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Old 10-30-2020, 01:42 PM   #1
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2019 16' Sport
Vista , California
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Cool Do I have a problem? Black tank smells in wardrobe...

First, we have a 2019 16' Bambi sport...with a 23 gallon combo black/grey holding tank. On day 2 of a recent trip we experienced some very unpleasant blank tank odor in the rear (where the bed is) and in the wardrobe; the smell was strongest in the wardrobe. I dumped the tank; did a wash out and added 8 oz of AquaKem treatment. The odor did dissipate and by the next day it was mostly gone but still present in the wardrobe. There was no odor in the bathroom.

The campground had full hookups so we used the A/C once for about 2 hours; it was right after this that the odor made itself known.

So, do I have a plumbing problem, a fan/vent use problem or just one of those things that come and go? Just as an FYI, we are home now and the black tank odor is no longer lingering anywhere in the AS.

Thanks everyone.
Gary
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Old 10-30-2020, 01:59 PM   #2
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There is a vent pipe that may or not be hidden in the wall, that goes from the tank to the roof. If the vent pipe is obstructed, that could cause issues. Take off the cap and see if you can take a long piece of something and confirm the pipe is clear.

Another member had this same problem, and in their case it was discovered that two pieces of that vent pipe in the wall were not glued at the factory, and separated...essentially venting in to the void between the bath and closet walls rather than the roof. A way to test for a similar problem would be to have plenty of water in the waste tank, and in the toilet bowl. Close the sink and shower stoppers and tape them up well to seal them. Take a shop vac and seal it over the rooftop vent, preferably in 'blower' mode. The vacuum should quickly start to whine, like when you obstruct the hose. If it does not, there is a compromise somewhere...a hole in the tank near the top, or the vent pipe broken/disconnected at tank connection; or the vent pipe itself not connected somewhere. Another way to test would be to seal the vacuum in blower mode, over the outside dump pipe (with tank empty and dump valve open and drains sealed as before). Then check to see if air is blowing out that top vent, and if it is, cover the vent with your hands and the vacuum should start to 'whine'. If no air is coming out, that could indicated a compromise in the vent system as well.
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Old 10-30-2020, 04:20 PM   #3
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It is also possible it is one of the inline sewer line vacuum vents, which by the way could foil the vacuum test trick as they open with vacuum in the sewer lines. There will be one of these in each of the sewer lines so usually one by the shower and one on the other side of the trailer if there are sinks on that side. If the spring loaded flapper gets stuck open you will have the experience you described.
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Old 10-30-2020, 04:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
It is also possible it is one of the inline sewer line vacuum vents, which by the way could foil the vacuum test trick as they open with vacuum in the sewer lines. There will be one of these in each of the sewer lines so usually one by the shower and one on the other side of the trailer if there are sinks on that side. If the spring loaded flapper gets stuck open you will have the experience you described.
Aaaaaahhhh the air admittance valves...Completely didn't think of that! Good call, on both the possible impact on my test idea...and the fact that this could be their problem.


So if the smell reappears...how to test? Cover and seal up the valve (probably the one for the bathroom sink since that's the one near the smell) with a plastic bag and see if the smell dissipates?
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Old 10-30-2020, 06:22 PM   #5
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There's a good Idea!
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Old 10-31-2020, 03:04 AM   #6
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If you leave the drain plug out of the shower drain while traveling and have anything in the tank "it" (liquid or gas) can burp up into your shower pan. The p-trap will stop most of it, but even a little is whew!●☆ And adding a screen to that drain to catch hair really helps the p-trap stay clear.
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Old 10-31-2020, 07:24 AM   #7
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I donít know if this is common to your trailer but on my trailer the tank flush line has a backflow preventer in it which is located under the bathroom sink. If anything pulls a vacuum on the trailer like a vent fan, driving down the road, or the AC, air is pulled down the tank vent, through the tank, and out of the backflow valve into the trailer. My trailer didnít have this problem but the tank flush didnít work because the nozzle was stopped up. When I changed the dump valves I pulled the nozzle and cleaned it out. The flush started working but the odor problem started.

I havenít done this yet, but others have claimed success by replacing the backflow preventer with an elbow fitting and adding a backflow preventer where the flush hose hooks up.
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Old 10-31-2020, 02:22 PM   #8
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Black Tank Smell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airlock View Post
First, we have a 2019 16' Bambi sport...with a 23 gallon combo black/grey holding tank. On day 2 of a recent trip we experienced some very unpleasant blank tank odor in the rear (where the bed is) and in the wardrobe; the smell was strongest in the wardrobe. I dumped the tank; did a wash out and added 8 oz of AquaKem treatment. The odor did dissipate and by the next day it was mostly gone but still present in the wardrobe. There was no odor in the bathroom.

The campground had full hookups so we used the A/C once for about 2 hours; it was right after this that the odor made itself known.

So, do I have a plumbing problem, a fan/vent use problem or just one of those things that come and go? Just as an FYI, we are home now and the black tank odor is no longer lingering anywhere in the AS.

