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Old 05-18-2013, 08:48 AM   #1
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Sewer odor

I'm getting an odor in my bathroom around the toilet. It isn't very strong, but it's there. I've determined it isn't coming from the toilet itself. (I filled it with water and a peppermint-smelling cleaner, closed the seat, cut on the vent fan,)
After evacuating the existing odor, I cut the fan off. After a while, and an outside temp increase, the odor returned.
This is on my new Rockwood. It has a sealed underbelly so the toilet-to-tank connection isn't accessible. My old, fat a$$ isn't climbing on the roof to check the vent, but my man Carlos at my storage place can.
Any ideas on troubleshooting this problem?
(Yeah, yeah, I know ... I never had a smell in the TajWeHaul.)

Teach
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
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Teach,

I had a buddy with a Jayco, also new, and his toilet was a bear until he resolved the issue. It was the flange seal between the floor pipe fitting and the toilet. He added the RV 360 vent unit on the vent stack on the roof, while it helped it did not cure it. After replacing several foam seals, Jayco put in a porcelain toilet and the problem never came back. In his case the toilet was flexing and would unseat the seal. The change in toilet flexed less and the problem stopped. It took him I think 2 years to finally work out enough attempt to get to this point. Never knew if it was the actual toilet or the floor structure but the more rigid toilet solved it.

Do not know that this is the issue with yours however it points to areas to look.

What make/model toilet do you have? Is it an all plastic or a porcelain bowl? Again there are lots of all plastic toilets working fine, just looking for clues.

Yes, the roof stack vent is a place to check, however pending the type of cap that is on it may not even be able to see the pipe without undoing the Dicor and taking the cap off. Since your camper is brand new, and you know how many days it has lived since being born, I think it is low odds the vent stack is clogged from insects, spiders webs etc. Unless there is factory assembly issue. Again for right now, say low odds here too.

Since you have water in the bowl, I'm assuming, and that water does not leak down the toilet, then the ball valve seal is good and the sewer gas is not coming up through the ball valve seal.

Question:
1. Is the tank empty, 1/2 full or full when this heavy odor comes up? Or is does not seem to matter?

2. Is the smell "only" heavy when flushing or is it there even when not flushing? Key point.

Now we are left with, how can sewer gas work it's way back up into the camper?

Assuming the bowl holds water, it is not from the bowl ball valve seal.

Next is the foam gasket flange between toilet and floor. Since the camper is brand new, well it is not rotted out yet. But, did they forget to install it from day 1? Or did it get rolled/folded when installed and that is where the gas leak is coming from?

Then there is toilet flex. For right now, this one may be on the medium probability list.

If the smell is really horrific when you flush, this may point to a tank vent issue, the gas cannot vent the way it is suppose to and has to come up out of the bowl ball valve when you flush.

If the smell it not that bad when flushing, but does get a smell hours after flushing, this points to a leaking seal between toilet and tank flange.

If you can make it down to the floor.... and sniff around the area right at the floor to the base of the toilet and it comes up, OMG.... well this may add a level of it has to do with the foam seal area.

Before you unbolt anything, a call to RVW and asking and alerting them may really help in case if this turns out to be a factory defect. If they agree, it might be the foam seal and allow you to lift the toilet and inspect and or replace, then this is not that big a deal.

Yes I know, a new camper etc however this is not major enough to haul it all the way back to Ohio. If this comes to be a factory warranty claim, Rockwood I'm assuming would allow any FR dealer do this if it come to that. When I bought my new Sunline out of state, I knew I would most likely never return to the dealer unless it was a major something well beyond cost etc to correct. In my case Sunline was still in business and they would work with me direct and after pics of my heavy rusting roof flange vents, sent me new ones direct.

An issue like this, if it comes to a warranty something, a nice personable call to the dealer and if needed to the factory to plead your case will tell real quick the real stand up or not the integrity of both. That was what impressed me beyond imagine with Sunline. The after the sale customer support was the best I have seen in any industry ever. I myself did not call the dealer, I went to Sunline. I have bought machines for work for multi 7 figures and never had the kind of service that Sunline gave.

This is what I know of this. Never had to directly work with it, but was involved helping my bud through his.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 05-18-2013, 02:10 PM   #3
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Hmmmm .... flexing toilet (It's all plastic and groans and creaks when I sit on it.) or the foam seal might be the issues. Smell doesn't relate to flushing.
I might run a bead of silicone sealer around the toilet base and see if that ameliorates the odor. I can remove the sealer easily enough should toilet removal become necessary.

Thanks for the analysis,
Teach
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:55 PM   #4
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Teach, the silicone may not be a great idea, especially if the foam seal is rolled, or worse missing... that means water splash can get in there too.

