Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
 

Go Back   Montana Owners Club - Keystone Montana 5th Wheel Forum > GENERAL DISCUSSIONS > General Discussions about our Montanas
Click Here to Login

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-31-2023, 03:54 PM   #1
BT on Van Isle
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Location: Qualicum Beach North
Posts: 7
M.O.C. #32402
Black tank novice

Okay, all you experienced Montana folks, here is a question I cannot seem to find an answer to. Hoping you can shed some light on this one for me. (I'm a new owner of a 2020 Montana, living in it full time but not moving around for this first year at least.)

My black water tank sensors stopped working correctly almost immediately and since then I've been experimenting with what might work to correct the situation. But even if they never work properly again, my question remains.
Namely: How, if the sensors don't work, do you know when the black tank is nearing full while cleaning/flushing?

I've used a timer for five minutes of back flushing and repeated this twice. I also now have one of those wands with the spinning ends to use from the upper end of the tank (the toilet) but some posts say a fifth wheel's tanks make these wands less effective due to distances from toilet to tank, etc.
Whatever I'm doing -- water flushing the tank from below or above -- I have no non-scary way to know when the tank is nearing full. I've read that you can tell by the sound of the water in the toilet as you fill from that end. I always chicken out.

My black tank sensor is stuck at the 2/3 mark generally; this week they register full, right after emptying and cleaning. So I figure, the dirty sensor must be up near the top of the tank somewhere.

I'm not moving the RV around to jostle the tank contents that way. So creative cleaning and flushing is where it's at for me.

Long story short: Sorry to be repetitive, but how do you get the black tank to near-full without 'going too far'? Thank you!
 
BT on Van Isle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2023, 04:12 PM   #2
Carl n Susan
Site Team
 
Carl n Susan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Carmichael - CA
Posts: 7,283
M.O.C. #4831
Welcome to the MOC!

I moved your question to a new Thread where it can garner the attention it deserves.

As you have quickly learned the gauges are problematical. Some claim to keep them clean with magical elixirs, but most of us take one of two alternatives. A few replace the sensors with external ones that don't get corroded. A fair amount of work as you have to drop the coroplast belly to access the sensors. The rest of us, the vast majority, just ignore the sensors. After a while you will learn how long it takes for the tank to near full given your usage. But that takes some time, so what to do in the mean time? Answer: Listen for the "burp"!.

As the tank nears full, the vent pipe starts to be submerged. Depressing the pedal to flush the toilet results is a little "burp" (best way to describe it) due to a momentary blockage of the vent stack. That is the indicator you are near full.

P.S. *IF* you have a model with a perfectly straight down line from the toilet to the tank, then there is always the flashlight method to check the level. I just don't know of a model that doesn't have 45 degree angles in the pipe.
__________________
Carl (n Susan)
There is more to life than fuel mileage.
2012 Montana 3700RL Big Sky Package towed by a 2015 Ford F350 6.7L PSD 4WD CC LWB

Carl n Susan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2023, 04:38 PM   #3
BT on Van Isle
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Location: Qualicum Beach North
Posts: 7
M.O.C. #32402
Thank you! My Montana is a 3780RL (2020). Yeah, I won't be installing external sensors due to not knowing how to do so, so I guess I will need to get practiced with the burp method. Further question: when attempting to nearly fill the black tank on a second or third flush, with the toilet running (to fill the tank) is this burp audible? Or does a burp accompany the depressing of the flush pedal?
BT on Van Isle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2023, 04:58 PM   #4
Carl n Susan
Site Team
 
Carl n Susan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Carmichael - CA
Posts: 7,283
M.O.C. #4831
It occurs when there is water in the bowl and then the pedal is depressed. The water filling the down pipe forces an increase in air pressure in the tank as the liquid level increases. That results is the "burp" back up the toilet as the vent stack pipe blocks the air from escaping that way.

Holding down the pedal to add water to the tank doesn't flow enough water at one time to fill the down pipe and cause the increase in air pressure.
__________________
Carl (n Susan)
There is more to life than fuel mileage.
2012 Montana 3700RL Big Sky Package towed by a 2015 Ford F350 6.7L PSD 4WD CC LWB

Carl n Susan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2023, 05:01 PM   #5
BT on Van Isle
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Location: Qualicum Beach North
Posts: 7
M.O.C. #32402
Such a relief to get these things spelled out...much appreciated!
BT on Van Isle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2023, 05:32 PM   #6
AZ Traveler
Site Team
 
AZ Traveler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Oro Valley
Posts: 3,878
M.O.C. #20477
Barbara,

The chances of bad things happening by overfilling the black tank just by use is pretty slim. As a couple we can go 7-9 days with no issue. The risk come when you use the flush system and forget to manage it.

