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Old 05-10-2012, 06:53 AM   #1
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Freshwater tank

We're preparing for our first outing with our Sunline, weekend after next. A long weekend in Lake George. To test out everything and to get our water systems cleaned out, using the campground for that, rather than trying to do it at home. It will be a work weekend, but hopefully we can enjoy the camper and have some fun as well.

We've read all the Spring prep for water tanks and have our Happy Camper for grey and black tanks. We're not sure if the freshwater tank has been used in years. It has a little depression in it, lower than the rest of the tank, which has gathered yucky stuff. We'd love to get that ick out before we do the bleach treatment. We have no pump and Tom says the drain hole is small and won't drain the contents of this lower depression. Can he 1. Get some straps to hoist up that region, so scum doesn't gather down there and 2. Any way to get that out before we pump algae through the system? 3. He is talking about putting a bigger drain in this tank. Is that possible? Wise?

THANKS for any advice.

Deb
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:00 AM   #2
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I think all the tanks are not really flat at least all the ones I have had aren't, chlorine will kill any thing just do a good flush to get rid of the taste. They make water tight hatches for bait wells that can be installed in plastic tanks boat yards will have them provided you have the room to access it that may work for you.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:10 PM   #3
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Will the bleach break down algae ? Tom says there's pieces of algae or ? in the tank. We don't want to pump those through the system !
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:59 PM   #4
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The bleach will kill it but probably not break it down. How about adding some bleach and water and then a hose or tube inserted in the fill pipe to siphon all the big stuff out?
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:00 PM   #5
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When putting the bleach into the freshwater tank the movement of the water should help breakup the stuff in the bottom of the tank. Being able to drive the camper around with bleach water, not a full tank, in the tank will help wash the inside like in your washing machine at home. Then before the bad stuff settles again do a quick flush/drain.

Filling the holding tank to kill the algae that you can see is a good thing but you need to pump the solution through the entire system for algae you cannot see. All the bad stuff is not just in the holding tank so bleach the entire system.

Yes, putting a larger drain in the tank is possible if you have the time, resources and money but why do that? Of the millions of campers on the road that have the same, small hole nobody dies from contamination. They clean the system as recommended, make sure their water supply is as safe as possible and go on.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:22 PM   #6
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They make an inline filter for the fresh water pump intake that maybe your answer the tanks are generally thicker where the fittings are so increasing the size may not be an option. The chlorine will take care of any thing biological and a filter should trap the big stuff..
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:55 AM   #7
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OK, thanks all. We'll put the solution in, and we are driving to the RV dealer for the Dometic refrig. recall and inspection before we head off to the campground. We will purchase the inline filter from him, sounds excellent. Again, thanks !
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:21 PM   #8
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Hi Deb,

This post may help if yours is severe. 40 Acre Mule had a lot of green stuff in his tank to the point he had to remove it and blast it out.

questions about fresh water tank

You mentioned about upgrading the drain. Yes, many have done this as the little standard petcock can take a really long time to drain a full tank. Hours even. And in your case with "floaties" in there it may clog even.

Here is how I did ours. This is our T2499 but the T310 is similar. Others on the forum have done this too. You start with a 1/2" boiler drain valve.






I moved the suction port from the side to the bottom. Then used 1/2" NPT fittings and a Tee to connect the pump suction port and the new large drain to it. This allows us to pump down to the last quart of water when we boondock. And we can drain the tank faster. I also cap off the end of the drain valve so road dirt does not get up in there.

As was mentioned, putting a 1/2 tank of unscented bleach and water solution (ratio of 1/4 cup of unscented household bleach to every 15 gallons of water) along with some ice cubes crushed in small enough parts to get in the feed hose may be the better 1st option. Drive around enough to really slosh the tank. The ice cubes will only be effective for a short time as they will melt fast.

The chlorine will kill (in time) the bio mass, but only if it can reach the entire depth of the green mass. It will take time for it to work. The drive may be 20 minutes to 1/2 hour but let it soak a good 3 to 4 hours. Chlorine takes time to work in a heavy bio mass. If it cannot reach contact all the way through, it will still leave some living.

Then drain the solution out. Here a big hole is best if the floaties can be seen by eye. Even unscrew the pump suction hose to expose a 1/2" hole.

Once drained, fill the tank with clean water and drain it all out again to flush some more. May take 3 times if some is still left.

I 100% agree on getting the pump strainers. I like this type as you can unscrew the bowl and clean out the screen easier.
Shurflo Pump Strainers - Twist-on Type - PPL Motor Homes

Strainers - SHURflo

There are small check valves in the water pump that if there is any dirt/crud they stick open. Then issue comes. They should of been on since day one but Sunline for some reason did not install them.

