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Old 11-01-2012, 10:22 AM   #1
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2007 19' Bambi
Tempe , Arizona
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Sewer odor 2007 bambi

Ok my wife and I are on our second voyage with our airstream. We love it. We are experiencing heavy sewer odors inside and noticeable outside the trailer. We have not used the toilet ever, previous owner I am certain did. Last night to try and alleviate the smell I added 1/2 bottle of chem clean holding tank deodorant and about 1/2 gallon of water. That seemed to work for a short period of time. When we went out for our first trip this never happened and we are wondering what we did wrong. We are hooked up to city water and electrical no dump. Any advice welcome.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:04 AM   #2
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When we first bought our AS we took it to a dump station and flushed the black tank with clean water until the tank ran clean. We use a device called a Flush King. You can find it online at Camping World to see what it looks like. It allows us to run water into the black tank, for flushing, from outside and see how clear the drain water is coming out of the black tank. We keep about 5-7 gallons of clean water in the black tank when not in use. We use the Geo Method for maintaining the black tank. You can do a search on the Geo Method on the internet. The Geo Method uses laundry detergent and water softener for tank treatment. You can dump your black tank into your home septic tank if you use chemicals that won't poison your home septic system. We have also used Odorloss in the past as a black tank treatment.

Long story short, you need to do a very good flush of your black tank at a dump station. An then decide what sort of black tank chemicals you will use. Odor can also come back through the sink and shower drains if the drain pipes are allowed to dry out completely.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:39 AM   #3
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First of all, you don't need 1/2 bottle of ChemClean. You need 8 oz. and a gallon or two of water in the bottom of your holding tank, even when you are not using the toilet.
If you weren't using the toilet, you probably weren't keeping water in the toilet bowl.
You must always keep a couple inches of water in the toilet bowl to keep holding tank odors from wafting into your Airstream
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:04 PM   #4
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Ditto what Alumaholic just said. Got to have water in the throne. Sal
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:12 PM   #5
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Don't discount the grey water tank, it can nasty as well. Make sure your traps are full of water and it doesn't hurt to put some stuff in that tank as well.
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:28 PM   #6
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Been there, too.... All of the above are good points.

If you do a thorough flushing, grey water traps full (shower in particular, since the sinks are used more often), and you have water in the toilet bowl, you may have a blocked sewer vent or one of the Anti-Syphon Trap Vent Devices (ASTVD) in the system may be malfunctioning. (One is located under the vanity and one in the outside storage compartment). Essentially it is a one-way air valve to let air into the sewer system while preventing air from coming into the trailer from the plumbing system. Here's a link to watch a video about this device (it also shows a picture of it so you'll know what to look for): RV Doctor Videos: RV sewer odors What to do?

We also use a special "shark" vent on our sewer vent...it looks like a weather vane device that creates a vacuum that draws air out from the vent pipe...pretty neat device.

Another issue with a 19' is the fact that the sewer vent is fairly close to the rear vent. Under certain conditions, sewer odors may come in through the rear vent, particularly if the Fantastic Vent in front is blowing outward... If you crack a window and open the bathroom fan vent you can minimize this.

If you are still having troubles, let's talk at the New Year's Rally...
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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We use Thetford Aqua-Kem "Blue" toilet deodorant. Through trial and error, we have found that Aqua-Kem controls toilet odors better than any other product, in the southwest desert heat.

For concerns regarding formaldehyde use, see Thetford "white paper" below:

http://www.thetford.com/Portals/0/pdf/Formaldehyde.pdf

Note: I have no connection to Thetford or Aqua-Kem, other than being a satisfied customer.
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:20 PM   #8
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Ridgerunner3 mentioned the Flush King...check the outside near the city water inlet and you may find you have a black water tank cleaner..we have one on our 2008 20' Safari...be sure your black water valve is open and connected to a sewer drain, then connect a water hose to the cleaning unit and turn on the water...works great
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:16 PM   #9
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Interesting that we discovered the smell emanating from the batteries. I opened ( carefully) the water compartments both and one more so than the other was bone dry. The smell was terrible. I filled both with clean water but not sure if i should disconnect for trip home? In reading some other posts it seems as though are batteries are bad as well as potentially our power converter. We will replace the batteries not sure what to do about the converter but have it checked. Anyone know a honest mechanic familiar with AS in Phoenix area to have them check power converter
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:39 PM   #10
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Ah, the batteries. Yes, the odor from gassing batteries can be interpreted as sewer odor. A good hint was that you smelled it not only inside, but outside as well. The light didn't go off for me...sorry I didn't think of that earlier.

If you are not connected to shore power and you still have 12v power inside the Bambi it means that the batteries are functioning and sending 12v power to the systems. If you disconnect from shore power and you lose 12v power, your batteries are compromised. (If you are connected to shore power the 12v power is coming from the shore connection, not the batteries, and the converter should be charging the batteries in the background.) Your frig needs 12v power to run, even when it's on propane, so that's a consideration if you decide to put the battery disconnect switch in the "store" position after disconnecting from shore power...because that will cut 12v power to the systems. (While connected to shore power, the light at the switch will be lit in any position.)

You are right to have both your batteries and your converter checked. My money is on the batteries. Since you just got the rig, who knows what state the batteries were in.

Any RV place should be able to determine if the converter is working properly and deal with the battery situation. If you feel better with an Airstream place, there is Dillon's in Mesa which is an Airstream repair center...several of the 4CU folks use them.

Good luck with it, and we are sorry you are having to deal with this... It can be remedied, though, never fear.

Keep us posted!
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:31 AM   #11
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Converter and batteries may be OK.

Suggest you top off batteries with distilled water and let them charge on the converter for a couple of days. If they do not seem to be charging, disconnect positive cables from batteries and use regular automotive battery charger on them for a couple of days. If still in doubt, remove batteries and take them to AutoZone, O'Rielly's, Pep Boys, etc. to have them load tested (for free).

If all 12-volt devices in your Airstream seem to be operating normally (e.g., lights, stereo, FantasticFan, etc.), your converter is probably OK. If in doubt, you can check the converter output with a voltmeter.

Regarding battery problems, I hate to keep re-posting the same suggestion; but conscientious use of a marine battery isolator switch will pretty much eliminate battery overcharging and phantom drains, and extend battery life in storage. See link below, provided for reference only.

Amazon.com: Perko 8501DP Marine Battery Selector Switch: Automotive

I mounted this switch on the side of our battery box. Send me a PM, if you would like photos and installation instructions.

Note: Using a battery switch will allow you to continue using the original converter (assuming it is working OK), because charging your batteries overnight once a month will reduce the chances of boiling your batteries dry.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:35 AM   #12
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Okay, Now I'm Confused...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Engie View Post
Interesting that we discovered the smell emanating from the batteries.
Your thread started with sewer odors.
Now you report the odors were coming from the batteries all along.
Batteries emit a hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg) odor, not a sewer odor.
What makes you think the converter is bad?
In a 2007 the batteries will need replaced, but the converter is probably fine.
Just correctly install new batteries (Deep Cycle RV of the correct Group) and see if it works.
You don't need a mechanic, honest or otherwise.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:10 PM   #13
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Something else to consider if you don't do much if any boondocking (camping without hookups) you don't need 2 batteries and 1 will have less chance of overcharging and usually last longer then 2 hooked in parallel (not for charge, till they wont take a charge)
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