Thursday, February 28, 2013

Black Tank Russian Roulette in the Little RV


It's just noon and already I've had two showers and a long workout in the basement. 

We have had black tank problems on and off for months.  In case you don't know, the black tank holds body waste.  You really don't want black tank problems.  Back in very early January we had our most recent black tank situation.  Apparently the plumbing between the toilet and the black tank were not fully sealed and the tank was full to the top where the fittings attach and it leaked. 

All together now... GROSS! 

The Little RV had to go to the shop and get cleaned up and the fittings on top of the black tank had to be sealed.  It should have been sealed when the RV was built but like many things that should have been done, it wasn't.

And they lived happily ever after. 

First let me tell you that our tank level indicators don't work properly and never have.  None of them work correctly including the fresh water.   We have attempted to have them fixed multiple times but nothings works.  This morning the sound when we flushed was different indicating we had waited too long to empty and flush the black tank.  That combined with the smell coming from the basement area set off all of my warning bells.  I changed my clothes, went outside and dumped the black tank and flushed it out with fresh water several times.  Then I emptied the basement and opened the access panels to see how bad it was and if I could clean it up.  

I don't think I can adequately explain the maize of wiring, plumbing, tanks, ducts, and electrical equipment and more behind our access panels.  It's like a multi-colored bowl of spaghetti. I have heard each and every repair person complain about how difficult it is to work under there because it is such a mess.  I wish I had thought to take pictures before I closed it up and put everything away.

We turned the power off to avoid electrocutionWith rubber gloves on, flashlight in hand, lots of rags, a trash bag, bleach and as much courage as I could muster I reached in to take a look.  It wasn't as bad as I imagined.   I was able to wipe it all up and clean the area with bleach.  While I was under there I decided to change the water filter.  Rob was giving me instructions for that since I've never changed one before.  When I got the thing open I discovered there was never a filter cartridge installed.  It was just an empty case.  DRV strikes again!  I installed the replacement filter, closed everything and loaded the basement with all the stuff I had taken out.  That was when I took my second shower.

Clearly the "repairs" that were supposed to have been made were unsuccessful.  I'll have to figure out how to get the leak sealed up.  


  1. All of that is horrible! Does other people have those problems with ones like yours?

    1. Ah Trouble,
      We specifically purchased this brand, DRV, because of the quality. Unfortunately, it seems like their quality control over the past couple of years has declined tremendously. All of that bad news wasn't out there on the internet when we were deciding which RV to buy. Our timing was bad. They have been pretty good about paying for repairs but it is such an inconvenience to have work done. When we were in CT there was another brand new DRV Tradition the repair man was working on and we had several similar problems. Not much we can do but muddle through.

  2. I don't suppose that it is still under warranty? That was quite a mess. I never hope I have that trouble. Get it all cleaned up and hit the road. Getting on the road makes everything better.

    1. Dizzy we are still under warranty and plan to be back in Oregon where we purchased it by June so we can have some additional warranty work done. We'll be hitting the road on April Fool's Day. I have to say I was pretty proud of myself for crawling under there and cleaning it all up. I had to wear my big girl panties today.

    2. That is good and it is also good to get back on the road. I am proud of you getting that awful job done; you did good!!! Now I know who to call if I ever have that problem.

  3. Karen Guilliams RobertsMarch 2, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Lots of kudos for you, Juley!! Don't think I'd want to be the one under there doing all that ...
    Now, Bob, get your wife some flowers and jewelry! *laughin*
    Enjoy the rest of your adventure ....

    1. Karen, it just had to be done. It amazing what you can do when you don't want to smell a highly offensive odor!