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Old 08-15-2010, 08:28 PM   #1
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another black tank question

We are having all kinds of trouble with smell from the black tank, we have installed an electric fan to the vent pipe that is supposed to pull the smell out, however, when we were on the roof this weekend inspecting things, we were puzzled as to why we couldnt smell anything being pulled out through the pipe, we removed the fan, to make sure that it was working and moving in the correct position and all was fine. We then removed the entire fan and didnt get any smell coming out the vent. Shouldnt there be?
The smell was so bad in the trailer when we opened up and flushed for the first time that I thought I would die. As I posted previously, we are on a permanent site, so we dont have the luxury of being able to add all kinds of recommended items and let it sloosh around for awhile.We cant get the trailer to the dump station, so we have to rely on many trips there with blue tank in tow. We have it pumped out every other weekend hoping that just filling it full with water would somehow help to get it completely flushed.
Could there be a venting problem here that we are overlooking? The smell is only in the bathroom, nowhere else. I have tried everything that has been mentioned and still no success. Also, we measured the vent pipe and it is approximately 5 inches up from the bottom of the tank,,I assume that is the bottom that we are hitting... Is this the norm?
and we cant put the trailer on a slight lean as recommended because none of the doors would stay open.We did try that...Others that I have read about also have this issue with the tank not emptying out.
I dont remember the smell being this severe last year. Could the heat, along with the permanent site be the problem. is there anything else that any of you could recommend that we try.
thanks for all your suggestions...I hope that there is a fix that we are overlooking, this really puts a damper on our camping.

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Old 08-15-2010, 08:58 PM   #2
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If no one is able to give you a fix, draw a side view picture of black tank, where pipe attaches, height of pipe and location of fan. Include measurements and I, if not someone else, will be able to figure it out and give you a fix. Oh, and don't forget to post the picture. I'm SURE there is a simple solution....well at least A solution.

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Old 08-15-2010, 09:44 PM   #3
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I'm curious about your statement that you "measured the vent pipe and it is 5 inches up from the bottom of the tank." How deep is the tank. Let's assume 8 inches, and that would mean once there is 5 inches of liquid in the tank, the vent pipe would be covered and become useless.

One test I would try is: With the tank empty, I would poor water down the vent and see if it goes in the tank. Just to make sure it isn't stopped up. Especially since you attempted to measure the pipe somehow, and hit an obstruction. Good Luck, and let us know where the water goes.
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:21 PM   #4
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You have your trailer setup on a permanent site.......
If the smell is that bad I do not think you are using chemicals or flushing the tank out correctly and a lot of $%&! is still rotting in the tank.

Are other trailers around hooked up permanently?
Do you keep any of your valves open all the time?
Could you be smelling your neighbors dumping smell?
How often do you full flush your black water tank?
Do you fill it up with fresh water and chemicals or just water?
How many times have you fully filled the black water tank with a hose and then dump?
Just a few questions that may help me figure this out.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:12 PM   #5
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Are your sure it coming from the toilet? Our bathroom sink is plumbed to the black tank. On our maiden voyage we were overcome by the stench while driving through Arizona. The movement, heat and lack of use of the bathroom sink caused the water in the P-trap to evaporate and therefore no more airlock between the rig and the tank. WheeeWWW!! We learned quickly to give the bathroom sink a shot of water every now and then, especially in storage in hot temperatures to keep the P-trap full.
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:49 AM   #6
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now to answer your questions... If we are assuming correctly about the tank,,,..the way we measured the pipe was when we removed the electric fan from the top of the roof vent, we had a direct line to the black tank. We took a tape measure,dropped it down the vent line, hit what I had said we assumed was the bottom of the tank, then we were able to hook the bottom of the pipe itself and it was approx 5 inches from the hard bottom we hit.
Our underbelly is completely enclosed so I dont have any pics to take, that is why I was hoping that someone was able to tell us how deep these tanks were. Do any of you know what they measure? We are fairly new to camping and not familar with alot of how these trailers are setup.
We are using the blue deodorizer and doubling what it calls for to use. We were also wondering about the pipe being too far into the tank and being useless once the tank is about half full. Hoping that isnt the problem,,,and if it is,,,how do we fix it.
We are in a park, so yes there are other trailers, valves arent kept open, use lots of chemicals, fill the tanks clear full with water and have them pumped every other weekend.
We have also filled them on our own and dumped, however, as I posted before, it is such an ordeal doing it this way because we have to make so many trips to the dump station, and after doing this and still not getting any satisfactory results, we stopped. Weekends were spent dumping...LOL
The smell is ,without doubt, coming from our toilet... , we were hoping to be able to find a fix without removing the underbelly. With it all being enclosed, it makes for a more difficult solution.
We still are a bit confused as to why we could smell it when we flush, however, when the vent cap is removed from the line, we dont get any odor. We are having it pumped again,,,this week, and when we go back we will see if we have any odor coming from that pipe on the roof..if we do,,then maybe that pipe is too far down in the tank..
We are still puzzled as to why this tank will not completely empty out,,and it doesnt matter if we dump or they pump...
Thank you for all your suggestion
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:48 AM   #7
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"if" its the vent pipe, could it have slipped down causing two problems, first when the water in the tank gets above it it becomes useless and second is it leaking sewer gas from where it was connected to the tank. it sounds to me like you are going to have to take the under belly apart and look there. instead of taking the water to the sewer with the tote could you pay the honey wagon to stay there for an hour or so while you flush the tanks as mentioned on other posts. this would be a good time to also find out if the lav is draining into the black tank.

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Old 08-16-2010, 06:49 PM   #8
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The pipe slipping would be a very possible reality. Dont know how those things are held together, but from what we have read in previous post, just about anything is possible with the construction of these things.As far as having the pumper stay for an hour or so, is hard to do, he comes on Mondays, when nobody is there..If all else fails, maybe I could take the day and try what you suggested. I am willing to try anything.Never really gave it much thought as to the lav draining into the black tank. Would have thought that if that was what is happening, we would be filling up much quicker than we do..however, as I said, I guess anything is possible... thanks for the reply, I appreciate all the input
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:50 PM   #9
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I would be pouring water down the vent. If the vent doesn't work, (no smell), you aren't going to dump either. When dumping, you would pull a vacuum and the dump would stop once the tank sucked so far down. the when you flushed the next time, the vacuum would be released in to the room. As for the vent pipe slipping down, I'm not sure. Mine has a flange on top of the tank the pipe sits in, and can't go any farther. I assumed all were that way. Also if it slipped, it wouldn't stick up above the roof, because the factory would never leave it 5 inches too long, waste of good pipe. Could also tell by caulking around it.
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by windrider View Post
the when you flushed the next time, the vacuum would be released in to the room.

You mean air would be sucked from the bathroom down into the tank to relieve the vacuum, right?


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