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Old 07-19-2010, 09:25 PM   #1
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Fresh Water Tank Level Indicator

I know those little lights are not worth much but this seems to be too much.

I fill the fresh water tank (supposed to be 42 gallons) until water spills out of the opening. The gauge reads "2/3."

I run down the water until the pump sputters because there is no water to pump. The gauge reads "1/3."

I fill the fresh water tank with four 6 gallon containers of water and the gauge again reads "2/3" and the tank will not take any more.

Is this really a 24 gallon fresh water tank or do I have bigger problems than a faulty gauge?
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:20 PM   #2
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It would help to know the year, make, model of your trailer. Also why you think the tank is 42 gallons.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:20 AM   #3
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Our trailer is a 2010 Sabre 31REDS. The owners manual states that there are four 42 gals tanks: Black, Galley, Grey, and Fresh. Also, the dealer, who is not to be trusted, claims this. I am also trying to make contact with the manufacturer for more information on the problem.
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:55 PM   #4
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I have a Rockwood 8313ss which is supposed to have a FW tank capacity of 43 gallons. I experience the same issues as you describe. In reading many other posts on this subject, it seems that the primary problem is the design of the overflow vent. I have found that filling to the point of overflow, then wating for about 15 minutes, then adding to the gravity fill about 5 gallons at a time, I can get the tank up to full. It is a pain but it works.

Some day I plan to actually fix the problem as some others have. I have read that putting a loop in the overflow vent hose will help. If you search for "overflow" or "vent" you should be able to find these posts.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:15 PM   #5
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Can't find the exact specs, but I find Fresh Water Capacity listed as 42 gallons. This includes the water heater of either 10 or 12 gallons. 42 gallons minus 12 gallons water heater is only 30 gallons usable, and all that will fit in the tank. You have measured 24 gallons that you put in, the vent problem may be the rest of it.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:33 PM   #6
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Thanks for the tips on vents and overflow. I did not know what to search for or I might have found them.

On the actual capacity of the fresh water tank, you are right - the specs only say 42 gallon "capacity" and do not mention if that includes the water heater. I am waiting for the manufacturer to clear this up for me.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:19 AM   #7
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we just bought a camper, and i ran into similar issues. was filling fresh tank, and running out sooner than i should. so i took my 6 gallon canister and started filling by hand. when i got to 22 gallon, it started coming back out fill tube. come to find out, it was vapor locking because the vent tube was positioned wrong. needless to say, had the dealer fix it.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:52 AM   #8
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i got a similar problem on mine. the 2/3 light doesnt work so you have to fill it up to make sure you can make it through a shower lol!
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:16 PM   #9
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Here's the scoop...

For those who are following this thread, here is what I have learned:

In TT’s and FW’s the fresh water tanks are mounted between the frame rails and that means they are low, long, and flat. The long dimension will often run across the trailer. But even if that is not the case, if the trailer is not completely level, you may not be able to fill or empty it using the rated capacity (mine is rated at 42 gallons but the best I can do is about 28 gallons – read on).

The fill point is a fitting mounted on the side of the tank and, because it has to be far enough down to allow for its size and the curve of the edge of the tank, this will mean you may not be able to fill the tank to more than 10-20% below its capacity. Also, if the trailer tilts toward the fill point, you can “push” water into the tank above this point but it will flow right back out once you remove the hose. My trailer is heavier on the “fill” side so this is always the case for me when I just pull up to a water source before entering a dry camping area.

The draw point (for the pump) is similarly mounted on the side and is also positioned so that you cannot get the last 10-20% of the water out when the tank is level (as it is when I have leveled the trailer when camping). So you see, things conspire to give you a good deal less usable capacity than the product brochure suggests. Sales people and manufacturers either don’t know this or conveniently forget to share this information.

The location and arrangement of hoses for both the fill and draw can also cause problems as some have mentioned. Generally, trailers will not have the loss of water by “sloshing” that has been mentioned in threads by motor home owners but there is no telling what you have until you open up the bottom and look.

Now for those little lights:

Actually they don’t do such a bad job if they are installed right (I will not comment on the problems with black water tanks here – that is a different issue). The problem is that they are rarely installed properly. There are four “sensors” that are basically bolts inserted at intervals along the side of the tank. They should be on the same side as the fill and draw fittings or you will have even more problems with tanks that are not level.

When only the bottom sensor is covered by water the display reads “empty.” When that one and the next one up are covered, it reads “1/3,” and so on until all four are covered and the display read “full.” If the bottom one is mounted at or below the draw point (a common situation), your display will never read empty when the pump runs dry (although it should read empty when you drain the tank from that fitting since it should be mounted on the bottom).

If the top one is mounted at or above the fill point, the display will never read full. This was my problem. Also, if the sensors are not equally spaced up the side of the tank, the “1/3” and the “2/3” indications will not be very helpful. I had my RV service place add another sensor for the “full” point further down so it will actually read full when the tank is as full as it can be (actually you really want these sensors to be mounted mid way between the various levels or the readings will be confusing but it is not worth drilling holes all over you tank to correct for the lack of understanding of the manufacturers.

Bottom line: Experiment. Find out how much water you can actually carry and use. Find out at what points your lights go on and off. I have a friend whose tank is in a position such that he was able to install a “sight tube” between the fill and draw points and can actually see the level of the water (if his trailer is level). This is not possible for many trailers but could be for some coaches I expect.

I just wish I didn’t have to learn all this stuff the hard way! I hope this will be of help to others.
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by The_Stuff View Post
i got a similar problem on mine. the 2/3 light doesnt work so you have to fill it up to make sure you can make it through a shower lol!

Troubleshooting guide for works for freshwater too.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Micro Monitor Panel Troubleshooting.pdf (149.2 KB, 116 views)
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