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Old 03-08-2012, 07:21 PM   #1
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black tank odor filled trailer HELP

While set up full timing it after 3 months of use the wind was blowing from the rear 25 to 35 mph and when I opened the door it was like I stepped into the black tank . Apparently the wind was syphoning the methane up the tube and it was sucked in by the a/c. Even when I walked around the rig I could smell the odor sweeping across the roof . Since this is a new to me trailer (93 Excella 30)and everything worked fine for 3 months I checked the roof vent and I found the black PVC pipe is near the top of the aluminum rectangle? Is this correct or should it be flush with the roof rather than almost flush with the top of the square vent?

(I added a 2 foot extension as a patch , duct taped it to the vent, and the odor is gone)
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:23 PM   #2
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wow over 100 views and no one has an idea, I figured somebody would take a mirror and ladder and look to see on theirs. bummer
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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2005 19' Safari
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Perhaps, this problem is uncommon. Our 2005 model does not have a vent like you describe. Also, I don't think our air conditioner pulls in air from outside the trailer; it only recirculates the inside air. (We have the a/c with heater element, not the heat pump.)

Do you use deodorant in the black tank?
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:59 PM   #4
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1999 25' Safari
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That is the correct vent for your trailer.
If the trailer is hooked up to a sewer connection and either drain valve is open, it is venting the entire septic tank system from the park into the air. The dump hose should have a "u" in it, like a trap under a household sink, to prevent vapors from coming into your trailer vent system. That "u" retains water just as a trap will.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:07 PM   #5
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Keep your drain valves closed unless you need to dump the tank. Guaranteed no back up odors from the sewer system. Otherwise the vent configuration sounds correct.

Kay
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:21 PM   #6
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The vent pipe should not be level with the roof, 4-6" would be normal.
On our's it's about six high and two inches from the top of the vent cover.

It may have been the wind causing pressure in the tank and a bad seal in the toilet valve letting the bad stuff in. I also don't think the AC draws from outside the trailer.

The toilet valve got stuck once on our 63 Safari, had to be manually closed.
Let it sit over night closed with 1/2 cup olive oil, never stuck again.

Bob
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcamedies View Post
While set up full timing it after 3 months of use the wind was blowing from the rear 25 to 35 mph and when I opened the door it was like I stepped into the black tank . Apparently the wind was syphoning the methane up the tube and it was sucked in by the a/c. Even when I walked around the rig I could smell the odor sweeping across the roof . Since this is a new to me trailer (93 Excella 30)and everything worked fine for 3 months I checked the roof vent and I found the black PVC pipe is near the top of the aluminum rectangle? Is this correct or should it be flush with the roof rather than almost flush with the top of the square vent?

(I added a 2 foot extension as a patch , duct taped it to the vent, and the odor is gone)
Your AC recycles the interior air, only.

There is no way that the AC can pump outside air into the interior.

Andy
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcamedies View Post
While set up full timing it after 3 months of use the wind was blowing from the rear 25 to 35 mph and when I opened the door it was like I stepped into the black tank . Apparently the wind was syphoning the methane up the tube and it was sucked in by the a/c. Even when I walked around the rig I could smell the odor sweeping across the roof . Since this is a new to me trailer (93 Excella 30)and everything worked fine for 3 months I checked the roof vent and I found the black PVC pipe is near the top of the aluminum rectangle? Is this correct or should it be flush with the roof rather than almost flush with the top of the square vent?

(I added a 2 foot extension as a patch , duct taped it to the vent, and the odor is gone)
I should have added that if the sewer vent pipe cover gasket is bad, it could possibly have contributed to the issue.

That gasket is only good for 2 to 3 years.

Andy
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Old 03-14-2012, 03:19 PM   #9
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odor backup

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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
The vent pipe should not be level with the roof, 4-6" would be normal.
On our's it's about six high and two inches from the top of the vent cover.

It may have been the wind causing pressure in the tank and a bad seal in the toilet valve letting the bad stuff in. I also don't think the AC draws from outside the trailer.

The toilet valve got stuck once on our 63 Safari, had to be manually closed.
Let it sit over night closed with 1/2 cup olive oil, never stuck again.

Bob
That's a thought, the wind was cranking 20+ and could have pressurized the black tank, just wondered how far below the lip of the aluminum stack on the roof the black plastic pipe is from the top, mine is almost even. Never had this problem with my Argosy or my motorhomes (4 in the last 40 years) before. Adding the 2 foot extension which looks like a periscope stopped it but can't drive down the road like that duct tapped to the aluminum cover.
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Old 03-14-2012, 03:23 PM   #10
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vent gasket be old

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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
I should have added that if the sewer vent pipe cover gasket is bad, it could possibly have contributed to the issue.

That gasket is only good for 2 to 3 years.

Andy
I was going to replace it but still wanted to confirm whether the black pipe is even with the top of the aluminum stack or should it be below it an inch or two?
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Old 03-14-2012, 03:38 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=arcamedies;1120017]That's a thought, the wind was cranking 20+ and could have pressurized the black tank, just wondered how far below the lip of the aluminum stack on the roof the black plastic pipe is from the top, mine is almost even. Never had this problem with my Argosy or my motorhomes (4 in the last 40 years) before. Adding the 2 foot extension which looks like a periscope stopped it but can't drive down the road like that duct tapped to the aluminum cover.[/QUOTE

arcamedies,

I would think you would want at least 2" between the top of the tube and bottom of the vent cover...maybe Andy could chime back.