Recommend buying a water meter to hook to your hose. After you have dumped the black tank and completed a quick 10 gallon flush add 5-8 gallons of clean water to the tank.

Here is a water meter example - https://www.amazon.com/P3-Measure-Ga...s%2C156&sr=8-7.
__________________
Zack and Donna plus Millie and Ranger
2018 3160RL

"Life is too short to stay indoors, enjoy the ride!"
AZ Traveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2023, 07:04 PM   #7
BB_TX
Montana Master
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: McKinney
Posts: 7,106
M.O.C. #6433
Forget the tank level indicators. For flushing you don’t need to fill the tank near full. Or even half way as far as that goes. Get a short clear plastic extension to connect to your sewer outlet ahead of your sewer hose. As mentioned above, get a flow meter and run the flush to a desired number of gallons. Drain and flush again. And maybe a time or two more. You don’t need completely clear water coming out. When you see most all of the solids stop coming out, you are good even though the water may still have a little brown color.
__________________
Bill & Patricia
Riley, our Golden
2007 3075RL (recently sold, currently without)
BB_TX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2023, 07:47 PM   #8
Foldbak
Montana Master
 
Foldbak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: Shingle Springs
Posts: 2,085
M.O.C. #30417
So far I've found that if I flush the system using the flush inlet every time I go out they work fine. I flush about 5 times.
__________________
Tony & Donna
2022 Montana HC, 295RL, Solar Flex 400, Onan 3600 LPG, 2K inverter, 200AH Lithium. 2020 GMC Denali 2500 6.6 Duramax, Demco 21K Auto Slide
Foldbak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2023, 09:41 PM   #9
BT on Van Isle
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Location: Qualicum Beach North
Posts: 7
M.O.C. #32402
I have now ordered a flow meter to attach to the hose. Inexpensive and should make the task more interesting. Much appreciated!
BT on Van Isle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2023, 09:43 PM   #10
BT on Van Isle
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Location: Qualicum Beach North
Posts: 7
M.O.C. #32402
Got it. And I do have the clear segment at the head of the sewer hose. So much for my theory that it is the upper level tank sensor that's clogged! (which means, likely no need to use clean water to nearly-full to flush) Thanks.
BT on Van Isle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2023, 09:45 PM   #11
BT on Van Isle
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Location: Qualicum Beach North
Posts: 7
M.O.C. #32402
Five flushes is doable. Make a good coffee drink first, and plan to hang out. Thanks.
BT on Van Isle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2023, 02:56 PM   #12
Camp CA
Montana Master
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Bencia
Posts: 536
M.O.C. #25828
X2 ^^^ What AZ Traveler said!!

Been using one for years. Good for you to buy one!!
__________________
2020 Montana 3780RL fifth wheel
2016 F-350 6.7L Diesel Crew Cab Long Bed DRW
Camp CA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2023, 03:20 PM   #13
BT on Van Isle
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Location: Qualicum Beach North
Posts: 7
M.O.C. #32402
Go with the flow disappointment

Hi! I did buy a Restmo hose flow meter and spent two hours in the sun today testing it on black tank flushes. According to the various tests I did, mixing up the variables like a good scientist, the meter is completely unreliable. Waste-0-time. So I'm returning that one and have purchased a different one to try. Because I like the practical idea of knowing how much water I'm putting into the tank for the flushes, or for filling in general.

I have a pressure regulator on my water connection, followed by a split into two lines: one for RV water use and the other for other purposes: watering plants, flushing tanks, etc. I tried the flow meter at the start of the flow (tap side), plus at the end of it (nearest the RV). I used identical time trials.

