Something Different . . .

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In the last couple of days I’ve come across two familiar topics on some of the online RV forums and just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to weigh in.

the first one concerns the Economy Mode button found on most Diesel Pushers, and how it works and what it does. According to Spartan Chassis’ and Allison Transmissions it doesn’t do much.

It seems the most mistaken idea is that it’s an overdrive gear. It’s not.

Actually the only thing it does is to change the computer so that it delays the downshift point when you start up a hill and hurries the upshift point at the top.

So if you’re driving on the straight and level, staying in 6th and never downshifting, it does absolutely nothing. Zip, Zero, Nada.

And if you’re in hilly country, constantly downshifting and upshifting one or more gears, again it will make no real difference.

The only time it will make a difference is on gently rolling hills just the right height so that Economy Mode would keep you in 6th gear, rather than having to downshift without Economy Mode. And since this is very hard to anticipate, the only way to be sure is to just leave it on all the time. And of course you have to remember to turn it on again every time you crank up. Just don’t expect it to make a lot of difference.

The second topic is a perennial favorite: Black Tank Treatments. The packets, the tablets, the powder. The blue stuff, the green stuff, the clear stuff. Take your pick. It seems like everyone has their personal favorite. Some, like me, even mix their own.

After reading a lot of ideas and suggestions over the years, I came up with my own formula a while back that seems to keep the level sensors clean and eliminates any smells. And it’s simple and cheap, and can all be found at Wal-Mart

I buy a box of the cheapest powder laundry detergent I can find. In most cases, it’s a brand called Fab. Next up is a bottle of Calgon Water Softener and a box of RID-X Septic Tank Treatment.

Pretty much every time after I dump the black tank, I put in a scoop of detergent, a capful of Calgon, and a tablespoon of RID-X in the tank. The detergent cleans the tank, the Calgon acts as a surfactant cutting the film that blocks the level sensors, and the RID-X introduces enzymes and bacteria that help to break down and emulsify the waste, reducing the chance of a clog while draining the tank.

I’ve also seen posts saying the RID-X doesn’t do any good because we don’t have septic tanks. But at least in our case we do, in a way. We normally only dump our black tank every two weeks so the RID-X has plenty of time to do its thing. I guess it you dump every day or something, it might not work as well.

All I can say it that it works for me.


Thought for the Day:

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” – Thomas Jefferson



5 Responses

  1. I love the “thought for the day”. Keep ’em coming.

  2. I use the Calgon, liquid laundry detergent and that’s it. We have no smell and our sensors have stayed clean for two years since going to this method. Karen In The Woods wrote a post about using this method a while back but she also uses bleach–Mike wasn’t crazy about me dumping a bunch of bleach down the tank so I haven’t. Seems to work and when we get home we are not dumping any chemicals into our septic system.

  3. Greg, thanks for sharing your black tank formula. Next time I’m in Wally-World I’ll take a look at those ingredients. I’ll probably forgo the RID-X as we dump more often than every two weeks, and I do believe the enzymes need time to work. What I’ve settled on after experimenting with darn near every product/recipe is TST. It is a yellow liquid, cost $10/bottle at Wally-World, and has enough in the bottle for many treatments. It seems to be effective, cheap, and is simple to use….Jim

  4. Janna,

    I’ve always heard that bleach is a bad idea. Plus I’ve seen signs posted at parks asking people not to do it.

    Also, bleach would kill the good bacteria living in the tank that breaks down the waste.

  5. Love this idea! If we get back on the road, (sniff, sniff) we’ll try it. We managed to get the black tank sensor working with another product (can’t remember the name of it now) but not the gray.

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