Jan 162016

Continued from Part 2

Next step was making clearance and moving electrical/gas out of the way.  The water heater was connected to an iron iron pipe (running the length of the TT) with 3/8″ soft copper tubing and flare fittings..and done with a big loop that extended into the center of the frame.  I cut this out and left things hanging for now, I’ll run a new copper line after installing the tank. (edit: ended up not having to run new copper)

Today I had time to see about mounting the tank.  The rear frame rail that the tank ‘ear’ fits into was very tight, I create a wood block to use as a gauge and used pliers to bend the bottom of the C-channel until the block fit snugly.

wood spacer

I test fit the tank, used a couple of trailer stab jacks to hold up the forward mount bar (no pics, was busy).  Using a rubber mallet I gently gave the forward outboard tank edges a whack or two to make sure the tank was seated.  Snugged up the forward mount bar and verified clearances.  Then into the trailer I used a paint pen to mark the existing toilet flange and vent holes.    I also marked the holes in the mount bar so I could pre-drill the frame.

Prior to removing I marked the tank and frame as a reference so I could the tank in the same position as before.  I carefully removed the tank and brought into the garage.  Hole markings were positioned nicely and clear, went ahead and cut holes for the fittings.  Back outside, drilled frame holes for mount bar.

Brought the tank back out, fitted, bolted up mount bar and verified hole alignment on the inside..BINGO.  The only possible problem was the opening in the floor for the vent pipe (behind the access panel for the rear of water heater) is a bit sloppy.  I’ll have to open that up to make sure I have good clearance to install the fitting.

In this picture you can see the copper line for the water heater, and the tank in place and fully installed.  The mount bar is red’ish (looks like rustoleum).. You can also see the gray water tank to the right.


I did a test fitment of the dump valve. Everything looked good, measured, cut.  Checked again and everything looks like it’s lining up very nicely. As a bonus the black tank dump is straight, that’s going to make for easy/good dumping!  It all looked good so I slathered on some ABS glue and installed.  I’ll need to purchase some 1.5″ pipe to extend the gray dump but that’s not a big deal.  I’m very pleased with how well this is going.


You can see behind the tank the black plastic wire loom bit I have to deal with.

Tomorrow I’m going to fill the tank with water and make sure it’s mounted well and nothing sags or leaks.


  • Filled the tank with water, everything is water tight and the tank itself didn’t seem to sag at all (entire back end of TT sank a bit, not surprising).
  • Gas fitting to water heater: I ended up swapping the T fitting so it was T’ing off to the outboard side which brought the pipe a couple of inches closer to the rear. This allowed me to cut off the munged end of the 3/8″ soft copper tubing, flare it and attach.  Pressure tested, no leaks..ran the water heater a bit and it’s all working.

I think this my be the last update.  All that remains are what I could consider easy/common tasks.  I’m going to pick up some 1.5″ schedule 40 ABS pipe and 2 couplings to re-connect the gray water drain to the output.  Going to use some self-adhesive cable tie mounts to tie up the wiring run that goes from side-side of the trailer.

Only major work remaining is to attach the ‘grommets’ to the tank, reinstall vent and toilet.  I’ll probably take some pictures of that and describe the process, however for anyone handy those parts should be easy.

Update: Everything else went pretty well.  I wish I had more space around the vent fitting, it was a bit of a challenge getting it seated properly. Other than that buttoning up the project went smoothly.  I filled the tank to full capacity using buckets, counted 24 gallons until it was full… a nice upgrade.

Thanks for reading, if I add a Part 4 I’ll link here.


Jan 112016

Continued from Part I

New tank arrived today, appears to be in good shape.  I was pleased to find that the outlet already had an adapter attached so that I can connect directly to 3″ ABS pipe.  Note the slight difference in size, tank on the left is also approximately 2″ deeper.  The added depth isn’t a problem as prior to this upgrade I flipped the axles to underslung which increased ground clearance by about 4.5″, lots of articles on that so not posting one here.


