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Old 09-17-2018, 04:12 PM   #1
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terrible smell in coach when dumping grey tank

Hi, we have a 2018 Intent - 26 foot - and when ever we dump the grey tank, we get a terrible odor inside the coach and I mean terrible!! We are guessing the odor comes from the black tank but we do not dump the black tank when the odor occurs. We only dump the grey tank. We have tried dumping the black first, then the grey, the grey first then the black, the black only ( no odor when we do this ). We only get the odor inside when we dump the grey only. We checked all traps and all have water in them. We are confused....please help!!
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:48 PM   #2
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Do any of the drains use an air admittance valve for the vent? These are usually found near the drain and are also known as redi-vent or sure vent. They are a one way valve used to let air in when a regular vent pipe can't be used. One symptom of ones that have gone bad is odor.
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Old 09-17-2018, 05:16 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Both the kitchen sink and bathroom sink use this valve. I did notice an odor under the bathroom sink when I checked it so it seems this may be the problem. Can a person plug this vent until I can find a replacement? Also, is it possible that the bathroom sink drains into the black tank since it is located directly above the black tank. If this is the case - how can one check? Also, if the bathroom sink drains into the black tank, why the odor when I dump the grey tank. I am totally confused on this whole deal.
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Old 09-17-2018, 05:24 PM   #4
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I wouldn't expect a sink to drain into the black tank but anything is possible. Grey tanks can have an objectionable odor too so I think you are smelling the grey tank. There should be a regular roof vent on the grey tank. I wonder if it might be blocked forcing one of the admittance valves to be acting as the vent. As this is a 2018 I would expect it to still be under warranty. If it is I would let the dealer handle it. Otherwise you should be able to get a replacement valve to try at any big box home center.
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Old 09-17-2018, 05:41 PM   #5
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It seems strange, but gray tank odors can be equally as bad as black. I guess it's rotting food particles, etc. Sounds to me like your vent pipe may be blocked. Sometimes a poorly-installed vent pipe can drop down into the tank and cause it to be blocked. On a new RV, I'd have the dealer figure out the problem.
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harmsal View Post
Hi, we have a 2018 Intent - 26 foot - and when ever we dump the grey tank, we get a terrible odor inside the coach and I mean terrible!! We are guessing the odor comes from the black tank but we do not dump the black tank when the odor occurs. We only dump the grey tank. We have tried dumping the black first, then the grey, the grey first then the black, the black only ( no odor when we do this ). We only get the odor inside when we dump the grey only. We checked all traps and all have water in them. We are confused....please help!!
The sink vents unscrew. Take them off and look at them. The diaphragm may be out of position or jammed. Replacements available in the plumbing department of most of the chains. Do you have a washer or washer prep kit in your rig? Must have water in the trap or a tightly sealed opening to the drain.
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:46 PM   #7
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According to an RV Repair Club vid, the most common cause of odor is grey tank with defective sure vent, installed because plumbing design not able to route to roof. Simple replacement, so the vid says. Usually screws off but sometimes doofus factory glues on. Then looking at hacksaw, new ABS or PCV pipe section, new coupling, new glue/screw fitting, etc. - and new sure valve.
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Old 09-23-2018, 01:30 AM   #8
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In addition to replacing the bathroom Sure-Vent, I also replaced the old vent caps on the roof with the newer 360-Vent. The grey tank odor in my 2016 Minnie Winne 27Q hasn't completely disappeared, but its much less frequent now. Interestingly, now that I've dumped and rinsed both tanks in preparation for winter storage, the odor is creeping back again. Go figure.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:03 AM   #9
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Helped some

