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Old 09-10-2016, 02:27 PM   #1
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Another Toilet Question

I have an issue with bad Black tank odors in the trailer. They seemed to start after the first time the toilet backed up. In my trailer the toilet does not empty directly into the tank but there is a pipe that goes sideways and then empties into the tank. When the girls don't use enough water, the TP can create a dam in the pipe and after building for a while it can plug and back up to the bottom of the toilet.

I have read a bunch of the posts on Toilet problems on this and other forums.

This is what I have done:

- Checked the toilet for cracks - None
- Checked the base of the toilet for leaks - None
- Checked the seal at the base of the toilet looking in where front foot flush is. - Looks good as new.
- checked all the other sinks/shower for odor - None
- Cleaned the toilet
- dumped and flushed the black tank until all water is crystal clear.
- Added a bunch of Rid-ex to the tank and filled with water and letting sit all night.
- Doing the same with the grey tanks just to make sure

I can only smell odor at the back of the toilet and and around the base. There has never been any Black tank water dripping from under the trailer (fully enclosed under belly on this White Hawk.

Only thing I can think of is plugged vent? Seems to smell even when tank is empty so if a vent issue either vent is plugged or pipe has fallen into the tank.

Any thoughts on how to check the vent? Thinking of going to harbor freight to get a cheap mirror on an extendable pole to look down past the bend....but since I can't get the mirror into the tank, I don't think I will see much. Mabe a flexible wire to go into the vent? The vent cap on the roof is sealed on so not easy to check...I guess I cout drill a small hole and stick in a wire and then just put some sealant on top.

Any ideas or help would be great... Getting ready for a trip and the trailer really stinks.

Thanks

Tim
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Old 09-10-2016, 03:22 PM   #2
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Recent tank smells we've had only while underway are from the grey and not black. Easy enough to cover all inlets and eliminate the smell.

What about running a tank flush wand from the toilet down and/or from the drain up? A blocked vent does cause many owners a problem, and many swear by the GEO method of cleaning.

Our motorhome also has a black tank check valve which can fail and it's accessible under the bathroom sink. The grey tank valve is actually mounted behind the furnace access panel under the fridge.
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Old 09-10-2016, 03:33 PM   #3
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If you use a pumper service to clean out the black tank, it would dislodge any clog in the vent pipe (since air is reversed through the vent pipe into the pumper truck). However, if the vent pipe has fallen into the tank (very unlikely), using a pumper truck could colapse the tank. You could have someone at the ready to step on the flush peddle a couple seconds after the pumper starts to pump out the tank.
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Old 09-10-2016, 03:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by abarkl View Post
What about running a tank flush wand from the toilet down and/or from the drain up? A blocked vent does cause many owners a problem, and many swear by the GEO method of cleaning.
.
Thanks for the reply Abarkl

It is really hard to get a wand in from the top since there is a sideways waste pipe under the toilet. I have a black tank flush and used till everything ran clear. Even shut the valve 2 or 3 times to partially fill the tank and flush again. I'm pretty confident the black tank is clean, but that is why I put in a lot of Rid-x and will let sit overnight.

I hope it is as simple as a grey tank issue. Hopefully siting overnight with RV Digest-it in the tanks will help clean those out too.

I'm going to try and peel back the underbelly a little to get a peak as soon as it stops raining.
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Old 09-10-2016, 03:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by troutslayer View Post
If you use a pumper service to clean out the black tank, it would dislodge any clog in the vent pipe (since air is reversed through the vent pipe into the pumper truck).
Interesting idea....not going to be anywhere that has a pumper truck, but now trying to think of a way to do the same thing without a pumper!

Would the tank empty easily if the vent was plugged? It seems to drain quicky even when full, so now that I think of it, the waste coming out a full tank should pull a vacuum in the tank if the vent was plugged and then the waste would slow down. I'll check that tomorrow when I dump the black tank.

Thanks for the idea
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:50 PM   #6
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I'm reminded of a recent operation the town did. They were checking the sewer system for cracks and infiltration. They were checking with a smoke generator. They purposefully plugged the gravity sewer collection system, and then mounted and sealed a gas engine over a manhole. The gas engine exhaust was mixed with additional smoke agents.

Almost immediately, all the houses on my street were showing smoke coming out of the plumbing vents!

If a house did not exhibit any smoke, then the owner was notified that a vent problem existed.

So, while this would be overly dramatic for a single RV, a simple test could be devised if you had a cheap extra Valterra cap for the end of the dump hose, connected the hose to the Dunp valve, and opened the valve. (Obviously the tank would have to be empty.).

This smoke test would show the leak into the coach, and would verify the vent is functional. And lastly, you could cover the vent and essentially "force" the smoke through any leak.


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Old 09-10-2016, 10:33 PM   #7
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This smoke test would show the leak into the coach, and would verify the vent is functional. And lastly, you could cover the vent and essentially "force" the smoke through any leak.
Thanks ctbailey

That would be cool!!

I do have a small fog machine like they have for concerts. The Fog does't really have any odor to it either. I'll have to see if I have any fog juice. They usually have it at party city as we get close to Halloween. Might give it a try.
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Old 09-11-2016, 03:12 PM   #8
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So, so far dumped all 3 tanks. All tanks dumped with force, so no vacuum being pulled in the tanks. Got up on the roof and listened and (yuk) smelled each vent with water running. Clearly no blockages on both counts (stinky)

Going to stick a mirror down the toilet (6.99 from Harbor Freight) and then going to try and peel back the underbelly to get a look at what is going on.

So no magic bullet yet.
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Old 09-11-2016, 03:29 PM   #9
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Going to stick a mirror down the toilet (6.99 from Harbor Freight)
Don't drop it!
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Old 09-11-2016, 03:31 PM   #10
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Tie a string to it just in case it is dropped.
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