How to Maintain a Healthy Black Tank

As a mobile RV tech I have addressed many black tank problems, ranging from simple clogs to tanks that have fallen off their supports. An RV black tank has a very important job to do and works well when it is given the proper tools and conditions. The black tank is not complex, and works by breaking down the solid waste into a slurry, allowing it to exit the tank without clogging. The solids are broken down by bacteria and lots of water. Some of those bacteria give off methane, others do not, and methane is one of the chemicals that gives black tanks their unpleasant smell. The key is to encourage the less-stinky bacteria to flourish and keep the stinky buggers away. Given a good environment and enough water, the solids are broken down within 24-48 hours.   Here are some questions I’m frequently asked about black tanks: I …

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Broken Service door

On one of our hops across the country while hooking up our fresh water, the door fell off in my hand. The problem turned out to be a broken retracting plastic pin on one side of the door hinge. The door attaches to the utility cabinet with one fixed pin and one spring retracting pin. Both pins are plastic, the retractable one is the one that broke. When it broke, the spring and remaining bits of pin disappeared into the gravel, never to be seen again. I made a few inquiries as to how to get a new one but since we were traveling I secured it with some tape and forgot about it. We made it to our summer location and work calls started flowing in so I continued to rely on my good brown tape to hold my access door in place. At the end of the season …

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Ram 2500 Airbag Suspension Installation

We travel full-time in our Keystone Laredo 335MK travel trailer and pull it with a Ram 2500 pickup truck. Our truck has no problem towing our trailer. We use an Equalizer brand weight distribution hitch to even out the load. While traveling, we have noticed the rear of the truck tends to bounce when we travel over rough roads. Even with the Equalizer hitch, the truck tends to squat in the rear just a bit, this can affect the vehicle stability and reduce the headlight effectiveness. We try not to tow at night but the few times we have we got flashed at by oncoming vehicles quite often. To help these issues out we decided to invest in an airbag suspension system. We went with the Air Lift, 57289 Load Lifter 5000′ kit. The kit is manufactured to fit our Ram 2500. I was able to install their kit using …

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Making use of unused space in an RV

Like a lot of travel trailers, we have a pass through storage area under the nose of our trailer. I recently had to do some repair work to our water pump that is located in this storage area behind a carpeted false wall. This is also where our leveling system controls are mounted. There was quite a bit of unused space in this utility area enclosed by the false walls. After completing my water pump repairs I removed the two false walls and cut the shorter wall down to allow the front wall to move back. The new space will allow us a couple more square feet of storage. The control panel for the leveling system is still usable in this area but I will be relocating it in a future post to make it more user friendly.

RV Lock Keypad Replacement

We installed an RV Lock keyless entry about a year ago, and we love it. We can hit the pool without worrying about where to keep our keys, we never get locked out, and it looks real slick on the rig. Unfortunately, the cover started to crack several months ago. We worried moisture would get into the lock and damage, it looked bad, and it could be considered a security risk because the most commonly used keys are the ones more likely to show wear first. We posted about it on our Instagram account, and am excited to report that RV Lock reached out to us to offer to send us a replacement face plate for the unit. They’d upgraded the materials used for the keypad and said the replacement should last much longer. The new plate looks thicker and sturdier than the cracked plate. We were also pleased to …

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Doubling Our Usable Kitchen Drawer Space

I borrowed this idea from my father. My dad added several pull-out storage areas in their kitchen pantries as well as interior drawers similar to this project. This additional pull-out storage made much better use of the space, making the contents neater and easier to access.

Our utensil drawer is definitely in need of a space utilization improvement project. The standard silverware organizer does do the job, but the drawer itself was never more than half full.

View of the utensil drawer before the project to add an interior drawer started

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Making Gray Tank Valves Easier to Reach

Waste water tanks are not high on the list of fun things to do while RVing. We have two gray tanks, and the way the manufacturer installed our kitchen gray tank’s dump valve does not make the process any more fun. Basically, they were installed “backwards.” In order to open the gate valve you have to climb under the edge of the slide floor and electrical cables, and the valve must pulled away from you in order to open it.

View of the kitchen waste water tank dump valve with the handle facing away from the viewer
This is the easiest angle to approach the gray tank. Why is the handle on the opposite side?

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RV life with cats: cattifying your RV for maximum feline happiness

A black and gray cat, sitting on his low back with his belly and big feet facing the camera, looking off to the side.
What people think we do all day when we tell them we’re full-time RVers.

Before we moved into our RV, we spent about 3 months cattifying it so our four-legged family members would have an easier time adjusting to living in a tiny home. They’d always had larger apartments (and most recently, a 3 bedroom house), where they used more of the space than we humans did. They had shelves and many cat condos to climb, and we were going from about 1500 square feet to about 250 square feet (give or take).

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Everybody poops! Or alternately: Full-time RVing with cats, and where the heck did we put the litter boxes?

We have four cats and live in a 35-foot RV. Where do our cats poop? Not gonna lie: this was at the top of our priority list when we were RV shopping. It is extremely important to have a clean and safe area for cats to go to the bathroom, because without that, it can cause all kinds of behavioral problems that could lead to anything from aggression to physical illness.

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