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My Grey Water Tank will not drain but trickle out and does not seem to empty


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Hello all, I have been wondering if anyone has has this problem. I picked up my new Oliver in July and now on the second trip the grey water tank will nor drain but just trickle out. Yes I have followed the correct procedure. On the first trip out it did seem to be working but maybe not 100%. The monitor shows the tank to be 50% full but I know it is 100% as the grey water is coming up through the shower and sink drains. Black water drain works just fine. Is the grey water drain blocked somewhere? I am leaving on a trip to Utah in 2 weeks and would like to get it fixed. Hopefully some simple solution. Any pointers I get would be very useful. I am north of Dallas and there are RV service places here but do not know if any work on Olivers . 

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First thing I would try is to raise the front of the trailer to see if that helps.  The gray tank is flat and sensitive to how level the trailer is.  The black tank sits higher and is more square so it drains easier.  If raising the front of the trailer doesn’t help, then I would check the gate which is under the street side bed closest to the pantry.   I can’t imagine that the cable would come lose on such a new trailer but it would be worth a look.  Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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Thank you.  Yes I had notice that if the front of the trailer is raise quite a bit higher it does drain better but still slowly compared to the black tank. So I will check the cable. Black tank is fine.  Has anyone else had this problem with the grey water draining slow and not completely.

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Coming up through the floor AND the sink drain? Is the valve completely open by the toilet? Or electric switch if that is how equipped? If tank was only 50% full there wouldn't be any water in the shower pan and sinks would drain if that is open.

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14 minutes ago, Imelda said:

Thank you.  Yes I had notice that if the front of the trailer is raise quite a bit higher it does drain better but still slowly compared to the black tank. So I will check the cable. Black tank is fine.  Has anyone else had this problem with the grey water draining slow and not completely.

Check the grey drain valve to be sure it is opening all the way. Compare it to the back-flow valve for the shower. 

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How many drain valves are there? So far I have found the black and grey water discharge valves at the very back compartment on the street side and there is one in the toilet/shower. Should the valve in the toilet/shower/ be closed or open when drain the grey and black water holding tanks? 

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There are three gates that open/close.  The gray and black open when you pull the handles outside at the back of the trailer.  The back flow gate (prevents gray water from flowing back from the tank into the shower pan) opens and closes with the handle in the bathroom down low just inside the door.  Under the dinette seat closest to the bath are the black and backflow gates.  The gray gate us under the bed on the side with the pantry.  Look under the bed at the gate when it is closed.  Then, go out and pull the cable to open it.  Go back in and see if the gate opened. There is a cable that connects from the top to the gate that slides the gate up and down.  If the cable is lose it might not be opening the gate enough.  Mike

Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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6 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

There are three gates that open/close.  The gray and black open when you pull the handles outside at the back of the trailer.  The back flow gate (prevents gray water from flowing back from the tank into the shower pan) opens and closes with the handle in the bathroom down low just inside the door.  Under the dinette seat closest to the bath are the black and backflow gates.  The gray gate us under the bed on the side with the pantry.  Look under the bed at the gate when it is closed.  Then, go out and pull the cable to open it.  Go back in and see if the gate opened. There is a cable that connects from the top to the gate that slides the gate up and down.  If the cable is lose it might not be opening the gate enough.  Mike

Thank you. Dark now but I plan to try all of these tips tomorrow. I think something must be closed. Should the valve in the shower be open or closed when draining the grey water? 

 

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Imelda said:

Thank you. Dark now but I plan to try all of these tips tomorrow. I think something must be closed. Should the valve in the shower be open or closed when draining the grey water? 

 

It doesn’t matter what the valve in the shower is.  You can drain the gray tank with it open or closed.  Since we open it as soon as we set up it is usually open when we drain the gray tank if we’re at a full hook up site.  The shower valve only prevents back flow from the gray tank into the bathroom floor when you are moving.  It’s independent of the gray tank drain valve.  Good luck and let us know what you find!  Mike

Edited by Mike and Carol
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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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2 hours ago, Mainiac said:

Coming up through the floor AND the sink drain? Is the valve completely open by the toilet? Or electric switch if that is how equipped? If tank was only 50% full there wouldn't be any water in the shower pan and sinks would drain if that is open.

I’ve run into this problem as well, and for the life of me I can’t figure it out. But I do know that if I “burp” the grey tank by rocking the trailer side to side that the kitchen sink will drain.  And yes, this happens even with no water coming into the shower pan, with the valve open. Physics says that doesn’t make sense, but there it is. 

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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31 minutes ago, Overland said:

I do know that if I “burp” the grey tank by rocking the trailer side to side that the kitchen sink will drain.

That sounds like it may be a stuck cheater valve.

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Thank you. I checked and found the grey shut valve under the street side bed and it does appear to be working. It may be the design of the grey water tank and outlets that I have to have the trailer on a good angle so that the back if the trailer is lower than the front to get the grey water to drain. I am going to try this next. 

 

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11 hours ago, bhncb said:

That sounds like it may be a stuck cheater valve.

