory for total freeze protection; which I may need in Jan / Feb.

FWIW Gray tank valve is closed as no issue was noted with it. From some feedback I got elsewhere, it is believed my black tank was clogged, and while fresh looking water was coming out of the saniflush it was not until I drove it around it broke loose. The intent of dawn in future is to help make the watery slippery; so I am told.

As always thanks for the insight. It is about 1 year, and we are still RV'ing and learning quite a lot as we go.
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Old 10-25-2020, 01:24 PM   #9
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@Morich

I think that flat surface on bottom of tank is factor? Even though coach may level it may be that tank's position may leave 1/8 - 1/4" on the bottom when tank is drained. However when riding around, that caused it to sloush and go down the drain piping to exit? It may not have been clogged at all is my view.

In addition when I park at home, I do have a slight slope in driveway for water run off to alley so that may also have aided with additional fluids pouring out.

I think I am going to have to plan on pouring a least a gallon of antifreeze in black tank when I intend protect from Freeze or when I wish the tank to be empty, just drive around a few times until I sloush it all down the drain to be properly discharged.
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Old 10-25-2020, 01:45 PM   #10
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Since there are two different builds of the 2019 Sunstar 29VE,depending on seventh number in the serial being 1 or 2, I was not able to say which you had and what might have been missed but one point that is quite common is draining when the RV is not level as so many dump stations are on a slope.
Looking at the drawing on the parts catalog and turning it around, you can see the grey tank drain comes out the bottom near the left side and that makes it more likely to get a full drain if the RV is sloped with the front and right slightly higher. But at the same time, if you tilt it to get a good drain on the grey tank, the drain for the black is in the side of the tank, making it set an inch or so off the bottom to allow room for the fitting. But it also comes out at the front and left side of the tank!!!
So tilting the RV to to drain grey best, will also make the black less likely to drain fully! Tilting to fully drain one will automatically make it less likely to fully drain the other!!
One bug to be aware of and you often can't see is how the drain is connected to the tank. Many have a fitting put through the wall of the tank and the flange on that fitting makes it have to be installed a bit above the floor of the tank. Some drains are molded in and fit lower but which do we have if we can't see it? That makes it NOT drain fully if the RV is level! Too bad we can't just pick them up and shake the water out?
Tilting it different ways is not good enough for me to feel good, so I do go with just leaving whatever is left in the tank and making sure there is enough pink to provide the protection I want.
One point that I might "double think" on is the outside sink that drains to a pump which lifts it up to the black tank. That will be a point where water may collect and the low point seems to be the pump, so I would definitely want to assure there was antifreeze in that trap and also enough to get into the pump.
I smile when I read about adding soap to make a sewer drain "slick" as it really tells me those folks have not cleaned a drain very often! Slick is automatic on that stinking stuff!
You may have noted that when trying to get the cap back on!
It's a trip on every new RV we get and trying to look ahead is a big help.
Wish you the best! Enjoy.
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Old 10-25-2020, 01:55 PM   #11
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I did a "doodle" to better show what I'm thinking on your tanks. Added some yellow "water"? When tilted one way, it drains the leftmost grey tank but not the black! Tilted the other way the opposite is true.
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Old 10-25-2020, 02:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
Since there are two different builds of the 2019 Sunstar 29VE,depending on seventh number in the serial being 1 or 2, I was not able to say which you had and what might have been missed but one point that is quite common is draining when the RV is not level as so many dump stations are on a slope.
Looking at the drawing on the parts catalog and turning it around, you can see the grey tank drain comes out the bottom near the left side and that makes it more likely to get a full drain if the RV is sloped with the front and right slightly higher. But at the same time, if you tilt it to get a good drain on the grey tank, the drain for the black is in the side of the tank, making it set an inch or so off the bottom to allow room for the fitting. But it also comes out at the front and left side of the tank!!!
So tilting the RV to to drain grey best, will also make the black less likely to drain fully! Tilting to fully drain one will automatically make it less likely to fully drain the other!!
One bug to be aware of and you often can't see is how the drain is connected to the tank. Many have a fitting put through the wall of the tank and the flange on that fitting makes it have to be installed a bit above the floor of the tank. Some drains are molded in and fit lower but which do we have if we can't see it? That makes it NOT drain fully if the RV is level! Too bad we can't just pick them up and shake the water out?
Tilting it different ways is not good enough for me to feel good, so I do go with just leaving whatever is left in the tank and making sure there is enough pink to provide the protection I want.
One point that I might "double think" on is the outside sink that drains to a pump which lifts it up to the black tank. That will be a point where water may collect and the low point seems to be the pump, so I would definitely want to assure there was antifreeze in that trap and also enough to get into the pump.
I smile when I read about adding soap to make a sewer drain "slick" as it really tells me those folks have not cleaned a drain very often! Slick is automatic on that stinking stuff!
You may have noted that when trying to get the cap back on!
It's a trip on every new RV we get and trying to look ahead is a big help.
Wish you the best! Enjoy.
That's it

