Thursday, March 23, 2023


Thor CEO reveals his RV dumping experience gone horribly wrong

The CEO of Thor Industries, Bob Martin, is a real-life RVer, a rarity among his peers. On the December 30th RVing in New England social media talk show, hosts Bob Zagami and John DiPietro talked with Martin about the state of the RV industry and of Thor Industries, including its most recent acquisition of Tiffin Motorhomes.

At one point, the hosts asked Martin about his own RVing experiences. He reeled off a few stories about his years of RVing, including one “horror story” about an RV dumping experience that went horribly wrong.

He was returning from tailgating at a Purdue football game in his first motorhome, a Damon Daybreak, rushing to get to the airport. But first, he needed to dump the RV’s holding tanks.

“I hooked up my sewer and didn’t look close enough, and it [the hose] wasn’t on real tight,” he explained. “I pulled the black gate valve and everything came right at me and it just kept coming.

“And so I had to shut the gate valve, get a different hose that I knew was under the bed, and hose everything down. Yeah, that was quite an experience. It was gross.”

He said ever since that incident he looks closely when dumping his RV. So far so good.


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Dawn Shindledecker
10 months ago

I had a worse experience due to my own negligence of not closing the gate after a previous dump. My husband usually did that chore but he hurt his back helping a friend move a huge refrigerator and was recovering.
So, the next stop after one of our dumps, not realizing I did not close the gate afterwards, going to dump the tanks and not noticing the gate was left open, opened the cover and, yes, you know what came gushing out! Immediately and a little too late to not get the yuck on my shoes, I immediately closed the gate. Sadly, I realized I was the one that didn’t close the gate, but thought that being on a lot of bumpy roads vibrated the valve open….nope! It was completely my fault…Lesson learned! ALWAYS MAKE SURE ALL GATES ARE CLOSED BEFORE LEAVING THE DUMP STATION.

Irvin Kanode
10 months ago

I love people whose definition of RVers is so narrow that “tailgaters” don’t fit. Some may argue they’re not “campers” but they’re definitely RVers and there are quite a few of them.

10 months ago

Ah togetherness! When dumping tanks my wife has her little foot on the 90 deg. fitting into the ground tank/system holding it in place. This isn’t without a slight murmur of complaint however. (Well, we shared the facilities inside – why not outside?) (Ha!) Haven’t had a spill in 20+ years.

10 months ago

$#it happens!! Except not to me. Nope never going to happen to me. Lol!

10 months ago

Installing the Sanicon Turbo 700 solves this potential disaster… more stinky slinkies……

10 months ago
Reply to  Engineer

Sure. Until the SaniCon breaks. Happened to me, and the proverbial “sh*t shower” got me pretty good until I could jump in and shut the black tank valve. Never again. Gravity is your friend, and anything more complicated is just an extra failure point.

Bluebird Bob
2 years ago

I’m really…really…glad this happened to the Thor boss. Since his rvs are crap, this story fits very well!

Omer Murray
2 years ago

Something I saw back about 2000, My wife and I were volunteers at Sequoia NP. We were walking near the dump station when a German couple pulled up to dump station in a Cruise America rental. The dump station was configured a bit differently and had a square asphalt 3″ berm about 4′ around the drain. The man got out and opened the drain, no hose and let all spill onto the ground, luckily inside the berm. When he was done, and before anyone could stop him, he took the fresh water hose and forced it up the drain pipe and into the holding tank.

Bob p
10 months ago
Reply to  Omer Murray

Germans are a different breed altogether. Look at their engineering.

John Griffith
2 years ago

My worst experience with black tank dumping came in the winter. I left the hose hooked up while there, and that night it got below freezing. The next morning, I opened the black valve and the warm contents hit the cold hose and split it at the ground. I shut the valve immediately, but it was too late. Luckily the owner of the park was a nice guy and helped me dig up and dispose of the problem.

2 years ago

I pulled the gate valve on a Lance camper and the whole assembly came off where it was fastened to the black tank by the hose clamp, I didn’t notice it had gotten loose. The tank emptied instantly, luckily the only casualty was my arms.

Pat Shiner
2 years ago

I had recently traded in my fifth wheel for a motorhome and was unfamiliar with the way it would empty compared to my fifth wheel. I hooked the hose up and opened the black chute. The contents came out so fast the hose started flipping around spraying me and the surrounding area with well you know what! Fortunately it was early in the morning so nobody witnessed the mess. I stepped into the doorway stripped off my clothes, went in and washed up, bagged my clothes and grabbed the bleach. I was lucky enough to get everything cleaned up and made a trip to the laundry before anyone knew what happened. I told my friends who were pulled in next to me about the incident and we laughed about it for years after.

2 years ago

Store your water hose outside.

2 years ago

His mistake is pulling the black tank valve first. Always pull the gray tank valve to check for leaks then close it. Then empty the black followed by the gray while leaving the black open. Once the gray flow is basically down to a trickle close the black as the soapy water from the gray will lubricate the gate valve. Then finally close the gray valve.

2 years ago
Reply to  Dr4Film

You can also use the grey tank water to back flush the black tank, if you don’t have access to a water source for flushing the black tank. Only do this when your grey tank is full or near full, to get a good flushing action. First, empty the black tank. Then leave the black tank valve open, & close the gate valve at the exit point where you hook up the waste hose. Then open the grey tank valve which will send a rush of grey water backwards into the black tank. Wait about 15-20 seconds, then close the grey valve. Now open the gate valve at the exit point & the black tank will empty again & usually bring a lot of solids with it from the back flushing. Check your tanks configuration first, to make sure they are both on the same level & that they both feed into the same exit point.

Ron L
2 years ago
Reply to  Fred

This is excellent advice…unfortunately, most rv’s do not have a 3rd valve as did my Tiffin Phaeton. However, I purchase one from Camping World that had the bayonet fittings and I do exactly as you describe above….it works great.

Bob p
10 months ago
Reply to  Ron L

My thoughts also, owning several RVs I’ve never had a third dump valve, including a Newmar motorhome.

Leonard Rempel
10 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Yup, started doing this shortly after I added an aftermarket gate valve. Works slick.
I also put a “Y” connection with a valve on my fresh water and tank rinse connectors in the convenience centre. This way I only use one water line to supply both fittings. Really easy, and ZERO mess or chance of back-flow as the Y connector has dual on/off valves.

10 months ago
Reply to  Leonard Rempel

The Y connector on/off valves won’t stop back flow you need a back flow preventer at least on the flush side of the Y

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