If the sewer gas is coming through that area, there is a space that is open to the tank. If you seal the outside, while the smell may stop, a water splash may not. Them trapped water in there which is another problem.

Just passing it along, I do not know this for fact, but I can see it happening given the right situation.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
If the sewer gas is coming through that area, there is a space that is open to the tank. If you seal the outside, while the smell may stop, a water splash may not. Them trapped water in there which is another problem.
The silicone will be a diagnostic tool. If I seal around the toilet's base and the odor stops, I can tell the dealer where the odor is definitely coming from. I don't intend to use the sealant as a permanent solution for the reasons you've stated.

Thanks and I'll let you know what happens over the Memorial Day weekend.

Teach
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awellis3 View Post
The silicone will be a diagnostic tool. If I seal around the toilet's base and the odor stops, I can tell the dealer where the odor is definitely coming from. I don't intend to use the sealant as a permanent solution for the reasons you've stated.
Teach, OK now understand.

A thought of a test material that will seal out the odor yet come up without issues, plumbers putty. The kind you use on drain baskets etc.

Epoxy and Plumber's Putty, Caulks and Sealants | Harvey

Or if you have some putty tape or butyl sealing tape like we use on camper windows/roof flange etc.

You can stuff it all around and it should hold that low pressure gas seal, then just take it up.

Just a thought as the putty types of products are easier to get up

Good luck. And please post back. This issue does come up every now and then. Good to learn more causes.

John
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:33 AM   #7
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We also had a mysterious sewer type smell and it turned out to not be the toilet at all. It was a malfunctioning sink drain vent letting gray tank gasses back up into the trailer. Steve replaced ours with a Studor brand drain pipe vent. Problem solved. If this is the case you would smell it under the sink. Just a thought.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:27 AM   #8
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Just back from a trip and the sewer odor prob. took a curious turn.
Night number 3, got up a 3 a.m. (you know why) and the bathroom stunk. Turned on the fan for a few minutes, turned it off, went back to bed.
Got up at 7 a.m., went into the bath and - no odor, zilch, nada.

I didn't put any sealant around the base because it didn't stink for two days, then - Wow! - then - nothing. it gets curiouser and curiouser.

Teach

p.s. - The smell is def. black water.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:03 AM   #9
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Teach,

My buddies Jayco with the floor mount foam gasket ring issue would come and go like this. May have been hit and miss by the amount of sewer gas being created, if the wind over the camper was stronger drawing more from roof tank vents or high wind blowing down on the stack, verses dead still and no added help to remove tank vent stack odor so it leached out where ever it can for the easiest path out.

Is it a good or bad assumption that during all this, there was always a small amount og water in the toilet around bowl ball valve to indicate there is not a upper bowl seal leak? (water would drain out if there is an upper bowl/big center ball leak)

This again points to, if the upper bowl seal is holding water in some shape or form the tank gases are rising up into the camper.

Tweey’s thought on the gray tank under the sink vent being open is a good one, but you have seemed to rule it is a black tank issue for sure.

Let us know how this goes. This is one of those fixes to store away if is ever happens to me….

John
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:00 AM   #10
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Sounds pretty much like the foam rubber "Seal". John is most likely correct about the flexing of the plastic toilet. I had that problem a bit on our older sunline with the plastic toilet. Masking tape may be a better diagnostic seal around the base than silicone or putty as far as easy removal goes.
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:55 AM   #11
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The plot thickens ...

We just returned from a week-long trip to two campgrounds. We had full hooks but didn't dump until day 5, and guess what!? No odor from the toilet or anything else.
Stay tuned for more episodes of "Do It Stink Today?"

Teach
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:36 PM   #12
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Teach,

H'mmm.... something "smells" like it is flexing. lol.... Seals up one moment and not the next. Hope it stays the seals up way...
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:23 AM   #13
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Teach,
H'mmm.... something "smells" like it is flexing...
Bumping the thread to report on the toilet.
I called RVWholesalers about the toilet smell to get their advice on how to proceed with the intermittant odor problem. The warranty gal said to send her model and serial numbers of the toidy. Four days later I had a new toilet sitting on my front porch. Seems as how Dometic had a run of toilets that allowed a tiny bit of effluent to collect inside the toilet itself.
We're just back from a week in Tybee Is., Ga., and the odor was present. I opened the low-point drain and operated the flush valve. I pulled the old toilet out and set it out side. There was little odor coming up from the holding tank and it smelled nothing like the toilet odor in the trailer. I bolted the new toilet in place. I picked up the old one a gave it a shake - slosh, slosh - stink, stink! I set it out with the trash and two days later, it still stinks.
Rocky is back in storage, awaiting his next trip in June to confirm the success of the repair.

Teach
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:19 AM   #14
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Oh my... that could have taken a LONG time to troubleshoot on one's own. Rather disgusting as well.
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