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Old 06-10-2018, 03:54 PM   #21
phillyg
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BB TX gave the correct and simplest answer about flushing. WRT to cleaning the sensors, give it up. I've never found a solution that even partially works, and I've had several RVs. I've developed a sense of when to dump, except when teenagers are involved.
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Old 06-10-2018, 06:55 PM   #22
Wheelhouse
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Easiest and safest is hook up water supply to water inlet to trailer. Turn the water on and go to t the bathroom and hold the foot paddle down until you see water in toilet riser. Now simply release paddle water flow stops and go outside to pull discharge lever.
Repeat as neccessary.
Leaving the lever closed, you take a risk of someone coming up to you and get involved with conversation, all of a sudden you hear a pop and its to late, trust me. Never again.
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Old 06-10-2018, 06:56 PM   #23
Nighthawk
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Tank Monitor/Flush

Like many above have posted, factory tank sensors almost never give you an accurate level of your tanks, except maybe the fresh water tank. On my current RV (2007 Montana 3400RL) I installed the Tech-Edge Mfg “iSeries Kit” and love it. Yes it was an effort to install but it gives me an accurate percentage of how full my tanks are and warns me when they get to a preset “full” or “empty” (fresh water) level.

The system is not expensive ($229) and works very well. You mount a special tape on the outside of your non-metallic tanks and run 2 wires from the tape to a control panel mounted inside your RV. Every few minutes it automatically displays the percentage full on a screen or you can view the percentages manually whenever you want. I love it.

Get more details from their website, www.tankedge.com.

With regard to dumping my tanks, I use a 45-degree clear hose fitting at my RV sewer connection so I can see what’s draining out of my tanks, especially the black tank. When I drain my tanks, I try to have them on the fuller side if possible. I start with a little of my galley tank to wet the drain hose. Then I close it. Then I open my blank tank valve and turn on the power flush. You can often hear it spraying the inside of the tank. When it seems like most of the ‘black’ is out (water starts to become more clear), I turn off the power flush and let the black tank drain to a dribble. I close the valve and open the power flush again for a few minutes, then open the valve. I do this a couple times to get most of stuff out of the tank. When the water is quite clear, I close the black and then drain the galley. I drain the grey tank last to ‘wash out’ the hose. I haven’t used tank cleaners in years and rarely use deodorants/tank solutions in my tanks. I feel they are unnecessary. I have not had any problems with this routine. I don’t try to get every last drop out of my tanks until I winterize my RV.

By the way, after I dump, I disconnect the drain hose at the RV first and lifting it up, compress the tube to help drain any liquid on ribs on the inside of the hose. It’s amazing how much liquid comes out of the drain hose. Then I store the hose.
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Old 06-10-2018, 07:11 PM   #24
whutfles
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I do what Rondo explained above using a wye to the RV's backflush at the same time I run a backflo valve connected to a clear extension on the sewer drain. You can direct the water flo on the backflo valve to go back up the drain into the black tank or out the drain hose. While the tank is draining, I direct this flo of water out the hose so that it helps keep sewage running out the hose. Then when I close the backflo, water is filling the black tank from both ends. I have a 56 gal black tank so I usually let it refill for 2 1/2 minutes. I will repeat the refill for 2 or 3 times per draining depending on how clean the outflow is.

When I'm done draining, I close the valves and go in the RV and hold the foot valve down to a count of about 80, refilling with about 3-5 gal of water. That way your initial poop and paper that goes in is not going into a dry tank where it will stick and get hard. I also don't use the deodorizer products in the black tank. I use an enzyme called Czyme - 2 TBS of it goes in after the 5 gal of water has been added. I also pour in about 1/2 cup of dawn dish soap. This mixture really allows the waste to slither out in a very liquid form. When you first start using the enzyme you have to fill your tank with water, add a box of baking soda and let it sit for a few hours. It will tell you this process on the enzyme box.

I attended a clinic on RV products about 7 years ago druing one of our winters in Texas. The presenter said the biggest mistake people make in managing their tanks is that they don't use enough water when they flush. He said when you fill the bowl with poop and paper, hold the flush valve down so that the valve is still closed but it is allowing water to enter the bowl. Fill the bowl until it is at the height of the waste in the bowl. Then flush. He also said don't mark on the calendar that you have to empty the black tank every 5 days. He said wait until the black tank starts talking to you when you flush. You will hear a different echo when the tank is almost full. He said a full tank will empty out solid waste better than a half empty tank. He also said never hook up your sewer line to the campground's connection and open your blacktank valve leaving the valve open for the duration of youre stay. The solids will pile up in the tank and the liquids will just run out. He said the solids will turn into a brick.

Our fresh water sensor works but the black and gray haven't worked since new. We don't need them as we can tell when they are full.
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Old 06-10-2018, 07:50 PM   #25
Mark7
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Lots of opinions... Here's one more!

I have a 2004 3295RK and I have replaced 2 of the tanks and repaired the galley tank so I am very familiar with how they are built, at least in my rig. (Sometime in it's past, previous owner... it froze with full tanks and broke the top right out of 2 of them.)

The only reason I mention the fact that I am familiar with the tanks is because I have experience with how mine are plumbed. The drop from the toilet goes through the basement and into the top of the black tank very close to the tank outlet (Deep end of tank) That's a good thing! Imagine starting out with an empty tank and dropping a couple of heavy loads down that 3" pipe... SPLAT! and the mountain starts building.

