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Old 12-13-2016, 06:09 AM   #1
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New to this RV works

Greetings fellow campers ..
My hubby and I bought our first travel trailer in September, a Kodiak Express ultra lite 201QB, which we pull with my 2011 Dodge Ram 1500. We have used our trailer 3 times since then; a quick overnight; 2 nights in San Diego; and now 3 nights in Catalina State Park in Arizona. This last trip proves we still have a lot to learn & we are hoping you seasoned owners can guide us because the manual isn't.
My first question is why does the Convience Center board show 2 tanks for gray water and 2 for black water? I thought we only had 1 tank for each, so shouldn't there only be 1 read out for clarity ?
My second question is, how often do we have to dump these tanks? We have been very good about using the community toilet when needed, and restricting useage of gray water ... and yet our tanks show full already & our shower wouldn't drain tonight. We dumped them when we left San Diego, so we thought we would be good for these 4 days and dump on the way out.
Any words of wisdom?
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Old 12-13-2016, 08:23 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard!

I'll give you the short answer and it will be repeated by almost everyone here.

First, just because you have 2 sets of monitor lights for each tank does not mean you have 2 tanks. The manufacturers will use the same control panel for various campers, regardless of how they are equipped. Basically, you are just seeing redundant monitor circuits.

Also, you CAN'T trust the monitors. I know, I know, it seems so silly to have them if you can't trust them. Well, welcome to the world of RV's. Those OEM lights are basically useless.

There are folks here that have replaced the OEM tank monitoring equipment with after market stuff that works better. I'm sure someone will chime in.

None the less, don't let it steal your joy! Sounds like you guys are enjoying yourself and you should continue.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:06 AM   #3
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Welcome!

If you got 4 days before the gray tank filled up you done good!

According to the Dutchmen website you have 28 gallons black and 39 gray capacity. That is actually pretty good for that sized camper.

On my motor home we can just squeak 4 days out if we are careful with the water usage. I have 28 black and 53 gray. My gray is in two tanks. You may or may not have multiple tanks. Best way to find out is to crawl underneath and look.

As snakebitten pointed out the factory monitor is pretty useless in most cases. Some work, some work sometimes and some don't work at all.

The best ones if you chose to upgrade are either SeeLevel or iSeries. I haven't done mine yet, but it will be coming up soon.

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Old 12-13-2016, 02:15 PM   #4
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Is there a method for checking your tanks to see how full they are if lights not working?
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Old 12-13-2016, 03:44 PM   #5
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Is there a method for checking your tanks to see how full they are if lights not working?
Experience is the best method. The wife and I can get four showers plus normal sink water before the grey tank fills.

It takes us an average of 2 weeks to fill the black water tank.

You can shine a light down the toilet as an indicator but no practical way to check the grew water tank.
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Old 12-13-2016, 03:58 PM   #6
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About how big is you tanks? I have a V3200....

Thanks for the info....

While were on tanks.... How do you treat yours? Do you use Calgon and dish soap or other?
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Old 12-13-2016, 04:05 PM   #7
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39 gal gray and 28 gal black ...we use dawn in the sink, hubby uses bar soap in the shower, I use liquid soap in the shower - does the type of soap make a difference?
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Old 12-13-2016, 04:06 PM   #8
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Is there a method for checking your tanks to see how full they are if lights not working?
As suggested, experience. But typically, when the gray tank is full it will begin to back up out of your shower drain. This is overflowing rather than full, but that's one way to know! Black tank level can be estimated by peering down the toilet when you have the flushing flap opened if it is a straight shot from toilet to tank. The Calgon suggestion is a good one. If you put a water softener down the tanks, it helps keep the interior walls of the tank slippery which may make the gauges a bit more reliable. Google "geo method" to read up on that. The soap you've described will work, but you'll want it even more concentrated to really experience the benefit. That's why the suggestion is to go ahead and add Calgon. The little bit from your dish washing and hand washing gets too diluted when mixed with 20+ gallons of water.
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Old 12-13-2016, 08:30 PM   #9
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Thanks for info. I did read about Calgon.... Will try it on my next adventure!
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:00 PM   #10
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Here is a link to the Geo-Method. Powdered Calgon is all but impossible to find anymore. I use the liquid stuff and it seems to do the job.