Bob
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Old 03-14-2012, 04:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcamedies View Post
wow over 100 views and no one has an idea, I figured somebody would take a mirror and ladder and look to see on theirs. bummer
I have a suggestion that some folks may not like. About a year ago on this forum or another RV forum, some were discussing a different way to treat holding tanks, since they are "holding" tanks and not sewage treatment plants. Instead of harsh chemicals, you put in water softener (not fabric) for two or three tank cycles. The water softener helps keep "solids" in suspension and not on the walls of the tank.

Then you use laundry detergent and bleach instead of the expensive chemicals most people use. The bleach helps with the odor. The laundry detergent helps clean the tank.

This cuts down on the odors that the usual RV chemicals never seem to be able to take care of.

EDIT: I found it. It is called the GEO method. Here is the link to a longer description of the GEO method for treating your tanks.

Don
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Old 03-14-2012, 04:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CallDon View Post
I have a suggestion that some folks may not like. About a year ago on this forum or another RV forum, some were discussing a different way to treat holding tanks, since they are "holding" tanks and not sewage treatment plants. Instead of harsh chemicals, you put in water softener (not fabric) for two or three tank cycles. The water softener helps keep "solids" in suspension and not on the walls of the tank.

Then you use laundry detergent and bleach instead of the expensive chemicals most people use. The bleach helps with the odor. The laundry detergent helps clean the tank.

This cuts down on the odors that the usual RV chemicals never seem to be able to take care of.

EDIT: I found it. It is called the GEO method. Here is the link to a longer description.

Don
We have been using the GEO method for several years and have been very happy with it. We do not full time. Our longest trips are usually three weeks. We do not have any black tank odor. We do not use bleach, just liquid Tide and Calgon liquid water softener.
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:12 PM   #14
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Our airstream suddenly had a horrible horrible black tank odor once. It filled the trailer and was nauseating. I read on the forum that using a metal bent coat hanger I could swipe e seal of the toilet and see if a tiny tiny bit of debris was not letting it seal completely. Sure enough, all the water was draining out of the bowl very slowly, and once it was gone the odor would come. I did the coat hanger trick and the seal worked perfectly again and we have never had the odor again.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:27 PM   #15
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Whatever type of seal at the bottom of the toilet bowl, it should seal well enough to hold water. Leaving some water at the bottom of the bowl will insure that no black tank gasses are coming back into the trailer from the black tank. If they are, there should be bubbles in the water at the bottom of the bowl.
If your gray tank valve is left open, and there is no "U" in the slinky hose, gasses can come in from your sewer connection unless you shut the gate valve on your gray tank. Even with that valve open, the "P" traps, if they have water in them, should keep odor out.

We have never had that problem either in our Caravel or our Excella.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:34 PM   #16
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Angry Mystery Black tank odor

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Whatever type of seal at the bottom of the toilet bowl, it should seal well enough to hold water. Leaving some water at the bottom of the bowl will insure that no black tank gasses are coming back into the trailer from the black tank. If they are, there should be bubbles in the water at the bottom of the bowl.
If your gray tank valve is left open, and there is no "U" in the slinky hose, gasses can come in from your sewer connection unless you shut the gate valve on your gray tank. Even with that valve open, the "P" traps, if they have water in them, should keep odor out.

We have never had that problem either in our Caravel or our Excella.

Thanks Jim .... I did find that when the a/c was on high for some time there was a negative pressure in the stream. If I hit the pedal it would immediately pull in sewer gas into the a/c and blow it front to back from the a/c, no smells anywhere else (closet, under a/c, bathroom).There must be a way it's pulling from the exhaust vent pipe, since I added a 2 foot extension and the problem stopped immediately (can't drive down the road that way). For the naysayers, it's hard to argue it can't happen, standing there with the a/c blowing in my face, flush the toilet and instant stink coming from the a/c , not from the toilet or bath area, and I mean instant, like a shot out of a cannon. If I shut off the a/c and flush nothing smells, wait 3 minutes and start the a/c up again and clear air.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:20 PM   #17
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Just a wild guess, maybe you have a leak in the vent pipe in the small "attic" space between ceiling and roof. A/C may be pulling from vent in the same area? Or the bad gasket on the vent allows fumes to go into this space above ceiling.?
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:24 PM   #18
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Also, if you think the wind is causing this, maybe you could try parking the trailer in another space with the wind from the front? I had a sob motorhome that would pull fumes into it from a vent pipe close to the bath ceiling vent. The fix was a gadget on the vent pipe that turned with the wind so vent fumes could not go into skylight vent.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:55 PM   #19
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Also, if you think the wind is causing this, maybe you could try parking the trailer in another space with the wind from the front? I had a sob motorhome that would pull fumes into it from a vent pipe close to the bath ceiling vent. The fix was a gadget on the vent pipe that turned with the wind so vent fumes could not go into skylight vent.
Actually that gadget made it so the wind could not blow into the tank to pressurize it.

Sounds like you need to check that sewer vent pipe cover gasket.

Close to or even with the top of the vent should be right if you have the same type of vent that is on my trailer, the vent is only about 3" high on mine.
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