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We tend to have a problem with sewer odors in our 5th wheel. The odor also seems to be inside the trailer, not just the bathroom. We have used everything we can find, and we always put in the packets on our camping trips. Nothing seems to help. Are we doing something wrong?
 

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My mom had a fifth wheel for a short time after my father passed away.She had this really bad smell one time and she actually wanted to sell it because she thought the fumes might be toxic.

Anyway, someone else in the same trailer park who had a larger 5th wheel came down to take a look for her. Her found that the pipes were jammed with old toilet paper and of course, it was causing a wicked smell.

I don't know a lot about it myself but the guy said she had left the valve open and supposedly it is supposed to stay closed in order to help flush the debris out.

So basically he cleaned it out for her and after that she made sure the valve was closed and she was okay.

Do you think this might be your prob?
 

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Try filling it a third or half full of water and add a shot of laundry detergent in there while you are towing, it will essentially wash it out, swishing it around when towing, then just dump it once you get there. We do this at least a twice a year to keep it fresh, same on the grey tank.
 

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This is the first issue we ran into after purchasing our first camper. We tried everything and nothing worked. A friend of mine recommended the "Tornado". Now some campers, especially a lot of the upper line models may have this already installed. On our Jayco Designer they call it a black water flush. It kind of works like the "Tornado". You have to do a little manual labor to install them, but it's not bad. What it does is fits into the top 1/2 of your black water tank and sprays a high pressure stream inside the tank, losening up paper and buildup, which then filds it's way then to the sewage and out the drain. If you aren't comfortable installing it, most trailer sales or places like Camping World will install it.
When you are ready to dump, you hook up the water hose directly to the remote hose attached to the "Tornado". You let water run through it a few minutes. The first time you use it, it may take a while before you see clear water coming out of the dump drain.
I also make sure that I keep black water chemicals in the tank with a gallon or two of water if the camper is going to sit for awhile between camping trips. I also recommend installing at least one vent cover so you can leave the vent open.
Another way to clean out the black water tank is to back flush from time to time. What happens sometimes is if you dump and don't fill up your tank, there may not be enough water pressure to force all the chemicals and "waste" out. What happens is this buildup starts to hardened into a sludge and produces that bad smell. You can find this type attachment from Camping World here: http://www.campingworld.com/browse/skus/index.cfm?skunum=20522&src=SRQB
This is the one we have. It's called a Flush King and works like a champ. These are some of the ways we have solved the problem, but I know there are many others. :thumbup2:
 

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I am glad to hear we aren't the only ones that have issues with this. Thanks for all the suggestions Bill.
 

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Great tips, I need to get one of those attachments, I have seen them on other campers, but wasnt sure what it was. Looks great.
 

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Fill the tank with as many ice cubes as you can, use a little water to help flush the cubes down. Go for a drive, as the ice melts and sloshes around it cleans your sensors and tank walls without any damage.
 

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Any reason why we could NOT use the ICE and Laundry Detergent ideas COMBINED??

Kind of a double whammy both on the sludge and the smell...

Thoughts?
 

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Heck man use ice, detergent and a small tactical nuclear device, whatever it takes. I'm not sure the soap would do anything in the almost freezing water temp. though. I might use a deodorizer after.
 

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I have the same problem only the smell is in the fifth wheel and is coming out that small round vent above the fifth wheel cubby. Is this because there is debris clogging the black tank up? I'm asking because we are new to the RV living experience and the smell is awful. Can't imagine how it's going to smell once it gets warmer :(
 

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You also need to question yourselves that you are using enough water during flushing. Just because you flush the effluent out of your toilet, you MUST allow more water to flow or else the effluent will become near concrete in your tanks!

Then what good is throwing ice, detergents or even getting it professionally cleaned if you are just going to mistreat again.

Here's what I do and most folks I know do, and we have NO problems. For urination, count to 5. For defecation count to 10. Count slow. "One thousand 1, one thousand 2, one thousand 3... and so on. Without enough water these problems will occur - concrete effluent, the "mound" where debris collected and remains, blocked plumbing, blocked vents and this list goes on.
 

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Also check your vent pipes if your smelling in inside the whole 5th wheel make sure you dont have a lose fitting vent another neat item is those solar powered roof vents you place them on your sewer stack and they suck the gas out of your vent pipes.
 

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Yes that it thanks ive even seen them in the camping isle at Walmart a buddy uses one and loves it
 

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I still question using something that elaborate if it diverts the odors from a mistreated tank away and you now think all is good, then you have a major problem when even it doesn't work anymore.

You might use one of these (there are other offerings too) instead which is less complicated than a solar fan then can wear out, and takes advantage of wind as a directional control:

Rotating Plumbing Vent Cap - Cyclone by Camco

I am a believer that Black tank odors are a sign that there's something wrong or being used wrong (not enough water, can't emphasize that enough). I've been trailer for 10 years and the only problem was with a preowned trailer when I first got it. A good tank cleaning took care of that and I've never had a problem since.

Learning how to clean the tank properly or even better than the simple instructions one gets with the trailer and you should have no problems. Some of the ideas have been listed but there are others.
 

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Art you make a good point however some of us have older trailers and are NOT the original owners hence the tanks may not have been treated like we wanted.

In my case NOTHING I do seems to curb the odor so I am thinking of going with one of these to try and help my situation.
 

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My first trailer I bought 18 months old and was able to simply do a thorough backflush and it got cleaned. If the trailer is older, used or you know you have not treated it as well as you should have, then have it professionally cleaned out and serviced. It will be worth the money to have this done.

Black tanks are not supposed to stink and if they do there's something wrong, it wasn't treated correctly or something similar. I don't like camping next to a trailer like this anymore than the person actually living it, but excessive odor is a sign of something wrong that might require more than the tricks and tips we mention.

I hope everyone finds their problem. I can't imagine it's healthy in the long run to live like this. Be safe and sanitary everyone. Besides your own roommates, your neighbors will appreciate it too. Nothing like enjoying the odors of nature until someone spooks a skunk or has a black tank odor problem. The skunk odor will dissipate unless you get sprayed, but a real bad black tank odor doesn't go away by itself.
 
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