Man, I like it when science takes over

I was already using the pink stuff in the drains including the outside kitchen and it's pump. I normally pour about 1 cup in each drain. I will make it a point to pour the balance or gallon into black tank. Note: I do this with each pending freeze, because I never really plan to put the RV up for winter, just prepare it for that once in a blue moon freeze that comes to North Texas.

I have added your input and revised drawings to my personal SOP manual.

Also, you were correct on the two models of Sunstar 29VE, I remember now, how something happened and the Winnebago manual was telling me to do thing that my coach did not have, when talking with Winnebago they sent me a brand new owners manual stating that I had the wrong one Oddly my first fight with The RV Dealer's Support was on how to drain the freshwater tank. Opening those drain valves did nothing for my coach but they did not believe me, the manual was wrong, the new manual stating I had to turn on the water pump to drain the fresh water tank.

I hear / read lots of folks complaining about RV Mfgs, but our Winnebago & Winnebago have been great. If I were to change anything, or knew how to do it, I would put a valve on bathroom sink drain; so I could optionally divert to Black or Gary tank? After 1 year, we find the 40 gal gray tank as the critical one. Would love to get more gray into the black. We could prolly boondock for few extra days.
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Old 10-25-2020, 03:44 PM   #13
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I think it had to do with the angle of the RV when at the dump. It’s a flat bottom tank.. Plus, you should always leave a few gallons of water in the tank after dumping so that any remaining or new arriving solids don’t dry up. As mentioned before, you may have had some solidified waste in the tank when dumping that sloshed it’s way loose. Lesson learned...never open the valve with the cap off and without a hose attached to a dump or at least a very big bucket!
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Old 10-25-2020, 04:06 PM   #14
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I think it had to do with the angle of the RV when at the dump. It’s a flat bottom tank.. Plus, you should always leave a few gallons of water in the tank after dumping so that any remaining or new arriving solids don’t dry up. As mentioned before, you may have had some solidified waste in the tank when dumping that sloshed it’s way loose. Lesson learned...never open the valve with the cap off and without a hose attached to a dump or at least a very big bucket!
In my case the valve was open and the cap closed. It was done so intentionally to see if the tank was in fact empty because it had just been dumped. Point is clearly understood that valve and cap should be on unless preparing to properly dump. For 1 year with new RV and for every rental I have ever had that is what I have done.

Some people procrastinate what if, some people do and oh wow!!! Yesterday I was the Oh Wow!!! and glad I did. No biggie, I will just always assume my black tank has hidden 2 - 3 gallons even after a clean successful dump. That fact only makes one required change for me in the future and that is winter preparation. Last winter I did not know this and may have been fortunate, but this winter my waste tank will have pink antifreeze added even if I believe it to be bone dry.
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Old 10-25-2020, 04:24 PM   #15
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I have one of these on my sewer outlet. It has a garden hose bib on it. You can get a see-through plastic cap. Valterra sells them. I used to have a slight leak through the valve jiggling while traveling. You can unscrew the hose bib to let out any residual fluid rather than unscrewing the 3” cap.

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Old 10-25-2020, 04:58 PM   #16
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I have one of these on my sewer outlet. It has a garden hose bib on it. You can get a see-through plastic cap. Valterra sells them. I used to have a slight leak through the valve jiggling while traveling. You can unscrew the hose bib to let out any residual fluid rather than unscrewing the 3” cap.

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Thank you. I added to my camping world cart for future. You will be surprised how often I end up with gift certificates or coupons to buy something from Camping World but I struggle with what to buy?

Before we bought the 29VE we were trying to buy the Thor 27B. The Gray & Black tanks fittings were in two separate bays This would have made the gray so much easier, but I still don't know if I like not being able to dump the gray right after the black to clean sewer hose.

I don't think we have a leak, if I did I am still under Winnebago warranty? I may need to double check and add to the list to check out?

