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Old 04-25-2017, 07:22 PM   #1
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New Camper - Tank Size Usage...

We just got a new Thor Chateau 31E. I know the size of the tanks as listed in the specifications (40gal Fresh, 28gal Black, 28gal Grey). I also know that everyone says how the tank sensors are not worth a pile of poo....

My question: As we start using the camper, what is the best way to find the actual real level in the tanks so we can better have a feel for how full it might get on a 2 day trip versus a 3 day trip. You can not really see in the tanks to see the real level.

The goal is for us to better be able to determine with different usages, how many nights/days we can go without dumping in this camper for our family so we can know if a given trip, we have to find a campground with full hookups since we are going to be there too long or can we just dump at the end.

We came from a travel trailer that we had for 5 years that had slightly smaller tanks and I know that it is going to vary, but I just want to get some good information so we can plan future trips better.

Thanks.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:16 PM   #2
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It is based upon usage, no way to answer your question with any amount of accuracy. Since you came from a TT, you knew it's sizes, so proportionately you should be able to answer your question with better accuracy than anyone out here.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:28 PM   #3
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Clarify...

I guess I might not have been clear in my first post. I just am looking, what is the best way to know the true actual level of liquids in the various tanks, since the sensors are not reliable or accurate enough.

Hope that helps.

Thanks.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:37 PM   #4
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I find the tank level indicators accurate if you keep the tanks clean. I have the 24.5 gallon black water tank (the bathroom sink also drains in it also), so that is the one that fills up first. The third light on the black tank comes on at about 80% full (5 gallons from the top).
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:28 PM   #5
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On my prior class C (Forest River) I was able to calibrate the tank sensors before first use of the coach.

I used a 5 gallon bucket and poured various amounts of water into the sink and toilet and observed the tank readouts and noted the results with various quantities of water.

Using this method I found that the sensors on that coach and my current coach are relatively accurate.

Also, doing this using the various sinks, toilet etc... allowed me to verify to 100 certainty which fixtures drained into which tank. Both coaches had 2 grey and 1 black tank.
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:39 PM   #6
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my 31L has very similar sized tanks
Using it and getting a feel is probably the best solution

My only thought is if you can at home or at a site with full hook ups play around with filling the tanks using a 5 gallon bucket of water, or water hose and get a feel for indications for when they are getting full.

In mine there is a distinctive gurgle when flushing the toilet as the tanks are getting nearly full. I think the vent stack gets covered by the high water mark so the toilet becomes the vent. Once that starts I know there are still a few flushes left so no need to panic but better plan on dumping real soon.

Same thing for the kitchen sink, although less pronounced. The water will back up into the shower first, so pay attention to that when you think you're getting full.

Once you understand that, it's a little less stressful to start extending in the real world.
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:47 AM   #7
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With our Forester Class C 31ft, our black tank sensor was very unreliable so we would be in the habit of dumping our tanks at the endvof any trip and that would usually be about 3 days. Also if you are not able to flush your toilet then you better dump fairly quick. Its not a perfect science but we were conscious of it and always made sure we rinsed out our black tank after dumping it. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:11 PM   #8
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Our previous camper tank gauges got worse over time, brand new they worked pretty well.

On our Axis we installed a tornado and flush the tank after dumping when we can. So far the tank level has been pretty accurate for 3 seasons now.
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:37 PM   #9
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Good info above. Our grey tank fills up before the black tank. When we are camping without hookups we try to get water that would normally go into the grey tank into the black tank, such as washing dishes in a basin and dumping that into the toilet.

We also have a Tornado to help keep the black tank monitors working.
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:54 PM   #10
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In our experience - way more gray water usage than black water. We boondock for 2-3 months per year in the Keys and if we ever came close to using all our black water storage, I'd take someone to the emergency room for rehydration. Fortunately our gray water tank storage is fairly accurate.

Also, when we are using our on board waste water storage we are using our on board fresh water. Given that, if your fresh water is at 50% then your waste water can be more than 75% filled.

If your looking for a more precise method the only way I know is to scrub your black water tanks more.
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