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Old 08-12-2016, 06:04 PM   #1
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Another stinky black tank post : (

Hello-

So I have a 2011 Fleetwood Storm. Every time we flush the toilet in the past couple of weeks, we get an extremely stinky smell throughout the coach. It's strong enough where one flush fills the coach almost immediately. It's getting to the point where my wife has to leave the coach because the smell is that bad and we're having a very difficult time getting the smell OUT of the coach with all the fans and windows open.

I've tried:

1) dumping the tank, filling with 2 gallons of water, dropping the green deordorizer tab in.

2) Running the sani flush for a couple of hours with the knife valve open. I can hear the water running into the tank.

What else can I do? When I open the toilet flapper/flush valve (whatever it's called) and I look straight down with a flashlight, I see brown, smelly water (sorry to be descriptive) that seems to be just standing there. These toilets (I assume?) don't have P traps so I assume I'm looking straight down into the black tank? Should I just be looking at empty tank with the knife valve open?

Any advice appreciated. We're camping for 3 days and I don't want a divorce : )
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:09 PM   #2
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I would think there's a venting problem. Maybe the vent on the roof is blocked?
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:41 PM   #3
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I would think there's a venting problem. Maybe the vent on the roof is blocked?
Will check. How do I know if it is blocked? If it was, I assume I would have other issues like water not flowing properly down the drains?
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:52 PM   #4
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You don't have any of your roof vent fans running when you flush do you? That's the fastest way to get tank smells into your RV....don't ask me how I know.

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Old 08-12-2016, 06:56 PM   #5
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You don't have any of your roof vent fans running when you flush do you? That's the fastest way to get tank smells into your RV....don't ask me how I know.

Lori-
Actually I do as I'm trying to rid the smell in the coach. But that makes sense in that the fans are creating a slight negative pressure in the coach, sucking air up through the toilet opening during the flush cycle.

In the future, I'm definitely going to turn the fans OFF during the flush cycle, then back ON when the toilet is done flushing.
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:57 PM   #6
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I would think there's a venting problem. Maybe the vent on the roof is blocked?
I went up on the roof and took a look at the "weather vane" type vent I have. I was able to pull of the top and look straight down the vent with a flashlight to the surface water of either my grey or black tank....can't tell which one. No blockage.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:23 PM   #7
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Instead of running water through the tank try dumping around a quarter to half tank's worth of water into it with a suitable load of detergent. Let it sit for a few hours then top off with water and dump the tank. Re fill it and dump again. That should get out a lot of stuff. The binder is usually grease the detergent will break down with a bit of a soak.

I would camp at a site with full hook ups for that endeavor. Take along some extra garden hose to do the fill and flush. ;-)
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Old 08-12-2016, 08:44 PM   #8
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Instead of running water through the tank try dumping around a quarter to half tank's worth of water into it with a suitable load of detergent. Let it sit for a few hours then top off with water and dump the tank. Re fill it and dump again. That should get out a lot of stuff. The binder is usually grease the detergent will break down with a bit of a soak.

I would camp at a site with full hook ups for that endeavor. Take along some extra garden hose to do the fill and flush. ;-)
Laundry detergent huh? Hadn't read that one. I'll give that a try next time.

I FINALLY fixed the problem after filling the tank then dumping about 6 times until the water ran clear. There must have been some serious muck in that tank.
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Old 08-12-2016, 09:56 PM   #9
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Laundry detergent huh? Hadn't read that one. I'll give that a try next time.

I FINALLY fixed the problem after filling the tank then dumping about 6 times until the water ran clear. There must have been some serious muck in that tank.
I'm guessing a build up of solids in the tank because of the Sanicon not flowing as fast as it would just dumping full throttle through the big slinky. The old stuff does get pretty ripe if not flushed out frequently. Glad you got it cleaned out.
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Old 08-12-2016, 11:02 PM   #10
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I'm guessing a build up of solids in the tank because of the Sanicon not flowing as fast as it would just dumping full throttle through the big slinky. The old stuff does get pretty ripe if not flushed out frequently. Glad you got it cleaned out.
Thanks. I think part of it is rookie error, too. I don't think I put nearly enough water back into the black tank after dumping and that guck just accumulated at the bottom of the tank with not enough standing water in there for between the dumps time period.
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:27 PM   #11
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Thanks. I think part of it is rookie error, too. I don't think I put nearly enough water back into the black tank after dumping and that guck just accumulated at the bottom of the tank with not enough standing water in there for between the dumps time period.
They call that the black dome! If you have your black tank open at the camp grounds, it will just sit there and build up! It is much better to have liquid and fill up before dumping. I also always let the grey tank fill up as well to really help flush out the black tank. The best fitting you can get is a clear elbow so you can see how clear the black tank is. Also in a prior Motorhome, it had this build up, and I put some water and a couple bags of ice with Dawn dishwasher soap, and it broke it up. I saw this on earlier posts. Regards
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:37 AM   #12
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The chemical additives, "breaks down waste and paper", don't usually sit long enough in a tank to do much. If you have to, use a garden hose and nozzle down the toilet to break things up. If you leave your black tank dump valve open, the water runs out and solidd build up. Keep the tank valve closed unless dumping. Flush it twice to add water. Clean flush it two or three times to leave water in the bottom after dumping it to prevent solids build up.
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:25 PM   #13
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What about that thingy under the bathroom lavatory, I forget what it's called, but it has to do with venting the black tank?
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Old 08-14-2016, 06:28 PM   #14
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I err on the side of being overly cautious because I don't want any buildup in the black tank. Before we head out on a trip I dump a bag of ice down the toilet and let it slosh around as we drive. Then the ice has a chance to break up any solids.

When we flush solids we follow up with an extra flush of water to keep the liquid/solid ratio high. I want to make sure the black tank is more liquid than sludge.

After dumping I always add a few gallons of water along with fabric softener and Borax detergent booster.

Putting ice in before heading out on a trip probably doesn't do anything but it gives me peace of mind.

We also keep the fan off when flushing the toilet. Learned the hard way on that one. Actually, we've learned the hard way on many things.
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