I would address the fresh tank with your build up problem first. Once the tank is flushed clean of the green stuff, then start on the normal system sanitize. Mix up some more chlorine solution and pump it through the entire camper until a strong smell comes out all the faucets, toilet, shower, outside shower etc. Let is soak 2 to 3 hours, then drain, flush with fresh water. I would not want to pump any of that floatie water up into the camper. It will lay in places that will be really hard to get out. The strainer cannot take it all out or will clog real fast.

I know you said you where going to do this while camping. Here are some things to think through or come prepared to not have any use of water for a while. The fresh tank clean out will take some time. And then so will the system. This will be an all day event on and off. You cannot use that water solution for anything the chlorine is so high. It is a sanitize solution only and to be drained and flushed after. Which means no toilet, sink, shower use.

Even after one fresh tank refill and totally flush out after the chlorine shock treatment you will find the chlorine will still be higher then normal in the water. Some folks (myself included) do a baking soda soak for 2 to 3 days after the sanitize and flush. This is after you fill and flush out a full system of fresh water to drain.

Fill the tank 1/2 full. Dissolve in a 1/2 gallon jug a 1/2 cup of baking soda and dissolve in the jug. Warm water in the jug here helps. Then pour that mix in the fresh tank. Finish filling the tank, pump the mix through the system and out all faucets. Top off the tank. Let is soak 2 to 3 days. It will absorb a lot of the chlorine taste/smell out of the plastic. Then drain again and refill with fresh water and drain again to get the baking soda out. This came right out of our Sunline manual.

It is not a mandate to do the baking soda soak, but you may find not doing it the shower is pretty high in chlorine smell even taking a shower. After 2 to 3 tanks of fresh water through the system the smell etc will lower. The baking soda speeds up the process. Just do not use the baking soda water to wash etc in as the white film will be everywhere...

This process takes me a Saturday to sanitize and get the baking soda in. Then 3 days later I let it drain when I go to work. At night I fill and flush and then ready to go camping.

Hope this helps and good luck

John
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:41 AM   #9
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John, as always, you are so very helpful. Thanks so much ! This is great information and we'll put it to good use. Once we get the freshwater tank cleaned out, we probably won't use it much this year as our first trips are to campgrounds with hook-ups.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:50 AM   #10
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Ok, I just crawled under the RV for the first time to view it (Tom has been under and reported on it). It is as bad as 20 Acre Mule's. Hunks of algae and muck and the walls are all covered as well. We have non-chlorinated well water in VT and I assume the previous owner put some in and nature took over. I guess this tank has never been cleaned in all its years. There is a pot bellied depression in it and that is full of this stuff. Perhaps some day we will take it apart and see if we can clean it (our hose won't make the turns to go into the tank). Right now I'd rather save up and buy one than to ever take a chance on this. I will always bring our own drinking water, but cannot even imagine taking a shower or washing dishes with water from this tank, unless we find a way to clean this thing out really well.

So... since we are off camping this Friday, can we sanitize the faucets and shower from the campground city water by adding bleach solution to our city water hookup hose?
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:40 PM   #11
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Reading the brochure and "WHAT?". Our little mongrel Sunline has a 45 gal. freshwater tank. None of the others in its class have one that big. Perhaps this explains the odd shaped tank? If we replace, can we go with a smaller tank assuming we can keep it held in properly? Tom welds so he can make a holder for it. We'd like one that is flat, not with the low-hanging pot in it. That is the problem as it is a gunk catcher.
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Old 05-15-2012, 10:38 PM   #12
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I guess you could try putting a little water in it and then try to get some ice cubes down there. Then drive around with a lot of ice cubes sloshing around and maybe it would help break the junk off the walls. Just like you'd do for the other holding tanks...
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:00 AM   #13
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I guess you could try putting a little water in it and then try to get some ice cubes down there. Then drive around with a lot of ice cubes sloshing around and maybe it would help break the junk off the walls. Just like you'd do for the other holding tanks...
The intake is so small only the end of a hose goes in it, then there's a crook, so the hose won't go around it. So, not sure how we'd get the ice cubes in it, unless I am overlooking something. If we could get cubes in it, maybe the high pressure wand could fit in, but not sure how without taking the tank off. Our plan for this trip is not to use it at all, for fear of ruining the pump. So, we'll try to sanitize the Sunline lines and faucets at the campground with city hookup and take the tank off some day to try to clean it as 20 Mule did, or replace the tank with new tank if it is too far gone.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:23 AM   #14
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You might use some of the bags of crushed ice. Force pieces into the hose and then use water pressure to wash it on down into the tank. Might just take more than a few ice cubes.

