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Old 10-24-2017, 05:08 PM   #1
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Default New Owner 2004 T189FBR - Hello

Hi ya'll. We just bought a small travel trailer. The previous owner had it for a long time but didn't actually use it much so we didn't get the greatest of tutorials.

We thought we would clean it up real nice and start to learn how to use the different onboard systems.

I had quite a time filling the clean water tank. The sight glass showed empty so I tried filling the tank. It seemed that I could only get a couple of gallons into the tank. After looking everything over, I could see that clean water tank was full (the tank is slightly translucent). I guess my sight glass doesn't work.

So I learned something today.
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Old 10-24-2017, 05:31 PM   #2
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Congrats on your new toy. Lot's of info to be found in this group. I have an '06 189FBR. It's a really cool little trailer. I can't help you with the fresh tank issue - I've never used mine. I can tell you that Cruiser RV has been really helpful with some of the technical stuff. Their # is 206-562-3500
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Old 10-24-2017, 07:11 PM   #3
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I have a 2010 189FBR. Not sure what you mean about a sight glass. My 2010 189FBR has an electronic monitor inside that indicates how full the fresh, gray and black water tanks are. As for the fresh water tank being full, make sure you drain and fill it several times, than sanitize the entire system before drinking any water.
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:59 AM   #4
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Hello Edward, and welcome. The monitors on gray and black tanks are notoriously inaccurate. My fresh water tank always reads empty too. You learn how to tell when the waste tanks are nearing full and time to empty. After awhile, you can tell by the sound and smell. We learned the hard way to tell when it's full.

My suggestion, the next time you go to a park with full hookups, is to empty the black tank completely, and with a flashlight and an angled mirror (we attached a makeup mirror to a long grabber tool) look all around inside your black tank. You have to lower the tool through the toilet, and hopefully, your tank is just below the toilet with no bends.

btw, that mirror is now only for the black tank. Your wife will have to buy another for her purse.

If you open the toilet and shine the light down and see water, your tank hasn't drained completely. But if you see black plastic, you're good. Check all around to make sure it's empty. Then, put in about 5 gallons of water. (You should always put 3-5 gallons of water into the black tank after emptying just to keep any solids from building up under the toilet.) Then, fill the toilet bowl as much as you normally would, flush the toilet and listen to the sound. Run the kitchen faucet and listen to the sound. Then fill the black tank with another 15 gallons of water. (A 5 gallon bucket filled in the tub makes quick work of this.) Now fill the toilet as you normall would and flush. Listen to the difference in the sound. That's the sound you need to remember.

As far as smell, we seldom use any additives in our black tank. Until it gets filled to about the 20-25 gallon level (on a 30 gallon black tank), there really isn't a smell. But for some reason, when it gets past that level, we start smelling it and know it's time to dump the tanks.

We leave the gray tank open most of the time right now. I know that's controversial and a lot of people say it will vent the septic tank. We have cyclone vents and have never smelled anything inside. I don't know that I would do that at a park, but I don't have to wash dishes 3 times a day when we go to a park either. But whatever you decide to do, you need to have a water in your gray tank before you dump the black tank so you can have that water to rinse your sewer hose. I usually close the gray tank valve the evening before we need to dump the black so there are 2 showers worth of water in the gray.

This is probably way more information than you want, but after having two big black tank overflows, I try to warn others. lol
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Old 10-25-2017, 03:14 PM   #5
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Thank you for all your replies. Thank you @Jwh92020, I've tried that number but so far it has just been busy. @twinster2, I don't have any tank level monitors, only the Fresh Water tank has a 'sight glass'. @Marti, I am trying to learn how to operate the tanks. Thank you for all those advices.

So I do have a problem right off. I can't figure out how to drain the Fresh Water Tank. I found the petcock valve and turned it 90 degrees to the position shown in my picture. I checked under the camper to make sure that the discharge hose was uncapped (there is no cap) and also that there wasn't an insect that clogged it up (there isn't). I tried putting a wet/dry vac on it (that didn't help). I used a tube brush to clean the discharge hose. I tried using a little compressed air into the discharge hose (that didn't work either).

No water comes out of the discharge hose. What am doing wrong? Am I operating the drain petcock valve wrong? What gives? Errrggg!

This should be the draining position, right??


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Old 10-25-2017, 04:26 PM   #6
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Thank you for all your replies. Thank you @Jwh92020, I've tried that number but so far it has just been busy. @twinster2, I don't have any tank level monitors, only the Fresh Water tank has a 'sight glass'. @Marti, I am trying to learn how to operate the tanks. Thank you for all those advices.

So I do have a problem right off. I can't figure out how to drain the Fresh Water Tank. I found the petcock valve and turned it 90 degrees to the position shown in my picture. I checked under the camper to make sure that the discharge hose was uncapped (there is no cap) and also that there wasn't an insect that clogged it up (there isn't). I tried putting a wet/dry vac on it (that didn't help). I used a tube brush to clean the discharge hose. I tried using a little compressed air into the discharge hose (that didn't work either).

No water comes out of the discharge hose. What am doing wrong? Am I operating the drain petcock valve wrong? What gives? Errrggg!

This should be the drain petcock in the draining position. Right?


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Old 10-25-2017, 04:57 PM   #7
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I spent a few hours trying to figure out the Fresh Water Tank petcock. I guess there are three position that are closed and only one position where it is open. After watching a few YouTube videos I finally figured that out! (Applies Forehead Slap!!) Ok so now I have one more System figured out.. Now to get some propane and figure out how to make hot water!!! Thanks Ya'll
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:23 AM   #8
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Hint on the propane. Once you hookup a full propane tank and turn it on, go inside and light the burners on the stove. It may take several tries as the propane take awhile to push the air out of the line and propane to reach the stove. Let them burn for several minutes and then light the water heater.

Also the standard practice on dumping the black and grey water tanks is leave the discharge valve closed. When dumping the tanks, dump the black water tank first. Once it's drained, then open and dump the grey water tank which will flush the black water tank residue from the drain hose.
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Old 10-29-2017, 03:09 PM   #9
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Edward, welcome and be sure to ask lots of questions, especially if this is your first trailer. Us old timers like to answer those questions, so that others can avoid the mistakes we have already made.

There are no dumb questions!
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Old 11-06-2017, 12:41 PM   #10
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Thank Ya'll. That's good advice about running the Stove Burners to help purge the propane line of air. And it makes a lot of sense to drain the Black Water Tank and then the Grey Water Tank so that 'cleaner' water will rinse out the piping.

So far I have done the following things:

I cleaned out the Fresh Water Tank and rinsed it four times.

Fired off the Water Heater. It seems to operate quite well. I was surprised that it took 45 minutes to go from completely cold to its full operating temperature, but I suppose that's to be expected. I measured the water at the sink to be 140f - 150f range. I guess that's good and shows that it is working off of the Thermostat and not the ECO. The only problem I might see is the Pressure Relief valve was dripping a little bit, but I think I fixed that by 'lifting' the valve a few times.

I ran the Refrigerator in Automatic. It started and ran just fine on AC electric. Then I disconnected the electric and the propane fired off just great. DC mode works fine too as best I can tell.

I fired off the Hydro Flame Furnace. The space heater looks like it has never been used. It started up quite nicely, so we are quite pleased with that too.

The only thing I found that doesn't work is the 120VAC electrical outlet near the stove. Someone had disconnected the wiring to it. I suspect that was b/c of the staple I found going into/through the wire.

Thanks Ya'll for some good advices so far and I've enjoyed reading older posts.
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