I feel it's important to put a minimum of 5 gallons of water (35 gallon tank in my case) in the black tank and whatever chemical you prefer before putting the tank into service. This allows the floaters to float and begin the decomposition process like they would in a septic tank. Sorry if I'm being too graphic! As stated earlier in this thread... use plenty of water when flushing. Pretty hard to fill a black tank.

I digress to flushing... When I started with my new tanks I put in one of those tornado flushers. I can hear it spinning when I hook up to that line, but I am not really sure how much good it does in there. I use the same connection to refill (recharge) the tank for it's next use, or when I am going to travel for any distance. I shoot for 5 gallons, but I am not sure how much I actually get in there. The water sloshing around in the tank while on the road is great for stirring things up, and really works great if you can dump the tank again before anything can settle out. I like the idea of laundry detergent in the tank before travel. Might have to try that sometime.

On probes... as others have said the OEM probes are worthless from about day 2! When I installed the 2 new tanks, and repaired the third tank (Galley) I installed Horst Miracle Probes in all 3 of them. They seem to work as advertised. I get good readings, even on the black tank after about 5 or 6 cycles since the install. They are easy to retrofit if you can get at your existing factory probes.

At the end of the season, I have a home built device on the end of a stiffer piece of hose that I shove down the toilet and work it back and forth with hot water through the garden hose to give the black tank a good rinse before putting the rig to bed for the winter.

In closing, when testing these tanks for leaks before I buttoned the belly up again, I filled them full. If you ever saw the shape a 35 gallon ABS tank takes when it is full, you would never forget to empty them before you hit the road! I was shocked at how distorted the bottom of the tank gets with all that water weight in the tank. I suppose the belly plastic on my rig helps support it, but I will never move with anything over 1/2 tank full after seeing that!

Sorry for rambling!
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:25 PM   #26
papasiemers
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Black Tank Woes

I have had "TWO" black tanks rupture, and have spent a lot of time investigating the tanks and their problems. The first time my black tank started leaking, it was nasty. ended up at the repair shop and had the tank replaced. Thanks for extended warranty. One thing discovered, besides why did the tank break, was that the flush valve had been installed incorrectly and was just spraying a stream of water into the tank. The second time my black tank started leaking, I made sure to look at the tank when it was removed from the rig. The top of the tank has split along the entire length of the top of the tank. Not at a seam, but right down the middle of the top.

You can learn a lot when finally paying attention. I realized that the flushing valve is installed at the top end of the tank. The tank bottom has a considerable slope to the drain valve. (Makes sense, want everything to flow down hill). The tank sensors are installed at the bottom or far end of the tank from the flush system. The toilet dumps in the same area as the sensors. The flush valve does not spray the sensors. They are too far away.

I asked the technician about the placement, and his reply was: "That's the way the manufacturer installs them." A suggestion was to install a second flush valve at the end of the tank with the sensors. Parts are cheap, but a lot of labor involved!
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:08 PM   #27
offroad71
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I use the black tank flush and pour 5 gallons of water right into the toilet a couple of times watching the dump outlet for the clear water. That does it for me.
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Old 06-12-2018, 06:00 AM   #28
richfaa
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We have had two Montana's and 2 black tank failures on each of them not to mention other tank failures. The black tanks all failed at the same place at the input due to(and not my opinion) improper installation. None of then were close to full at the time of failure
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:29 PM   #29
Montana Man
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Lots of good methods here. I do similar routines but include raising the front of the trailer to speed the draining out of the tank. They drain to the rear. The increase in velocity helps most when the tank is nearly empty.
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:08 AM   #30
waynemoore
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I just don't understand why they place the tank drain on the side of the tank and not the bottom?

That's like placing the shower drain on the side of the floor pan. Or how about the sinks lets put the drain on the side instead of the bottom?

Sorry but it seems kind of stupid to me?
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:51 AM   #31
BuilderBob
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Most black tanks do slop down to the drain out let!
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Old 06-15-2018, 12:39 PM   #32
waynemoore
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No, I have replaced the valves on the black tank several times. Before I remove the valve I flush the tank out several times. Let it drain till nothing is flowing out of it then when I raise the front of the rig lots more drains out.

With the valve removed you can see that the drain hole is about 1/2 to 3/4 inches above the floor of the tank.

All I am saying is why not put the drain on the bottom of the tank where it belongs.

There is no where else, both in my home or the rig where the drain is not on the bottom of the sink, tub, shower or in the toilet tank.

Just saying is all.
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Old 06-15-2018, 12:54 PM   #33
jeffba
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If they did what you propose the tanks would have to be installed higher. Since you would be adding a 90 under the tank and everything would be 5-6" lower at the start of the sewer run. doing so would take the end that much closer to the ground.
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Old 06-15-2018, 02:23 PM   #34
BuilderBob
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If they came out the bottom of the tank on a drop frame 5er you mite be dragging on the ground in some CG's or out boondocking and probable brake it off and a real mess!
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:01 PM   #35
richfaa
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If you are at the fall rally on the Factory take a look at the pile of tanks that will be stacked near the first cpouple of assembly stations and you will note how far off the bottom of the tank the sensors are.
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Old 06-16-2018, 03:59 PM   #36
waynemoore
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Nope, been under there more times than I want to admit to. There is lots of room between the bottom of the tank and the covering on the bottom of the rig.

But that being said that is on my rig not all rigs.

Guess it's just one more item I need to become proficient at fixing.
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Old Yesterday, 08:54 PM   #37
DebNJim B
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After dumping tanks I use the Calgon water softener/liquid dish soap method to charge the black tank. Then when it comes time to dump I use the same method BB TX does. I have no problems with sensors.

I use no chemicals in the tanks.
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