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Old 01-10-2009, 01:12 PM   #1
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2003 19' Bambi
anywhere , Colorado
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2 smells in Bambi need help

Ok, here are a few questions. I have an '03 19' Bambi. When I open the propane cover, there is a very faint scent of propane (technically, it is the stuff they add to make propane smell). Anyway, I've inspected all of the fittings, as best I can, using soapy water and looking for bubbles. I cannot find a leak. My guess is that the odorant added to the propane gets on the lines, fittings and elsewhere and can result in a faint smell, even if there is not a leak in the system. Is this possible?
My second smell is this: last year, I ran over an object and wiped out the plumbing under Bambi at the dump valves. I replaced the tubing as needed and, since the black tank was badly cracked, I replaced that also. I began to notice that there was a urine smell in the rear of the trailer, which seemed to be strongest in the gap between the bathroom wall and the bed. When the Fantastic Fan was on, with the air being exhausted from the fan to the outside, the smell seemed to be worse. It occured to me that the insulation under the trailer might have been soaked during the accident, so I had that replaced. The insulation had a slight smell and replacing it seemed to help. I still have a smell, mostly noticeable if the rig has been shut up or (and especially) if the fan is on and exhausting air, but only minimal/rarely, with air coming in from the fan. There is also an odd, although not exactly the same smell under/near the sink.
I wonder if black water has gotten into the grey tank (if one dumps the grey, leaves the valve open, then dumps the black, it would seem likely that black would get pushed up into the grey tank) and this is being vented into the trailer via the trap vents under the sink and under the bed. When the fan exhausts air, it would create a negative pressure in the trailer and pull vented gas in, would it not? Are these only one way valves in the vents? If so, is there a way to test if they are working properly?
My plan is to put laundry detergent into both tanks, add some water, drive around, then possibly do the same thing using bleach. Then I'll add some Odorlos, or other anti-smell stuff, if need be, to both tanks. I'm also trying to make sure that water stays in the shower and sink traps. Any other ideas??? Thanks, rd

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Old 01-10-2009, 06:56 PM   #2
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When you damaged your tank, is it possible that "black water" could have splashed up and saturated the underside of the wood floor back there?


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Old 01-10-2009, 07:47 PM   #3
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Propane odor

The cheap chinese regulators used on these units can get pinhole leaks - especially around the threads where the hoses attach. I replaced mine after two failed fixes. It's hard to spot with soapy water - and you need to change the flow from one tank to the other as only one side may be bad. A dealer I trust near me used a sniffer to spot my leak. Only after that could I barely see it with soapy water.

If the black tank ruptured, you could have spashing anywhere - Including the underside of the toilet... Also drain the tank thoroughly and pull the toilet to see if It has a crack either in the toilet itself or the "tube" that leads to the black tank. That could cause the problem and lead to floor rot. If you have a plastic toilet... they do absorb a bit of icky smell over time. Never leave them unflushed - and use my "found by accident" treatment - I wash mine with Tide laundry detergent. It has a very strong, very clean smell that lingers. BTW I wash it by hand with a couple of paper towels, and even scrub the tube leading to the tank with a paper towel taped to a long stick. I think any brush would scratch it and make it more likely that odors would cling. Some people are "icked out" by not using a brush, but I figure that I don't use a brush or rubber gloves when I take a comfort stop, so it's the same stuff either way.

Good luck tracking down the smells.

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Old 01-10-2009, 09:07 PM   #4
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Both my Airstreams had that smell at the LP tank area....not strong, but ever so slightly noticeable, even when the tanks were both off.

My thought matches InisdeOut's where the internals surrounding the tank may have come into contact with the contents --or-- the tank was not connected right and is leaking. One other thought is that if the dump assembly was damaged so severely, maybe it threw the whole thing out of square and maybe there is a leak somewhere.
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:31 PM   #5
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My usual practice is to dump the black tank first, close the valve and dump the gray tank second. The soapy water from the gray tank will somewhat clean out the bottom of the system.

It seems unlikely that the smell is rising through the traps... unless the traps have gone dry.

One thing to consider... some of the cheap plastic toilets are not well sealed to the black tank. If you remove the toilet you will see what I mean. Replacement with a better toilet may solve the problem.
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