My process is to get a 5 gallon bucket (Lowe's, Home Despot, or a pickle bucket from your local food emporium will work) I put in a two cap fulls of Calgon, big cap full of laundry detergent, then half gallon or so of liquid bleach. Fill the bucket with hot water and dump down the toilet into the empty black tank. Then drive to the campground, enjoy my camping and dump my tank and rinse as normal. I typically do the black tank every trip, the gray tanks (I have two and split the 5 gallons between them) every 4th or 5th trip. I have used the geo method or a version of it for over 20 years and have never had tank issues or excessive odors.

Another thing to remember is to make sure you have plenty of water available to dump and rinse tanks thoroughly. I typically do this when dumping at home or a full hookup sites. If I have to dump partial tanks I will try to fill them up with extra water first to make sure they dump completely.

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Old 12-14-2016, 02:27 AM   #11
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Greetings fellow campers ..
My hubby and I bought our first travel trailer in September, a Kodiak Express ultra lite 201QB, which we pull with my 2011 Dodge Ram 1500. We have used our trailer 3 times since then; a quick overnight; 2 nights in San Diego; and now 3 nights in Catalina State Park in Arizona. This last trip proves we still have a lot to learn & we are hoping you seasoned owners can guide us because the manual isn't.
My first question is why does the Convience Center board show 2 tanks for gray water and 2 for black water? I thought we only had 1 tank for each, so shouldn't there only be 1 read out for clarity ?
My second question is, how often do we have to dump these tanks? We have been very good about using the community toilet when needed, and restricting useage of gray water ... and yet our tanks show full already & our shower wouldn't drain tonight. We dumped them when we left San Diego, so we thought we would be good for these 4 days and dump on the way out.
Any words of wisdom?
We own the same trailer, 201QB and also live in Arizona!!
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Old 12-14-2016, 02:51 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the info.... When you can barely get the thing parked it is quite thankful for you to take the time to answer some of our questions..... Ted
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Old 12-14-2016, 02:53 AM   #13
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:31 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the info.... When you can barely get the thing parked it is quite thankful for you to take the time to answer some of our questions..... Ted
I just bought a smaller trailer (CTS16FB by Coleman) ... I haven't even pulled it off the lot yet (waiting to get a hitch and wiring installed on my van) but I'm SO worried about maneuvering! I plan to visit a local desolate parking lot when I first take true ownership. Congrats on your purchase!
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:58 PM   #15
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Pam.... I know what you mean about backing! I have owned different trailers for years but just not a large 5th wheel. One thing you can do for practice is if you have a four wheeler or riding mower is get a cheap pull behind trailer for it and practice with it. If you can back that thing you can back anything...haha

You will be fine....Ted
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Old 12-14-2016, 02:50 PM   #16
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Good morning Pam, and welcome to the world of owning a trailer! I am barely learning how to back it up, and I do much better when I'm in the truck alone, but it is a lot of fun owning one and a definite learning experience with every single thing. I too had to wait to pick mine up, but only because I owned a small Scion at the time and was blessed enough to come a crossed a used dodge ram 1500… it pulls it perfectly !
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Old 12-14-2016, 03:07 PM   #17
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Pam.... I know what you mean about backing! I have owned different trailers for years but just not a large 5th wheel. One thing you can do for practice is if you have a four wheeler or riding mower is get a cheap pull behind trailer for it and practice with it. If you can back that thing you can back anything...haha

You will be fine....Ted
No four wheeler or riding mowers at my disposal ... but I liken it to pushing (not pulling) a wagon or one of those kid-carts at the grocery store where the casters are at the back instead of the front. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

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Good morning Pam, and welcome to the world of owning a trailer! I am barely learning how to back it up, and I do much better when I'm in the truck alone, but it is a lot of fun owning one and a definite learning experience with every single thing. I too had to wait to pick mine up, but only because I owned a small Scion at the time and was blessed enough to come a crossed a used dodge ram 1500 it pulls it perfectly !
I understand the 'alone' thing ... no worries about side-ways comments or unexpected hollering / critiquing. Leave me alone and let me figure this out! I taught my son to parallel park. One time (after he was licensed) he was having issues getting into a spot. I actually asked him, "do you want me to help, sit quietly or leave"? He asked me to leave!
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