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Old 06-30-2016, 09:36 PM   #1
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Gray Water Tank Smell from Wash Machine Area

We have a 2016 Winnebago Sightseer 33c (Itasca Sunova 33c). We choose to get the washer/dryer option. The 33c has a slide out that runs ¾ the length of the unit. The washer dryer is at rear of the slide-out near the bedroom. We purchased the unit at the end of February but didn’t really start using it until we embarked on a four month trip the middle of May.

About three weeks ago, we started noticing the odor given off that smell like the grey water tank. We noticed it when we run the ceiling vent fan and when we drive. Sometimes when driving it can get really bad and permeates the RV. I crack the ceiling vent open and it really helps. While it keeps much (but not all) of the smell out of the front of the RV, you can really smell it from in the back. I couldn’t pin it down at first, but it is coming from the washer/dryer closet.

Given that the washer/dryer is installed in the slide out, it has no contact with the floor of the unit, just the floor of the slide-out which is above the unit floor. To me, this means that there is some sort of flexible hose that runs from the washer to the grey water tank. As long as we are stationary, there is really no odor unless the ceiling vent fan is running.

I know there are other units out there other than the 33c’s with washers in the slide out and was wondering if anyone else is having this problem?

Unless I can figure out what is wrong and correct it, I will have it repaired when I return home. I have already wasted time dealing with issues while on the road. Of all the problems we are having, this one is really making it tough to enjoy our trip.

Thanks
Ed
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:41 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear about your problem.
Sounds as though the washer drain is either not "trapped" properly. Or the pressure differential is great enough that the trap empties itself or evaporates quickly.
It's not hard to imagine the vast pressure difference between cabin pressure and the sanitary vent on the roof at 60 mph. As you noted with the ceiling vent a negative pressure thing.


Plus, grey tanks can get rather offensive in warm weather. Until you're able to get a permanent plumbing solution, I'd suggest closing that gray valve more often letting that grey tank fill up more with washer water, shower, maybe some grey tank deodorant. Flush it well.


Please let us know how it's resolved.
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:01 AM   #3
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After I wrote the e-mail, I looked at the whole set-up a little closer. The arrangement is like this (from left to right). There is the washer/dryer in a tight cabinet (washer on the bottom), the frig, a cook top with drawers under it, then the sink. I looked under the sink and pulled up part of the sub-floor up.

What I noticed is that there is a PVC pipe that runs about 27”-28” above the floor behind from the washer, behind the frig, stove and drawers where it is attached to 45 degree elbow with another piece of PVC pipe attached to that. The PVC terminates under the sink and is attached to a flexible piece of hose which I assume runs into the grey water tank.

It appears the washer has a pump that pumps the water up the 27’-28” to the PVC pipe. If that is the case, there must be excess hose behind the washer to allow for the washer to be connected to the PVC pipe while the washer is out of the cabinet (something probably like flexable dryer vent pipe). In the cabinet, there is probably about ½- ¾ inch on either side of the washer and no rear or side access to the back. The hose could be kinked, though the washer seems to drain well. I don’t know if there is type of vent behind the washer.

I’m not sure what the culprit is, but it stinks.



I will let you know but it may not be until fall. We get home September.
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:35 AM   #4
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Well perhaps we follow your schematic. So did you notice a p-trap in the PVC washer line prior to it Y'ing into the hose with the sink drain? Bet the sink drain has a P-trap on it? The holding tanks are typically vented on the other side of these traps
That washer discharge hose more than likely just hooks onto the top on the vertical PVC stand pipe. If you can get to it, you might try a small foam donut seal there.
Similar to the stinky slinky seal on the CG sewer connection only smaller. Might slow it down.
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:18 AM   #5
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I have been researching this subject since I am installing my own washer and dryer in our 33C. Washer instructions say not to seal the drain hose to the stand pipe due to siphoning and there is no trap in the washer drain system in the MH. If it is installed that way there is nothing to keep the smell from venting out of the gray tank. It is recommended to install a Y branch tail piece to connect the washer hose to the drain pipe and use an Air gap kit to prevent siphoning. The other option would be to cut into the washer drain behind the sink area and add a trap of some sort.
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:24 AM   #6
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Ed, I tried to look at your plumbing diagrams and it appears that Winnie hasn't published the 2016 diagrams yet. However, there are plumbing diagrams for the 2015 33c which is probably the same.

If you look at page 3 of the diagrams, detail CD shows the washer drain setup. It has a p-trap and also a vacuum breaker back there. I would be most suspicious of the vacuum breaker - either defective or possibly didn't even get installed. If that breaker is stuck open or missing, you have an open line to the grey tank. Either way, you'll probably have to pull out the washer to check it.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:43 PM   #7
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ed rzepka, here is the drawing looking from the outside at the washer drain. Have you ran the washer to get water into the P-trap? As mentioned above if you do have water in the P-Trap it could be a bad or missing vacuum breaker. And yes the washer has a pump that pumps the water up and out just like you washer at home.
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:34 PM   #8
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Thanks for your replies. First of all, this is not my area of expertise. Any plumbing I’ve done is with step by step instructions.