Maybe, but it only happens when the grey tank is about full. My kitchen sink will begin to back up, but not the shower. If I tilt the trailer - I think to the curb side - I’ll hear some bubbling from the tank and then the kitchen sink will drain. Then if I continue to fill the grey tank, the shower will start to fill like you’d expect. 

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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We not only raise the front of the trailer but also raise the passenger side to make it flow better.  Works for us.

Andrew

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Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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13 minutes ago, Overland said:

it only happens when the grey tank is about full

Yep. Less air space in the tank so less negative pressure. If the valve can't open, or is restricted, it's just like not having an adequate vent near the sink trap. The shower drain on the other hand is so close to the tank, and directly connected to the main vent stack, that it doesn't occur there.

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Well I guess there's no harm in replacing it to see. I've got easy access to it right now since I'm finishing up another project, so now's the time.  

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Wonder if a plunger, on the shower drain ( or kitchen drain if a problem) might be helpful. Would hate to think there might be a "hairball" blocking the vent. Mud daubers haven't built a nest in the vent? The vent cap removed and it is open all the way into the tank? What I have found before in SOBs (some other brands) is that the hole saw that cuts the hole for the drain drops the plug into the tank. Sometimes it would 'float' in the drain current and block the opening. When you would go to drain it would flip up and block the opening. Stop draining it would flop down. It took collapsing the " honey wagon" hose to find it. Maybe a small lightweight snake would be a useful tool here. At least it might help eliminate a possible situation. The burping part means shaking and possibly moving an obstruction? Depending on the production model you might be able to inspect the tank by removing the pipe from the end of the tank and inspect both ways with a mirror. Would recommend doing only when you are sure the tank is completely empty.

Edited by Mainiac
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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Mainiac said:

What I have found before in SOBs (some other brands) is that the hole saw that cuts the hole for the drain drops the plug into the tank. Sometimes it would 'float' in the drain current and block the opening. When you would go to drain it would flip up and block the opening. Stop draining it would flop down.

All too possible, unfortunately.  Checking the vent up top for dirt daubers is a good idea.

I did pull the cheater valve and it seems fine, but for $20, I'll get another while I'm at the hardware store just to be sure.

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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18 hours ago, bhncb said:

That sounds like it may be a stuck cheater valve.

Cheater valve??  What's that?

Ray and Susan Huff

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38 minutes ago, Mainiac said:

Wonder if a plunger, on the shower drain ( or kitchen drain if a problem) might be helpful. Would hate to think there might be a "hairball" blocking the vent. Mud daubers haven't built a nest in the vent? The vent cap removed and it is open all the way into the tank? What I have found before in SOBs (some other brands) is that the hole saw that cuts the hole for the drain drops the plug into the tank. Sometimes it would 'float' in the drain current and block the opening. When you would go to drain it would flip up and block the opening. Stop draining it would flop down. It took collapsing the " honey wagon" hose to find it. Maybe a small lightweight snake would be a useful tool here. At least it might help eliminate a possible situation. The burping part means shaking and possibly moving an obstruction? Depending on the production model you might be able to inspect the tank by removing the pipe from the end of the tank and inspect both ways with a mirror. Would recommend doing only when you are sure the tank is completely empty. 

Maybe they should install a scope in the tank so you can see what's going one . . . . . you know, like colonoscopy 😱

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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21 hours ago, Imelda said:

How many drain valves are there? So far I have found the black and grey water discharge valves at the very back compartment on the street side and there is one in the toilet/shower. Should the valve in the toilet/shower/ be closed or open when drain the grey and black water holding tanks? 

We found it helps if the valve in the shower area is OPEN when emptying our grey tank...(pulled out it a manual valve).  If it's closed it allows a little less air  into the system if it's shut while emptying.   

 

 

Edited by ctshort09
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1 hour ago, Susan Huff said:

Cheater valve??  What's that?

It's actually incorrect slang for an Air Admittance Valve. They are an easy substitute for having  an actual vent connection where one isn't practical. I first ran into them in the 70s when boats were being required to retrofit waste holding tanks.

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3 hours ago, Susan Huff said:

Maybe they should install a scope in the tank so you can see what's going one . . . . . you know, like colonoscopy 😱

They do have scopes designed for a septic tank 'colonoscopy'. Some home inspectors have them, as well as folks that pump septic tanks. It would be a quick look as no more than 40', less if the flex pipe is removed (recommended). If all else fails it would be  an easy thing. A flashlight and mirror might do as well.

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5 hours ago, bhncb said:

actually incorrect slang for an Air Admittance Valve. They are an easy substitute for having  an actual vent connection where one isn't practical. I first ran into them in the 70s when boats were being required to retrofit waste holding tanks

Here in Florida, plumbers often call them by a brand name, Studor valve.

 

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You might try this if you suspect (or know) the vent pipe is blocked by dirt daubers. Make sure the back flow preventer valve is open. Remove the outside vent cover and stick a hose down it. Flush with a copious amount of water.

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