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Old 04-08-2012, 11:47 AM   #31
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Another thought - If you can't figure out if it's black or gray, then bleach treat one of them, and see if you can smell it. If not, try bleaching the other. You should be able to determine which the offender is, and the bleach smell will subside with some ventlation and time.

NOTE: Bleach treat only after flushing WELL with clean water! Depending on what chemicals you use, the bleach could have an unplesant reaction....
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Old 04-08-2012, 11:54 AM   #32
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As far as repair the last item 4 bring it to a shop for repair:

As a plumber I have a few questions:

Is your grey tank connected to the black at all, I realize this is not common any longer but you never know.
Does your shower or lavatory sink drain into the black tank, sometimes common.
Is there a vent cross connection from your grey to black tank.
Do your sinks or shower have P traps or waterless traps, if they have waterless traps they sometimes dry out and do not close properly.
Is there water in the toilet itself and does the seal hold. (if not replace the seal on the toilet, and see if it solves the problem)
The problem with RV systems are that there are so many moving parts close to each other.
I also would check if there is a washer connection unplugged.
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:04 PM   #33
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Sure.... I'm setting-up to tell my plumber joke, and now a REAL plumber has to jump ingto the discussion!

Well, you are better off getting advice from a pro, than from us amateurs.... So listen to Bill!!!
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:06 PM   #34
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we all have things to offer. RV's are a different animal, and we are all learning.
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Old 04-08-2012, 05:15 PM   #35
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try asking over here...
Cardinal RV Club • Index page

lots of guys over there who know the layout and build of these really well. Also they have a page for dealers and you may find a recommended one near you
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:02 PM   #36
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I would definitely check the vents that terminate under the sinks if Cardinal still uses this cheap shortcut. Mine stink to high heaven when they don't seal. Most hardware stores sell the vent for less than 10$. Easy screw in installation.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:16 AM   #37
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Greatly appreciate everyone's responses & help. Agree, you can never learn enough. In response to Bill M "the plumber" direct questions:
1. No, our grey tanks are not connected. There is 1 grey for kitchen, 1 grey for shower/bath sink, and 1 black for toilet.
2. No, shower does not drain in black tank and there is not cross ventilation between the two/three tanks that we can tell. At least, there are separate vent caps on the roof for each, put it that way.
3. Showers & sinks have P traps.
4. Yes, there is water in the toilet after flushing and the seal does hold.

Again, thanks to all for guidance and alternate internet resources. Will double check washer connections, do the water in tank/listen topside trick and go from there. Wish it were something as simple as a moldy rag in a cabinet or not understanding what toilet paper/black tank treatment to use, but having lived in the this specific unit for almost 2 years, can tell you it is definitely a plumbing issue somewhere. And ONLY when the black tank gets 1/2 full. Not when one or both grey tanks are empty, half, or full or anywhere in between. Not when black tank is 1/3 full--only around the 20-21 gallon range. Doesn't matter if it is 30 degrees outside or 90 degrees. Agree with most that a bad smell is sometimes hard to distinguish between black/grey tanks but when it is really really bad, most folks can tell the difference. Again, some great suggestions and appreciate everyone's input.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:33 PM   #38
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This being the case it sure sounds like the vent. Try calling FR or your service facility and ask how the vent is attached, I have heard of them sliding down and in to the tank, If this is the case grabbing it from the top you may be able to pull it back up and then cut to the required length. Be careful not to take it out of the tank itself. Good luck we are all rooting for success.
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:49 PM   #39
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This thread has been very helpful for me. I have a similar problem to the original posrter in that after 2-3 days of use the smell from the black water tank when flushing would drive you out of the trailer. I have tried a number of deodorizers etc and complained to dealer several times that the tank cant be vented. They check the vent and said everything was fine. After about a year of grumbling I started digging deeper and I found something very interesting. I pulled the cap of the black water vent and after flushing the tanl measured from the vent top to the bottom of the tank. 114 inches. I then fished until I hooked the tape measure on the bottom og the vent stack 112.5 inches. Thats right 1.5 inch from the bottom of the tank to the bottom of the vent. It is about 5.5 inches to the bottom of the toilet from the botton of the tasnk. Once 1.5 inch of fluid in the tank, bingo - no more venting. Dealer is coming to site to drop the BW tank on Tuesday. I would be interested if original poster resolved their problem or not.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:11 PM   #40
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Dealer service personnel were on site today and after preparing to drop the BW tank, one of them suggested trying to pull the vent stack upward from the roof. Apparently the vent was not glued into the top of the tank so they were able to slide the vent up. The is now 5" between the bottom of tank and bottom of the vent. This should fix that awful smell we were getting when the tank showed was more than 1/3 full.

We will know for sure next weekend.
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