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 > Foul smell coming from the toilet area

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EndeavorV10

South Elgin, IL

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Posted: 07/27/10 09:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The DW and I picked up the RV on 7/1 and took it for the weekend to a nearby CG. While there on day 2 we noticed a foul smell coming from the toilet when we flushed, being new to RV'ing I walked to the CG store, he sold me some natural black tank additive that I added per instructions. 4 or 5 hours later the smell got worse, if you stood just before the toilet door (our bathroom has a private toilet) you would get hit with this smell. So, I opened the bathroom sink cabinet, no smell, same with the kitchen sink, no smell.

So I went into the toilet room and flushed and the odor was intense coming back up, I thought I must have done something wrong so I flushed the toilet for long enough to get the black tank to near full and also filled the gray tank to near full. The site I was at had full service so I dumped the black tank first and then dumped the gray tank. For the next few hours I back flushed the black tank until I was sure it was flushed real good.

For the next day everything was fine, no smell, I dumped the tanks again prior to leaving and the put about 10 gallons of fresh water into both tanks and returned the RV to the dealer. No smell was evident when I got to the dealer, I told them of the problem and they said they would look into it. We returned two weeks later to take it out again, the dealer was still waiting for a debris awning so we returned to the Geneseo CG and again when I got there there was a foul odor coming from the toilet room. I checked the levels and found the black tank was now at 3/4 full, I droped it off with 1/3 water in the tank!

I asked the dealer if they added anything to the tank or did the guys working on it use it or something or did they add water to flush and forget, they have no idea how the tank got filled up. So, I go through the routine again, fill and dump the tanks add some fresh water and everything seems fine. This past weekend we picked up the RV after it was finally completed (to their satisfaction anyway) and they tell me they could not duplicate the problem, I can't prove or disprove their efforts to check into this problem, just that they said they did.

I take it to a CG closer to home and sure enough by late that afternoon the smell returns. So, I believe that enough has to be in there to cause the odor so using it a few times gives it enough to make us pay for it later. So I again go through the routine and we take it home early. I also spent the entire afternoon doing the detailing the dealership had promised to do, but I already vented about that in a different thread.

I have been writing Monaco and they are telling me to replace the vent caps under the bahtroom sink and kitchen sink and that should cure the problem. What confuses me is those look to be gray tank vents, the tanks aren't connected to each other so how does replacing a gray tank vent help with black tank odors?!?!?

I received an email back from the dealer saying to replace the auto vents and to check the vacuum breaker in the bathroom. I don't remember seeing anything like that in there but I'll check, they also said to check the toilet seal, I don't see a leak in the toilet seal but I guess it could be bad? I doubt it's the toilet seal since the odor gets worse when you flush, obviously letting the stink out.

This is why I think it must be a roof vent issue, forgot to mention, both previous times I climbed up to the roof and could not really smell much coming from the roof vent even though it was stinking in the coach. Monaco and the dealer keep pointing to the auto vents in the coach, why not the roof vent??

I like the RV, but having to battle a stench really bites when I'm supposed to be relaxing. So, tonight when I get home I'm going to remove the two auto vents and buy new ones, I'm going to add some water to the black tank and every time nature calls the rest of this week I'm going to run to use the toilet in the coach and see if the odor returns, if it does it has to be the roof vent yes?

If so, I need to buy RV roof sealant because I'll have to dig out whats there and remove the bolts to pull the cap and see if it might be plugged, I want to do that last because it involves a bit more time. How many have been through this? Is it possible the issue could be a crack in the tank on the top or something so it's venting right into the coach? If so would it still come out the toilet like this as well?


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hershey

Albuquerque,(fulltime) NM, USA

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Posted: 07/27/10 09:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would suggest you fill and drain the black tank a couple times with fresh water. If it has a sprayer attachment on it, use it.
You can buy at most any Walmart a black tank sprayer that you stick down the toilet into the tank and when connected to fresh water supply you direct the jets on the end of the stick all over and wash down the sides of the black tank. Again fill with fresh water and a large amount of Dawn and let it sit for a while and flush with clean water again.


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Cybergrunt

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Posted: 07/27/10 09:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, are you running it? We have noticed that it can draw odors up from the black tank when the toilet is being flushed.