You can see from the huge length of plumbing for the dump that there’s a bit of extra space under the trailer.  My plan at this point is to center the tank (old tank was offset to door side) and use the straight section of pipe from the old tank.  This should result in a straight shot for dumping.  The existing valve assembly has the gray tank coming in at a 90 degree angle already so I should be able to just extend the gray dump to the new valve location and be done.

I crawled under the trailer with the tank to verify fitment, plenty of space.  There are a few things I’m going to have to re-position, some wiring that’s attached inside the frame rail will be moved to outside (hidden behind the bumper) and I may have to redo the gas line for the water heater.

It’s still fairly cold out here, I’ll work on preparing the underside of the trailer at a leisurely pace.  Once I can position the tank temporarily I’ll be able to start figuring out all the details, final position, plumbing, etc.

Proceed to part 3.

Jan 112016

I’m upgrading our travel trailer black holding tank and realized that there’s not much information about this on the net (for some reason, probably everyone wants to sell new RV’s). So a useful non-controversial post! This is the first part of a x part series, following along the process.

First some important details you will need before embarking on this ‘adventure’ yourself. You will need to find the GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) of your trailer, the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating), tire rating (make sure total of all tires is equal or greater than GAWR). Then get your trailer weighed, ready for camping (gear packed, food, etc.), full propane, I would recommend empty holding tanks as we can calculate their weight(s).

Measure your holding tanks! This can be a tiresome process, however I feel it’s very important as you may find (as I did) that my TT black holding tank was listed as 12 gallons in the trailer specifications however the tank + 2′ of 3″ piping + the neck of the toilet only manage 6 gallon total! Manufacturers get away with this by simply stating ‘specifications subject to change’. In my case I found out that both the tank AND trailer manufacturers over stated the capacity.
Continue reading »

Jan 082016

This article keeps popping up (along with related articles).  The Author Mat Honan jumps to conclusions not supported by the facts.  He makes claims such as “the way WE daisy chain account” being a problem, well maybe HE does that (and I suspect a lot of users do as well).

His problem can be summed up easily.  He relied on his Apple account as a point of security.  Once that was compromised (easily via simple social engineering phone call) they then could take over his GMail account (because the author used his Apple email as an alternate address) and once in that account the bad guy had the ability to  take over everything.

In an attempt to deflect blame from himself (and Apple) the author keeps repeating his same baseless assertion that passwords are bad and is now in a crusade to ‘kill’ passwords.  Mat Honan needs to grow up and accept responsibility for his own screw up and help people understand how to properly use passwords and properly secure online systems (as much as possible) rather than sowing FUD to protect his ego.

Main take away is never trust third parties who have no interest in securing your data with your ‘keys to the kingdom’.  There is no one set of rules that works or applies to everyone.  In my case (as an example) I have a yahoo account I use for non-sensitive sites (forums, online shopping sites where it NEVER store CC’s, etc).  All of my banking and financial access credentials are linked with addresses that are highly secure (server controlled by myself or trusted third party).  All of my secure passwords are the maximum complexity allowed and all are different.  This works for me.

People in general need to stop blaming technology when a failure is due to misuse (by themselves or others).

Jan 072016

Someone posted a comment on an old article with a bunch of SEO related rubbish and of course a link to a paid add-on for WP…    Search Engine Optimization doesn’t interest me in the least. It used to be possible to game search engines and it still is to some extent, however these tactics will backfire eventually.

A well written article in a good content management system stands on its own without any effort spent trying to trick or game search engines.  SEO is the refuge of bad writers and spammers only, don’t waste time on it.

