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Old 09-20-2018, 06:39 PM   #1
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Black Water Tank Smell

Having a problem and looking to get smart.
Have 2000 Dolphin 3553. We've always had a black water tank smell when travelling and driver or passenger window open, or when stopped and ceiling exhaust fan on and blowing out (bathroom exhaust fan open or closed) but was not at all overpowering. Have had it to several authorized places wherever we've been stationed with no one able to locate or figure out.
Tank has never been full (all tank lights lit), we dump frequently, and I bleach tank at beginning and end of season, and flush real well. I put RV tank anti-freeze in both (empty) tanks, toilet, and all p-traps at the end of every season, but to no avail.
Opened it up for use this year, turned on ceiling exhaust fan to air out (big mistake!), and the smell is overpowering. I use plenty of the biodegradable tank enzymes and deodorizer, not scrimping on costs.
I have no clue what to do, what to look for, or where to start. Don't know how or where black tank located or how to access it.
HELP!!
Dave
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:15 PM   #2
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We had a simillar issue with our 2000 Tropi-cal . When the weather is hot 85 degrees or more we still get some oder after 5-6 days. The first thing we did was install 360 RV siphon vent caps and used a flushing wand with a 2 nozzle rotating head to thoroughly clean the tank. Ours has a tank flush connector in the utillities compartment, yours may not, that helps with flushing the toilet tank. Also check that toilet valve holds water in the bowl. If the toilet leaks down it may be necessary to replace the seals and the valve ball.The toilet tank on ours is almost straight down through the toilet. After we performed all the steps I have stated the oder situation is greatly reduced. In cooler weather we can go as much as 2 weeks between dumps. One other thing that may help is to close the roof vent near the tank vent.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:29 PM   #3
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Thank you very much, Fred, for the info and fast response.
We have the tank flushing system, too, and I flush till clear when I dump, than add deodorizer/waste eater. Toilet holds water during warm (using) months, and holds anti-freeze all winter long, I changed seals and ball a few years ago.
On the bathroom exhaust (fan) vent, we get it whether it's open or closed, which has me clueless. I even installed those gadgets that essentially draw negative pressure on the tank vent pipes, the kind that rotate freely and point downwind to draw slight vacuum.
I'm lost.
You have a great evening.
Dave
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:42 PM   #4
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Do you have ABS piping hidden away somewhere....that would have been used for a washer/dryer ? The have an air admittance cap with a rubber seal that has gone away and lets in odor from the gray water tank. (Maybe)....
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:39 AM   #5
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Thank you, Scooter.

Scooter,
Thanks for the response and info.
I know we have the plumbing for a washer/dryer but didn't opt for it. I will check that.
Have been reading info on other forums with same/similar issue and have started checking their suggestions. So far nothing obvious or even close. But still looking.
Thanks again, and you have a great day.
Dave
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:48 PM   #6
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A few more things came to mind that could help in diagnosing your issue. Do you have a cap on your tank drain pipe and do you store your drain hose in the utilities compartment? A test for the integrity of your black tank and related plumbing would be to cap the drain and climb up to the roof and apply air presure to the vent pipe with the ventilator cap removed. I would suggest using a short length of 1" hose secured with duct tape to the pipe and applying air presure not to exceed 1 or 2 PSI. If there is any loss of presure a leak would be indicated in the vent system. You can also check the drain pipe to the tank by removing the panel that the drain handle and rod goes through. It probably would be a good idea to replace the drain valve while the panel is off. If i think of anything else I will post it.
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Old 09-21-2018, 08:09 PM   #7
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It may not be the black tank, it could be the gray tank. Under the bathroom sink is a valve the helps relieve pressure it is on top of a pvc pipe. There is also one under the kitchen sink. You'll need to get down on your knees with a flash light to see them. We had the smell in our MH but after replacing both of these valves it was no more.
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Old 09-24-2018, 11:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgtjoe View Post
It may not be the black tank, it could be the gray tank. Under the bathroom sink is a valve the helps relieve pressure it is on top of a pvc pipe. There is also one under the kitchen sink. You'll need to get down on your knees with a flash light to see them. We had the smell in our MH but after replacing both of these valves it was no more.
Same experience here. The Deltatec Add-A-Vent located under the bathroom sink was bad. The only problem - it was hidden inside the wall. I had to cut out the side of the cabinet to find it. The replacement from Home Depot was bigger in diameter (due to a flange) and would not fit, so I took the one from under the kitchen sink. The new vent valve from HD fit under the kitchen sink. Just came back from camping this weekend with no odor
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Oatey-Su...9230/205395535
The original one would have been cheaper on AMZN
https://www.amazon.com/Oatey-39012-A...07402370&psc=1
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Old 09-25-2018, 04:09 PM   #9
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We bought/installed the black ABS Oatey AA valves. Forgot if they are 1-1/2 inch or 1-/4 inch. ABS line was hidden in a cubby behind a cabinet with drawers. Drawers came out for the fix.
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Old 09-27-2018, 09:35 AM   #10
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I have a 2003 Tropical and I've had the same problem since day 1. The odor was a thousand times worse if I emptied the tank on a hot day. I did some sleuthing on the internet as I'm currently in a hot area and can't stand the smell. I found that the vent pipes for BOTH gray and black water that come up through the roof are supposed to be sealed around the pipe so the odor can't be sucked back into the ceiling area. Mine weren't, the opening was a good half inch bigger all the way around. Too large for caulking alone so I filled the gap with plumbers putty and then caulked the whole thing replacing the vent cap after I was done. NO MORE SMELL!!! To think I've been chasing this for 15 years.....
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:08 AM   #11
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We have this problem on our 95' American Dream, TERRIBLE when going down the road! This is a MH we just got in March and I recently very thoroughly cleaned the black tank with the flush valve until it ran clear. Then I put a quadruple (at least) dose of tank treatment in and put a few gallons of fresh water in. I'm hoping that will help but I'm wondering if something is up with my vent. It's obviously the black tanks and is about as much as a person can stand while traveling
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Old 10-07-2018, 02:31 PM   #12
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I was getting odors when driving.Started putting a ziplock bag filled with water on the shower drain and solved the problem.When traveling the shower drain trap is loosing the water allowing fumes to enter coach
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:09 PM   #13
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Thank you, ALL

Thank you ALL for your suggestions.
I've learned a lot from all of you, and learned quite a bit about my plumbing from checking and/or replacing the things you've suggested.
I won't really be able to give everything a good test, winterizing this week and making ready for storage.
You all take care, and happy trails.
Thank you, again.
Dave
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapadest View Post
Thank you ALL for your suggestions.

I've learned a lot from all of you, and learned quite a bit about my plumbing from checking and/or replacing the things you've suggested.

I won't really be able to give everything a good test, winterizing this week and making ready for storage.

You all take care, and happy trails.

Thank you, again.

Dave


I had a similar problem 05 tropical found that there are one way valves under sinks and at washer dryer locations that failed they allow air into the grey water tanks but hold the gasses in the tank you can get replacement at Home Depot
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