20 gallon gray water tank only holds 6 gallons

Discussion in 'Plumbing Systems (Blue, Grey, & Black)' started by Jennilou, Apr 5, 2021.

  1. Jennilou

    Jennilou New Member Gold Supporting Member

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    So, this is a long-winded request for advice. I have a new to me 2007 Fleetwood Saratoga that I have owned for 3 years. I have only camped where there are full hookups and want do move on from that. When camping, the 20 gallon gray water tank sure seemed to fill fast, but I assumed we were just water wasters and dumped the water at our full hookup site. Well I want to boondock, so I tested what I thought was a completely empty tank. At between 6-8 gallons, water started leaking out of the seals at the input lines from the sink and shower. WHOA, I thought!!! This thing must be plugged with gunk!. I drained it. No more water came out. I removed the braces on the drain end and lowered that end of the tank about an inch. I disconnected the drain end from the line that goes to the valve. Lots of clear, non-stinky water poured out. Because of the braces I put under the drain end and the way I raised the camper to get under it I can't continue to try and drain it.

    I intended to remove the whole tank and try to clean it out, but now it seems there is something else going on. My dad said maybe the valve is not opening correctly to allow a complete empty.

    Any thoughts? I sure hate to disconnect the shower, sink and vent connections to find out the tank is perfectly clean and there is something else wrong.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    They really don't drain well, at least not when you want them to. Sounds like maybe you have a vent issue? But I dunno. You should be able to check the valve. It's right there. :p

    We took our tank out to try to find a leak. Didn't find it. Did replace the gaskety things...
     
  3. generok

    generok Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I think $20 on Amazon on a lit borescope for a smartphone could save hours of work and give a better understanding what's going on in the tank.

    upload_2021-4-5_15-9-49.png
     
    WrkrBee, J Starsky, Snow and 2 others like this.
  4. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    I would google it see if anyone else had the same issue. Also check the specs. You could measure the tank and get a rough idea of the cubic inches of the area and compare it to the volume of 6 gallons of water.
     
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  5. Fish N Farm

    Fish N Farm Well-Known Member

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    I am going to agree with tenttraileer. It probably would good to list the year and make.
     
  6. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Could be a venting issue, where does your grey tank vent?
     
  7. Jennilou

    Jennilou New Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey all, thanks for your the responses!
    I dismantled the gate valve this evening. It works fine. Tenttrailer - I had the same thought originally, and I measured the tank. It really should hold 20 gallons. I think I am going to check out the venting issue next. I'm not sure where it vents. I KNOW where the black water vents. It's a crazy flexible pipe that I have to connect once I raise everything. I am guessing that the gray vents in the same place. If that is the case, then that's probably not the problem either, as the black water holds and drains well. I'll check back in and let y'all know what I find this weekend. Dismantling the camper and reinstalling stuff is like building your own house. Once you do it, you know the where and why for EVERYTHING. So this will be a good thing. Eventually.
     
  8. Jennilou

    Jennilou New Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Generok - I would never have thought of a snake with a camera for the camper, but you know, I can think of somewhere else I can use that so it wouldn't be a one-time use. I might just get it.
     
  9. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    I have one of the borescopes above. It's part of my plumbing tools now. You can tape it to a dowel or pipe so you can have control to rotate and point it.

    Try a pressure test. Use a tennis ball or a kids ball that will cover the drain opening. Only use about 5 psi, since the tank and drain pipe is non-pressure. Poke a hole in the ball and use an air gun to put a little air in the tank. If it will hold pressure, it's not vented. It could be a small pipe for a vent in a camper.
     
  10. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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  11. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Just for clarification are you talking about a HTT, or popup?.
     
  12. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Tag says "2007 Fleetwood Saratoga".

    Irritable 20 gallon gray tank and funky toilet vent totally meshes with my experience with Fleetwood highwalls. :p
     

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