Thanks, I did purchase two 360 vents but not have installed yet. Still on the road. We did try the following and it seemed to help. We closed all the drains and sealed the shower drain before dumping. This all but eliminated the odor....still a little odor but really helped. When we drain the grey tank, it must be sucking the traps dry.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harmsal View Post
Thanks, I did purchase two 360 vents but not have installed yet. Still on the road. We did try the following and it seemed to help. We closed all the drains and sealed the shower drain before dumping. This all but eliminated the odor....still a little odor but really helped. When we drain the grey tank, it must be sucking the traps dry.
We keep the grey tank open when parked with full hookups. Also, I make a water trap in the drain hose to help keep sewer gasses and bugs from getting into my tank.
When you get ready to travel, put some backing soda dissolved in hot water into the tank with some extra water. I use a coffee mug full of backing soda. This helps 'sweeten' the tank.
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Old 09-24-2018, 06:44 PM   #11
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Try dumping the grey tank slower-just open valve part way. For us it takes a little longer but has helped till we get home and check it out more.
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Old 09-26-2018, 05:19 PM   #12
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By the way, I do believe that on some motorhomes the bathroom sink does indeed drain into the black tank. The rationale is that the black tank often does not get used enough to keep plenty of water in it compared to the gray tank, so adding the bathroom sink "evens them out" a little.
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Old 09-26-2018, 06:02 PM   #13
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The bathroom sink in my Vectra empties into the black water tank. The shower and washer empty into the back grey water tank and the kitchen sink and dishwasher empty into the front grey water tank.
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Old 09-26-2018, 06:09 PM   #14
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We have tried dumping the black first, then the grey,
I know you’re testing to eliminate the smell, but you should always dump the black tank first THEN the gray tank to wash out any remaining sewage in the dump hose.
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Old 09-26-2018, 06:14 PM   #15
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My bath room sink drains to the black tank. And another possible reason for odor is the vent pipe is contacting the bottom of the tank.

LEN
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Old 09-26-2018, 06:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harmsal View Post
Thanks, I did purchase two 360 vents but not have installed yet. Still on the road. We did try the following and it seemed to help. We closed all the drains and sealed the shower drain before dumping. This all but eliminated the odor....still a little odor but really helped. When we drain the grey tank, it must be sucking the traps dry.

The traps should not be sucked dry if the main tank vent is functioning correctly. Makes me wonder if it is clogged or not installed correctly into the tank.
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Old 09-26-2018, 07:19 PM   #17
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Yes, many bathroom sinks drain into the black tank. My Itasca Spirit 27qp does. The grey tank may not be vented to the outside, I'm sure mine isn't and relies on the valves under the sink to equalize pressure when draining, but this should be only taking air from the coach and putting it into the tank, not the opposite. My vote goes for the faulty trap/valve in your sink(s).
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Old 09-26-2018, 09:25 PM   #18
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I read somewhere a few months ago - could have been on this site or another - that an owner discovered a plugged vent to the roof was primarily responsible for his rig's tank odor issues. As someone who has some house plumbing knowledge, I know that waste tanks must be vented to work properly, whether via under-the-cabinet Sure-Vents, or roof vents. So all possibilities have to be checked.
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Old 09-27-2018, 06:47 AM   #19
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Something that can help with tank odors is Happy Camper. It's a product that you put in your tanks and it helps keep solids and food particles dissolved so they don't stay in the tanks.

We had some odors from the tanks, especially the grey, and it helped greatly with this.

We used it mostly because the sensors on our 2004 Itasca did not work accurately. Empty the tanks when you leave a CG and add this. You need water in the black tank anyway. While driving the water swishes around and works on the debris in the tank.

Fill both tanks when you get to the next CG and empty your tanks again. This is what I did and for the first time my sensors read correctly. Odors were completely gone.

In the grey tank slime from the kitchen sink gets on the sensors and clouds them causing the problem. I add Happy Camper to my tanks every time we empty them to keep things dissolved and plenty of water in the black tank.

Good Luck
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Old 09-27-2018, 09:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harmsal View Post
Hi, we have a 2018 Intent - 26 foot - and when ever we dump the grey tank, we get a terrible odor inside the coach and I mean terrible!! We are guessing the odor comes from the black tank but we do not dump the black tank when the odor occurs. We only dump the grey tank. We have tried dumping the black first, then the grey, the grey first then the black, the black only ( no odor when we do this ). We only get the odor inside when we dump the grey only. We checked all traps and all have water in them. We are confused....please help!!
I hope we are not overwhelming you with all this help. I see nothing but good folks reaching out to you with good information.

The restricted vent idea is a good one. Mud dobbers are know to cause problems for RVers in many unexpected places.

I suggest removing the vent caps on the roof. Pour hot water down each. This will help soften the mud, if any. Securely tie a rag on the end of a stiff, long, wire and run it down each vent. This should clear any obstructions or potential ones.

If you put a mark at the approximate distance you expect to go to get into the tank this will eliminate confusion or misjudgment when feeding the wire in. It might be good to have your tanks empty and clean as practical before you start.
Hope you find the smell problem soon.
Rick
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