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Old 10-07-2007, 02:57 AM   #1
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Periodically the DW and I will smell an odor in the coach that may be either the black water or grey water tank (or something else). Sometimes it is strong and sometimes just subtle and sometimes not at all. The frequency puzzles me as sometimes the grey water tank is full, sometimes empty, and sometimes in the middle. The black water tank is usually never more than 2/3 so I'm not sure about that as the source.

Does anyone have any suggestions or have any history with a problem like this? Sometimes it seems that the odor starts in the bedroom around the washer/dryer but it's hard to pinpoint. We are currently in a site long term that has no sewer connection so we are letting the tanks get pretty full then dump with a portable tank so I don't think there's any clog issues. Isn't there a P trap in the coach sewer system to prevent odors like this?

We have tried both the commercial (Thetford) non-formaldehyde tank treatment and Pine Sol with the same results. I have considered buying one of those odor eliminator fittings for the sewage vent but would rather determine the source of the problem than treat the symptom.

Any ideas will be gratefully accepted.
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Old 10-07-2007, 02:57 AM   #2
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Periodically the DW and I will smell an odor in the coach that may be either the black water or grey water tank (or something else). Sometimes it is strong and sometimes just subtle and sometimes not at all. The frequency puzzles me as sometimes the grey water tank is full, sometimes empty, and sometimes in the middle. The black water tank is usually never more than 2/3 so I'm not sure about that as the source.

Does anyone have any suggestions or have any history with a problem like this? Sometimes it seems that the odor starts in the bedroom around the washer/dryer but it's hard to pinpoint. We are currently in a site long term that has no sewer connection so we are letting the tanks get pretty full then dump with a portable tank so I don't think there's any clog issues. Isn't there a P trap in the coach sewer system to prevent odors like this?

We have tried both the commercial (Thetford) non-formaldehyde tank treatment and Pine Sol with the same results. I have considered buying one of those odor eliminator fittings for the sewage vent but would rather determine the source of the problem than treat the symptom.

Any ideas will be gratefully accepted.
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Old 10-07-2007, 03:49 AM   #3
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We have a 40AD and found odors coming from under the bathroom sink. The odors were primarily from the sewer hose stored below. We did two things: 1) replaced the sewer hose and 2) built a wood shelf to go under the sink and cover the gaping hole around the plumbing.

If your odors are coming from your washer you may need to replace the relief valve on the plumbing near the washer connections. There is a relief valve under the sink as well. If they are not working properly, grey water odors will come into the coach.
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Old 10-07-2007, 04:58 AM   #4
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Sometimes these smells come from the stand pipe behind the washer-drier. The washer-drier drains into an open stand pipe. Down a bit from the open end is a small P trap which prevents odors from the gray tank from venting into the room. However, this P trap sometimes empties out when you dump your gray tank. If you are draining lots of water sometimes the roof vent can't keep up with it so erxtra air gets pulled into the tank through the stand pipe, which empties the P trap. Then you get smells shortly thereafter. To fix this you just need to add some water to the stand pipe. On my 2004 Allegro Bus I could just pour some in from a small measuring cup but on out 2007 I'd have to remove lots of shelving to get at it. If this now happens we just put the washer into a quick "fill" mode for maybe 20 seconds then cancel it. Then set it to "spin" and everything drains out. Within 2 minutes you have water back in the P trap and no more odors.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:12 AM   #5
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From past experience we second Cruzer's comment.

One quart of water in the W/D drum and then SPIN does the trick.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:19 AM   #6
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On many (all?) RVs there are vacuum breakers installed on stubs on the drain lines under the sinks.
This opens to allow air to enter if there is a vacuum that tries to suck the water out of the traps. It has a rubber flap and if it doesn't seal after opening, a sewer odor will hang around under the sink area until it does.

If one needs replacement it is usually pretty easy to do. They screw onto the stub and can usually be removed by hand. Replacements can be found at Home Depot or Lowes.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:49 AM   #7
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I also have a similar situation that we have been trying to find the source of for days. Thanks to this forum, it appears my source is a bad battery and/or converter. Would still be looking if not for the great posts here.
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Old 10-07-2007, 06:16 AM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions...I'll let you know what we find out. Sounds like the "quick fill" method for the washer/dryer might do the trick.
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:50 PM   #9
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Don't forget another very simple possibility ...we had a rash of odors a week or so ago. When I put all three roof vents to pull air out rather than two pulling out and one turned off to allow air in, the odor problem went away.

Depending on where your roof-top vent is located, you can sometimes suck odor-filled air in through one of your roof vents, when parked or when driving. Due to location of our tank vent and our rear-most roof vent, if we leave our rear-most vent open while driving, we will often get tank odors in the coach. I put an Extreme Vent on the tank vent pipe and that is now less likely to happen, but still can on occasion depending on wind direction and strength.
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:58 PM   #10
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We had the beginnings of an "odor attack" this afternoon and immediately ran some water through the washer and the smell died right away. I believe you all made the correct deductions. Thank you all!
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