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Old 07-11-2018, 12:38 PM   #1
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2005 30' Classic
Kingston , Washington
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Sewer Smell When Tank is Near Full

Hello. We seem to have a situation with our 2005 30' Classic.

We were at a campground in Oregon (Champoeg) recently at a power/water site (no sewer). While there, we found out that their dump station is out of service due to drainfield issues. We were heading to another campground in Washington (Randall), so decided to dump at the rest area along I-5 just north of the border.

The tanks were about 3/4 full. When we got to the rest area, we had a sewer (black tank) smell inside and outside the trailer and there was dripping from the belly pan. It appears we have some sort of leak. I do not think the tank is cracked since it seems fine when we are still, even when full. I am wondering if there is a broken connection between either the toilet or vent line and the tank. Can anyone shed some light on this condition? I am considering options: remove the toilet, drop the tank, ??. Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,
David
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:02 PM   #2
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We have almost the same trailer. Have the tanks ever been serviced? You can tell because there will be a access hole cut in the bottom of the belly pan right below the drain valves. If no access, it has never been serviced. If there is access, you can remove the access cover by removing the sheet metal screws and look to see the source of the leak. It is likely the black tank valve leaking were it connects to the tank.

You may also need to replace the gasket between the toilet and the top of the black tank. They dry out. That could be the source of the smell inside the trailer. Also, make sure there is always some water on top of the flapper valve in the toilet (to keep smells from escaping there).

Either fix is relatively straight-forward (but smelly).

Good luck.
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:48 PM   #3
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Thank you for the thoughts. As far as I can tell, the tanks have never been serviced (no access panel). I am hoping it is the gasket between the toilet and the top of the tank. Can this be replaced by just removing the toilet? Thank you again.
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:02 PM   #4
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There is a doughnut gasket between the bottom of the bowl and the floor to seal the connection. There is another gasket in the bowl to prevent gasses (and odors) from entering your trailer by keeping a little water in the bottom of the bowl after you flush. If there is a leak you can tell because there will be no water (only a half cup or so) there and the possibility of odors passing through. Both are easy to replace but it depends on which bowl you have (Dometic or Thetford) as to how it's done.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:21 PM   #5
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The one we have is the Thetford. I will look into taking the toilet out and check it out. Thank You for the discussion.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:12 PM   #6
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The part number for the Thetford gasket is 33239. Amazon sells them. Just remove the toilet to replace. Instructions on Thetford website.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:05 AM   #7
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Does the flap inside toilet need lubrication of some kind or are there drop-ins that are better than others?
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:15 AM   #8
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There is a plumber’s lube at most hardware stores for the rubber gasket. There is a single use wax ring that needs to be scrapped off the toilet flange after lifting the toilet and a new one installed before replacement. Remove paper from bottom of new ring and place that side centered on the toilet flange. Try and be accurate in locating the toilet over the two hold down screws before pushing down on the wax gasket.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:18 AM   #9
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Western Springs , Illinois
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I had a leak in my black tank when it was 3/4 full. After trying to find the leak for several days I ended up taking it to my local AS dealer. They found a crack in the tank and repaired it successfully that was4 yrs ago.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:33 AM   #10
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Are you relying on the black tank gauge? If so, don't. Gauges, especially the black tank are notoriously wrong - mainly from waste and tissue buildup.
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:48 PM   #11
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From what I can gather from the initial post, there is no reference to a smell or leak before leaving the campground. If there was no leak or smell before movement down the highway, then a possible cause could be the motion and splashing of the tank contents within the tank. If the drop pipe from the toilet has loosened from the top of the black tank, this would allow a leak. The tanks are relatively shallow, so a half or 3/4 full tank would allow lots of splashing out of a leak from the top of the tank.
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