Will wait on the new meter to arrive. Next on the list = squeaky awnings when extending and retracting. Sigh.
BT on Van Isle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2023, 06:50 AM   #14
DebNJim B
Montana Master
 
DebNJim B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Northville, NY
Posts: 802
M.O.C. #21158
After my level gauges gave out I would just wait till the sink and shower backed up to empty the grey tanks. Eventually I started getting leaks I'm guessing where the pipe enters the tank on top, so now I leave the grey tanks open until about 3 days before I'm going to empty the black tank. With just the two of us the black tank will go 7-9 days before the burp arrives so I usually just empty that once a week unless it burps sooner. This routine has worked quite well for us for several years now.
__________________
Jim B
2017 Lariat F-350 FX4, CC, SB, 6.7 PSD 4WD
2018 MONTY 3731FL, at our private winter site in GA

DebNJim B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2023, 08:34 AM   #15
Hblick48
Montana Master
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Folsom, California
Posts: 544
M.O.C. #21903
FYI - I tried the "burp" method to know when to drain black tank once. After the "burp" , I started seeing brown liquid flow through the Coloplast. My black tank had ruptured and leaked. One messy cleanup and a new black tank later all was fine. I added a SeeLevel system, and support straps under both black and Grey tanks Since we always stay at parks with sewer facilities, I only let my tanks get to 1/2 to 3/4 full and then dump and flush. I don't ever want to replace black tank again. BYW, I had replaced the Grey tank about a year before replacing black. One s**tty experience!
__________________
'05 F250 6.0 Bullet Proofed - Sold
'17 F350 6.7 Lariet
'02 Montana 3280RL Upgraded a bunch.
Hblick48 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2023, 11:18 AM   #16
DutchmenSport
Montana Master
 
DutchmenSport's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Anderson
Posts: 2,519
M.O.C. #22835
If you are on full hook-ups, then you should have no problems with your tanks because you can just dump them on a regular basis. Figure 2 or 3 days between dumps and just do it. You sound like you use your black tank flusher, do so. When you start dumping the black tank, turn on the black tank flusher at the same time. It doesn't matter how full the black tank is. Contents will drain and the black tank flusher will get most of the remaining at settles on the bottom and push it on down. I've never closed my black tank valve and let the black tank flusher run, unless it's just for a few seconds to get a bit of extra to help push out the sewer hose.

Here's another tip and one that works very, very well. I don't know why folks don't do this, it's easy, saves water, doesn't take any real extra time, and did I say, works well.

That would be "backflushing". How do you do it.

First, you need a 3rd valve on your sewer outlet. This is assuming your grey and black water flow to the same discharge outlet. I refer to the 3rd valve as a "Flush King" but there are other generic versions that do the same thing: Click here. You can also find these at Wall Mart, and all over Amazon.com, or any RV dealership parts store.

Attach the "Flush King" and now drain the black water tank completely.
Close off the Flush King (leave the black tank open) and now open the grey tank. This causes the grey water to back flush into the black tank.

There is no fear of black water getting into the grey tank. First, the black tank has already been emptied. Second the grey tank is fuller and will force grey water only 1 direction.

Wait about 10 - 15 seconds and now close the grey tank valve. This prevents anything from the black tank to enter the grey tank.

Now, simply open the Flush King valve again and watch the magic through that clear section of drain pipe!

Depending on how much water you have in the grey tank, you can repeat this 3 or 4 times. Each time, more and more stuff will pull out of the black tank.

Now that you completed this exercise, turn on your black tank flusher for few seconds and let it drain as it runs. Often times, it takes only about 30 seconds with the black tank flusher and water discharging from the black tank is now almost clear.

After you are finished with the black tank, the release the remaining water in the grey tank to flush down hose.

If you have a laundry washing machine, this process also forces laundry water into the black tank, which really helps keep it cleaner.

This process works well. It forces water into the black tank from the opposite direction. The big thing is, is repurposes your grey water and you use less fresh water.

If you do this EVERY time you dump the black tank, it doesn't matter if you dump the black tank every hour or once a week. That back flushing really renses the tank tank out. You do not have to wait till it's full. That's why I said, do it on a regular basis, every 2 or 3 days, and you'll never have to figure out how full the black tank really is.

However, you do need adequate water in the grey tank to do this. But even a grey tank that is half full, still does a great job.

When convenient (mostly when I winterize), I'll use the wand down the toilet bowl.

Again, I don't know why more folks don't do back flushing from the grey tank. It takes only a couple minutes longer to discharge the grey into the black, but both need to be emptied anyway. And the benefits far, far, far exceed the couple minutes it takes to wait for the grey to back flush into the grey (maybe -- 15 seconds for each backflush?)
__________________
Who you are right now is a sum total off all you use to be.
2019 Montana High Country 375FL
2014 Chevy Silverado Duramax, 6.6L Dually
DutchmenSport is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Montana RV, Keystone RV Company or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:32 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.