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Old 04-27-2017, 08:45 PM   #1
FreeRoamn
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Modern Tank Level Gauges?

My 2009 SOB 5er has probes inside the black/grey tanks that worked the first time we filled the tanks and after that I only got the black tank to show empty once in 8 years. Not sure if had to do with what we were eating on the that trip or just got lucky when I did my usual fill the tank 3 times and flushed with the jets on. As we wait to pick up our Montana, I have been scouring the owners manual and can't find anything definitive that says what type of sensors are used in the current Montana's.

Anyone know what kind of tank level measuring system is used in current Montana's? I'm really not interested in asking my salesman because I know I will get a better answer from here and yes, I could wait for the delivery day and ask the technician showing us how to use everything, but I can't wait. Also, from what I have read, the external tank sensors are not much better and also give false readings.

Thanks! Keith
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:58 AM   #2
WeBeFulltime
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Probably the same good-for-nothing sensors they have used for years. I never look a tank "readings" since I know they're lying anyway. I know when to dump without them.
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Old 04-28-2017, 05:16 AM   #3
WaltBennett
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Originally Posted by WeBeFulltime View Post
Probably the same good-for-nothing sensors they have used for years. I never look a tank "readings" since I know they're lying anyway. I know when to dump without them.
X2 and I'm certain lots more will say the same.
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Old 04-28-2017, 06:56 AM   #4
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Not sure why they keep using the same type sensors that become unreliable after the first time you use your rig. I talked to someone who installed a See Level tank monitoring system on his MH. He really likes it. The sensors mount to the outside of the tanks and will tell you the percentage the tank is full. Seems like a better way to monitor the tanks.
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Old 04-28-2017, 06:59 AM   #5
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Our 2015 is pretty much useless for both black tanks, rough estimates for both gray, pretty good for the fresh water tank. Don't know the brand keystone uses.
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:17 AM   #6
richfaa
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The same sensors were on our 1985 TT and they also did not work. We as others do not rely on the sensors.
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:45 AM   #7
FreeRoamn
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Thanks for the replies. Yea, I don't rely on my current gauges for the reasons stated, was hoping technology had caught up to the Montana. Thanks!
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:42 AM   #8
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We put outside the tank sensors on several years ago and they work fine.
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:57 AM   #9
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We put outside the tank sensors on several years ago and they work fine.
How difficult was this? I imagine, removing the underbelly covering is a pain?
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:02 AM   #10
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Good to hear that no one else has reliable gauges. My 2017 Monty seems to give me readings all over the map. When you put the outside gauges on the tanks, how then do you read them? Is it wireless, or do you have to actually look at the outside gauges?
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by vipermanden View Post
Good to hear that no one else has reliable gauges. My 2017 Monty seems to give me readings all over the map. When you put the outside gauges on the tanks, how then do you read them? Is it wireless, or do you have to actually look at the outside gauges?
Can use existing wires but the hitch in the giddy up is that the inside of your tank walls need to be kept clean. https://www.garnetinstruments.com/wp...-Benefits2.jpg
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:13 AM   #12
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OK, I have the wash down setup for the black tank, but how do you clean the gray tanks? Not sure if i really want to do all of this? I will probably just drain more often than not?

Thanks
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:52 PM   #13
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Almost EVERY TT and 5er use a KIB M5 sensor probe. Its nothing more than a smooth headed bolt with a rubber grommet on it that sticks into the side of the tank about 1/2". There are four of these; a common at the bottom and then one each at 1/3, 2/3, and top of tank sidewall.

When the tanks have liquid in them, depending on the level, it completes a circuit that lights the appropriate LED(s) on the monitor panel inside. Any residual "stuff" remaining on the tank wall after draining will complete the circuit and provide a false indication.

I replaced the original KIB probes in the black tank with the Horst Miracle Probes from Valterra, about $30 per set. These stick further into the tank (about 1.5") and are constructed with a teflon tube around the probe so that only the end is exposed. Virtually nothing sticks to the teflon so the possibility of a false reading is greatly reduced.

After a year of use, I can say that the Horst probes do a much better job than the KIBs, not perfect but very good. After a year of heavy use, the black tank still reads correctly most of the time. As a side note, I use the Tank Techs RX waste digester in the black tank.

Installation requires removing the underbelly, loosening two nuts on each KIB probe, prying it out, and inserting the Horst probe. They use the same wiring and display as the original probes.

Since I was able to do the installation myself and the Horst probes are not super expensive, I think it was worth it. If you have to pay a tech to put these in, I don't know that I would do that.

The best solution is the SeeLevel system, but the cost for a 5er is about $275 plus the installation if you can't do it yourself. I don't think tanks reading correctly is a $300+ problem for me. But, if you can do the Horst install yourself, I would probably recommend it.

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Old 04-28-2017, 09:19 PM   #14
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Thanks Dave, that has to be the best explanation I've heard. We've had our SOB 5er for 8 years and I was hoping that by now OEM tank level gauges had evolved a bit more. Like others I've adapted and developed my sixth sense of how long we can go before dumping.
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:15 PM   #15
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You just cut a small hole where the tank is located and use the existing wires, then mount the inside display. If you use the existing wiring you will have to mount the inside display either next to the original or take it out and replace it with the new one.
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRoamn View Post
How difficult was this? I imagine, removing the underbelly covering is a pain?

You just cut a small hole where the tank is located and use the existing wires, then mount the inside display. If you use the existing wiring you will have to mount the inside display either next to the original or take it out and replace it with the new one.
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:25 AM   #17
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Dave, thanks for the explanation. That begs the question as to why they don't just extend the original pegs further in with the spacer. Sounds like a discussion at the rally this year with Keystone.
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:07 PM   #18
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Hi Ron!

Actually, at the 2015 rally the Keystone Montana VP was asking if anyone had experience with the Horst probes. I hadn't put mine in at that time so I really didn't have any info. The KIB probes are about $1 a set for a tank, the Horst are about $30. But I bet Keystone could buy them for a third or half that price in bulk, it would be a welcome addition to any rig. They aren't perfect, but they are way better than what is normally in the tanks.

At least Keystone is asking about it. These should definitely be a discussion item for them at the rally.

Dave
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:17 AM   #19
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Hi

Ours didnít work from the factory. After Keystone refused to do or pay for the needed repairs to make their do-it-yourself kit usable as an RV trailer I started working on the systems that didnít work.

What I found for all of the tank level indicators except the potable water tank was an incorrect installation of the probes. By relocating the probes in the proper position my indicators now work properly.

Apparently the manufacturer prepares the tanks before installation by placing them on a bench upside down. This results in the probes being installed with the 1/3 level probes in the bottom of the tank instead of 1/3 of the way up from the bottom.

I had to install 2 new probes in all three waste tanks. This corrected the incorrect readings. However you must clean them to remove soap scum etc periodically.

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Old 05-03-2017, 06:28 AM   #20
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This is our fourth fifth wheel. We have not used it yet since we only bought it three weeks ago.

Our experience has been that waste tank level indicators stop working after a bit. We know how many days we can go before we have to dump, so we don't even look at the gauges. We just pretend they don't exist.

Our previous trailer had 80 gallons of grey capacity and we could go three and a half days of indiscriminate use. This new trailer has 98 gallons, so we will dump every four days. This is when we are in Florida for several months.

We have no intentions of ever trying to get the gauges to work. It's just not worth the effort.
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