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Draining Water Faster

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July 10, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

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Draining Water Faster
I have a 31-foot 2001 Coachmen Leprechaun Class C, model 305 MB. When I purchased it secondhand about a year ago, it had 14,000 miles on it. The original owner, who I met through our local Coachmen Caravan chapter, was ill, and the RV was parked unused in his back yard for more than a year. I cleaned it up, installed new brake pads and tires and I love it. It is as good as new, and I have 24,500 miles on it now.

I winterize and de-winterize it myself (a simple procedure) but I find it quite tedious because it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drain the freshwater tank through the 3/8-inch tubing supplied by the manufacturer. This normally would not be a big problem, but I noticed that after flushing the tank with bleach or purifier once, vinegar the second time and three more times with freshwater, I still see cloudy stuff suspended in the water. To visualize the contents of the tank, I use a flashlight shining through the top of the tank, which is under the master bed.

The tank looks like it is made of Teflon. It is not completely clear, but one can see through it. There seems to be no practical way to get the tank completely clean. I would like to cut an 8- or 10-inch hole in the top of the tank so I can reach in and wipe it out by hand, but I need a large lid to mount on the tank with a screw top like a huge Thermos bottle. Do you know where I might get one? Also, I would like to purchase a water pump to stick in the hole to pump it out faster since I have no patience. Where might I get one of those?
Walter Vernard
Austin, Texas

Bob: I don’t know of a “kit” that is designed to allow you access to the inside of the water tank, although that might not be a bad idea. I suppose you could cut a hole and fabricate a lid from an old water tank, but keeping it sealed may be somewhat of a challenge. Since the tank is not pressurized, you might be able to rig up a seal and fasteners. By the way, your tank is probably made of polyethylene plastic.

Even if you have access, you may not be able to actually swab down the entire inside of the tank. You could use a commercial freshwater-tank cleaner, like the stuff distributed by Thetford, or go through the process of sanitizing with bleach and water a few more times. Make sure you use 1/4-cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of tank capacity and dilute it with a few gallons of water before pouring it into the tank. Drive the rig a few miles and let it sit overnight. Drain the tank and add about a half cup of baking soda and water and let it sit for a while. Drain the tank again and fill it with freshwater. You don’t need to use vinegar.

You can drain the tank faster by removing the drain plug in the hot-water tank after it has cooled down completely. Lift the pressure-relief-valve lever and turn on the water pump. It should pump the tank out within a few minutes. Make sure you watch the process and prevent the pump from running without water in the tank. When done, don’t forget to replace the drain plug and close the pressure-relief valve.

Once you sanitize the tank, the water should be safe. If it still tastes bad, install a water purifier, like the ones from General Ecology or Shurflo.

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2 Responses to “Draining Water Faster”
  1. Dave says:

    I’ve had good luck flushing 2 backs of ice into 5 gallon of water, the Thetford water sanitizer and a 1/4 cup of bleach, drive around for 10 minutes or so, making sure there is a good sloshing sound coming from the tank. Then dump the tank and it gets mine shinny clean.

  2. Daniel says:

    If you really want to install an inspection hatch in your FRESH water tank, you might check with your local marina for a deck fitting with a screw on lid. These are common fittings to water tight compartments on boats and kayaks. Here are a couple you might consider:

    Deck Access Plates made by various manufactures. Web search should give you several hits.
    BECKSON MARINE is one.

    Another option is hatches. Again a web search should give you several hits. Here are two: BOMAR Inspection Hatches, NUOVA RADE Locking Hatches

    Good Sam Says: Thanks for sharing such great information :)

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