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rvten

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Posted: 07/27/10 09:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RV potties are just an Out House on wheels. You will get oder from time to time.


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The Texan

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Posted: 07/27/10 09:40am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You are not a full timer, so you have time for this to work. Next time you are not using the RV for a few weeks, fill the tanks over 3/4 full with fresh water and add 4 oz of liquid Rid-X to each tank. This is the same solid digest type bacteria used in septic systems and it will dissolve any crud setting in the tank over time. The next time out, do your flush routine and then always add 1oz of Rid-X every time you let it set for any period of time. This will clean your tank and in most cases, stop the smell also. This is a very common cure on the Monacoers forum, used by many Monaco product owners.


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EndeavorV10

South Elgin, IL

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Posted: 07/27/10 09:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

hershey wrote:

I would suggest you fill and drain the black tank a couple times with fresh water. If it has a sprayer attachment on it, use it.
You can buy at most any Walmart a black tank sprayer that you stick down the toilet into the tank and when connected to fresh water supply you direct the jets on the end of the stick all over and wash down the sides of the black tank. Again fill with fresh water and a large amount of Dawn and let it sit for a while and flush with clean water again.


My tank has a back flush that I have used for hours on end and the water coming out of the tank is crystal clear. I added a see through adaptor for this purpose. I'll try it with dawn but I'll need to be careful of how much or there will be suds a plenty! I do think it's a vent issue though because once I back flush the smell is fine.

EndeavorV10

South Elgin, IL

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Posted: 07/27/10 10:00am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rvten wrote:

RV potties are just an Out House on wheels. You will get oder from time to time.


I think most people understand that there will be odors from time to time, but this isn't just odor, it's stench that drives you out of the coach. I doubt this is typical and my brothers 20 year old RV doesn't have any problem and the previous owner left the tank near full for two years, how my brothers RV didn't have a foul stench is beyond me but it didn't.

EndeavorV10

South Elgin, IL

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Posted: 07/27/10 09:58am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cybergrunt wrote:

If you have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, are you running it? We have noticed that it can draw odors up from the black tank when the toilet is being flushed.


The bathroom just has a roof vent that you can manually open. When it gets bad I do open to help get rid of the odor.

Mike and Trish

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Posted: 07/27/10 10:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The main two possibilities I see are tank cleaning and a clogged roof vent (or the pipe to it). A recent poster on here documented an issue where the vent pipe went so deep in his black tank that the accumulated gunk at the bottom actually blocked the opening to the vent -- he characterized it as "papier-mache" -- a great image.

The solution is what others have said here (tank sprayer, drive around with half a tank full of "clean" water with Dawn, etc. to "slosh clean" the tank), plus ... what I do is get a clear adapter for your black tank drain (they usually have them at Wal-Mart) that goes between your drain and slinky hose, usually with a fresh-water hose attachment. Using your built-in tank rinser if you have one, or the adapter's hose attachment if you don't, after draining the black tank, then the gray, open the black again and rinse until the water runs clear. I actually close the tank and spray water into it with my built-in sprayer (even though it says not to) for a few minutes, then drain, and repeat 'til clear. It's amazing what continues to come out this way, long after you think you've drained your tank. In your case, I'd do all that, then fill the tank half full with clean water, some Dawn, and maybe a little Clorox, then drive it around awhile and then repeat the process. I'm betting you have some severe buildup at the bottom (and probably up the sides) of your tank.

Also, a small point, on the sink vent issue, realize that on many coaches the bathroom sink drains into the black tank. This is both a matter of design convenience, and a way to ensure that more water goes into the black tank. Always add lots of water to the black tank whenever possible (as long as you have a place to dump) to avoid solids buildup.

Lots of people think there's no need to rinse their black tanks. Many of those same people complain because their tank sensors don't work, etc. You do the math ...


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Camptrotters

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Posted: 07/27/10 10:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If the toilet holds water it is not the seal so you can rule that out. You’re left with a vent issue. Since there is no/little smell at the black vent on the roof, that is where your problem is. There are not that many systems on a black tank. Another leak area would be the flange/closet seal. My guess is you would see water on the floor if this leaked but it is possible you would not. Finally, one of the burrito boys on the dealer lot left you a few relatives lurking in the tank.

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