I had a lot of time on my hand yesterday, I really didn't even need to drain either of the tanks. Because my warranty will end next month, I was just prepping in case it has to go back to the dealer. I want to have the RV ready so I can take it back without worry on a moments notice. Plus; because I don't know what the weather may be like, or how long they may have, I want it winterized MY WAY. In this aspect, I trust myself more than the dealer.

Yesterday after draining I had no reason to believe that black tank was anything but empty. I was actually thinking that by having gray and black valves open (with both tanks empty) that I would get some water inside the cap, but I was thinking gray water that may have sloushed from P traps etc. Not 2 - 3 gallons of black water

What I may do based on your post, after my next drive to see if I can sloushed some more fresh water out of my supposed to be empty black tank, I will fill the gray tank half way to check for a leak in valve and then empty to test the black tank for a leak in valve.
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Old 10-25-2020, 05:02 PM   #17
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The hose bib cover is a handy thing in some cases and one way to add a bit of "neat" to it is to keep a short 10-12 inch section of tubing or hose screwed on with a cap on it. The clear tube lets you know there is water there and you can then put a catch basin under it to contain the spill----if it's not toooo much, before it shoots all over the compartment and you!
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Old 10-25-2020, 05:25 PM   #18
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The hose bib cover is a handy thing in some cases and one way to add a bit of "neat" to it is to keep a short 10-12 inch section of tubing or hose screwed on with a cap on it. The clear tube lets you know there is water there and you can then put a catch basin under it to contain the spill----if it's not toooo much, before it shoots all over the compartment and you!
I don't know if you can do this twice in same day but "That's it!!! " again

I have 2 of those Camco 20' expandable sewer flex holds. They both come with caps so you can actually seal both sides. I always wondered why you would ever need those end caps:? To me it would keep a wet sewer hose from airing out.

But thanks to the two posts above. I could have attached one 20' section to the Valtera spout and put an end cap on the other end. I just checked and it fits nicely in my wet bay. Had I did that the 2 - 3 gallons would have been in my sewer hose I could then put the cap on the opposite side of sewer hose and take it in the house to drain in toilet.

I had everything I needed to do my off the cusp experiment right in front of me all the time.

Thanks Lakejumper and Morich

[Edit]
I may make this part of my standard procedure (SOP) for whenever I finish draining my Black tank. Before leaving facility connect the sewer hose and cap off back end. Leave Black tank valve open ( Gray closed). When I get home disconnect the Sewer hose and put other cap on. Take in the house and pour in the toilet. There should not be any sufficient liquids in black tank to cause any freeze damage.
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Old 10-25-2020, 06:56 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
I don't know if you can do this twice in same day but "That's it!!! " again

I have 2 of those Camco 20' expandable sewer flex holds. They both come with caps so you can actually seal both sides. I always wondered why you would ever need those end caps:? To me it would keep a wet sewer hose from airing out.

But thanks to the two posts above. I could have attached one 20' section to the Valtera spout and put an end cap on the other end. I just checked and it fits nicely in my wet bay. Had I did that the 2 - 3 gallons would have been in my sewer hose I could then put the cap on the opposite side of sewer hose and take it in the house to drain in toilet.

I had everything I needed to do my off the cusp experiment right in front of me all the time.

Thanks Lakejumper and Morich

[Edit]
I may make this part of my standard procedure (SOP) for whenever I finish draining my Black tank. Before leaving facility connect the sewer hose and cap off back end. Leave Black tank valve open ( Gray closed). When I get home disconnect the Sewer hose and put other cap on. Take in the house and pour in the toilet. There should not be any sufficient liquids in black tank to cause any freeze damage.
Interesting, I actually bought more end caps. That way, I can compress our four 10’ hoses to four ~three feet sections for storage, as the caps create an air tight seal.
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Old 10-26-2020, 06:56 PM   #20
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Location: Dallas, Texas
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Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
Interesting, I actually bought more end caps. That way, I can compress our four 10’ hoses to four ~three feet sections for storage, as the caps create an air tight seal.
So this is what it looks like. Compressed sewer hose with end cap inserted. Notice the black tank drain valve is wide open. Remember the black tank has been completely refilled with fresh water, dawn, and then drain again. In theory the Black tank is 100% empty at this picture. However I drained it at home not at facility; so experiment is not the exact same.

The point is that when I drive it again and if water does sloush out; it will be caught by the sewer hose. I can then put the top cap on sewer hose and transport to safe location to dump.
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