Toilet smell - Fiberglass RV
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Old 06-12-2017, 07:47 AM   #1
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Toilet smell

You probably know the one...

The trailer doesn't smell, the bathroom doesn't smell; but when I open the lid of the toilet, man is it bad. It is holding water, so it's not the flush valve.

From looking around online, it sounds like it's most likely the overflow trap. I guess if the tube in it cracks or somehow stops holding water, odor can come up through it from the black tank. On my toilet, the overflow is right under where fresh water for the flush comes into the toilet, so water flows into the overflow valve with every flush.

Has anyone had to fix this on their toilet? It sounds like I might have to pull the toilet to fix it but I just wanted to see if anyone had any advice or ideas before I go with that. I've been doing my best to ignore it for the last week but it's getting pretty bad...
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:51 AM   #2
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Read up on chlorine black tank sanitizing first. I do the simple stuff before taking on a more involved project.
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:57 AM   #3
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I have also a Bigfoot 17 1992 and when the ceiling vent in bathroom is open the scent comes from the vent port on the roof if the sewer valve is open, The scent of the sewer from the campsite comes back into the tank and enters the bathroom by the vent,
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:17 AM   #4
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Are you using any chemicals at all?
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:47 AM   #5
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I appreciate the advice.

The smell is coming from the toilet, under the lid. It only smells when I open the lid. Trailer doesn't smell, bathroom doesn't smell. And yes I regularly clean the toilet bowl.

I use chemical. I assume the black tank will smell no matter what, and no matter how much I clean it. I mean it holds poop. But the smell is supposed to be blocked by the water in the bowl, and whatever small amount of water the overflow holds. I mean I guess if there's a way to make my tank not smell at all, that's cool...but I still don't want the fumes making their way into the bowl.

The issue seems to be that fumes from the tank are making their way into my toilet. Which, after looking around online, can happen if the overflow somehow stops holding water.

Just curious if anyone has fixed this issue before and has advice. Someone mentioned putting a piece of duct tape over the overflow valve as a temporary measure, but that seems a little silly...
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:55 AM   #6
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I just cruised over to the Open Road forums and saw this:
"I have a related problem. This was the only thread 'search' came up with that was close. My toilet(Thetford Aqua Magic IV) smells like urine. Not the tank. Even with water in the toilet, when we lift the lid we smell it. It is only from the toilet & only when we lift the lid. We've cleaned, soaked in several different chemicals (bleach, vinegar, ammonia)and always leave an inch of water in it. The seal is good. I think the plastic has just absorbed this odor and I don't know how to get rid of it. Is replacement the only (expensive) option?"

And then there's this discussion at the RV Forum Community: toilet odor
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:09 PM   #7
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just a thought...wonder if one was to dry out toilet and seal in the odor with zep floor wax?
Just wipe it on and let it dry and apply like 3 coats.
What can it hurt?
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:28 PM   #8
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In my case, it is black tank odor, not urine. Though if the bowl itself was the cause, I'll bet something like Zep would work.

Donna, your RV Forum Community link is the thread I was looking at before I posted, and seems to describe my exact problem.

Just curious if anyone's had to tackle this project before.

Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:55 PM   #9
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Just was at a campground I use to work at and the odor that was emited from thier Black water tank was unbareable so I asked if he ever put chemicals down there and he said maybe once a year...I took him down and got some "without formeldihyde" tabs and put one in as directed and odor was all but gone in 45 minutes. Thedford ECO tabs was the product.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:56 PM   #10
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Ok, I've now seen this "solution" posted on two different forums, so it's likely what I'll go with. Two different toilet manufacturers supply or suggest a plug for the overflow hole in the toilet. Apparently newer toilets don't even have an overflow.

So rather than trying to fix tubing in the p-trap or something like that (which would mean pulling the toilet), I'll just find a rubber plug that'll fit my overflow hole.

Gerry (and Donna), I always use these. One down the toilet every time after emptying. I add another if I notice a smell (from someplace other than the toilet itself).

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Old 06-12-2017, 05:25 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=ZachO;644465]Ok, I've now seen this "solution" posted on two different forums, so it's likely what I'll go with. Two different toilet manufacturers supply or suggest a plug for the overflow hole in the toilet. Apparently newer toilets don't even have an overflow.