Thanks everyone.
Gary
Did you use any blank tank deodorant chemical in your black tank and did you flush your black tank after you emptied it with fresh water? If not, then this is all you will need to do. Add One gallon of fresh water to your toilet and flush it along with blank tank deodorizer or packet of deodorizer. That should solve your smell issue. NEVER store your trailer with poo and or urine in the tank especially if it is going to be for a long period of time without a minimum of one gallon of fresh water and toilet deodorant chemical.
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Old 10-31-2020, 04:26 PM   #9
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Yes, we use black tank deodorant before use and again after the black tank wash out. We have not had an black tank odor issue in the past. This was a first.
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Old 10-31-2020, 04:27 PM   #10
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Thanks for your reply. We always have the shower plug in place, except of course, when taking a shower.
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Old 10-31-2020, 04:33 PM   #11
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Thank you Peter and Brian. I've looked at my owners manual but no diagram of the waste water plumbing system. I've also looked around up on the roof and there are no vent pipes coming out through the roof. The only things that go thru the roof are the fantastic fan and the ventilator fan for the bathroom. Of course the TV antenna and the factory mounted solar connections are on the roof (and the AC).

I've also had no luck with an internet search for a waste water plumbing diagram for the 16' bambi sport but zero, zilch, nada turn up.
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Old 10-31-2020, 04:56 PM   #12
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The parts manual online will have the sewer diagrams. on their website under owners - product manuals. Looking at it, it shows two air admittance valves. One on the side of the shower toward the toilet and the other in back of the Galley sink.

There is also a back flow preventer on the shower drain. That is a good call since the tank is a combined tank. Don't want any nasty floaters showing up in the shower if you overfill the tank.....
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Old 10-31-2020, 05:37 PM   #13
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Smell

Had a smell in my closet and thought it was one of the waste tank so I cleaned the tanks really well and it left for a few days and was right back. It even set the carbon Monoxide alarm off three or four time. Finally I realized it was a propane leak under the cabinet. Really small leak but enough to have a terrible odor. Iíd make sure I wasnít barking up the wrong tree and be looking for the smell in the wrong place. Get someone with a gas leak detector.
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Old 11-01-2020, 12:15 PM   #14
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Brian, thanks for the link to the parts manual. It has a lot of good info! Re: Drain system plumbing diagram: The Sport 16' has only one air valve and it's at the top of the sink plumbing stack, the Sport 22 has two air valves...we have the Sport 16. The diagram for the Sport 16' shows a through roof vent stack from the combo grey/black water tank on the SS in the toilet/shower compartment. I've looked up on the roof and I cannot, try as I may, find a vent pipe coming up through the roof on the SS, or any side, of the Sport 16.

But, I'm going to go out now and take a look under the sink and get out the ladder to take one last look at the roof for the through roof vent stack shown on the diagram.

Thanks again

Gary
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Old 11-01-2020, 01:34 PM   #15
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Brian,
I found the vent pipe that goes through the roof from the black/grey tank. This is for the portion of the tank that the toilet flushes into. I also found the air admittance value on the sink plumbing (which is on the CS of the AS). I unscrewed it and looked at it; and shook it; and tapped it with a wrench. This little unit is most likely to be the cause of the sewer gas smell due to where the smell was detected (in the wardrobe next to the galley and on the CS of the bedroom).

So, I am off to buy a replacement valve and install it thinking this is the fix for the problem.
Thanks to all for your trouble shooting and guidance on what to look for and how to deal with it.

Gary
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Old 11-01-2020, 04:07 PM   #16
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Keep us posted!
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Old 11-02-2020, 06:19 PM   #17
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If you were unable to buy a replacement, you often can clean up the seal area if the valve seems functional and it will work nicely again. I think you are right it was coming from the air valve. Good to hear you found the vent.
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Old 11-08-2020, 02:55 PM   #18
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Air Admittance Valve

I'm still waiting for the air admittance valve (AS Part# 602306) to show up at my local AS dealer. They didn't have the part but did find one at another AS dealer who is sending to my local AS dealer. For a small piece of ABS plastic it's kinda pricey: $35, but for what it does it's priceless.

For any readers not having actually ever seen one of these valves, here are some photos:

First photo is the valve itself, second photo shows the underside of the valve with female threads and the third photo shows the stack under the sink where I unscrewed it from. I opted to get the part directly from AS because all of the other replacement valves I looked at were male threaded. There are no moving parts, just a thin flexible diaphragm that lets air in or seals it out of the plumbing depending on whether the air pressure in the AS and the plumbing system is positive or negative.

As soon as I get the new part and install it I'll let everyone know how it worked (or didn't). Thanks all.

Gary
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Old 11-08-2020, 03:41 PM   #19
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Hi. Just because I happen to be working on my bath sink. You can see the old air vent in the missing sink pic. And a new valve I picked up at Lowes or HomeDepot, dont remember, for less than $10. It's the same as the original valve. I dont believe I have a problem with my 17-year old valve. Just preventative maintenance while I'm rebuilding the sink assembly.
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Old 11-09-2020, 09:29 AM   #20
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Same Problem in 27' FB

Here's my thread from 2016 on this problem in our 2014 27' FB FC: https://www.airforums.com/forums/f16...be-155780.html

In our case, this eventually lead us to the Black Tank flush system. The vacuum breaker for that system is just behind a small knee-wall in the wardrobe, thus the smell only in that compartment.

Time has prevented me from going in there and changing that breaker to a solid elbow, but the workaround we devised mostly keeps the stink out. I'm planning on re-plumbing that system this winter.

Randy
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