Dec 072015

Reno Gazette Journal is gushing about AT&T GigaPower and of course not reporting on anything that would reflect badly on AT&T.  For starters the only pricing they talk about is bundled with other services, according to ArsTechnica

AT&T generally charges $110 a month for Internet-only gigabit service, with a lower price of $70 in cities where it has to compete against Google Fiber. Both of those prices require customers to opt into “Internet Preferences,” which gives AT&T permission to examine each customer’s Web traffic in order to serve personalized ads

So you have to agree to let them spy on you?  What happens if you want to use TOR?  Do they ban you? AT&T is also notorious for data caps and the upload speed is terribly by many accounts.

If you’re going to report you should report ALL of the facts, not just read a press release…  Pretty much what I expect these days anyway.

Oct 222015

We have an old mattress, figured I’d see if we can dump it at the transfer station as part of our mandated 4 ‘standard puckup truck’ loads per year.  Easy question, first off does the transfer station accept them, so I asked:

Does the transfer station on Commercial row (Refuse, Inc. – Sage Street Transfer Station) accept mattresses and boxsprings? Thanks.

WM Response

Yes they do accept those items. They are chargeable please contact then as to how much they will cost.

I replied:

As a City of Reno customer I can dispose of one standard pickup truck load 4 times per year.  By “Chargeable” do you mean this isn’t included in the “standard pickup truck load”?

WM Response

Thank you for contacting Waste Management. I would really like to help you but those questions can only be answered by the transfer station. I would give them a call to have your questions answered the best way possible.

Oh really?  I responded:

That doesn’t make any sense.  According to the City of Reno their agreement with WM allows:

“City of Reno customers can dispose of one standard pickup truck load of waste four times a year. Customers must show recent trash bill or have identification that matches the service address on their bill and be current in their payments to use this service.”

Either a mattress is ‘waste’ for the purposes of the above or not.

Perhaps you should refer me to your legal department, I’m certainly not going to rely on calling someone at the transfer station as an authoritative answer.

WM Response, finally I get a straight answer:

I do apologize for the inconvenience and frustration. After further research I discovered that you can in fact dump a mattress there for no cost of your own.

There is no sane reality where the above exchange happens.  Only a “business” that operates by using government force to keep customers does shitty ‘service’ like the above not result in bankruptcy.


EDIT: I got a survey request the next day, oh yeah I’ll take your survey.  The most ridiculous questions came as the end, ‘would you recommend WM to friends’…. and the final question ‘how likely are you to continue doing business with WM’..  er.. MONOPOLY… DOH..  I added a lot of comments though…  they’ll fall on deaf ears but at least I tried.

Sep 182015

Decided to give Allods another go, installed and it came loaded with some crapware ‘gaming dashboard’ from my.com.  when I tried to uninstall it claims I’ll not be able to play Allods if I uninstall, when I confirmed that it tried to access the internet (which I denied) and blew up.  So I killed the task, deleted the files and then let windows blow out the uninstall entry….

Shortcut to aogame.exe.. no problem running without this crap..

All I can conclude is that it’s malware and serves no purpose at all…. kinda like nearly everything that wants to play ‘middle man’..

Aug 142015

Thursday Malware bytes reported on an ad server pushing malware via various exploits.

Checked my network and I’m already blocking adspirit.de at the router.  I have no idea why more people don’t do this, likely not all that many are running linux based routers or don’t have access. For those that do, here’s my simple script which runs weekly:

mkdir /tmp/hostupdate
cd /tmp/hostupdate
wget http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.txt

# copy local host definitions into hosts file first
cp /etc/hosts.local /etc/hosts

# we only want the host lines, no local host or comments.
grep -vE ‘localhost|#’ hosts.txt >> hosts.clean

# change to blackhole server
sed ‘s/’ hosts.clean >> /etc/hosts

# cleanup
cd /etc
rm -Rf /tmp/hostupdate

/etc/init.d/dnsmasq restart

Because I have other blocks and static hosts, I have a hosts.local file in /etc/ that is added to the hosts and obviously this system is my DHCP and DNS server for my local network.  People could of course shoot themselves in the foot a variety of ways, mostly by using a hardcoded DNS.. however if someone wants to do that.. so be it..