So rather than trying to fix tubing in the p-trap or something like that (which would mean pulling the toilet), I'll just find a rubber plug that'll fit my overflow hole.

Let us know if this solves yur problem. Too many times people will not and others that are following the tread doesn't know if it will work.
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:01 PM   #12
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I will report back. Might be a couple weeks.
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
Ok, I've now seen this "solution" posted on two different forums, so it's likely what I'll go with. Two different toilet manufacturers supply or suggest a plug for the overflow hole in the toilet. Apparently newer toilets don't even have an overflow.

So rather than trying to fix tubing in the p-trap or something like that (which would mean pulling the toilet), I'll just find a rubber plug that'll fit my overflow hole.

Gerry (and Donna), I always use these. One down the toilet every time after emptying. I add another if I notice a smell (from someplace other than the toilet itself).

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When you add a packet after dumping, I am assuming that you also add a gallon or two of water with it.
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
In my case, it is black tank odor, not urine. Though if the bowl itself was the cause, I'll bet something like Zep would work.

Donna, your RV Forum Community link is the thread I was looking at before I posted, and seems to describe my exact problem.

Just curious if anyone's had to tackle this project before.

Thanks!
I have pulled the toilet on my Sunrader, it is not a difficult task to do. Before you start use one of those rinse the tank wands to do a really deep cleaning to get every bit of the smell and icky stuff out of the holding tank and connecting tube. Once that is done the job won't see like such a nasty chore to take care of.

If you are going to pull it you might as well also put in a new foam or wax donut seal depending on which one your toilet uses. No doubt it is past due for one anyway so just add it to your supply list to save you a future chore. Two with one swat so to speak. A major check of all the bits and pieces is going to be so much easier to do with the toilet outside on the ground instead of fighting to fit your body in a tight spot.
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:40 PM   #15
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Zach, have you tried just using the overflow tube as intended? If it doesn't have a hole in it, it just needs water to effectively seal off any odors. Just fill the toilet to the brim, and wait a few minutes to insure there's water in the tube. As long as it's in the original "s" shape configuration, it'll hold water like a p-trap. After a few minutes, just flush normally. As long as there is water in the tube, your odor problem should go away. Plus, unlike plugging it, you'll still have a functional overflow if the valve ever leaks while your away, preventing the toilet from flooding the trailer.
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Old 06-13-2017, 07:25 AM   #16
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If I do pull the toilet, I will make sure I've got a new gasket on hand. Thanks Karin.

Like I mentioned, on my toilet the overflow hole is directly under where the fresh water comes in when I flush. It fills with water every time I flush. I think I get what you're saying...but the problem is that it's not holding water. Water goes in every time I flush. Odor is coming out. So it's probably draining.

If what I read online is true, and we all know that everything we read online is true, then new toilets don't even have an overflow. I never leave my water pump on, especially when I'm away. I only turn it on when I need to use water. So an overflowing toilet shouldn't ever be a problem.

Yes I add around a gallon of water when I add the chemical. My issue isn't an overall black tank smell getting into the trailer. My issue is that fumes from the black tank are backing up into my toilet bowl.

Thanks.
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:10 AM   #17
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We had alot of trouble with our black tank smelling when we first got our Scamp brand new in 2010. We went to Odorlos and have never looked back and have NEVER had any more problems with smell.

Odorlos 68 oz. - Valterra V77003 - Sewer Deodorizers & Treatment - Camping World
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:43 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
We had alot of trouble with our black tank smelling when we first got our Scamp brand new in 2010. We went to Odorlos and have never looked back and have NEVER had any more problems with smell.

Odorlos 68 oz. - Valterra V77003 - Sewer Deodorizers & Treatment - Camping World
At Darrals advice, we started with Odorlos from the very beginning and have never had any odors to deal with. So another vote for Odorlos here
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:45 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by GregandTeresa View Post
At Darrals advice, we started with Odorlos from the very beginning and have never had any odors to deal with. So another vote for Odorlos here
My choice also.
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:43 PM   #20
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If mine starts to smell, I spray it with Natures Miracle from PetSmart. I also us it in my shower since that's where the litter pan stays. Note that it has to stay damp for the urine enzyme to work.
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