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Old 08-10-2010, 05:20 PM   #15
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Another preventive measure - after dumping, run water into the sink and shower for a bit, then put standard ol' sink/drain stoppers over the drains. Found that helped a lot. As mentioned earlier, the grey tank frequently smells as bad as the black tank.
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:26 PM   #16
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How can I flush the gray tank? Someone mentioned pouring a gallon of bleach down the drain. Will bleach harm anything in the gray tank? I have tried the RV deodorizer... Didn't do much.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:04 PM   #17
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How can I flush the gray tank? Someone mentioned pouring a gallon of bleach down the drain. Will bleach harm anything in the gray tank? I have tried the RV deodorizer... Didn't do much.
I think it will be hard on the sepic system that it is dumped in (if it is).
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:10 PM   #18
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You can add some bleach to the water but I would not want to add a gallon. Occasionally I will pour a small (1/4 cup) in each drain, let it set for maybe an hour and then flush with plenty of water. I would be concerned with the rubber seals on the drain valves with a gallon of bleach added to the tank. I have also not drained my gray tank and added some bleach ( 1 cup) and driven to our next destination just to stir/shake the mixture around in the tank and then dump.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:11 PM   #19
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How can I flush the gray tank? Someone mentioned pouring a gallon of bleach down the drain. Will bleach harm anything in the gray tank? I have tried the RV deodorizer... Didn't do much.
Oh, no, no. Way too much bleach. You will be running out of your coach with your eyes watering!

VegasDan posted this and this is exactly what the prior owners, of my TT, told me to do:

If your coach is a used coach, you might want to sanitize the fresh water tank, you never know what is in there or how long the old water that is left from the previous owner has sat in there. The process is fairly simple, clorox and water, you can follow these instructions:
Start with a nearly full fresh water tank.

Turn the water heater off and let the water cool.
Dilute 1/4 cup of household bleach for each 15 gallons of tank capacity in to a gallon of water.

Add the chlorine/water solution to the water tank. (Never pour straight bleach into the RV fresh water tank. )

One faucet at a time, let the chlorinated water run through them for one or two minutes. You should be able to smell the chlorine. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)
Top off the RV fresh water tank and let stand for at least three hours over night is better.

Completely drain the system by flushing the faucets for several minutes each. Open the fresh water tank drain valve to speed up emptying the tank.and Open the hot water tank drain plug and drain until it is empty.

Close all valves and faucets and drain plugs.

Fill water tank with fresh water.

Flush each faucet for several minutes each repeating until the tank is again empty. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)

Fill the tank again. The water should now be safe to drink but if the chlorine odor is too strong you can repeat the fresh water flush.

Your RV fresh water system should now be safe for use.

I do this, once a year, and I do not have any smell from my tanks. I also use a filter whenever I fill my tanks as well.

After I dump my tanks I use an additive that can be used in both black and grey tanks. Something like this:
Thetford EcoSmart Holding Tank Additives - Product - Camping World

My rig is 25 years old and I do not get any smell coming from either tank.

Hope this helps.

Sheila
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:53 PM   #20
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:35 PM   #21
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I had the same problem... it only smelled while going down the road. I was sure I needed one of those fancy venturi type caps on the vent pipe but I also new that water wasn't staying in the bowl for very long.
Fixed the flapper seal on the toilet and wow... no more odor going down the road.
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Old 08-20-2010, 05:09 PM   #22
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Another source might be storage of your sewer hose. In my case the sewer compartment has a flexible heater hose coming directly from the furnace to prevent freezing during the winter. Storing a smelly hose in that location was not pleasant. Moving with open widows, as you noted made it worse. I bagged it for awhile and it helped. Moving it to a remote outside carrier fixed it for good.
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:17 AM   #23
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Alll good answers. Here's yet another potential source...
If a slight vacuum is created in the coach by running an exhaust fan without providing adequate feed air by opening a window, sewer gas can be pulled up through the overflow holes in the toilet bowl and lavatory. You may think your toilet bowl does not have an overflow hole, however, it may not be visible without sticking your head down into the bowl. Don't ask me how I know.

Helpful hint: If you would like to verify the presence of an overflow hole under the rim of your toilet bowl but you really, really do not want to stick your head in there, you can simply ask your DH or DW to do it. ...I feel your pain, and I'm glad to be of help.

This "drafting" up through the overflow holes can also happen as the coach is driven down the road with a roof vent cover raised. It creates a low-pressure area behind the vent cover and pulls air up from the interior. Leaving a little "ventilation" relief by cracking the bathroom window solves my problem with this.

Don't you just love all the nuances of living this MH lifestyle??... Good times!!
All the best,
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:35 AM   #24
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There are three sources of "Toilet odor" in most motor homes and not one of them is the toilet or the black tank.

The first is the gray tank.. I know that when I dump the black tank on my rig there is no detectable stink at all.. But when I dump the gray.. That's another story.

Now.. I will add.. Black tank odor if it happens is usually methane.

The one I smell here from time to time is Sulfur Dioxide (Rotten Egg smell) and that comes from one of three thigns.

Fresh water, specifically the hot water.. Either high sulfur water from the campground or bacteria the seem to release sulfur when heated. (That is two things)

Batteires.. The acid in batteries is Sulfuric, If the batteries gas enough you will smell it, the freed sulfur will combine with oxygen to form "Essence of Rotten Egg"

Most people mistake this for sewer odor.
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:20 AM   #25
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I place a ziplock bag of water over the shower drain whenever traveling.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:17 AM   #26
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Here's one not mentioned.

This weekend the foul sewer odor was back in the kitchen area coming from the sink cabinet and behind the sink. It was really bad just after I dumped the grey tank and we noticed it when driving home a few weeks ago.

I pulled everything out from under the sink and with a mirror and flashlight looked around but couldn’t find anything suspect.

This morning, I called Fleetwood and described the problem to them. The first time this happened was on the way home from a weekend camping trip.


The odor is definitely a grey tank smell. Fleetwood wanted me to check the roof vents and so I did. There was nothing blocking the vents and there appears to be plenty of room between the vent pipe and the vent cap.


I checked the vent but didn’t think that would be a problem since this issue just started a few weeks ago. We would have noticed before now if there was a problem with the roof vent pipes being too long and pushing against the cap. P-Traps are not being sucked dry and the only area of foul odor is just under the sink. No odor coming out of the sink drains. All other sinks, shower, etc are ok.

Auto-Vent was replaced. No help.

Since this all started the last time I brought the galley slide in, Fleetwood suspects there might be a problem with the sink drain flex hose that moves along with the slideout. It could be cracked, pinched, connetion point coming loose, etc.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:23 AM   #27
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Back to the OP, if it is the toilet the reason could be the overflow allowing odors to come from the black tank. I have a 2000 Thetford Aqua Magic toilet that has the overflow and I had to plug it as recommended by Thetford. Newer toilets don't have the overflow.
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:24 PM   #28
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I was at a RV dealer and they said the best thing to do if your tanks smell is to drain them, black and gray, put a gallon of lysol cleaner in each tank. Fill it to the top with water. Let sit for 24 hours, drive around for a little to stir it up and drain the tanks. He claimed it would desolve everything and clean the walls of the tank and if the tank guage don't work it would fix them also.
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