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Old 07-12-2019, 09:05 PM   #1
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Toilet/black tank question

Hi Sunliners,

I'm wondering if my vent for the black tank might be clogged. There is an odor when I flush. Sometimes from the toilet itself. Sometimes seems like it's coming from under the camper.

I have been good about keeping happy camper in the tank and regularly flushing it with fresh water.

Sound like the vent? Other ideas?

Thank you!
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:23 PM   #2
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Yes, if the black tank vent up on the roof is plugged with spider cobwebs or other insects, the tank will not vent correctly and can create a backup of gas fumes in the tank that can come up into the camper through the toilet when flushing.

Also, if you have an exhaust fan in the bathroom running when you flush the toilet, that too can draw blank tank gas fumes up the toilet when flushing even if the tank vent is clear and working. If the fan was on, just turn it off to flush, then back on. An open window with a breeze may cause the same thing.
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:27 PM   #3
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Thanks, John. I think it's worth a look down the vent. Already have new dicor tube on its way. Good wishes.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:10 PM   #4
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One thing to remember is that the gas generated by the head, sorry old Navy type, is methane. It is flammable in certain concentrations. Just like on buildings, the stack is intended to vent this off. By all means, clean your stack.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:35 PM   #5
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I've checked and cleaned the vent and I am still noticing an odor outside mostly. Would this mean that the black tank seal may be compromised?
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Old 10-12-2019, 07:10 PM   #6
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I bought a Sunline several years ago the toilet smell was really bad and I found nothing wrong eventually I remover the toilet and pressured washed the entire toilet inside and out!
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:58 PM   #7
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The odor now seems to be outside only. Which is why I was asking about the tank itself. I installed a new toilet.

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Originally Posted by mainah View Post
I bought a Sunline several years ago the toilet smell was really bad and I found nothing wrong eventually I remover the toilet and pressured washed the entire toilet inside and out!
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noralee View Post
I've checked and cleaned the vent and I am still noticing an odor outside mostly. Would this mean that the black tank seal may be compromised?
H'mm, if the black tank seals (there are only 3 seals in the tank) were compromised, you should see some kind of leakage. The 3 seals are:

1. The toilet floor flange. The rubber gasket that is between the toilet and the tank flange on the floor. If that leaks, and it can, you should see some staining maybe at the floor tile at the base of the toilet. Or it is running under the floor, and you may not see it but you can sniff to smell the leaks there. Was a new RV rubber toilet seal put in when the new RV toilet was installed? We are assuming an RV toilet here, if that is not the case please let us know.

2. The black tank vent pipe to the black tank seal. The pipe from the roof drops down and is connected to the tank. I am not sure how Sunline did this tank connection back in the 80's. The newer Sunlines have the vent pipe solvent welded to the tank fitting. A cracked pipe fitting is possible, odds are low but not impossible if the tank was dropped out sometime in it's life. but there is no rubber seal in this case as the fittings are all welded together.

There is another way tank vent pipes attach to black tanks, they use a larger rubber grommet seal. The pipe is inserted into the grommet and the grommet into the tank. That rubber seal could go bad in 30 to 40 years. But, again I have no idea if Sunline did the old campers that way. Sunline Fan may know as he has his 80's camper totally apart and the tanks all out of it. He would of had to deal with that tank vent pipe.

3. The last seal is the tank dump valve. They do leak when paper or other debris gets jammed into the sliding blade seal or the rubber seal cracks and goes bad over time. If this was happening, the liquid in the tank will drain itself out into the sewer. And If I recall, yours is hooked up to a septic tank system. If you look down the toilet and there is no liquid left and the valve has been closed for a several days, then this seal may have an issue. This also is assuming your septic pipe has a good seal to the camper tank dump pipe. But again leaks to the outside of the piping leaves tracks of liquid on the ground, so you can see it. Did you look under the camper for any leakage?

A few questions on how you use the black tank as your semi permanent campsite has a sewer connection all the time.

Do you leave the dump valve closed, use some starter water in the bottom of the toilet and then when the tank gets full enough, open the dump valve drain it out, and dump some 3 to 5 gallons of water down the toilet to help rinse out the tank? A black tank never rinsed can have a build up in it.

I do use the Happy Camper but we dump and rinse the tanks clean after every campout. We have internal tank sprayers where water sprays inside the tank to flush it. So I do not have to dump water down the toilet to flush. We have been doing this since 2004 and hundreds of campouts and never had smell issues inside the camper when flushing or outside the camper. When at the dump station, there may be a time or two we get a whiff of stink when dumping. After flushing the tanks, there is no smell.

Do you have a fan in your bathroom, and is it ever "on" when you flush the toilet? If the fan is on, it can draw up tank fumes when you flush. Just shut the fan off to flush then turn it on again if you use one.

Hope this helps. Some feedback on the questions may help send us into a better direction to troubleshoot with. And especially if the liquid is draining out of your black tank between dump'ings.

John
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noralee View Post
The odor now seems to be outside only. Which is why I was asking about the tank itself. I installed a new toilet.
Noting the smell is outside only, is a help. Answers to the questions above can help point to why the smell is only outside.
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