As for the bends in the fill tube I cut a piece of a water hose about three feet long and fasten it onto the regular water fill hose. The way I made the hose fit around the bend is to cut the short hose end at a angle instead of cutting it straight across. Then when forcing the hose in and it hits a hard spot I can simply spin the hose and it will slide over the bumps and on into the tank.

this shorter piece of hose will reach into the tank and the force of the water from the hose helps stir water and other stuff inside the tank. Might knock enuff of the mold loose to make it easier for less ice and water to clean the rest of the tank.

Good luck with your job.
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:27 PM   #15
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I brought my new-to-me Sunny home and attempted to fill the fresh water tank. I crawled under the camper to check things out first. I found some green medical experiments growing in the pickup/vent lines. My tank also had debris in the bottom of it not allowing it to drain. I took the fresh water fill line off the top of the tank and backed flushed it utilizing the drain hole. Most of the debris was washed out the fresh water fill hole. It only required a few dollars in plastic parts from Lowes to complete. I replaced pickup/vent lines with new ones while I was at it. Also did the bleach treatment and the bad smell is now gone. After a few hours of work, some dry clothes, and about $40 my tank is good as new.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:13 PM   #16
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John, I can't tell which part you changed. Did you take out just the threaded fitting or did you take out everything? I can take out the threaded fitting but other part is like wielded there. Chuck and Terry







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Old 05-18-2012, 11:52 AM   #17
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Quote:
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John, I can't tell which part you changed. Did you take out just the threaded fitting or did you take out everything? I can take out the threaded fitting but other part is like wielded there. Chuck and Terry







Chuck,

On the far right side of the tank an approx 3/8" NPT port. The pump suction hose use to screw in there. I took it out and put a brass pipe plug back in. Then where the new gray T is, use to be the hose fitting for the little clear tube to the litte petcok drain valve. Took all that out and installed what you see in the pic. Pump suction now draws for the bottom of the tank verses the side.
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mellow Yellow View Post
Reading the brochure and "WHAT?". Our little mongrel Sunline has a 45 gal. freshwater tank. None of the others in its class have one that big. Perhaps this explains the odd shaped tank? If we replace, can we go with a smaller tank assuming we can keep it held in properly? Tom welds so he can make a holder for it. We'd like one that is flat, not with the low-hanging pot in it. That is the problem as it is a gunk catcher.
Deb,

Are you sure it says 45 gallon fresh tank or does it say 45 gallon system? I use to think it was a 40 gallon tank until I measured it. This is not 40 gallon? The tank is not big enough.

Ours is a 40 gallon system. Means

32 gallons of fresh tank
6 gallons in the Hw heater
2 gallons in the pipes

Any chance of some pics of your tank?
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mellow Yellow View Post

Hunks of algae and muck and the walls are all covered as well. We have non-chlorinated well water in VT and I assume the previous owner put some in and nature took over.

So... since we are off camping this Friday, can we sanitize the faucets and shower from the campground city water by adding bleach solution to our city water hookup hose?
Deb,

Will type more later on how to keep well water potable in the camper once you get past the Yuk.

To sanitize the system less the tank, I would suggest unhooking the fresh water pump suction hose at the pump, stick a temporary suction hose on it. Mix up the bleach solution in a 5 gallon bucket, use the right amount unscented bleach for the water in the bucket. Pump it through, then refill the bucket again as 6 gallons went in the HW heater.

Then do same let is soak and flush treatment just using the bucket or screw it into a garden hose for the flush. Then cap off the pump suction port when done and do not hook back up to the Yuk tank until it is clean.

If the piping from the pump up to the Tee of the city water hook up is contaminated, it will bleed contamination into the clean piping down stream of it.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:32 AM   #20
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Hi John,

I saw your post too late. We bleached the lines, but did not do it with the pump. Just filled the hose with it and ran it through. We will detach the pump as you say, for the next trip! Good news is we did just fine. I took all fresh water for drinking and even brushing teeth. I do realize contaminated water can make you sick even from showering (learned that on a trip to the Dominican Republic!). Ledgeview was a nice campground and we took full advantage of the city water, filling and dumping the grey and black times a few times. I hope, with all our usage, any "bugs" got washed away.

Yes, the brochure says 45 gal. system. I did not realize that was not a 45 gallon tank! Thanks for pointing that out.

We have so much to do and Buttonwood is right around the corner so I doubt the freshwater tank cleaning will happen until after that. We will "make do" until then, but I think we will be fine with plenty of fresh water in tote in various container for on-the-road flushing and drinking!
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