I remembered the diagrams on the Winnie Website in while lying in bed last night. I now have looked at them. They didn’t give me a full understanding of what was behind the washer. I read at the installation manual and it did help my understanding. Short of pulling out the unit, (I won’t while on the road and while the unit is still under warranty), I will probably will not be able to do much about the situation and will have dealer look at it when
I return along with all the other things – seems like every week I find at least one new item.


By the way, I do have a vent under the kitchen sink.



As I was writing my response, Grant sent a drawing of the plumbing set-up which put the final touches in my mind on what things look like. Where did you find that drawing? Are there more of other areas on the unit?



Randy: I’m curious, since washer/dryer cabinet is so tight, how much drain hose did you use? Did you coil it?



Yesterday, I did run an empty cycle with just water and some bleach to see if it would help clear things up. After the washer fully cycled through and shut off, I turned on the ceiling exhaust fan and didn’t smell anything. We’ll see Tuesday when we are on the road again.



Thanks again for your replies. It is amazing the expertise in this forum and that people are willing to take the time to write.



ed
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Old 07-01-2016, 10:01 PM   #9
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ed rzepka, here is the link to the 3D parts catalog. It is a bit of a pain to get it to work. I have found it will run on my desktop, Windows 7 Pro, and Explorer 11 running in compatibility mode. You will also have to load the driver.
Parts Catalog
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Old 07-01-2016, 10:05 PM   #10
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I believe you will find that the drain hose is inserted into the drain line to deeply. The hose breaks the water seal that is created by trap. This allows tank gas to seep into drain hose into the washer and out to your RV. Pull the drain hose up/out of the drain pipe so it is above trap level. Mine was secured to the back side of cabinet by a flanged clamp I loosened the clamp to adjust, retighten when I was done to keep in place. No more orders.

Safe travels
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Old 07-01-2016, 11:59 PM   #11
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"Yesterday, I did run an empty cycle with just water and some bleach to see if it would help clear things up. After the washer fully cycled through and shut off, I turned on the ceiling exhaust fan and didn’t smell anything. We’ll see Tuesday when we are on the road again."


FWIW, I thought of that last evening, surely you are doing that to your washer periodically. These new HE washers will get pretty ripe without those routine sanitizing cycles weekly.
Any of the suggestions I made were purely temporary travel odor control until you could schedule actual repairs.
Best of luck.
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grtharris View Post
ed rzepka, here is the link to the 3D parts catalog. It is a bit of a pain to get it to work. I have found it will run on my desktop, Windows 7 Pro, and Explorer 11 running in compatibility mode. You will also have to load the driver.
Parts Catalog
Thanks, I'll definitely look into that when we get home in September and have better internet service.
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eimerman View Post
I believe you will find that the drain hose is inserted into the drain line to deeply. The hose breaks the water seal that is created by trap. This allows tank gas to seep into drain hose into the washer and out to your RV. Pull the drain hose up/out of the drain pipe so it is above trap level. Mine was secured to the back side of cabinet by a flanged clamp I loosened the clamp to adjust, retighten when I was done to keep in place. No more orders.

Safe travels

I assume that you had to remove the dryer to adjust the hose, correct?
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:20 AM   #14
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MtnTrek;3141771
[FONT=Calibri
FWIW, I thought of that last evening, surely you are doing that to your washer periodically. These new HE washers will get pretty ripe without those routine sanitizing cycles weekly. [/FONT]
Any of the suggestions I made were purely temporary travel odor control until you could schedule actual repairs.
Best of luck.

Actually, no. We been out about six weeks so far and do a load of laundry daily. I really didn't think it would be necessary. We also leave the washer door cracked open. I did plan to do sanitize before storage and also drain the water from the by removing the lid to the water pump.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:47 PM   #16
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See if you don't have a vacuum break (air ejector valve) in the plumbing back there. They can stick slightly open, just happened to us under a sink.
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Old 07-10-2016, 05:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deep Water D View Post
See if you don't have a vacuum break (air ejector valve) in the plumbing back there. They can stick slightly open, just happened to us under a sink.
The dryer is mounted on to the washer and somehow fasten to the washer. To check things out, I need to remove the dryer. We are on the road and I hate to start something I can't finish. I removed three screws that that look like they fasten the dryer to the washer but apparently that is only part of it. Can anyone tell me how the dryer is fastened and how to remove it?
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Old 07-13-2016, 10:33 AM   #18
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An update on the “smell”. It seems, for now at least, the smell has disappeared. This seems to coincide with moving to places that have “cooler” temperatures in the low 90s or less. Before, we had daytime temps in the sun of as high in the 120 degrees plus range and nighttime temps in the upper 80s to low 90s.
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
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I agree with plasma800,
I run a scoop of HC through the washer once or twice per year depending on use and have eliminated any grey tank smells. DW even uses it at home every once in a while and claims it keeps the washer smelling fresh.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:55 PM   #20
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Thanks for the HC suggestion, I will have to get some. With exception of one day this trip, we use our washer/dryer everyday. I figured that treatment wouldn't really be necessary (though I did treat is with Clorox once). The only treatment I planned to do was before we put the coach in storage.
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