Truck Camper Magazine Blog

Two Black Tanks That Revolted

Mike Halloran started a mod and got covered.  Jody Smith used the, “Thirst Quencher” as it was never intended.  Both learned an important truck camping lesson the hard way.  Get this two-part memo and avoid oh-no flow!

Black Gold
Submitted by: Mike Halloran, 2017 Ford F350, 2017 Ford 8.4s

In 2017 we purchased our first truck camper; a beautiful Ford 8.4S truck camper by LivinLite.

The Ford has, what I thought, one of the best features ever invented.  On the driver’s side rear of the unit is a hook-up to flush the black holding tank.  A black tank flush!

The idea is great; hook up a non-potable water hose to the camper, connect the dump hose to a dump station, and let her rip.  The first few times I used this feature, it went great.

Then one day I thought I might need a little more water pressure to break loose the extra hearty Klingons and barnacles that I imagined were lingering in the tank.

I hooked up the city water to the black tank flush and let it fill.  Then I opened the dump valve and released the water from the black tank.  I wish the rest of the day went differently, but one thing led to another.

I decided to pass the waiting time by installing a new back-up camera on the back of the camper.  Everything was going well until I heard a gurgle from above…

I looked up towards the roof line and immediately realized the black water tank vent is roof mounted.  The “black gold” shower I was receiving was coming from the vent tube on top of the camper!

Good thing our camper has an outside shower!

The Camper Memo

Pay attention when using the black tank flush.  As the owners manual instructs; open the dump valve, and flush the tank.  Lesson learned.

The Thirst Quencher Jam
Submitted by: Jody Smith, 2013 Chevy 3500, 2014 Lance 1172

While taking the first bite of one of the best pizzas we’d ever had, my phone rang with a number I did not recognize.  Naturally, I ignored it.  Seconds later a message was left telling us water was coming out of the bottom of our camper – on all sides.

The little light bulb went off in my head.  On the 15-minute drive back, my husband was ranting on about all the terrible things that could be the cause.  When he finally took a breath, I told him what I believe happened…

Earlier that day I decided to put a little water in the black tank.  I got tired of standing there holding the side flush lever, so I looked for something to jam the lever open.  After several tries, I discovered a rather stiff Gatorade bottle that did the trick.

Then my mind went to getting to the downtown shops before they closed, and trying some local pizza.  When my husband said, “Hurry up, let’s go” I forgot to remove the bottle.

Since the camper was connected to city water, there was an unlimited water supply.  The black tank filled, came up into the toilet, overflowed the toilet, and flooded the interior floor.

Thankfully, I guess, the floor isn’t completely water tight.  The water ran into the underneath storage compartment, soaked the contained items, and then leaked out the bottom of the camper.

I told my husband, “There was no serious mechanical failure”, but that didn’t make him feel much better.  He then began to worry about soaked wood and possible mold and rot.  It’s hard to please some people.

Now I am no longer allowed to jam the lever open and I have to stay in the bathroom while I’m putting a few inches of water in the black tank.

For those/most of you saying, “Ewww gross”, the black tank was emptied and thoroughly rinsed upon leaving the previous spot earlier that morning.  And the leftover pizza wasn’t nearly as good, or maybe it was the memory adversely affecting the taste.

The Camper Memo

My lesson learned would be to not override or jerry-rig standard operating functionality.  If you do, stand there with it.  Exercise one of my New Year’s resolutions – patience.

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