Is it normal for the shower to drain to a black tank?

2021 Milestone 377MB. We had both our black tanks pumped out for the first time 7 days ago. We were in the camper for 3 days after that, then gone for 4 days. So after just 3 days of use, the black tank backed up into the shower last night. I pulled the wall between the basement storage and the utility area to get a look at the plumbing, and the shower drains into the forward black tank. There are supposed to be two 40 gallon black tanks.

After much head scratching and troubleshooting, here's how the plumbing appears to be run:
The forward grey is the full bath sink and the washing machine hookup drain.
The rear grey is only the kitchen sink.
The forward black is the full bath toilet, the shower, and the half bath sink.
The rear black is only the half bath toilet.

The reason I think the half bath sink is plumbed to the same black tank as the shower and full bath toilet is that the half bath sink stinks, and when I broke the seal on the shower p-trap, the water smelled awful, and both the shower and half bath sink immediately drained.

After just three days, both black tanks appear to the be almost full based on looking down the toilet hole. I've already given up on the tank sensors. We aren't hooked up to city water. Is it possible that the black tanks are smaller than 40 gallons as advertised? Could the black tanks be connected somehow? Should the shower be plumbed into a black tank and not a grey tank?

I called Heartland last week with a few other concerns including a plumbing leak, and the very empathetic person on the phone promised to get back to me by the end of the day. That was a week ago and I've heard nothing. I asked for an appointment to have it looked at and was told that even for warranty issues they couldn't get it in for 9 weeks. What would you do?
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
Hi farfromdunn,

With 2 gray and 2 black tanks, I'd think the shower would be draining into the same gray tank as the washer. If you have a clear twist-on adapter on the end of the sewer outlet, a little food dye in the shower drain would let you know whether that water is going into the gray tank or not.

Going by smell alone is not always reliable as gray tanks can stink pretty bad.

Something else you can do is call Heartland back and ask for a plumbing diagram for your model. That'll show you how the engineers intended the plumbing to be. If yours is different from the diagram, corrective action would be covered under warranty.

If that's the case, Heartland is pretty good about authorizing mobile servicers to do warranty work. You need prior approval and you'll have to pay the travel charge. Depending on the servicer, you might have to pay out of pocket and have Heartland reimburse you for labor and materials. But that would avoid the delay, moving the rig, and leaving it at the dealer for weeks or longer.

If you go that route, just be sure to get prior approval.
 
Something else you can do is call Heartland back and ask for a plumbing diagram for your model. That'll show you how the engineers intended the plumbing to be.

I spoke with Heartland yesterday. This morning they emailed me both the electrical and plumbing diagrams for the 2019+ Milestone. The plumbing diagram confirmed that
1) my two forward tanks are mislabeled
2) the engineers intended to run the full bath toilet, the half bath sink, and the shower all into the same black tank while each of the 40 gal grey tanks are connected only to one sink each (plus the optional clothes washer)
3) the second black tank is only a single toilet.

Is there somewhere on this site that I should post the diagrams so others can take advantage of them? I think they're pretty useful. -Matt
 

CDN

B and B
My Landmark had the shower plumbed to the Black Tank. I replumbed this while camping to have the shower into the front grey tank with the lab sink. Back grey is kitchen only. This make a lot for sense for boon docking being able to use both grey tanks together for shower and dishes and th black tank for just toilet lasting us 2 full weeks.
 

taskswap

Member
I spoke with Heartland yesterday. This morning they emailed me both the electrical and plumbing diagrams for the 2019+ Milestone. The plumbing diagram confirmed that...
What did you say to them that made them give those to you? I asked for exactly the same thing for a new Milestone a few days ago and they said (direct quote) "Heartland does not send out any CAD or whole blueprints per company policy. Please call and troubleshoot with a rep. 877.262.8032 & have the last 6 digits of your VIN available."

I was really hoping to get some for mine. I had the same questions about plumbing - I have a forward tank and dump valve labeled "Grey Tank #1" that is absolutely a black tank as well, I've watched the toilet paper flush out. I've had several cables plain not hooked up, and two mystery wires (black with white stripe anyone?) with a fuse holder with no fuse installed. And I want to add solar panels and was all set (I've done this before) to put in an entry gland when I looked at the skimpy little 20W unit these come with now, and realized that while the panel wire is tiny, the entry gland IT goes through has 10AWG coming out of it and into an adapter. I want to find where those go to maybe save some wiring run.

Maybe it's just because mine was their lower end brand? Don't get me wrong we love it, but it's made out of tissue paper and dreams...
 
I have a forward tank and dump valve labeled "Grey Tank #1" that is absolutely a black tank as well, I've watched the toilet paper flush out. I've had several cables plain not hooked up, and two mystery wires (black with white stripe anyone?) with a fuse holder with no fuse installed.
I've emailed the diagrams Heartland sent me to the mods, so hopefully they'll be posted here for everyone. I'm happy to email them to you if you want to DM an address. According to the wiring map, the black wire with a white stripe is the power supply for the LCD touch screen control panel. You described your camper as "their lower end brand". If your camper doesn't have the LCD touch screen control panel, that would explain why there was no fuse in the fuse holder.
 

taskswap

Member
No, we have the LCD. I just meant that it was pretty clear Heartland was working hard to make the Milestone 386BH hit a $50k base price point. There were a ton of corners cut in its design. I don't want to steal the thread, I'll post a separate one with everything I've found/fixed/improved so far once we're done "making it our own".
 
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